Could Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s district end up being split down the middle, becoming part of two other congressional districts?
Sources say that there’s movement afoot in Democratic political circles to persuade the newly created redistricting commission to do just that — given that Rep. Lynn Woolsey has said she may not be running for re-election when her term is up.
Census figures show the Bay Area needs to lose a congressional seat. So why not partition one that may be vacant, regardless of whether that’s in the best interest of the constituents involved? At least that appears to be the argument.
One possibility is that Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s district, which is now all in San Francisco, would end up being extended across the Golden Gate Bridge through Marin County and into southern Sonoma County — much as the patchwork 3rd state Senate District is configured now.
This would prevent the expansion of her district into that of Rep. Jackie Speier’s to the south, which creates competition among the Peninsula’s Congressional delegation.
Under this scenario, Rep. Mike Thompson’s 1st Congressional District could be stretched to include more of northern and eastern Sonoma County. Or the county could be split down the middle, with a district to the east, most likely Thompson’s, and one to the west, possibly Pelosi’s.
Next month, Sonoma County residents will have a chance to voice their own opinions. The Citizens Redistricting Commission is set to hold a public hearing in Santa Rosa at 6 p.m. May 20 to get public feedback. The location hasn’t been determined.
The logical outcome — given the commission’s objective of maintaining “communities of interest” — would be to make Marin and Sonoma counties one congressional district, much as it is now, with Thompson retaining a portion of eastern Sonoma County. That’s exactly what the Cook Political Report is projecting the redistricting panel will end up with when its work is finished. But it’s decisions like this that will demonstrate how independent this commission really is – or whether it’s still vulnerable to political pressure.
— Paul Gullixson