Who will be the new Senate, Assembly and Congressional leaders of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy and Los Gatos and what districts will these four communities fall under?
Those are the two head-scratching questions the general public has today based on new maps approved this morning by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Gilroy, now represented by Elaine Alquist in the 13th Senate District, Luis Alejo in the 28th Assembly District and Mike Honda in the 15th Congressional District, will be in new Senate District 17, Assembly District 30 and Congressional Districts 19 and 20.
Campbell, now represented by Joe Simitian in the 11th Senate District, Jim Beall, in the 24th Assembly District and Honda in 15th Congressional District, will be in new Assembly District 28, Senate District 15 and Congressional District 18.
Cupertino, now represented by Paul Fong, in the 22nd Assembly District, Simitian in the 11th Senate District and Honda in the 15th Congressional District, will be in new Assembly Districts 24 and 28, Senate District 15 and Congressional District 17.
Los Gatos, now represented by Sam Blakeslee in the 15th Senate District, Rich Gordon in the 21st Assembly District, Beall, in the 24th Assembly District and Honda in the 15th Congressional District, will be in the new Assembly District 28, Senate District 15 and Congressional District 18.
The new districts for these four towns are:
- Assembly District 28 will include Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Saratoga and portions of unincorporated Santa Clara County.
- Senate District 15 will include Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Saratoga.
- Congressional District 18 will include Campbell and Los Gatos, saying good bye to Honda's Congressional District 15.
- Congressional District 17 will include Cupertino, Milpitas, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.
- Assembly District 24 will include a small portion of Cupertino as well.
- Congressional District 19 will include Gilroy along with its neighboring city of Morgan Hill, San Martin and large portions of San Jose.
- Congressional District 20 will include small portion of the Garlic City along with portions of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.
- Assembly District 30 will include Gilroy and San Benito County and portions of Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
- Senate District 17 will include Gilroy by combining Assembly District 29 and Assembly District 35.
"The Congressman (Mike Honda) is very happy with what he has, recognizably sorry to lose Campbell and Los Gatos, but knows Anna Eshoo will be great in representing these constituencies," said Michael Shank, a Honda spokesman.
California Citizens Redistricting Commissioner Vince Barabba said unlike redistricting of the past, the commission has shone a bright spotlight on the process including giving specific instruction to those drawing the lines in public meetings which were streamed live on the Internet and archived on the commission’s website.
"For far too long Californians have been frustrated by a Legislature that drew districts that primarily supported the re-election of incumbent legislators," Barabba said. "The voters showed they wanted fundamental government reform by creating the Citizens Redistricting Commission charged with the responsibility to create district that provided candidates of all political persuasion a fair chance to be elected.
The commission followed the Constitution and balanced the interests of all Californians in creating districts that are reasoned and make good sense, Barabba added.
The commission is also confident that the maps will prevail against legal challenges and the new districts will be supported by the public, said commission spokesman Rob Wilcox.
The final redistricting maps were submitted today to the Secretary of State for certification. The public now has 45 days to file any complaints, which will be reviewed by the California Supreme Court, Wilcox explained.
The commission approved Board of Equalization, State Assembly, State Senate and Congressional maps by votes of 13-1, 13-1, 13-1 and 12-2, respectively, Wilcox added.
The maps will take effect in time for the June 2012 primary, unless the courts issue an order precluding their use, Wilcox noted.
Sen. Elaine Alquist said she believed the maps represented the commission's best efforts to balance the many, and sometimes competing, requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.
“As an early supporter of independent redistricting, I believe the commission did very good work in this first experience," Alquist said. “I appreciate that the commission went to great lengths to listen to the public. I believe they worked hard to incorporate the majority of the public’s concerns into the final maps.”
According to San Jose State University political scientist Terry Christensen, the community most affected by the new maps is Gilroy because it is split between two congressional districts.
For Gilroy, Christensen said, it's going to be about who pays attention to it, emphasizing that it could be ignored or have two very active Congress people in the community.
Assemblyman Jim Beall said the changes, although not perfect, at least succeeded in keeping Campbell, Cupertino and Los Gatos together in Assembly District 28 and Senate District 15.