Celebrate Asm. Nancy Skinner's Birthday with Speaker John Perez

You are invited to help celebrate Asm. Nancy Skinner's birthday with Speaker John Perez on Thursday, September 15, from 5-7 p.m. at the Berkeley Repertory Theater Courtyard, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley.

Tickets are available for $100, with sponsorships available. To RSVP or donate on-line, please visit the Nancy Skinner for Assembly web site. For more information, please contact Cynthia Brantly Pierce at 510-704-1657.

First Draft of Redistricting Commission's Maps Released: Lamorinda Moved to District with 680 Corridor South to Tri-Valley

The first draft maps from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission were released on Friday. They are slightly different from the ones we saw earlier this week.

If these lines are implemented, Contra Costa's political landscape in Congress and the State Legislature will change — especially in East Contra Costa County, where Oakley is separated from the rest of the county in all three maps (click here to see the Commission's first draft maps, click here to see the maps with additional analysis from Redistricting Partners).

For example, for Congress, Contra Costa would find itself split into four Congressional Districts. Rep. George Miller's district (click here for pdf map) would fit entirely within Contra Costa County, but taking Rep. Miller to Lamorinda and Danville and San Ramon. Rep. John Garamendi would still represent a portion of Contra Costa County, but now he'd have Pinole and Hercules in a district including Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties. Antioch, Brentwood, and Oakley are included in a San Joaquin District. Part of Richmond is included in an Oakland District currently represented by Rep. Barbara Lee.

For the State Assembly, Contra Costa would also find itself split into four districts. Western Contra Costa continues in a coastal district with Albany and Berkeley. Asm. Susan Bonilla would find herself in a district that drops Western Contra Costa and adding Brentwood. Oakley, Discovery Bay, Knightsen and Bethel Island would be in a district with Isleton, Vacaville, Dixon and extending up to Woodland. Asm. Joan Buchanan has been drawn into a district including Lamorinda, the 680 corridor south to Danville and San Ramon, and Alameda's Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore.

In the State Senate, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier will lose all of West Contra Costa County and Oakley, picking up Alameda's Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore in a district that is reminiscent to the one in which now-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson defeated sitting Senator Richard Rainey in 2000. West County again finds itself in a coastal district including parts of Alameda with Sen. Loni Hancock. Oakley is included in a district that is centered to the north — including Santa Rosa to the west, Dixon and Woodland to the north, and Lodi and Galt to the east.

Districts like that last one may have been among those that prompted KQED Radio's John Meyers to tweet:

The public often told during campaigns 2 reform #CARedistricting squiggly lines = gerrymandering. Today's maps show ain't always so.

Indeed.

Like, or don't like, what you see? You still have a chance to get involved. As the Commission's web site notes:

The Commission is now soliciting public comment on the draft districts. Testimony can be submitted online to votersfirstact@crc.ca.gov, by mail to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, 901 P Street, Suite 154-A, Sacramento, CA 95814 or by FAX at 916-651-5711. The Commission will be holding 11 public input hearings in June on the draft maps. The hearing schedule and the draft maps can be found at the Commission’s website at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner to Host and Webcast Budget Forum on June 10

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner will host a California Budget forum on Friday, June 10, from 9-11 a.m. at The Way Christian Center, 1305 University Avenue, Berkeley.

The budget forum will also be webcast live. You can also use that link to RSVP for the event.

Participants include Senator Loni Hancock and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson. It will also feature representatives from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Alameda County Probation Department, Alameda County Health Care Services Department, and Alameda County Social Services Department.

Assemblymember Skinner: You Deserve the Right to Vote

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner believes Californians should have the right to vote on whether temporary taxes should be continued to help close the budget deficit. The text of her letter follows:

Dear Friend,

In these difficult times, I've heard from thousands of Assembly District 14 residents on how to address our $26.5 billion deficit, almost a third of our state budget.

In three forums, many of you took the "California Budget Challenge" and told me what a budget reflecting your values and vision for the future of the Golden State would look like. By large majorities, you supported extending existing taxes that are scheduled to expire.

Democrats have led the way in making the tough choices that have reduced the state's remaining budget shortfall. But Californians deserve to have both parties be part of the solution. Republican legislators irresponsibly opposed both making cuts and letting Californians vote on these tax extensions.

Not a single Republican legislator voted to allow you to decide on continuing these taxes.

Republicans need to hear your anger. I strongly encourage you to contact your friends and family who live in Republican areas of the state. Tell them to reach out to their legislators to say, “Let the voters decide.”

As I work along with my colleagues to balance our budget, I hope you can take the time to help sway Republican legislators to support solutions rather than fail to act on problems.

Sincerely,

Nancy Skinner

What Can We Do in 2011? A Conversation with Asm. Nancy Skinner to Headline January 13 Club Meeting

The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 13, will feature our member of the California State Assembly, Nancy Skinner.

Our program will examine what we can expect in California politics and public policy in 2011 now that Democrats, led by Governor Jerry Brown, control all statewide Constitutional offices. Most important, we will try to plan for what we can do as a club to support these new public policy initiatives. 

The club's social hour will begin at its regular 6:30 p.m. start time at the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way, Orinda. We will begin our business meeting at 7:15 p.m. with announcements about upcoming events and special short notices of interest to local Democrats. Asm. Skinner's presentation will begin at 8 p.m.

Governor Brown will introduce his first state budget blueprint on Monday, January 10. Analysts expect that it will include a series of dire cuts to key program areas—including education and the state’s safety net. 

The Governor, and some people close to him, have hinted that Brown will call for a special election in late May or early June to ask California voters to, at a minimum, extend the current temporary taxes that will begin to expire this year as a way to help close a projected $28 billion budget gap. 

We can expect major efforts from those who oppose government to try to stop this effort. What can our club members do to support plans to protect core government services in this crisis? Are we ready to talk to our friends and neighbors? Write letters to the editor? Lobby our legislators—and get our friends to lobby those in other areas of the state?

As part of Asm. Skinner's presentation, the club’s leadership hopes you will join in a conversation and discussion to go into the details of what we can do as a club to support Governor Brown and our new Democratic statewide team.