Lynn Woolsey is NOT happy with redistricting map

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, is the first Bay Area House member to come out swinging against the first-draft maps released today by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Woolsey’s 6th Congressional District – which now starts with Marin County and runs up to the Sonoma-Mendocino county line – instead would run all the way up the coast to the Oregon border.

“In manufacturing a new coastal district under this draft map, the Redistricting Commission has dismissed its mandate and violated its own guidelines,” Woolsey said in a statement issued this afternoon. “The whole point is to keep communities of interest together. According to the Commission itself, districts are supposed to ‘be drawn to encourage geographical compactness such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for more distant populations.’

“What could be more distant than the expanse from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border? It’s a 375-mile trip. You could barely make the drive in a single day,” she said.

She may or may not be concerned for her own career security: Woolsey, 73, has indicated she might not seek another term in 2012. Among Democrats who might vie to replace her if she bows out are Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa; Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams of San Rafael; and progressive activist Normon Solomon of Inverness.

Of those four, only Evans’ home would fall outside the newly drawn district according to this draft – not that living within the district is a constitutional requirement.

Read the rest of Woolsey’s statement verbatim, after the jump…

“It’s baffling to me that, to round out our district, you would look to Del Norte County rather than our neighbors here in Sonoma County with whom we share so much. The residents of Del Norte County are good people. But they deserve to be placed in a district with like communities, and so do we.

“It doesn’t make any sense. Our existing Marin-Sonoma district is compact and cohesive. It has a distinct identity. It is the quintessential community of interest. Our two counties collaborate and cooperate on issues across the board. Together, they even voted to tax themselves to build a rail system that would connect them to one another.

“We share water and transportation infrastructure. We have a common agricultural profile, as both counties are rich in viticulture and organic commodities. Our health care and education systems are integrated. We have common values, cultural identities and economic industries. Bottom line: this district works — the people of both counties get better federal representation because they are together in one congressional district.

“One of the biggest losers of all under this map is the North Coast. This coast is so abundant and so ecologically important that it deserves two members of Congress advocating for its interests. If this map holds, it will have just one. The oil companies must be licking their chops.

“The draft map represents a solution in search of a problem. Again, all that was needed to create a full district was to reach deeper into Sonoma County to pick up an additional 36,000 people. Instead, incomprehensibly, it appears they have taken the city of Santa Rosa out, even though it has successfully anchored our district for years.

“I strongly urge the Commission to put all of Santa Rosa back in the district. And I hope they will review the community of interest statements from North Bay citizens that overwhelmingly support keeping Santa Rosa, adding more of Sonoma and stopping our district at the Sonoma-Mendocino line.

“The Commission has to reconsider this scheme. I plan to weigh in with them emphatically once again, and I encourage Marin and Sonoma residents to do the same.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.