http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/06/10/1st-plan-for-redistricting-out-today


Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 10, 2011

1st plan for redistricting out today

Pleasanton wants 3 Assembly districts cut back to one

by Jeb Bing

Voters and politicians are anxiously awaiting the release of proposed changes in the congressional, state Assembly and state Senate district boundaries today by the voter-created independent redistricting commission.

The 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission was formed in 2008 after California voters approved a ballot measure that transferred authority for drawing state political boundaries from the Legislature to the new panel.

The commission has until today to complete the first draft of a statewide map that could significantly change the geographic and ethnic makeup of the districts.

The issues and challenges facing Pleasanton for the most part also impact the neighboring cities of Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville.

Currently, Pleasanton is split into two congressional districts with Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-11th) presiding over most of the city, and with Congressman Pete Stark (D.-13th) responsible for a northwest portion of Pleasanton, mainly the area west of Foothill Road. Congressman John Garamendi (D-10th) represents Livermore and much of Contra Costa County. Because of population shifts from Oakland to Contra Costa and the eastern part of Alameda County, all three districts could face boundary changes.

Pleasanton also is one of the only cities its size in California that has three separate Assembly districts. Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) serves in the 15th District, which covers about 15% of the city in the northeast section. Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley) represents the much larger 18th District, which covers the area north and west of First Street and Santa Rita Road. Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) was elected last year to represent the 20th District, which includes Vintage Hills and Ruby Hill.

Also facing redistricting is the state's 10th Senate District, represented by Ellen Corbett, a Democrat and former mayor of San Leandro.

Clearly, it's a numbers game with the commission required to draw new boundaries to meet population targets. The population in each of the state's 53 congressional districts must be as close to 702,905 as possible, based on the decennial census taken in 2010.

The 40 state Senate districts have target populations of 931,349 and the 80 Assembly districts should have a population of 465,674, according to the census.

But the Tri-Valley cities of Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon want the commission to look at the commonality of their region as well as population.

In a letter to the Redistricting Commission, the mayors and city councils of those cities petitioned it to keep their municipalities together as new legislative districts are drawn to meet changing population centers in the Bay Area.

"Despite the fact that we are in two separate counties, our residents identify far more with the Tri-Valley region than either Alameda or Contra Costa counties," the letter stated. It continued:

"Residents of our five cities depend on the same transportation networks, we have similar demographics and sources of employment, businesses have formed partnerships throughout the area, our children play in the same sports leagues, and local governments collaborate on a multitude of regional projects.

"Some specific examples on how our five jurisdictions formally collaborate include the Tri-Valley Transportation Council, which identifies and funds needed projects to relieve congestions in our region.

"We are all partners in the Tri-Valley Housing and Opportunity Center, which is an agency that jointly manages our five cities' affordable housing programs and services.

"Tri-Valley Community Television is another entity that focuses solely on programming unique to our region.

"Other smaller agencies such as the Dublin San Ramon Services District, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, and Zone 7 are entirely within the Tri-Valley.

"Our city councils meet together in joint sessions on issues of regional concern every few months, while our mayors, city managers and staffs meet both formally and informally several times a month to further solidify public partnerships."

The five city councils also pointed out in their letter that much of their communities' cultural and economic lives also revolve around the Tri-Valley. The Tri-Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding tourism options; Innovation Tri-Valley is a private sector collaborative of leading firms in the five cities; the Tri-Valley Business Council represents private business interests in the five cities; and the five Tri-Valley cities are partners in I-Gate, a partnership with the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories.

"The Tri-Valley has flourished over the years due to our tremendous cooperation," the five city councils stated. "Our region is poised for even great excellence moving forward."

A separate ad-hoc committee established by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is also assessing boundary lines of the five county supervisor districts, with the last hearing on those proposed chances held last night in Fremont. Its work has no effect on the statewide redistricting.

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