Saturday, July 16, 2011

Analysis of California's Proposed Congressional Maps: Part II

This is the 2nd post out of three posts analyzing California's new congressional redistricting maps.This post covers districts 18-35. The 1st post is here:

For district maps, click here:,0,6145644.htmlstory
For demographics and partisan data, click here:

California's 18th District Vacant (Dennis Cardoza (D) ? vs. Jeff Denham (R)?) Tracy/Manteca/Stanislaus County
Brown 44%, Whitman 49%
Obama 50%, McCain 47%
Demographics 4% African American, 6% Asian, 40% Hispanic
Status: Toss Up/Tilt Republican

The 18th district used to contain Democratic neighborhoods in Stanislaus County but gains all of Stanislaus County now, including the Republican towns of Oakdale. The 18th district also loses Stockton and all territory south of Stanislaus County. In San Joaquin County, the 18th district represents Democratic leaning Tracy and marginal Manteca. Despite Obama's win, Stanislaus County leans Republican but is trending Democratic due to its growing Hispanic population. The combination of these areas creates a slightly Republican leaning district but Cardoza has a strong shot here because he is a strong incumbent and the district is trending Democratic. If a strong Republican candidate such as Denham runs here though, Cardoza will have a very difficult race. Denham is a very strong candidate who formerly held a State Senate district that voted 59% for Obama before becoming the 19th district's representative.

California's 19th District Dennis Cardoza (D) vs. Jeff Denham (R)? vs. Jim Costa (D)? Merced/Madera/Fresno
Brown 50%, Whitman 42%
Obama 58%, McCain 39%
Demographics: 6% African American, 9% Asian, 58% Hispanic
Status: Likely Democratic

This district does not share much territory with the current 19th district which the commission divided between the new 18th, 21st and 4th districts. Although Denham represented the old 19th district, he lived in Atwater which the old 18th district represented. Due to the 58% Obama number in this district, Denham will probably not run here and run in the 18th instead. Cardoza may run here if Denham runs in the 18th so Cardoza does not face an uphill battle. Cardoza's current district and this one share Merced and Madera Counties. Cardoza may face a primary challenge from Rep. Jim Costa (D) who lives in Fresno and lives in the new 19th district. In 2010, Costa barely won reelection in the 20th district which contained Republican areas such as Kings County. He may want a safer district that does not contain Kings County. To avoid a primary challenge from Cardoza though, Costa may run in the 71% Hispanic 20th district. Although the district represents Hispanic areas, splitting Fresno may not be the best idea for communities of interest. Still, respecting the Voting Rights Act which mandates that districts designed to elect minority candidates should be drawn is more important than respecting communities of interest. Drawing a district containing all of Fresno and its suburbs would most likely not have enough Hispanics to elect a Hispanic candidate but this district that contains Merced County and Hispanic parts of Fresno does.

California's 20th District Vacant (Jim Costa (D)?) western Fresno County/Kings County/Bakersfield
Brown 48%, Whitman 44%
Obama 51%, McCain 46%
Demographics: 5% African American, 4% Asian, 71% Hispanic
Status: Lean Democratic

The new 20th district loses its population base in Fresno and gains some Hispanic parts of Tulare County as well as more territory in Kern County. Although the district's population is 71% Hispanic, Jerry Brown only won the district by four points. The reason is that the Hispanics in this district tend to have lower turnout rates and vote less Democratic than Hispanics in nearby districts such as the new 19th. As for the 20th district's representative, Costa may run here if he wants to avoid a primary challenge from Cardoza but Costa's close win in 2010 may deter him from running in a district that contains heavily Republican Kings County. If Costa chooses to run in the 19th, possible candidates include former State Senator Dean Florez (D) and State Senator Michael Rubio (D) from Bakersfield. On the Republican side, State Assembly member David Valadao (R) may consider running. He is a strong candidate because he is Hispanic in this heavily Hispanic district and currently represents a heavily Hispanic assembly district.

