Local lawmakers lose some, gain some in latest political district maps

State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) might have to move if he wants to make a run for U.S. Congress, according to final drafts of voter redistricting maps released Thursday.

Portantino, who will be termed out in the state Assembly, has formed an exploratory committee to look at a Congressional bid.

He currently lives in Rep. David Dreier’s (R-San Dimas) district, but that would change with the new maps, which expands Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Burbank) district up into La Cañada. Portantino has said he would not run against Schiff.

Tim Wander, Portantino’s district political director, said Portantino is willing to relocate to another district in the San Gabriel Valley to run for Congress.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is redrawing the state’s Senate, Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts based on information from the 2010 Census. The commission is expected to make a final vote on the revised maps on Aug. 15.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) now live in the same Congressional district, according to the revised maps, meaning they may face off against each other in future elections. [This version has been updated.]

The district in which they live retains a sliver of Burbank in the revised maps. It then spreads into the west San Fernando Valley, taking in areas which both Sherman and Berman currently represent.

Berman said he plans to run in his home district.

“My entire career in public office has been spent representing the San Fernando Valley,” he said in a statement Friday. “This is where I have made my home and raised a family. It is the community that I come home to every week when votes are over in Washington.”

A majority of Sherman’s current district is in the redrawn map, said Scott Abrams, Sherman’s political director, who added that the congressman plans to run in 2012.

The commission basically divided the San Fernando Valley with the other district spanning a large part of the east San Fernando Valley.

The current 27th district splits Burbank, running primarily along Mariposa Street. Under the revised map, the district in which the two Congressmen live will cover the area between Buena Vista Boulevard and Hollywood Way, south of Bob Hope Airport. It includes Warner Bros. Studios and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

The airport, a vast majority of Burbank and all of Glendale are in Schiff’s district. The biggest change for Schiff in the new maps is that he loses a large part of Pasadena.

“I don't envy the difficultly of the job assigned to the commission, and I think they did a commendable job balancing Voting Rights Act and community of interest concerns, and working in a transparent manner,” Schiff said in a written statement.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) had said previously he would consider moving if his home was no longer in the district that covers Burbank and Glendale. The second draft had the district run along Hyperion Avenue, pushing him into a neighboring district.

But the final round of maps drops the district’s border slightly to the south to include Gatto’s home near the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs.

State Sen. Carol Liu’s district, which includes Glendale and Burbank, now spans to the east all the way to Upland. Her district currently ends at Duarte.

While it’s a new area to represent, Liu said she’s looking forward to it.

“I get to meet new people,” she said.

There are already rumblings that lawsuits could come on the heels of the commission’s vote.

Glendale resident Douglas Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College, said lawsuits could center around the Voting Rights Act, alleging the commission went too far and adversely impacted voters.

Other legal challenges could allege the commission didn’t go far enough, he added.

Burbank and Glendale probably wouldn’t get involved in any litigation, but other cities may head to court to keep communities together, Johnson said.

“There are a lot of people in the state who are upset [because] the lines divide their city or community,” he said.

Another legal option would be a referendum, where any of the commission’s revised maps could go before voters, Johnson said. If that occurs, the new maps would be suspended immediately and the California Supreme Court would draw redistricting maps to be used in 2012.

If the commission’s maps don’t get voter approval, the court’s maps would be used through the end of the decade, Johnson said.

During the July 23 redistricting commission meeting in Sacramento, attorneys George Brown and Marcellus McRae, who are on the commission’s litigation team, told commission members that they are confident they can defend their work.


INTERACTIVE: Changing political district maps


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