Part of the Bay Area News Group

California to keep its 53 congressional seats

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 at 8:58 am in Congress, U.S. Census.

California failed for the first time in 80 years to gain at least one seat in the House of Representatives following the release of the U.S. Census Bureau decennial results.

Click here to see the information posted by the Census a few minutes ago.

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  • John W

    I’m curious how this might affect CA redistricting under the new independent redistricting law. Since we will have the same number of House seats as before, and assuming the distribution of population within the state has not changed dramatically, could they leave the districts exactly as is? Or is the redistricting commission required to redraw the districts to comply with the anti-gerrymandering criteria of the law?

  • RF

    Good question.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    CA’s congressional district lines must be redrawn so that all 53 again have equal population. The main changes will be nationally. GOP seats will increase, eg. TX will get 4 new House seats. Of the entire 435 seats, up to 10 could switch from Dem seats in the NE to GOP seats in the South and West.

  • John W

    Maybe a couple of shifts to GOP in CA too, as Repubs stand to gain more from de-gerrymandering than Dems. Extending the indie redistricting to Congressional districts here was the good government thing to do. But, as a practical matter, since Texas is not doing likewise, it amounts to unilateral disarmament that favors Repubs.

  • http://www.jerrymcnerney.gov DanvilleDemocrat

    Ah but Florida has moved to non-partisan, independent redistricting commission as well. Florida’s heavy tilt toward the GOP likely will shift back in the Democrats’ favor.

    Also, much analysis of Texas’ growth centers on the fact that it has been in the southwest portion of the state and in metropolitan areas (e.g., Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, etc.) with large Hispanic populations. Many experts believe at least two, if not three, of the new Texas districts might be minority-majority or at least minority-plurality districts.

    As for California, I doubt there will be a huge shift. Locally, it would not shock me if George Miller and John Garamendi’s districts shifted northeast and east, respectively. Jerry McNerney’s district is a question mark . . . it will need to take on more of San Joaquin County, no doubt, but also could take in more of San Ramon and Livermore to grow. Time will tell.

  • John W

    Danville Democrat — interesting analysis. Didn’t know that about Florida. Part of the equation, as others have noted, is whether Repubs in GOP-controlled states gerrymander to create ultra-safe districts or, instead, to expand the number of GOP seats. If they do the latter, they trade safety for footprint but risk losing ground in a competitive election year. That’s part of what happened to Dems in the mid-terms. Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy won them lots of seats in red and purple states in 2006 and 2008, but those seats became highly vulnerable in a year like this.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The original size of a House seat in the USA was 30,000 (white males). “The government that governs best is that which is closest to the people.”

  • Tom Benigno

    Maybe 700,000 people in each district is too much,for each district. We should break the districts into smaller districts and add more congressman to the Washington D.C. game. That in it’s self would take an act of congress.
    Afterall we have had the 53 seats even when California only had 10 million people.
    Now that we have peeked out to over 40 million people in our state something needs to be done.

    Another way would be to split the state in two or even three parts. Northern Cal, Middle Ca, & Southern Ca. Can you imagine how much Federal money would be taken away from the Southern part of the state.

  • John W

    Re: #8

    Although I’ve often had these same thoughts, I’m not convinced this would lead to better governance. You always have unintended consequences with stuff like this.

    That said, I really do believe CA should eliminate one of our two legislative chambers, combining the current 120 Assembly and Senate seats into a unicameral legislature, like Nebraska. Since we have one man-one vote representation for both chambers (unlike the U.S. Senate), there is no purpose served by having two empires. I don’t think anybody would call the state Senate “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” We would have smaller, presumably more responsive districts and better legislating.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    As a condition for admission to the Union, TX has the right to break itself into as many as 5 parts. CA would have to ask Congress for that right, but I’m convinced our ungovernability lies to a great extent in the fact that we’re so populous and diverse. Happy New Year!

  • Elwood

    “We should break the districts into smaller districts and add more congressman to the Washington D.C. game.”

    Oh, please!

    It’s already the collection of the 435 most venal corrupt idiots in the world and you’re saying we should encourage this sort of behavior?

    In the immortal words of Mark Twain:

    “There is no permanent criminal class in this country except Congress.”

    Or:

    “Suppose I’m an idiot. Now suppose I’m a Congressman. But I repeat myself.”

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Ron Paul refers ro Congress (including himself) as “The Gang of 435.” Corrupt, maybe. Idiots, never. In theory, Congressmambers with fewer constituents would represent them better, and less likely to be paid off by lobbiests.

  • Elwood

    “In theory, Congressmambers with fewer constituents would represent them better, and less likely to be paid off by lobbiests.”

    Ralph, please expound on that theory.

    “Idiots never.”

    Please enlighten us on that one too. Twain called it right.

  • Truthclubber

    You morons who follow the pearls of supposed wisdom spit out by “Arr Arr” and “Hellwad” all miss the essential point of the current dysfunction of modern American politics.

    It is that we live under not popular democracy, or “one person, one vote”, but that we live under economic democracy, i.e., “one dollar, one vote”.

    We must remove the money to remove the corruption and dysfunction through a reasonable and policable public financing program aka “Clean Money” which is already in place in several states (Maine, Arizona, Washington, etc.) and is about to govern the way we elect our next Secretary of State in California.

