WatchSonoma Watch

300,000 North Coast residents without a state senator


Got a burning need to contact your state senator?

For more than 50,000 residents of unincorporated Sonoma County, that number currently is disconnected.

Conversely, city of Sonoma residents can call upon either senators Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, or Lois Wolk, D-Davis, for help.

Noreen Evans.

Blame redrawn Senate district lines for creating what one political observer called a “goofy” leadership vacuum for some, and a bevy of representation for others.

Nearly four million Californians are without representation in the upper house of the Legislature while Senate leaders finalize who will assume responsibility for those caretaker roles.

It is likely that Evans will be responsible for 52,214 Sonoma County residents who formerly were part of Sen. Mark Leno’s domain.

Evans also will inherit, on a temporary basis, all of Marin County, an addition of 252,409 constituents.

Evans already represents nearly one million people in the 2nd Senate District. She acknowledged last week that she will be stretched thinner now.

“I’m going to do my utmost to represent them just like I would any other constituent,” she said.

Evans is not up for election until 2014, when Marin County and areas of Sonoma County will be included in the newly-drawn 2nd Senate district that spans the Golden Gate to the Oregon border.

In the meantime, elections for odd-numbered districts were held in November, creating a situation where some districts are not represented, and others over-lap.

The latter is the case in the city of Sonoma, where Evans and Wolk have overlapping territories until the 2014 election. The shared area also includes portions of the county south and east of the city, and a small pocket near Glen Ellen.

The nearly 53,000 Sonoma County residents who are currently without a senator live in an area that extends west of Petaluma to Bohemian Highway, to Shiloh Road on the boundary with Windsor, in a pocket between Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park and at Aqua Caliente.

The Assembly was not affected by the changes because every seat in the 80-person house is on the ballot every two years.

More Californians are not represented in the Senate than was the case a decade ago when districts were last redrawn, said Paul Mitchell, owner of Redistricting Partners and vice president of Political Data Inc.

But he said the California Citizens Redistricting Commission numbered the new districts with the intent of minimizing the number of people who lack or have double representation.

“It could have been a lot more dramatic,” he said.

Senate leaders are expected to approve the caretaker assignments on Wednesday.

Senate websites are being updated to reflect the changes and for those living in unrepresented areas, to inform them of who their caretaker senator is.

Nancy Hall Bennett, a public affairs manager for the League of California Cities in the North Bay, made the case Friday that having Evans fill in could be a good thing for residents.

She said people can contact Evans or still reach out to Leno, who represented Marin County and parts of Sonoma County until his district was redrawn.

“It gives us two offices to go to in the Senate and hopefully two votes in the Senate,” Bennett said.

Caretaker senators can perform all their usual duties, said Sheron Violini, deputy secretary of operations for the state Senate Rules Committee.

How to pay for new offices and staff is still being discussed.

Teala Schaff, Evans’ spokeswoman, said the senator will open an office in Marin County if Senate leaders allocate more funds.

“As of yet, we don’t have any additional resources to have another office,” Schaff said.

Otherwise, calls will be routed through the senator’s office in Vallejo, Schaff said.

Evans stands to gain politically by getting to know Marin County, which will be part of her district should she decide to seek re-election in 2014.

Few state Senate races are competitive anyway, and incumbents have an even greater advantage, said David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University.

“They go from a virtual certainty, to an almost absolute certainty,” he said.

Asked this week whether she will seek another term, Evans replied, “I’m not announcing anything.”

15 Responses to “300,000 North Coast residents without a state senator”

  1. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    @ bear
    You got me wrong. I was comparing 2013 to 1784. Only a fool would compare 2012 to 1781.
    Oh, and the point was … they had to compromise about something that went against an earlier agreement.

  2. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Thanks Reece-you are one of the smart ones who know where his bread is buttered. Honestly, you would think that it would be clear to anyone with little gray cells that the decline of the middleclass correlates directly to the decline of unions and union membership over the last 40 years. I get the argument that there are laws on the books to protect workers rights so we don’t need unions anymore. Like all those laws got on the books because beneficent, caring politicians put them there out of the goodness of their hearts! The union bashers don’t seem to notice that those laws are being gutted all across America right now with money from billionaires like the Koch Brothers buying elections. Non union workers don’t seem to realize that what benefits THEY HAVE were brought to them by union members in the past that fought and sometimes lost their lives to bring rights to all workers.

    I am astonished how the clueless in this country seem to be growing in number.

  3. Taxpayer says:


  4. bear says:

    @Drummond Sr.

