Diablo Valley Democratic Club to Discuss the 2012 Elections and New Districts at its March 28 Meeting

The Diablo Valley Democratic Club's Wednesday, March 28 meeting will feature political consultant Melody Howe Weintraub from the firm Winning Results. She will discuss her views about the upcoming elections, including the significance of California's new open primary in June.

The club will also hear from John Hall, the chair of the Central Contra Costa Unified Democratic Campaign committee, who will explain redistricting in our area, including the configuration of the new districts and who is running in them.

The DVDC meets from 7-9 p.m. at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek. Please park on Deerpark Drive, the first right after the library, unless you have difficulty walking. For more information, call 925-946-0469 or visit the club's web site.

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.

Will Lamorinda Be Split Into Three Assembly Districts?

Redistricting Partners has posted visualizations of what could be staff drafts of new Congressional, State Assembly, and State Senate Districts being considered by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. As the site notes:

The Citizen’s Redistricting Commission has posted some less-than-clear maps of staff direction during their line drawing meetings over the past few days.  We have taken many of these maps, imported them into maptitude with the PDI voter dataset, and have for you some new maps and analysis you can email around to your friends.  There are three sections;

Congress: http://redistrictingpartners.com/crc-visualizes-congress-analyzed/

Assembly: http://redistrictingpartners.com/crc-visualizes-assembly-districts-analysis/

Senate: http://redistrictingpartners.com/crc-visualizes-state-senate-analyzed/

Take a look at how Contra Costa could be redistricted by clicking on the links above. As you can see, Lamorinda is split in this visualization: with parts of Orinda in a district with Berkeley through West Contra Costa (now Asm. Joan Buchanan) and another part of Orinda in a district with parts of Alameda County (now Asm. Mary Hayashi). 

Lafayette and Moraga would find themselves in a district going down through Danville and San Ramon into the Tri-Valley (now Asm. Joan Buchanan). That latter district could be one of the state's battlegrounds: with Democrats holding a 40-35 percent registration advantage.

The Redistricting Commission is scheduled to release its draft lines on Friday, June 10. Needless to say, that will prove an important day in California politics–and it may even have an impact on the state budget negotiations as legislators see who their new voters may be.

Preparing for Contra Costa Redistricting

Monday's Contra Costa Times features a story by Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen describing the upcoming redistricting process for Contra Costa County Supervisor Districts.  

Continued population growth in East Contra Costa County and Dougherty Valley will again drive the mandatory decennial redrawing of the county's five supervisorial districts.

Cities within Districts 5 and 3, represented by Federal Glover, of Pittsburg, and Mary Piepho, of Discovery Bay, respectively, have grown disproportionately faster than those of their three colleagues. Five of the six towns with growth rates since 2000 of more than 10 percent are in these two districts.

Unlike State Legislature and Congressional Districts, which voters have decided will be reapportioned by a Citizens Redistricting Commission, the County Supervisors themselves will determine the Supervisor Districts for the next decade. 

Vorderbrueggen also explained the timeline for the redistricting project and what will happen should the Supervisors find themselves unable to agree on a plan.

The Census Bureau is expected to release California population data in March, which will trigger the county's formal redistricting analysis and public hearing process. Staff members will apply census tract level population data onto digitized maps and display each step online.

The board is expected to adopt a final map by midsummer.

If it fails to pass new district lines by November, the job goes to a special panel consisting of District Attorney Mark Peterson, Assessor Gus Kramer and Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir.

The Lamorinda Democratic Club's leadership and Endorsements & Issues Committee will be monitoring this process closely as it unfolds.