SLO with Silicon Valley in Congress Redistribution Maps in California

The California commission charged with redrawing the state’s legislative boundaries linked rural San Luis Obispo County to Silicon Valley hubs in its recent congressional map projects.

As redistribution – the process by which congressional districts are reconfigured to match new census demographics – comes to an end, a new one “shame ribbon”Draped over the central California coast could do the trick very well.

The proposed congressional district with a high proportion of Democrats, which experts say is home to incumbent Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, covers rural areas of the northern part of San Luis Obispo County, stretches across the Silicon Valley’s Menlo Park and borders southern San Francisco. , capturing coastal towns along the way.

Paul Mitchell, an expert on redistribution, said the size and shape of the district is not an issue, but rather the distribution of wealth, endorsements and political structure that would make it difficult for a representative from San Luis Obispo County to run against someone from Silicon Valley.

He drew an analogy: If part of downtown Sacramento were connected to disparate rural areas, applicants from outside the state capital would have little chance against someone with the financial backing and policy of the inhabitants of the metropolitan center.

“Someone from Yolo County isn’t going to beat someone from Sacramento in a congressional race. That’s the problem, I think, with this new ‘ribbon of shame’ they’re talking about, ”Mitchell said. “It’s not the size that is a problem for me. It’s the fact that he has a finger in Atherton and Menlo Park and Apple HQ.

“Ribbon of Shame” was former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nickname for a 2000s congressional district that stretched from Oxnard to lower Monterey County. The cards cut it up the last time California underwent a redistribution in 2010.

The phrase resurfaced among analysts to describe the stretch of San Luis Obispo south of San Francisco.

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The latest redistribution maps call for a ribbon district that would stretch from northern San Luis Obispo County to Silicon Valley.

Wealthy venture capitalists at Atherton, Palo Alto and Menlo Park could compete with liberal-leaning voters Cambria, Paso Robles and Atascadero, but nothing else is similar between the land of tech giants and the vast expanse of vineyards and coastal landscapes. And other parts of San Luis Obispo County are quite conservative.

The areas of the ribbon have been removed from the districts currently held by Democratic Representatives Panetta, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier and Salud Carbajal.

Mitchell warned the adoption may not hold up despite the short turnaround time between now and the final cards expiration date. All legislative maps for the different levels of governance are expected to be finalized by December 23 for public review. Final cards must be sent to the Secretary of State by December 27.

Prevent big splits in San José

The California Redistribution Commission, a coalition of 14 citizens who are not believed to have recent ties to politicians, opted for the plan in meetings this week after residents of San Jose expressed concern over the split of their population center between four congressional districts in older projects.

Rendering the ribbon was a way to keep San Jose simply split into three. No part of the city lies within the district that would take over parts of San Luis Obispo County.

The version was publicly supported by the mayor of San José, Sam Liccardo, who was able to call district committee meetings three times for public comment.

The mayor’s office confirmed that Liccardo wanted to prevent the division of San José into four districts and called several meetings to defend his constituents.

Other local politicians have made similar efforts to push for change in their communities.

California loses a seat in the United States House due to low population growth between 2010 and today, reducing its delegation to 52 representatives. The commissioners must absorb this district while respecting the standards of population, form and composition of the zones in the new districts.

One such rule is to retain a number of majority minority constituencies, which the Voting Rights Act provides to help ethnic minority groups elect members of their choice. The ribbon is a way to preserve an Asian majority constituency around San José.

The commission has been criticized for redrawing the lines in unrecognizable ways and for putting some incumbents in difficult legislative elections in 2022 if they ran in the same fields they represent. But the commission was specifically created before the final round of redistribution to ignore a candidate’s chances of winning.

This story was originally published December 18, 2021 6:00 a.m.

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