California's 21st District Devin Nunes (R) Clovis/Visalia
Brown 35%, Whitman 59%
Obama 42%, McCain 55%
Demographics: 7% Asian, 45% Hispanic
Status: Safe Republican

The 21st district loses Porterville and its territory in the Sierras but besides these changes, the lines remain similar. Nunes still represents a strongly Republican district combining Republican parts of Fresno and Tulare Counties. This district also represents communities of interest by combining small cities and suburbs such as Clovis that have a mix of Hispanics and conservative white voters.

California's 22nd District Kevin McCarthy (R) Bakersfield/Porterville/Lancaster
Brown 33%, Whitman 58%
Obama 35%, McCain 62%
Demographics: 6% African American, 5% Asian, 35% Hispanic
Status: Safe Republican

The 22nd district undergoes a few changes. It loses all of heavily Republican inland San Luis Obispo County and gains parts of Tulare County such as the Sierras and Porterville. Besides these changes, the 22nd district remains safe for McCarthy and heavily Republican.

California's 23rd District Lois Capps (D) San Luis Obispo County/Santa Barbara County
Brown 47%, Whitman 46%
Obama 57%, McCain 42%
Demographics: 4% Asian, 35% Hispanic
Status: Lean Democratic

The 23rd district undergoes some major changes as its lines become similar to its lines during the 1990s. The 23rd district loses all of heavily Democratic Oxnard and gains inland San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, both strongly Republican areas. Before the commission changed the lines, the 23rd district protected Capps from Republican challenges by representing a thin line along the coast that contained Democratic areas such as UCSB, CAL Poly and Oxnard. A 10 mile wide strip along the coast was not compact so the new 23rd district combines communities of interest. As for Capps, her district was extremely competitive during the 1990s but the 23rd district is trending Democratic with its universities and growing Hispanic populations. Also, she is more entrenched now but she may face a challenge from former Lieutenant Governor and State Senator from San Luis Obispo County Abel Maldonado (R). Although Obama won solidly here, Brown barely won because the university areas had much lower turnout than they did in 2008. As long as Capps can keep the turnout in the universities high, she should win but if it is low and Maldonado wins big in San Luis Obispo County, Capps will be in trouble.

California's 24th District Vacant (Elton Gallegly (R)?) Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Malibu
Brown 47%, Whitman 47%
Obama 57%, McCain 40%
Demographics: 6% Asian, 42% Hispanic
Status: Lean Democratic if Gallegly does not run, Lean Republican if he does

The 24th district undergoes major changes as it loses all of Inland Santa Barbara County and Simi Valley and gains the Democratic areas of Oxnard and Malibu. The old 24th district voted for Obama by a small margin but Gallegly always performed strongly there. His home Simi Valley is now in the 25th district but Gallegly will probably not run there because voters in the other parts of the new 25th district such as Palmdale are unfamiliar to him. In the last few election cycles though, Gallegly hinted he wants to retire. He has not run a tough race in many years and a 57% Obama district will definitely interest a strong Democratic candidate. That percentage may convince him to retire, paving the way for a strong candidate such as State Senator Fran Pavley (D) from Oxnard. If State Senator Tony Strickland (R) who represents Santa Barbara and the more conservative parts of Ventura County runs, this race will be tough. Still, the Obama turnout in 2012 should help Pavley.

California's 25th District Buck McKeon (R) vs. Elton Gallegly (R) Simi Valley/Santa Clarita/Palmdale
Brown 39%, Whitman 53%
Obama 45%, McCain 51%
Demographics: 8% African American, 7% Asian, 35% Hispanic
Status: Safe Republican

The 25th district changes as it loses Mono and Inyo Counties while gaining conservative Simi Valley. The 25th retains conservative Santa Clarita and Democratic trending Palmdale. Although parts of the district are trending Democratic, McKeon is an entrenched incumbent and McCain still won here by 6. McKeon should have no problems against Democrats here and should beat Gallegly in a primary.
California's 26th District David Dreier (R) Covina/San Dimas/Baldwin Park
Brown 57%, Whitman 35%
Obama 61%, McCain 33%
Demographics: 15% Asian, 63% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

Dreier's home of San Dimas is in the district but due to Obama's 61% performance here and the 63% Hispanic population, Dreier will probably not run in this district. This district is extremely different from Dreier's current district because this district contains the Hispanic areas of El Monte and Covina although retaining the Republican leaning San Dimas and Glendora areas. As for possible candidates for this district, State Senator Ed Hernandez (D) and the State Assembly's Assistant Majority Whip, Roger Hernandez (D) may consider running here.

