The 14-member Independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission brought its public road show to San Luis Obispo on April 13, drawing a wide range of views about how to reconfigure the political landscape ofthe Tri-Counties. However, the divergent views actually converge on asingle point — the way that districts are drawn now is grossly unfair.
Splitting up the region into a narrow strip of land that creates a safe Democratic congressional seat for U.S. Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara seems destined for a makeover.
So do the sprawling areas in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties that do the same for U.S. Reps. Elton Gallegly and Kevin McCarthy, Republicansfrom Simi Valley and Bakersfield, respectively.
But the commission isn’t just concerned with congressionalseats. It will also redraw districts for the California Assembly and state Senate. Which is why it was unusualto see former 35th district representatives Brooks Firestone, a member of the Republican leadership and DemocratPedro Nava, write to the commission advocating for Santa Barbara County to be a single assembly district.
In our view, it does make sense to stop treating SimiValley as an extension of the San Fernando Valley andcreate a largely self-contained Ventura County district for Congress.
It also makes sense to put Santa Barbara and San LuisObispo Counties together into a separate congressionaldistrict and to respect the Santa Barbara county border asmuch as possible in creating new assembly districts.
What does not make sense is to continue to gerrymander districts by dividing up Oxnard and Port Hueneme tocreate noncompetitive seats. A draft map will be released in June, and there will bea new round of hearings, including one in Oxnard on June 22.
Final decisions will be made in late July with finalrecommendations due at the Secretary of State’s office nolater than Aug. 15.
We’d encourage all of our readers to participate in theproject and stay updated by following developments on www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov, the Commission’s website.