Gov. Pete Wilson threatened Wednesday to veto three separate Democratic-backed bills for new congressional and legislative districts unless they are changed before being sent to his desk.
"The governor considers all three plans as they now stand to be completely unacceptable," said Dan Schnur, a spokesman for the governor. "Unless significant changes are made, all three of the bills would be vetoed."
Schnur said the bills, drawn by Democrats over Republican opposition, demonstrate the Democrats' "unwillingness to reflect voter registration gains" by the Republicans since districts were last drawn in 1982. Only the proposed Senate districts, which had bipartisan support, were "headed in the right direction," Schnur said.
If Wilson and the Legislature cannot agree, then the task of drawing new districts will go to the courts.
Democrats now control 47 of the state's 80 Assembly seats, 26 of the 40 state Senate seats and 26 of California's 45 seats in Congress.
Republicans want a chance to draw even with the Democrats in Congress and take control of the Legislature in the 1990s.
Schnur said Wilson wants the Assembly Democrats to shift two Los Angeles districts and one San Francisco Bay Area district which they now hold to areas in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. Those areas are growing rapidly and heavily Republican.
Such a shift would give the Republicans 36 secure seats in the Assembly. With about half a dozen seats that could go to either party, the GOP conceivably could capture control of that body.
The three plans were being fine-tuned Wednesday and could go to the governor as early as today.
Each contains the same proposed Senate districts, a configuration of the 40 seats that the Senate passed on a 37-0 vote on Monday. Under the Senate plan, two seats that are now held by Democrats are expected to turn into Republican strongholds while leaving most of the remaining incumbents safe, ensuring Democratic control of the Legislature's upper house.
The three measures include three different plans for the Assembly's 80 seats, but all would be expected to return a Democratic majority in the 44-seat range.
The major difference in the three versions is the way they delineate the state's 45 existing congressional districts and the seven new seats awarded California after the 1990 U.S. Census.
All three versions of the congressional districts place four of the seven new seats entirely within Southern California and two in Northern California. The seventh seat would stretch from Southern to Central California either on the coast or along the state's eastern edge. But the three congressional plans would produce different partisan breakdowns and create seats in Congress for different potential candidates.
One set of maps has been crafted to come as far as the Democrats are willing to go to please Wilson and his fellow Republicans. That plan is expected to yield anything from a 26-26 split--in the eyes of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco)--to a 28-24 Democratic advantage, according to Republican critics.
Another plan pays less heed to Wilson's desires but lays out the new congressional districts in a way designed to entice ambitious Republican lawmakers to side with Democrats to override a Wilson veto. Congressional Republicans who helped draw the plan concede that they could hope at most for 25 seats from it.
The third plan is believed to be the one Democrats will ask the courts to adopt should an impasse develop between the Legislature and the governor. If it were adopted, Democrats might win as many as 31 of the 52 seats.
Wilson wants a congressional plan with at least 24 secure Republican seats and four districts in which GOP candidates would have a solid chance of winning, Schnur said.