California's 27th District Brad Sherman (D) vs. Howard Berman (D) Calabasas/West San Fernando Valley/
Brown 57%, Whitman 38%
Obama 65%, McCain 33%
Demographics: 4% African American, 12% Asian, 27% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

The 35% for McCain is too low to let a Republican win in the new 27th district so the real contest should be the primary. In 2002, the San Fernando Valley had a large Hispanic population but it was divided between Sherman's and Berman's districts so Sherman and Berman could be reelected. The commission though decided that the San Fernando Valley needed a Hispanic majority district so they placed the whiter parts of the San Fernando Valley into this district. Although the new 27th district contains more of Sherman's district, Berman has more seniority. Berman has stated he expects to run in the district he lives in and he lives in this district. If Sherman does not want to face a primary challenge, it is possible Sherman will run in the nearby Ventura County district containing Oxnard. As for communities of interest, this district follows that criterion by combining mostly upscale parts of the San Fernando Valley area.

California's 28th District Vacant San Fernando/East San Fernando Valley
Brown 67%, Whitman 28%
Obama 71%, McCain 27%
Demographics: 4% African American, 8% Asian, 68% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

In 2002, many Hispanic groups were unhappy that the San Fernando Valley did not receive a Hispanic majority, despite the area's large Hispanic population. The commission created this Hispanic majority district though by combining areas near I-5 and I-210. Although this district contains large portions of Berman's current district, he expects to run in the 27th district. A possible candidate for the 28th district includes rising star in the State Senate Alex Padilla (D).

California's 29th District Adam Schiff (D) Burbank/Pasadena/Upland
Brown 55%, Whitman 40%
Obama 62%, McCain 36%
Demographics: 6% African American, 12% Asian, 27% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic, Likely Democratic if Dreier runs

The 29th district mostly represents communities of interest by combining the similar areas of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena. It also represents Upland in San Bernardino County which is far from BGP but is a community of interest as an upscale foothill community. Dreier may run here because this district and his current district share many of the foothill towns such as Upland and Claremont. Schiff should win though due to his base in the Democratic Pasadena area.

California's 30th District Henry Waxman (D)
Brown 69%, Whitman 25%
Obama 71%, McCain 28%
Demographics: 4% African American, 18% Asian, 37% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

The current 30th represents communities of interest by combining upscale communities in the Westside including Malibu, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. This district though does not completely combine communities of interest. Although it combines some upscale communities such as Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills, it combines these areas with more working class neighborhoods near Downtown Los Angeles. The 30th district should represent either upscale areas in West LA or working class neighborhoods near Downtown Los Angeles, not both. The two areas have different concerns, one having a large film industry presence while the other is focused more around labor. As for Waxman, he should no problem winning in this heavily Democratic district and the 37% Hispanic is not high enough for a Hispanic primary challenger.

California's 31st District Xavier Beccara (D) vs. Lucille Roybal Allard (D) Eagle Rock/East Los Angeles/Huntington Park
Brown 76%, Whitman 17%
Obama 78%, McCain 16%
Demographics: 10% Asian, 71% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

This district combines two VRA Hispanic majority districts so if this map passes, it is likely to receive a lawsuit. The Hispanic population in the Los Angeles area is growing and can definitely support Beccara and Allard's districts. The district does combine communities of interest though by representing the heavily Hispanic areas of Huntington Park, East Los Angeles and Commerce.

