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KCBX News Update: Hearing set for challenge to Patten map, and SLO County pandemic surge eases

The SLO County Board of Supervisors adopted new district lines Tuesday.
SLO County
The SLO County Board of Supervisors adopted new district lines in December.

Hearing set for challenge to SLO County’s new district maps

The legal challenge to San Luis Obispo County’s new district map is moving forward.

The nonprofit SLO County Citizens for Good Government filed the lawsuit and will ask a SLO County Superior Court Judge to block implementation of the new map pending a full hearing on the case.

The map is called the Patten map, and the group alleges it violates California election law by favoring conservative interests in SLO County and cementing a conservative majority on the board for the next ten years.

The SLO County Board of Supervisors approved the map 3-2 in December. It will go into effect for the elections in June of this year, unless the judge blocks its implementation.

A preliminary injunction hearing is set for February 10.

SLO County Citizens for Good Government says it has raised $300,000 to support the legal challenges as of Wednesday.

COVID surge shows signs of easing in SLO County

The Omicron-fueled COVID surge in SLO County is showing signs of easing, according to County Public Health.

Case rates are slowing slightly and hospitalizations are down, though the number of deaths from COVID has not slowed. Two people in their 60s and 70s have died from COVID since the last report, and the county said that staff are working through more than 25 pending death certificates.

36 people in SLO County are currently in the hospital for COVID, compared to 44 on Tuesday.

County officials report that the test positivity rate at the county’s community testing sites is more than 25 percent.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said, “Although this is down a bit from a high of more than 30 percent in January, we remain in an unstable period driven by the Omicron variant. We also recognize that reported numbers are likely low, due to an increasing number of cases diagnosed with at-home tests.”

Vaccines are available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and community clinics throughout the area. County residents can sign up at myturn.ca.gov.

The county’s public health website is slopublichealth.org/COVID19.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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