    Takes a lot of guts to compare 2012 to 1781. So we can have slavery, no votes for women, no votes for people who don’t own property and gun rights only for those who own one-shot muskets or dueling pistols?

    Great. And Jefferson, despite his good ideas, could still sleep with his slaves.

    I’d like a good over-18 female republican slave. Guess I’m just 220 years too late?

    How old are you? Really?

  5. Reece says:


    If unions had all the power you right wingers think they have, they’d be increasing numbers and wouldn’t have to fight off all the right-to-work-at-a-crummy-payrate-with-no-benefits crowd.

  6. Jean Anderson says:

    Evans, Pelosi, and Obama are three prime examples of why stupid people should not be allowed to vote.

  7. Demosthenes says:

    Anyone who thinks our Assembly or Senate represents are “lining their pockets” clearly have no idea what their compensation level is. The vast majority took pay cuts to go represent us.

  8. Jim says:

    Want to see who the Legislature represents? Want to understand how much control and power the unions have in this state? Read this article on the police union tactics.


    This state is bankrupt. Period. Legislature is worthless. Politicians are overspending morons. Voters are idiots who want to point to the other side rather than to ALL the elected criminals, blind to what is actually going on.

    That’s ok, just keep paying the highest taxes in the country on purchases, gas, income, hotel stays, rental cars, air, energy, etc, etc, etc, etc

  9. Troll spotting says:

    Hey PD editors: who is the administrator for this site? Please let us know, so that we know who is responsible for letting the countless trolls, many from out of state, continue to post nonsense and deliberately offensive personal comments to articles of local interest and concern to the rest of your readers.

    By demeaning people and almost anything written, and by continuously trotting out the Tea Party Madness, they allow their egos to interfere with any useful discussions on this site.

    Please exercise some discretion in editing posts at the PD website. Otherwise, it gets really really tiresome. Why bother having comments if they are dominated by Trolls?

    Thank you.

  10. Reality Check says:

    Is it fair to say that, oh, about 99% of effected residents won’t even know of this “leadership gap.” Their lives will simply go onward in blissful ignorance.

    But, please, publicize this more. Maybe then people will begin to realize how little difference having an “on-the-job” legislator makes.

  11. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Happy Ratification Day! Even at our launch, things were not so simple …
    This act officially ended the American Revolution and established the U.S. as a sovereign entity.
    Due to the severe winter of 1783–1784 (now known to be a consequence of the volcanic eruption of Laki in Iceland) only delegates from seven of the thirteen states were present in Congress. According to the Articles of Confederation, nine states were required to enter into a treaty.
    Jefferson was elected to head a committee of members of both factions and arrived at a compromise. Assuming that only seven states were present, Congress would pass a resolution stating that the seven states present were unanimously in favor of ratification of the treaty, but were in disagreement as to the competency of Congress to ratify with only seven states. That although only seven states were present, their unanimous agreement in favor of ratification would be used to secure peace. The vote would not set a precedent for future decisions; the document would be forwarded to the US ministers in Europe who would be told to wait until a treaty ratified by nine states could arrive, and to request a delay of three months. However, if Britain insisted, then the Ministers should use the seven-state ratification, pleading that a full Congress was not in session.
    In the event, delegates from Connecticut and South Carolina arrived at the last moment, and nine states ratified the treaty. Three copies were sent by separate couriers to ensure delivery.

  12. Grapevines says:

    “I’m going to do my utmost to represent them just like I would any other constituent,” she said.

    Which means don’t expect anything because if she has to go out of her way to accomplish it, it isn’t going to happen.

    Evans is bought and paid for by the State Employees and prison guards unions and she only does what they tell her to do. If your expecting her to think for herself and what the rest of who she is supposed to represent, you have the wrong person in mind because that’s not going to happen.

    Total waste of oxygen as a representative of the people.

  13. Jim says:

    Anyone who believes any Legislator actually represents anyone but themselves is living in some sort of fantasy world. Remember Evans was the one who was complaining when there was talk of taking away some of the exorbitant perks for “representing” the voters.

    With an approval rating below 10%, who cares whether there is a pseudo representative or not. They are all thieves and leeches who cower to the demands of their big dollar campaign contributors.

  14. BigDogatPlay says:

    My interests have not been represented in Sacramento, or Washington DC for that matter, in more than a generation. Why should this story make any fuss at all? It’s just business as usual.

  15. No Representation says:

    No representation or representation by the likes of Senator Evans. I’ll take the no representation. Senator Evans represents herself and her desire to line her pockets.