WatchSonoma Watch

Final plan to reshape North Coast political lines issued

Congressional districts: the final draft (CLICK TO ENLARGE)


The North Coast’s two congressional districts were dramatically altered in maps approved Friday by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, putting Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Cotati in an inland district that includes Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson’s hometown of St. Helena.

Most of the rest of Sonoma County is in a coastal district stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, obliterating the compact Sonoma-Marin district held by retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.

State Senate districts: the final draft (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Thompson’s base in Napa County is cut off from the North Coast, which he has represented in Congress since 1999 and for eight years before that in the state Senate.

The 14-member commission intends to certify the maps without changes on Aug. 15.

“We have created a new landscape,” Chairwoman Connie Galambos Malloy said. The new districts were drawn without regard to voter registration patterns or candidates’ addresses, she said.

Under the new state Senate map, Santa Rosa is in a coastal district that stretches from Marin County to the Oregon border, but puts Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Cotati at the west edge of a district that spans the Interstate-80 corridor from Vallejo to Davis.

Assembly districts: the final draft (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The Assembly map puts Democrats Wes Chesbro of Arcata and Michael Allen of Santa Rosa in the same district.

Santa Rosa is sliced in half by an east-west line running largely along College Avenue, with the northern portion in a coastal Assembly district extending to the Oregon border and the southern portion of the city in a compact district with Petaluma and Marin County.

Chesbro, a former state senator, and Allen, a freshman lawmaker, both declined to discuss their geographic conflict.

Allen said he would meet with Chesbro and talk to his own advisors. “I think we’re all scratching our heads and looking at this,” he said.

Chesbro said only that he was pleased to see the North Coast remain in one Assembly district.

The new districts would apply to the 2012 primary election, barring lawsuits that put the final decision before the courts.

Thompson, a seven-term incumbent, has not said what congressional district he will run in next year. He is withholding comment on the new maps “until the process is finalized,” an aide said Friday.

Three Marin-based Democratic candidates — Assemblyman Jared Huffman, Norman Solomon and county Supervisor Susan Adams — are vying to replace Woolsey in the coastal congressional district.

Regarding the new state Senate configuration, Petaluma City Councilman Mike Healy said that his city has “little in common” with Sacramento Valley cities like Fairfield and Vacaville and would not be “effectively represented” by the new district’s senator.

Brian Sobel, a former Petaluma councilman, acknowledged that the city may feel more kinship with the North Bay, but that consideration may have been sidelined by the commissioners.

“It really comes down to a numbers game,” Sobel said, referring to the legal requirement that districts be of similar population.

The commission voted 13-1 to approve the state Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization final draft maps, with the lone nay vote cast by Commissioner Michael Ward, a Republican from Anaheim.

Ward said the commission had “failed to strictly apply constitutional criteria” in drawing the maps.

The proposed maps for California’s 53 congressional districts were approved on a 12-2 vote. Ward and Commissioner Jodie Filkins Webber, a Riverside County Republican, opposed the final draft maps.

Appointed in November, the commission consists of five Democrats, five Republicans and four members from neither of the two major parties.

Commissioner Angelo Ancheta, a law professor at Santa Clara University and a Democrat, called the open redistricting process “an experiment in democracy” and said it was impossible to draw perfect boundaries.

“I am fully prepared to defend these maps in court,” Ancheta said.

Political districts are reshaped every 10 years after the census to adjust for population shifts, ensuring each district has the same number of voters. In the past, the lines were redrawn by the Legislature.



Click here to view an interactive maps of the final draft of congressional, legislative and tax districts

13 Responses to “Final plan to reshape North Coast political lines issued”

  1. Paul Andersen says:

    “Marin’s Congressional District 2 will include all of the county as well as all of Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties, and part of Sonoma, excluding Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Rohnert Park and Cotati. Marin will make up 36 percent of the district, Sonoma 26 percent, Humboldt, 19 percent and Mendocino, 12 percent.” — http://www.marinij.com/sanrafael/ci_18578234

  2. Liz says:

    It is a matter of #’s and the fact that Marin county was very clear that they wanted to be kept whole and not connected with SF. All because the commission did try to keep Marin whole and connected only north it forced them to chop up several other counties and connect Marin all the way to the OR border.
    Things could have been a lot different if Marin was willing to admit south Marin county is more like SF than Mendo county.

  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Living in east Santa Rosa, I’m still having a problem with Santa Rosa being edged out of the county. Sitting here and looking out my window, I see the morning fog cooling Santa Rosa which means COASTAL to me. I don’t understand the reasoning unless it’s just a matter of numbers.

  4. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Paul – also, your numbers do not add up to 100%…

  5. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Paul – I’m surprised by your figures, can you tell me where they come from? Thanks.

  6. BigDogatPlay says:

    @ Bill… the voters asked for this at the ballot box, twice. Prop 11 in 2008, Prop 20 in 2010.

    @ Lets be Reasonable… won’t re-state what’s already said, but the demographics of the proposed new district will make it much harder for, let’s say, Jared Huffman to win and hold the seat in my opinion.

    I suspect the Marin / Petaluma progressive cabal will find itself in a lesser position of control moving forward. And while I doubt the district would ever elect a reasonable fiscal conservative the opportunity exists for a better opportunity for choice for the voters in this plan.

  7. Actually, 31% of registered voter are north of the Sonoma County line, 26% from Sonoma County and 35% from Marin.

  8. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Kim – The congressional district may be large, but 90% of the population is probably in Marin and Sonoma, so there will be little campaigning up north – similar to your complaint about the prior senate district. All the winning candidates will likely come from the south.

  9. Liz says:

    Sorry Skippy but this was done by a citizens commission and you had many chances to make suggestions or submit comments in person to the commission or submit via phone or email to the commission.
    This process was very open! and they did listen to what we had to say they even in meetings talked about suggestions I submitted.
    If you did not like these maps you have had several weeks to send in your comments to them. Then you could also watch live their meetings and see that they were really doing this in a non-partisan way!!!
    My hats off to the commission for the hard task they had. While some of the lines may not be the best it is still far better than what the state has now!!!!!!!!

  10. bill says:

    Who asked the people to do this? I did not. Did you? My guess is you did not even think about it. Which leaves us to the politicians who have been in office way too long and they are the ones who dreamed up this crap.

    Vote them out of office.

  11. Kim says:

    Sorry,I fail to see how these new districts are going to bankrupt California.

    My major problem with the way the districts were set up is that we have been stuck with a San Francisco resident for Senator for years. The only time we saw the senators in Marin or So. Sonoma counties was at a fundraiser for them. We will no longer have the tail wagging the dog.

    The congressional district is rather large in square miles, that is going to take one hell of a campaigner to get the name recognition that will be needed to win. No wonder Woolsey is retireing she would never get reelected now. Thank you redistricting committee!

  12. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Skippy – “This blatantly partisan exercise” was done by a non-partisan committee. Nice try.

  13. Skippy says:

    Celebrate Gerrymandering!
    This blatantly partisan exercise should assure California a place at the front of the bankruptcy line.