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Chico City Council considers district maps

A public hearing for community input on Chico City Council Districts will take place at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Posted: Jan 7, 2020 5:53 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2020 8:29 PM

CHICO, Calif.- A group of republicans says the City Council is engaging in "blatant corruption" in drawing the first-ever council districts.

There are six proposed maps that break the city of Chico up into seven districts, one for each council member.

However, The Butte County Republican Party is not happy, saying the maps were drawn up by someone who is not bi-partisan.

Michael Wagaman created the maps after the city of Chico faced allegations the council elections were biased against minority groups.

In a press release, The Butte County Republican party claims the city hired "a seasoned Democrat political operative to lead the map-drawing process."

Saulo Londoño, head of the Butte County Republican Party, says "What they have done is that in the process of hiring a demographer to draw the districts, instead of finding someone who is non-partisan, who does this strictly with the rule of law in mind, somebody who will not take partisan consideration, but do the work of creating nice neat districts, they've hired somebody who is a democrat activist, a democrat strategist."

Action News Now spoke to Michael Wagaman, who confirmed he is a Democrat, but in a statement said, "At no time was partisan data used nor considered in the drafting of the maps that are going to be considered by the council, as there was no direction to consider such data by the community elected officials of the city of Chico. "

When asked how the maps were created, Wagaman said, "The maps were all based on direction that was provided by council in the previous two public hearings, that feedback included consideration of traditional redistricting criteria like, if the districts are compact, equal size, looking at the typography and geography within the city, and seeing if they respect communities of interest within the city based on council and public feedback. All of those were primary factors."

The public will be able to comment on the proposed maps during Tuesday's City Council meeting. 

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