    I expect the usual fascist, rabid attacks from the likes of “Arr Arr” and “Hellwad” on this as they are predictable and paid shills for the Faux News Network — but I also note that we now allow gays, er, HOMOSEXUALS to serve OPENLY in the military for a BLACK Commander in Chief, so no matter how bloody their knuckles get, they are losing the war to history.

    If they had their way not even white women would have the right to vote in 2010 — but they (white women and MANY more sections of society) do and “Arr Arr” and “Hellwad” DON’T have control over our politics — and their Neanderthal, “White men know BEST!!!!!” thinking continues to lose over time, to the benefit of all of us with open minds and the ability to spell the word “community”.

  • Elwood

    Easy there, toothsucker!

    Santa must not have been very good to you.

    Sounds like you’re about to go mad and bite yourself and infect yourself with rabies again.

    Oh, by the way, Christmas at our house was kind of restrained because my check from Fox was late, but RR got his and he shared!

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Truthy, calm down. Greetings to El.

  • Truthclubber

    “Silence is acceptance” and the two of you haven’t attacked my points — merely me as the messenger — nice try but no pie (for your pie hole for dessert…).

    As debaters go, you two both suck big time.

    Yo, yo, yo, “Arr Arr” and “Hellwad”, enjoy having your national security provided this holiday season by qu**rs and dyk*s openly serving your head n*gg*r as your Commander in Chief, with the full blessing of the bipartisan US Senate — refute THAT bit of progressive history.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Even though you 3 didn’t ask, I’ll tell you Congress heard Twain, and raised their salaries, medical and other benes to the point only fools would call them idiots again.

  • Elwood

    “you haven’t attacked my points”

    Points? There were points?

    All I saw was your usual insane raving and foaming at the mouth.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Truthy, your “points” are the electrodes attached to your head.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    According to Carl O’Brien of The Irish Times, a review finds the risks of ECT outweigh the benefits.

  • Tom Benigno

    Why is it that we need more teachers and less students in every class? That is my theory about congressional districts more congressman and less people in every district. Afterall California is the 6th largest economy in the world, or it was. Check out my opinions in the bilingualweekly.com

  • John W

    Re# 22

    It’s true that, in the past, Congressional districts each represented a fraction of the modern day number; a reflection of the nation’s population at the time. However, were we to say quadruple the number of Congressional seats, the political dynamics of those less populated districts would be very different than in the past. 435 seats in 1900 had to cover as much geography as they do today. So, even though they contained fewer people and were politically differentiated, they still reflected a cross-section of the body politic. Similarly populated districts today would be much more geographically compact and much more politically homogenous. Today, candidates have to play to the base in order to survive the primaries, but they have to broaden out to get elected and re-elected. General elections and governance with more compact districts would be more like today’s primaries. Not good, in my opinion. If you want proof, just take a look at what district elections have done to San Francisco.

  • Tom Benigno

    Thanks John W:
    I’m familiar with the process of elections, being I ran for congress twice against Richard Pombo. We still need to make changes and get this economy going again,the old ways are over we have gone the wrong way.
    Now I see that Mc Nerney is also going in the wrong direction, it might be time to wake him up and run against him.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Regarding “get this economy going again,” we seem to be following Japan into it’s third decade of stagnation. Read the 2 articles in today’s CCT on Japan: One from Bloomberg News and one from the AP.

  • John W

    Re: #25

    We’re already into our second decade in Japan mode. We just didn’t realize it, because the economy was pumped up on real estate and Wall Street meth.

  • John W

    Tom Benigno,

    Your comment on McNerney sort of makes my point. If we want Congress made up of pure liberal and pure conservative districts (something McNerney’s district clearly is not), then doubling or tripling the number of districts would take us in that direction. I think it’s good that we have some of that in the total Congressional mix to help sharpen the debate on the issues. But I don’t want the entire House made up that way. It’s already nearly impossible to reach closure on issues so that we can move ahead. That would exacerbate the problem, in my opinion.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    John W & Tom Benigno, I think you both have good points.

  • Tom Benigno

    Thank’s guys:
    We need to start the process of dividing this state ASP. Parts of the state are broke while other parts are doing fine. The bad thing is that the parts that are doing fine are supporting those parts that are BROKE.
    Eventually the whole state will suffer. The next trick will be to take prop #13 and call it unconstitutional, so they can sell the property as a SHORT SALE for back taxes.

  • John W

    There was a column in one of the papers today proposing (tongue in cheek, I think) that we sell Alaska to pay off the national debt — since Alaska gets back from the federal government far more than it sends in taxes and is over-represented in electoral votes. In California, according to something I read a while back, the parts of the state that are most conservative generally receive the most per capita in benefits and pay the least in taxes.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Palin’s Folly did finally certify the Nov. 2 election of its Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday.

    “When Republicans take over next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives.

    They will read the Constitution aloud.

  • John W

    I think they should have a detailed pop quiz at the end, administered by an independent, nonpartisan party, with each member’s score posted on the House website, starting with the new majority leadership team. This reading should be a great use of time, as I’m sure all 435 members will be quietly seated, with no Blackberry’s, texting or tweeting, listening intently to the entire reading, from Preamble through the 27th Amendment.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    John W, you must watch CSPAN.

  • Tom Benigno

    What’s wrong with another 50 congressional seats in California? Look at the big picture guys.