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.

  • Elwood

    Well, you can cry me a river–

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Look on the bright side, LW. Think of all those pot-smokin.’ aging hippie relics added to your constituency. They will counterbalance those flinty, tree-choppin’ northern folk.

  • RL

    She might have to reveal her position on tree spiking, that’s why she’s upset.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    No disagreement that Congresswoman Woolsey might be making much ado about nothing . . . the parts of Del Norte county now in “her” district might not fit in with the Marin/Sonoma axis, but that is for the constituents to determine through public comment to the redistricting commission.

    BUT, Elwood, RR, and RL, speaking more broadly about the map, she may have a point: some of the “communities of interest” put together really make little sense, e.g., the “Tri-Valley/Contra Costa” congressional district being lobbed off from Livermore/Dublin/Pleasanton (which gets put with Fremont/Castro Valley) when the Richmond/Hercules/El Cerrito chunk put in CoCo easily could go in the North Berkeley/Alameda County district.

    Seems some of the divisions were just as arbitrary as earlier legislature iterations, even if more compact and “competitive” (in political terms, whatever that means).

  • John W

    My guess is the “North Coast” district may get tweaked, but I think the commission’s first draft is 90 percent right statewide. They obviously expect to make adjustments and left plenty of time for public comment and revisions. Give ’em at least a B+. They had to make every district come within one person of having equal population.

    Re #4, as a San Ramon resident on the border with Danville and Blackhawk, I’m much happier being in the same district with Walnut Creek and the rest of central Contra Costa than the current carved up mess. Wonder if somebody serious will take on Garamendi? It will be interesting to see what McNerney does.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    John, I think everyone in Danville/San Ramon would prefer being in the same district with Walnut Creek, LaMOrinda and other parts of Contra Costa County … but El Cerrito, Richmond, Hercules and Pinole seem like an appendage to that group of suburbs. And I say that as someone who thinks they are well-represented right now by a congresswoman, assemblywoman and state senator who also happen to represent Berkeley and other parts of North Alameda County. Basically, why not switch out of the Contra Costa district Richmond/El Cerrito/Hercules for Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore?

    Oh, and the commission did not need to make every district come within just “one person” of having equal population–a certain amount of variance beyond just one person, accounting for imperfections in the census measurements, is permitted under federal law.

    Garamendi got pretty screwed by the maps as they are unless he and George Miller swap districts. McNerney actually has less to worry about–Pete Stark seems like a strong retirement candidate–or McNerney can move east to a much friendlier San Joaquin district or northeast to a friendly East Contra Costa (Discovery Bay-based) and southwest Sacramento based district. Then again, Garamendi might go for that, too, instead of facing off against Dan Lundgren. . . .

  • John W


    Sounds like you have more depth on the subject than I do. The “one person” requirement is what I heard from a commission member during a KGO radio interview.

    I don’t think Richmond is included in the Contra Costa Congressional district. It’s in with Oakland and Berkeley. I can’t imagine Miller swapping districts with Garamendi. He may end up being one the few who actually lives in his own district. I would think that the party would like to see Garamendi give Lundgren the boot.

  • Val Eisman

    Josh, do you know what the present demographic composition of Woolsey’s district is? Does the Latino vote or composition go up or down in the newly created coastal district?