If you want to know why political insiders fought new election reforms in California, you could ask Assemblyman Michael Allen. Or congressmen Pete Stark and Howard Berman. Under the election rules that existed before this year, all three incumbents would be gathering with friends this weekend to celebrate victories in Tuesday’s elections. Instead, Allen, the former Santa Rosan, appears to be on his way to losing his North Bay Assembly seat, and Stark and Berman have already lost their congressional seats.
California’s congressional Democrats ran a secret effort this year to manipulate the independent citizens panel that drew the state’s new political districts, foiling the intent of those who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses. The success of the strategy has Democrats projecting they may pick up as many as seven congressional seats in 2012 under new district boundaries adopted last summer, far more than had been first expected.
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday formally approved a slight redrawing of the county’s political boundaries ahead of the 2012 elections. Much of the changes occurred in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove area, which was split among three districts.
UPDATE 8:40 AM: Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, today announced that he intends to move to Marin County and run for re-election in the new 10th Assembly District. New political maps drawn by a state redistricting commission had put Allen in the same North Coast district as fellow Democrat Wes Chesbro.
A fundraising barbecue for Sonoma County Democrats Saturday had all the marks of an annual summer ritual for the party faithful — along with candidates involved in a high-stakes game of political musical chairs, driven in part by state redistricting, in part by term limits, and in part by the shifting ambitions of political veterans and upstarts alike.
New political maps were certified Monday and North Coast politicians are planning their next move. Rep. Mike Thompson will run for re-election in the new inland 5th Congressional District, giving up the coastal area he has represented since 1999. And Assemblyman Michael Allen will move to avoid facing off against fellow Democrat Wes Chesbro in the new 1st District.
Sonoma County’s political boundaries will shift slightly this year under a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors that alters supervisorial district lines. Under the redistricting proposal accepted on Tuesday, the key changes will be to Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove area and the 1st, 3rd and 5th districts.
Up to 6,000 residents in the Santa Rosa area likely will have a new face representing them on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors next year as a result of proposed redistricting plans. That’s because they will be in a new supervisorial district. Check out the three proposals under consideration. Which one do you like?
UPDATE 8 PM: The California Citizens Redistricting Commission voted Friday morning to approve final drafts of maps that reshape the boundaries of congressional, state legislative and tax board districts. The plan cuts Rep. Mike Thompson off from the North Coast, which he has represented since 1999. Santa Rosa would be split into two Assembly districts. And Petaluma would become part of a state Senate district that stretches east to Davis. What do you think of the changes?
Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee has formed an exploratory committee to run for Lynn Woolsey’s congressional seat after the longtime lawmaker retires next year. “If redistricting includes the North Bay communities I’ve been working for these past 20 years, then I intend to carry on my fight for those communities,” Renee said.