Did commission do right with redistricting?
In August, the recently-created Citizens Redistricting Commission finished drawing the boundaries for the Senate, Assembly, Congressional, and Board of Equalization electoral districts. The Commission, a reform effort approved by California voters, was meant to remove partisanship when drawing these boundaries. The Commission was to create districts with population equality, contiguous boundaries, respect for communities of interest, and compliance with the Voters Rights Act. In the latter case, district lines were not to be drawn that have a negative impact on the voter influence of minority populations.
In the Sonoma Valley, what did the Commission do? The new Assembly and State Senate districts divide the Springs from the City of Sonoma. The Commission showed little sensitivity to the relationship between the Springs and the City.
The Spring's new Assembly district extends east and north to the Sacramento area and includes Napa, Davis, and Woodland. At the same time the City's new Assembly District is much like the current 6th A.D.
The Spring's new Senate district divides the Springs and the City at the city boundary and a line along Verano to Craig Avenue. The length of the district extends from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. The City's new Senate district reaches eastward into the CentralValley to West Sacramento and north to Woodland.
Mike Thompson's Congressional District is consolidated and includes all of the Sonoma Valley.
What are we to make of these changes? One view is that the Commission bungled their task in our small portion of California. The Valley/City community of interest is divided. Our interests are now tied to the Sacramento Valley's needs rather than those of our neighboring coastal communities.
Another view is that the Valley picks up additional representation by having two Assembly and two Senate District representatives to call upon when the Valley's needs must be addressed. We will be living with this situation for 10 years. Did the Commission fulfill its promises for you?
See the new districts. Go to www.swdb.berkeley.edu/gis/gis2011 and type in your address.