California's 32nd district Judy Chu (D) Arcadia/Pasadena/Diamond Bar
Brown 54%, Whitman 41%
Obama 61%, McCain 38%
Demographics: 49% Asian, 29% Hispanic
Status: Likely Democratic

The 32nd district becomes less Hispanic by losing all of East Los Angeles, El Monte and West Covina. The district becomes more Asian by gaining Arcadia, Temple City and San Marino. The district then goes toward the San Bernardino County border to gain heavily Asian cities there including Walnut and Diamond Bar. This district suits its representative, Judy Chu because her current district is heavily Hispanic and a Hispanic candidate could unseat her in the primary. The Hispanic population in this district is 29% though so Chu should have no problems winning the Democratic primary. Asians do not consider themselves one ethnic group but they will probably support another Asian candidate over a Hispanic candidate. Although Chu is safe from a primary challenge, Rep. Gary Miller's (R) home of Diamond Bar was drawn into this district. He will probably not run here because not only does this district lean Democratic; he is unfamiliar to the voters in the western half of the district. As for communities of interest, the district combines heavily Asian suburban areas but the western part is in the San Gabriel Foothills while the eastern part is closer to San Bernardino County.

California's 33rd District Karen Bass (D) Culver City/Ladera Heights
Brown 77%, Whitman 17%
Obama 81%, McCain 18%
Demographics: 22% African American, 11% Asian, 37% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

The 33rd district becomes less African American as it gains neighborhoods between Sunset Blvd., Santa Monica and Beverly Hills and loses some neighborhoods just to Beverly Hills's south. These changes reduce the African American population to 22% and increase the Hispanic population to 37%. Hispanic turnout rates are usually low so there should be higher African American turnout in the Democratic primary than Hispanic turnout. Also, Bass is popular with white liberals so she should perform well with white voters in the primary too. As for communities of interest, this district splits the white population in the Westside that should be represented in one district. The 33rd district's new lines should be similar to its current ones instead.

California's 34th District Vacant Pomona/Ontario
Brown 49%, Whitman 41%
Obama 55%, McCain 44%
Demographics: 7% African American, 9% Asian, 57% Hispanic
Status: Lean Democratic

This new district contains mostly Hispanic areas by combining Pomona and Ontario. The district also contains Rancho Cucamonga which has a smaller Hispanic population but is close to Pomona and Ontario so it can be considered a community of interest. As for the district's next representative, Gloria Negrete McLeod (D) said, "I'm in." She is a Hispanic State Senator representing Pomona and Ontario. Possible Republicans include David Dreier (R) because he formerly represented Rancho Cucamonga. For Dreier to win though, he will have to perform well with Hispanic voters in Pomona and Ontario. This will be difficult though because McLeod should perform well with Hispanic voters and win in Pomona and Ontario because the voters there are familiar with her. Also, this district is trending Democratic as more Hispanics move here so if a Democrat does not win in 2012, a Democrat should win in '14.

California's 35th District Maxine Waters (D) Inglewood/Westmont/Bell Gardens
Brown 84%, Whitman 9%
Obama 88%, McCain 11%
Demographics: 21% African American, 75% Hispanic
Status: Safe Democratic

This district is too Democratic to elect a Republican but the primaries will be interesting. The 35th district is now 75% Hispanic and the 21% African American population is probably not enough for Waters to win the primary. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D) may run here because her current district becomes less Hispanic and the new 35th district gains some of her current territory by gaining South Gate. The district's large Hispanic population plus a strong challenge from Sanchez should unseat Waters. The 35th combines communities of interest by representing working class areas in and around South Central Los Angeles.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thoughts on California's Redistricting Commission's Meeting June 27th

I attended the May 19th commission meeting in Santa Rosa, Ca. My analysis of that meeting is here:
In that meeting, most of the attendees were residents from the North Coast, Sonoma County and Marin County. Only one San Francisco resident attended. Most of the commenter’s advocated for not placing Marin in the same district with San Francisco. The commission listened to the commenter’s by not placing San Francisco and Marin in the same district. Instead, the commisssion's initial plan placed Marin and Del Norte Counties in the same district instead. I also attended a rally on June 18th in San Rafael, Ca and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D) said we should write to the commission to declare our opposition to the new lines connecting Del Norte and Marin Counties. I believed that because of the subject's local attention, many people would attend the June 27th meeting to oppose the new lines the commission drew for the congressional district. I arrived early to get a good spot on line. I was speaker #16.

While waiting, I talked to a few people in the lobby. I talked to a couple from Mendocino County who disliked the lines connecting Marin County to their district. Also, I talked with a group that wanted fair representation for Asians under the new lines. They disliked the State Senate lines that combined Daly City and San Francisco because they believed that Daly City would be underrepresented in the new district. I also talked to a member of the American Cancer Society. She was a resident from American Canyon and later, I would learn that she was not the only one.

