New elections maps would push McClintock south
June 13, 2011
GRASS VALLEY, Calif. – Congressman Tom McClintock’s stint as Nevada County’s sole U.S. representative could come to a close in 2012 if a new state redistricting plan is approved.
In preliminary maps released Friday by the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission, McClintock’s 4th district moves south, encompassing areas southeast of Sacramento all the way to Fresno, while 2nd District Congressman Wally Herger’s (R- Chico) district stretches east from the Central Valley to encompass most of Nevada County and points north to the Oregon border.
McClintock (R-Elk Grove) would retain a sliver of southern Nevada County, which leaned heavily in his favor in his 2010 drubbing of Democratic opponent Clint Curtis from Roseville and Independent Ben Emery of Nevada City.
The Congressman could not be reached for comment Friday.
The maps, a first draft of redistricting plans released by the bipartisan commission, re-organize all of the federal and state representation districts Nevada County is involved in. It is likely the maps could change before they are adopted in August, analysts said.
The maps are the first released by a citizen’s commission created in the 2008 elections to protect against politicians protecting their own seats.
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State Senator Doug Lamalfa’s (R-Richvale) 4th District seat expands to include all of Nevada County and all of Lake Tahoe, a district currently represented by fellow Republican Ted Gaines (Roseville). It also extends north to take in most of the largely rural Siskyou County and all of Modoc County.
“Well, they certainly made it larger, we’re up to 16 counties in whole or in part, up from the 12 we had,” LaMalfa said. “But it’s a great area. They are made up of people who are like-minded folks who have similar concerns.”
While the general issues voters in the largely Republican-leaning district are similar, there are a few areas of special interest, especially Lake Tahoe and its forest fire concerns, LaMalfa said.
The maps will likely need to change to capture the western edge of Siskyou County, which currently is divided to go along with the northern coastal counties, LaMalfa said.
“There’s a problem with the map. We have four counties that where we’ve split the representation for the jurisdiction,” LaMalfa said. “But I’m glad for the commission. When legislators do this process, it ends up being self-serving.”
Like LaMalfa, Assemblyman Dan Logue’s (R-Linda) 3rd District seat expands eastward from the Central Valley, knocking another Gaines (Ted’s wife, Beth) out of the area representing Truckee, North Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. It also extends northward to the Oregon border and to the western edge of Siskyou County.
Logue’s primary home in Linda is actually brought into Jim Neilsen’s 2nd District, which expands from the Central Valley slightly eastward into the Marysville area. But Logue said he also keeps a vacation home at Mt. Shasta, thus he’s eligible to run in the district.
“I’m pretty pleased with it,” Logue said. “Before, about 70 percent of my district was in the Sierra. Now, it’s about 80 percent.”
Logue noted he’ll need to be brought up to speed on the issues affecting Lake Tahoe. In order to be more central to district residents, he is considering a move to Nevada County, he said.
Dr. Gabino Aguirre, a maps commissioner from Ventura County, said the maps seek to balance the needs of all Californians, giving them an equal voice in the political process. He said the districts reflect common-sense boundaries and balance the needs of different communities.
The panel paid no attention to incumbents or party registration figures, he said. Instead, commissioners focused on grouping communities by geography, ethnicity and economic interests.
“In the past, district lines were drawn behind closed doors, producing districts which divided communities, sometimes running hundreds of miles in indescribable shapes with their only purpose being the protection of incumbents,” Aguirre said.
He added, “To the maximum extent possible, we’ve drawn districts that, in our view, are possibly the most compact and contiguous at this time.”
Democrats in Washington anticipate that they are likely to gain seats if the current congressional draft holds.
“While it does present some challenges to a couple of the Democratic incumbents, overall it provides some opportunities for Democrats to challenge Republican incumbents,” said Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Commissioners said they already have heard from 1,500 state residents and next will turn their attention to responding to concerns in specific communities.
A second draft will be released July 7, and the final maps are due Aug. 15, when they must be presented to the secretary of state’s office for certification.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. To view the maps, visit http://www.TheUnion.com and click on this story.