I just returned from the raging waters of Yosemite to catch the ripples from the redistricting commission’s draft congressional maps.
Let’s see, the commissioners envision making the coastal district … a coastal district. Not exactly a novel idea. Take a look at the region’s congressional boundaries in the 1970s. And the 1960s. And the 1950s. In fact, you can find districts spanning the North Coast from the Golden Gate to the Oregon border as far back as the 1890s. Is it a long way to travel? Sure it is. Just ask Rep. Mike Thompson, or his predecessor, Frank Riggs, whose territory spans from the Oregon border to Fairfield. Or look at states such as Wyoming and North Dakota that have a single house member for the entire state. In rural and suburban areas, it takes a lot of territory to include 700,000 people.
Santa Rosa in a district that stretches past Marysville? Well, our local congressman probably will be as familiar with Sacramento International as he or she is with SFO. But as a matter of politics, the population is concentrated in the west end of the district, so Santa Rosa isn’t going to get lost and Yuba County isn’t likely to elect a congressman who doesn’t fit Santa Rosa sensibilities.
– Jim Sweeney