The first speakers spoke about redistricting in the South Bay. "Put East Palo Alto in the 12th district," one of them said. Another wanted the tri cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and East Palo Alto to be in the same district. A few people advocated for uniting Fremont in one congressional district instead of splitting it between two districts. I believe that Fremont should be split the way it is because I want to increase the Asian percentage in the Milpitas area district to increase the likelihood that this district elects an Asian representative once Mike Honda (D) retires. A group who worked with Napa Valley Winegrowers argued that Sonoma, Lake and Napa Counties belonged in the same congressional district. They did not want Marin with Sonoma but as the speakers in the May 19th meeting indicated, Marin residents did not want to be in the same congressional district with San Francisco.

Finally, the commission called #16 so I went to the podium to speak. I advocated for keeping Marin and Sonoma Counties in the same congressional district because we are connected by the SMART train, dairy farms and Route 101. We also are filled with transplants from San Francisco. I explained how Mendocino County was mostly rural with an economy based on wineries and tourism and Humboldt County also had a tourism based economy. Other facts I highlighted include that Del Norte County is a six hour drive from Marin and that Santa Rosa had around 160,000 people so it belonged in a district with a more urban environment. Marin and Sonoma combined would create a more urban/suburban environment that would be a community of interest with Santa Rosa. I highlighted how the commission's initial plan placed Santa Rosa is in the same congressional district as Yuba City and some Sierra Foothills and I asked the commission what Santa Rosa had in common with those areas. The only road connecting the Sonoma/Napa area to Yuba City is a curvy road through the mountains. If people want to go to Yuba City from Napa, they would drive on Route 80 to Route 5 and this drive passes through four other congressional districts. I also mentioned that Yuba City has a larger agricultural economy while Santa Rosa has less agriculture.

Here I am presenting:

After I spoke, I heard speakers express concern for creating that congressional district that extends from Sausalito to Crescent City. Residents in Crescent City probably disliked the new lines but would not drive six hours to San Francisco to testify. Scott Weiner, the representative of District 8 in San Francisco, argued that San Francisco should be in an odd State Senate district. If San Francisco is in an even one, San Francisco will have no State Senate representative until 2014. He wanted Diamond Heights and Castro to be in the same district. After Weiner spoke, a man wearing a "Don't Tread on me" jacket came and suggested that the districts should be divided by zip codes. A Redwood City resident later said he did not know who his representative was because his zip code was split. I disagree with the zip code idea because while drawing districts, the commission needs to examine factors such as the Voting Rights Act and zip codes do not always combine minority communities effectively. A speaker from Dana Point in Orange County spoke at the meeting too, advocating for combining Monarch Beach and Dana Point in the same district.

Speaker #28 was the first of many speakers working with the California Conservative Action Group (CCAC). They drew maps for California's districts that they say will address the concerns of California's residents. Chris Bowman and Alan Payton drew the maps. Speaker #31, Jerry Diaz with the CCAC said that the congressional plan would combine Marin and Sonoma Counties while Redwood City and Scotts Valley would be in the same congressional district too. Another CCAC speaker criticized the State Senate map that placed Gilroy and Lompoc in the same district. I hope the commission alters this district by dropping the Santa Barbara County portion containing Lompoc because this district will be contested and northern Santa Barbara County leans Republican. #32, Sue Carol with the CCAC argued that the commission should not create district with the same voters but should combine voters by the same regions. If commissioners combined voters by regions, not only would they violate the Voting Rights Act, they would help the Republicans. The current 18th and 20th congressional districts are represented by Democrats because the districts combine Hispanic urban and farming communities across the Central Valley. Even if they do not live near each other, Hispanic farm workers in Fresno and Kern County have similar concerns involving fair treatment and wages. White voters in Clovis and Hispanic voters in South Fresno will have different concerns. #37 also advocated for a congressional line change that will help the Republicans. #37 said that Antioch should not be in the same congressional district with northern San Joaquin County. San Joaquin County is a swing area (it was one of the few counties Boxer lost and Brown won in 2010,) but Antioch leans Democratic and brings the Obama percentage in that district to 58%. By removing Antioch from the district, the San Joaquin County district would have to add more Republican areas such as Manteca and perhaps some Republican leaning parts of Stanislaus County.

