New district maps signal vast change

The potential for sweeping change among the region’s political districts was brought into sharp focus Friday with the release of preliminary redistricting maps by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Among the changes proposed in the first draft of redistricting:

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) no longer would represent part of Burbank, while Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) might have to compete with Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) in a realigned San Gabriel foothills district under the proposed new maps.

Burbank no longer would be split into two congressional districts and Glendale would share an Assembly representative with Pasadena under the legislative maps

The proposed maps also move the ground under Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) so that his home is no longer part of the district that includes Glendale and Burbank.

While La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta would be in the same congressional and state Senate districts as Glendale and Burbank, they would be in a different Assembly district — one that also includes Sierra Madre, Azusa and Upland.

Lawmakers affected by the proposals emphasized that the draft maps are not the final word.

“I’m not saying goodbye to anybody yet,” Sherman said. “I think the maps are going to change massively.”

Former Assemblyman Dario Frommer said the redrawn lines could prompt reactions ranging from lawmakers retiring or relocating, to lawsuits alleging that the new maps infringe on the voting rights of minorities.

“This is when the craziness is really going to start,” Frommer said. “I think you are going to see a lot of movement and some retirements. There is also tremendous potential for litigation and that could upset the entire map.”

According to the preliminary maps, Sherman and Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) would live in the same congressional district. Meanwhile, no incumbent lives in a new, heavily Latino congressional district that would include San Fernando, Tujunga, North Hollywood and Van Nuys.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) would represent all of Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge under the proposed map, as well as a string of communities along the Foothill (210) Freeway. But the new district would cut Pasadena, where Schiff has his district office, in half.

Schiff campaign aide Parke Skelton said Schiff has represented much of the area either in Congress or the state Senate, and that Democrats have a 43% to 31% edge over Republicans among registered voters in the proposed district.

“From a partisan and a policy standpoint, this is Adam’s district,” Skelton said.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who has started a campaign for Congress in anticipation of being termed out in 2012, might be forced to run to represent a district that does not include his La Cañada home.

“I am certainly not going to run against Adam Schiff,” Portantino said. “I am continuing forward with my plan to run in David Dreier’s district.”

The proposed maps alter the area Dreier (R-San Dimas) represents so that it no longer would include La Cañada, but would include several San Gabriel Valley cities, such as El Monte. The area has a higher proportion of Democrats than Dreier’s current district and might force the 16-term incumbent into a closely contested race.

The district represented by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) changed under the proposed map so that it now includes La Crescenta and foothill communities east to Upland. It no longer includes Chinatown or a narrow, nearly 20-mile stretch of the San Fernando Valley.

Liu said she has represented areas as far east as Duarte, but not beyond.

“It will be a challenge, but I’m kind of enthusiastic about that,” she said. “It’s just meeting new people, right?”

Gatto said he will await the final maps, but is prepared to move to continue serving the majority of the constituents he does today.

“I might face a choice between my house, which is just a structure, and most of the people I was elected to represent,” Gatto said. “Generally, I’m a people person.”

The 14-member redistricting commission, formed by voter initiative to take political districting out of the hands of lawmakers, has held 23 hearings around the state and heard from thousands of residents. It will launch a new round of hearings next week, including a June 16 meeting in Culver City and a June 17 hearing in Whittier.


Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World