Over the Hill

Templeton home to the fiercely loyal

Don’t mess with Templeton. That popped into my head recently as county officials tried to draw new district boundaries for our five county supervisors.

I doubt many of us care or even know which supervisor’s district we’re in. If we end up in District 5 instead of District 1, it’s a non-event for us.

But it’s important to a considerable number of Templetonians. (I wonder if they actually call themselves Templetonians. I think I’d prefer Eagles: the mascot of Templeton High School’s athletic teams.)

Something about living in Templeton seems to instill fervid hometown loyalty in many people. If anyone tries to diminish Templeton, they take it personally. And they feared the new district boundaries proposed this summer would diminish Templeton.

The boundaries have to be redrawn every 10 years to make sure the districts have roughly equal populations. The 2010 Census revealed some imbalances.

One proposal would have split Templeton between District 1 and District 5 with Highway 101 as the boundary. That and other less incendiary proposals led dozens of Templetonians to show up at the public hearings to object.

That didn’t surprise me. In the early 1960s, a movement swept the state to unify smaller school districts with larger districts. It succeeded in some parts of this county. But it failed in the far North County. Templetonians fought fiercely against unifying with Paso Robles schools. Today, the Templeton School District remains independent.

Then in the 1970s and ’80s, the city of Paso Robles caught annexation fever. One way it sought to expand was down Highway 101 toward Templeton. Templeton’s unrelenting defense managed to block Paso Robles, at least on the east side of the freeway.

Two weeks ago, Templeton’s defenders apparently won again. The county supervisors unanimously approved a revised redistricting proposal. It would put the entire Templeton Community Services District and its surrounding urban reserve area into District 1. Also to be included in District 1 was 85 percent of the population of the Templeton School District.

But the Templeton defenders continued to demand 100 percent of the school district. That changed the minds of North County Supervisor Frank Mecham and South County Supervisor Paul Teixeira. They now oppose the boundary proposal.

It is scheduled for final action at Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting.

Messing with Templeton is a messy business.

Reach Phil Dirkx at phild2008@sbcglobal.net or 238-2372.