The last nine months won't be remembered as Glenn M. Anderson's political salad days.
Last December, the 78-year-old Democrat became only the third member of Congress in 15 years to be stripped of a committee chairmanship. This week, he suffered a second indignity: state Democratic leaders proposed carving up his Long Beach-area political turf to make way for a Republican-leaning congressional district.
That, political observers believe, would make it extremely difficult--if not impossible--for Anderson to win a 12th term in 1992. It is one of the more striking provisions in the Democrat-drafted plans for reapportionment, the redrawing of political boundaries that the Legislature undertakes each decade to account for population shifts.
Whether the Democratic plans take effect remains in doubt. They may face a gubernatorial veto and court challenges by minority groups. But the fact that the blueprints call for fragmenting Anderson's turf speaks volumes about the sagging price of his political stock.
Many analysts believe the proposal was presaged by Anderson's removal last year as head of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee amid charges that his abilities have slipped dramatically due to old age.
"His removal was the first salvo," said Leroy Hardy, a political science professor at Cal State Long Beach and a former Democratic reapportionment consultant. The current reapportionment plan, if it takes effect, would spell "the end of his political career," Hardy said.
Said a Democratic strategist from Long Beach who declined to be quoted by name: "The feeling among Democrats is that (Anderson) is of no value seniority-wise because he was stripped of his chairmanship. He's the first one they're going to sacrifice. If this plan goes through, he's finished."
The proposal to slice up Anderson's district was contained in both of two reapportionment plans released this week by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City), who is coordinating the congressional Democrats' redistricting efforts.
The result would be that some predominantly Democratic portions of Anderson's turf would be absorbed by the congressional district represented by Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton). That would leave a new Republican-leaning district that would include part of Long Beach and straddle Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Berman acknowledged that the redistricting plans could cause Anderson to be "seriously marginalized." He portrayed the proposed change as regrettable but necessary to preserve minority districts such as that represented by Dymally, who is black.
Lawmakers say one of their top priorities in proposing new legislative districts is to avoid violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which requires that the interests of ethnic minorities be protected.
"This is a painful decision," Berman said. "This is one of our colleagues but in the context of doing our best to avoid 10 more years of litigation . . . (we thought) this was a gesture we could make."
Since first winning election to Congress in 1968, Anderson, a former lieutenant governor of California, has become known for steering numerous federal port, highway and rail projects to the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas.
Evan Anderson Braude, a Long Beach city councilman who is Anderson's stepson, protested that the Democratic redistricting plan would curtail these efforts. He also suggested that the proposal may not have been due entirely to concerns about minority representation.
Braude said his stepfather's refusal to pay a $25,000 consulting fee solicited from each of California's Democratic congressmen for the drafting of their reapportionment proposals may have been a factor. The money went to BAD Campaigns, a Beverly Hills political consulting firm whose principals are Michael Berman, Howard Berman's brother, and Carl D'Agostino.
"Part of the problem is (Anderson) refused . . . to give the $25,000 to (Michael) Berman," said Braude, whom many Democrats say was being groomed to inherit his stepfather's district. "(Anderson) didn't like their superior attitude. It was sort of like, 'Hey, we know what to do. If you want to come along, you'd better get on board.' "
Democrats involved in the drafting of the congressional reapportionment plans denied such assertions. Said Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Sacramento): "It has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Anderson's willingness to participate with his colleagues or not."
For his part, Anderson kept a low profile this week. Attempts to arrange a telephone interview with the congressman failed. In a statement released through his wife, Lee Anderson, the congressman was quoted as saying: ". . . with the entire issue of reapportionment and new congressional district lines still so nebulous, we all must wait and see."
The statement, however, appeared to hint that even if Anderson's district is carved up, he still might run for reelection. "In my next campaign I will once again wage a race that will reach all of the voters in my district regardless of party orientation," he was quoted as saying.