Given an opportunity to expand American Canyon’s influence onthe Napa County Board of Education and the Napa Valley CollegeBoard of Trustees, city officials continue to want to play itsafe. The city’s vice mayor and two City Council members voiced theirconcerns about the proposed new trustee districts at the college’sBoard of Trustee meeting Thursday. A fourth councilman had histhoughts read to the board. All voiced opposition to the redistricting proposal by NapaCounty Registrar of Voters John Tuteur. Tuteur’s plan would split American Canyon into two districts,giving voters in the county’s second most populous city the chanceto win two seats on each board instead of the one each currentlyavailable. Divided by Highway 29, the two districts would eachinclude parts of American Canyon, the unincorporated county and thecity of Napa. Tuteur, who was asked by the Napa County Board of Education todo the redistricting using the most recent Census Bureau data,argued his plan would give American Canyon the maximum influence onthe NVC board and allow for more representation from the city’sAfrican-American and Asian communities. In his presentation to the college board, Tuteur pointed outthat 80 percent of the county’s population growth between 2000 and2010 occurred in American Canyon and more growth could beexpected. American Canyon Councilwoman Cindy Coffey, who said she wasspeaking as a private citizen, rejected Tuteur’s arguments, sayingthat dividing minority voters into two districts would weaken theirinfluence, not enhance it, and that if the districts included Napavoters, American Canyon risked losing all representation on eachboard. “Keep American Canyon intact,” Coffey said. “One voice (on theboard) is better than none.” Coffey’s plea was echoed by Joan Bennett, American Canyon’s vicemayor, and Belia Ramos Bennett, a councilwoman. Councilman Mark Joseph had his comments read into the record.Joseph described the two-district alternative as “a pig in a poke,”and urged the NVC board to insist on more detailed voterregistration estimates in each district before agreeing to it. Tuteur estimated American Canyon voters would make up about 50percent of each district. “I cannot give accurate registrationfigures until new trustee areas and new precincts are created,” hewrote. The seven new county districts are based on overall population,not voter registration. Joseph said it makes no sense to create districts that overlapthe county’s two largest cities. The philosophy, Joseph said, “should be that we try to keep asmuch of Napa city out of American Canyon as possible and viceversa.” Joan Bennett and Belia Ramos Bennett (no relation) said there issignificantly lower voter registration on the east side of Highway29 than on the west side — about 35 percent versus just under 50percent on the west. Both women said they became aware of the difference while goingdoor-to-door during their campaigns for office. Tuteur said he was at a loss to explain the difference inregistered voters. The east side of the city is where much of thenew housing was built in the last decade. Coffey criticized Tuteur for redrawing the districts to protectincumbent board members — a practice considered legitimate, Tuteursaid, because races for boards of education are nonpartisan. College board president Brenda Knight said she had been unableto meet with Joan Bennett and other American Canyon officials todiscuss their concerns due to schedule conflicts. Knight said she tended to side with Tuteur’s vision of futuregrowth and a greater influence for American Canyon with two southcounty districts, but she would attend Tuesday night’s AmericanCanyon City Council meeting in an official capacity “tolisten.” Reached by telephone, Knight said she still favors thetwo-district plan. “I still have not heard anything from the City Council thatmakes me want to change my mind. I still feel strongly that (twodistricts) gives American Canyon a little bit more influence,”Knight said. Council members will vote Tuesday night on a resolution urging are-examination of the two-district plan. College trustees are scheduled to adopt district boundaries onNov. 3. The county school board is set to vote on boundaries at the Nov.1 meeting.