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Wilson Cites 2 Area Districts in His Veto : Boundaries: The governor says the Legislature’s remapping plan is designed to protect incumbents.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Republican Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday cited two proposed Ventura County districts as examples of gerrymandering as he vetoed redistricting plans by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature.

Wilson singled out the redrawn lines of Democrat Gary K. Hart’s 18th state Senate District, stretching from the San Fernando Valley through Ventura County to Santa Maria, and Republican Paula Boland’s 38th state Assembly District, running from Thousand Oaks to Sunland.

In announcing that he was rejecting the once-a-decade remapping legislation, Wilson said the districts were drawn to protect incumbents and preserve what he describes as the Democrats’ “outrageous gerrymander” of a decade ago.

The redistricting plan, the governor said, “is an attempt by the majority party to continue an unfair partisan advantage.”

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Wilson vetoed three separate measures passed last week, each with new boundaries for the state’s Assembly, Senate and congressional districts. The Legislature is required to redraw the lines to reflect shifts in population reported in the 1990 Census, and lawmakers are expected to seek election in the new districts in 1992.

Within hours of receiving Wilson’s veto messages, both houses of the Legislature tried but failed to muster the votes needed to override the governor’s action. The failed override means that the new boundaries are likely to be drawn by the courts.

Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) criticized Assembly Republicans for failing to write their own redistricting plan and defended the Democratic reapportionment measures as fair.

But Wilson maintained that there are “a number of egregious examples of misshapen districts, each drawn for the purpose of packing Democratic or Republican voters.”

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Among the handful of examples, the governor said Hart’s proposed Senate district “unnecessarily includes parts of three counties through the device of a narrow strip that runs from Santa Maria to Canoga Park to maintain a Democratic district.”

But Joe Caves, Hart’s top aide, said that with the exception of adding strongly Latino areas in Santa Maria, the proposed boundaries would roughly follow the lines of Hart’s current district, which also reaches across Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

“This is a competitive district by any standard,” Caves said, citing Democratic voter registration as 46.7% compared to 40% for the GOP. Moreover, Caves said, in 1982, the seat was considered “very competitive” when Hart beat Republican Charles Imbrecht of Ventura by only 9,000 votes.

In the Assembly remapping plan, Wilson also took exception to the boundaries for Boland’s proposed 38th Assembly District, although it would remain a strong Republican seat.

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The district would start in Thousand Oaks, dip south into Calabasas, cross the Santa Susana Mountains into Northridge and Chatsworth and then stretch “two fingers, one into Castaic and the other into Sunland/Tujunga,” Wilson said.

Under that plan, much of Republican Assemblyman Tom McClintock’s Thousand Oaks hometown would be taken out of his district and placed in Boland’s 38th District.

McClintock criticized the proposals and agreed with Wilson that they were designed to protect favored incumbents and safeguard the Democrats’ majorities in the Assembly, the state Senate and California’s delegation in Congress.

McClintock, a quintessential political outsider, has angered Democrats and the leaders of his own party by criticizing those who do not share his strongly conservative views.

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He suggested that legislative map makers ignore where incumbents live and instead “start in the extreme northwest of the state and start counting off census tracts without regard to whose house is in what district and then let the voters decide.”

Boland, a Granada Hills lawmaker serving her first term, applauded the governor’s remarks, adding that the Democratic plan for her district was an “almost block-by-block gerrymandering.”

MAIN STORY: A1


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