After most of the CCAC group members spoke, we heard from many of the LGBT groups in San Francisco. Usually, groups such as the Log Cabin Republicans and Equality California do not join forces but they did for the commission meeting. Dan Brown, a leader with the Log Cabin Republicans said they want an Assembly District with more same sex couples. I also heard from some residents of the DPL area (Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore) who wanted to be in a congressional district with San Ramon and other communities in the San Ramon Valley. Mark Cameron, a city councilmember from Cotati in Sonoma County disagreed with the congressional lines connecting Cotati with Yuba City and said, "We share a common agricultural history with Petaluma and Sebastapol." #43 drove from Siskiyou County on the Oregon border and invited the commission to Siskiyou County because the commission had not been to the Oregon border area in Northern California. I even saw Brian Leubitz, the founder of Calitics, a prominent blog for California politics. He wanted to keep Marin and Sonoma Counties united and wanted more LGBT representation.

Speaker #47 was Mark Joseph, an American Canyon council member and one of the many speakers from American Canyon. Although American Canyon's population is 19,000 people, its residents were well represented at the meeting. A bus from American Canyon brought residents to the meeting and the American Canyon residents had food provided for them. Joseph said that Napa needed to be kept whole and that American Canyon is the industrial base of Napa County with wine bottling and warehousing. 20 years ago, the wine industry in northern Napa County disliked American Canyon but the Assemblywoman they shared worked to unite American Canyon and the rest of Napa County. Speaker #48 was the Napa County Supervisor from American Canyon. He said that, “[the commission] has rallied Napa County like no other.” He also mentioned how American Canyon was treated as “North Vallejo,” and American Canyon did not want to be treated that way. Another speaker referred to American Canyon as “a great little city,” and severing American Canyon from Napa would stifle its voice. One of the most convincing speeches though was delivered by Brenda Knight, Speaker #56 and the chair of Napa Valley College. She described American Canyon as “the most diverse city in Napa. We had to fight for our zip code and post office. We are now accepted in Napa. The new districts erase everything we fought for.” After Knight finished her speech, the American Canyon mayor Leon Garcia announced that he had a petition with 1,103 signatures for keeping American Canyon in the same district with all of Napa County. Speaker #59 was Susan Lee with the American Canyon Chamber of Commerce. She said local business owners oppose the new districts. Speaker #65 said, "Keep Napa Napa." After the American Canyon residents had finished their presentations, Commissioner Peter Yao said he hears American Canyon, “loud and clear.”

Overall, I believe American Canyon did a fantastic job organizing their opposition to the new lines. Not only did they bring in many speakers, they brought a diverse array. They had elected officials, education officials, business representatives and residents. They had representatives of almost every aspect of American Canyon. My advice is that if your town/city wants to advocate for a cause, do not bring one part of the town, and bring people who represent all aspects of the town, suggesting unanimous support for a cause. Not only did American Canyon’s presentation teach me about their town and struggle for acceptance, it taught me how to effectively organize a town for a cause such as fair congressional representation.

Other highlights from this meeting include that only a few Marin residents came to protest the new congressional lines connecting them with Del Norte County. In the May 19th meeting in Santa Rosa, Marin residents were motivated to come and advocate for not being combined with San Francisco. In this meeting, only a few Marin residents appeared to advocate for being combined with almost all of Sonoma County. This could mean that Marin residents are happier with the lines extending to Del Norte County. If one Marin and one North Coast politician face each other in a top two primary, the Marin politician would probably win because of the higher population in the congressional district’s southern part. Also, a few Sonoma County residents attended and many of them wanted to combine Sonoma County in a congressional district with Napa and Mendocino Counties due to the presence of winegrowers there. If the commission combines Napa, Sonoma and Lake into the same congressional district, they may combine Marin County with San Francisco. Although I dislike the congressional district that combines Marin and Del Norte Counties, I would prefer this North Coast district to a San Francisco/Marin district.