Carson: Serious Problems in Assembly, Senate, and Congressional Maps for the City of Davis and Yolo County

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The following was sent to the state commission on redistricting and will be on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting

By Dan Carson

I am a Davis City Councilmember with 45 years of professional experience following state and local government decision-making, including a career as a journalist and Capital bureau chief for a major California newspaper and as deputy legislative analyst for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.  Based on my review, I submit the following comments on the visualization maps as they existed on October 27:

— As a council member, I personally play a role in our local redistricting efforts.  So I appreciate the hard work and difficult task your commission faces in accomplishing this task and the chance to provide early input on proposed maps you are considering.

— I am greatly concerned by the proposed Senate and congressional maps presented for Davis and Yolo County.  I believe the Assembly map is generally reasonable but could be improved.

— My greatest concern is that the Senate and congressional maps shift Davis and much or all of Yolo County to a new inland North State district that stretches all the way from Yolo County to the Oregon border through sparsely population rural areas. It divorces our city and county from adjoining urban and suburban areas in the Sacramento metropolitan area, the Napa-Solano area, the East Bay, and the northern Sacramento Valley, with which it is a better fit.

This is a radical and unfortunate departure from the existing boundary lines.  The current districts place us in a much more compact geographic area comprised of mid-sized urban and suburban communities with a coherent community of interest. The new congressional and Senate lines are contrary to the principles upon which the state commission is supposed to operate and would greatly hinder effective representation of residents of the city of Davis and Yolo County.

For example, our current congressional representative , who represents a segment of Interstate 80 from Suisun City almost to Sacramento, recently played a key role in securing $85 million in federal funding for improvement to the congested Yolo Causeway.  The new congressional district visualized by the state commission is focused on a series of very small communities running along I-5 all the way to the Oregon border. Its representative is unlikely to be focused on our community’s critical needs for help on the I-80 corridor, and our concerns will likely be poorly represented on transportation, housing, environmental resources, and a long list of other important issues that require state legislative action.

These proposed new districts are a poor fit for Davis and Yolo County. I urge a return to Senate and congressional boundaries much more similar to those we now have.

— Some specific boundary line changes proposed by the visualizations for the Assembly district in our area are of concern to me. Specifically, the draft map excludes El Macero from the redrawn Assembly district.  El Macero is an unincorporated area adjacent to the City of Davis that is closely tied to our community by economic ties and various public services like our local library system. El Macero residents shop in Davis. Their kids go to school together. It makes no sense to divide Davis and El Macero into different legislative districts.

Likewise, the Assembly map inappropriately excludes the City of Winters from the newly drawn Assembly district.  Our county serves as a model of interjurisdictional collaboration. The City of Winters is a full partner in many of those efforts, including transportation, clean energy, and environmental programs.  The new map would divide our community of interest and make it more difficult to seek state legislative assistance on important local matters. Under your draft maps, Yolo County would become part of three Assembly districts.

For example, our local clean power agency, known as Valley Clean Energy, is comprised of unincorporated Yolo County and the cities of Davis, Woodland, and Winters.  Carving Winters out of the new Assembly district would force Valley Clean Energy to coordinate with multiple Assembly members, as well as with a Senator, instead of one Assembly member, whenever legislative issues arise.  In general, we recommend that the lines for this Assembly district be revised to keep Yolo County boundaries intact to the greatest extent possible and to restore Winters to the district including much of the remainder of Yolo County.

You can do much better than this.  When you consider these matters in your public hearing today, please fix these badly drawn lines that treat our community as a leftover afterthought.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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12 thoughts on “Carson: Serious Problems in Assembly, Senate, and Congressional Maps for the City of Davis and Yolo County”

  1. Alan Miller

    the Senate and congressional maps shift Davis and much or all of Yolo County to a new inland North State district that stretches all the way from Yolo County to the Oregon border through sparsely population rural areas. It divorces our city and county from adjoining urban and suburban areas in the Sacramento metropolitan area, the Napa-Solano area, the East Bay, and the northern Sacramento Valley, with which it is a better fit.

    In other words, we will be drowned and diluted into the State of Jefferson.

  2. Matt Williams

    If one looks at the current Congressional District 2 map
    https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Screen-Shot-2021-10-30-at-5.58.58-PM.png 
    … it has the same issues that Dan Carson is concerned with. What does Marin County have in common with Crescent City or Eureka/Arcata?

    The reality of the situation is that there simply aren’t enough North State residents to make up a full Congressional District of their own, so the north/south configurations that have existed for 10 years and are proposed to continue for 10 more years are a natural outcome.

    If you look at the map of Alternative A it makes a whole lot of sense geographically.  It tracks along the Sacramento River watershed from the river source to the Delta (toe drain), with only Sacramento County left out.
    https://www.davisvanguard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/CD_A_Central_Nor_Cal.jpg 

    JMO

    1. Ron Oertel

      What does Marin County have in common with Crescent City or Eureka/Arcata?

      Hospitable weather, redwood trees, vestiges of 1960’s-1970’s environmental values?

  3. Ron Oertel

    The new congressional district visualized by the state commission is focused on a series of very small communities running along I-5 all the way to the Oregon border. Its representative is unlikely to be focused on our community’s critical needs for help on the I-80 corridor,

    Based upon the second sentence cited, I already like him (or her).

    Why do you suppose that the I-80 corridor needs “improvement”?

    1. Bill Marshall

      Why do you suppose that the I-80 corridor needs “improvement”?

      Care to share your views as to why?  Or if it even needs improvement other than repairs/maintenance?

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thought it was pretty obvious, but it has to do with the switch from “discing” the land, to “DISCing”, the land.

        Or is it (for some unexplained reason) “DiSC”? (Apparently, they’re shorting themselves on “Innovation” this time.)

        Not just in Davis, but also throughout the region.

  4. Bill Marshall

    Here’s the deal… people in ANY district should push their representatives to represent their views/opinions… if they don’t (push) you’ll find no sympathy here..

    I question the assumption that if the majority are presumed to have a similar view, those with different views can’t insist on ‘representation’, calling out the issues… maybe the votes will go with the majority, but the minority has the right to have their views heard, and at least pointed out by their representatives… Feinstein, Boxer, now Becerra, have not much done so… might be “the nature of the beast”, but it is not ‘representative’… seldom do I hear anything back from Dodd, Aguilar-Curry, Garamendi when I assert an opinion… Feinstein, Dodd (or their staffs) at least said, “thank you for your input…

    A cynic would say, “it’s all about them, counting votes, and ONLY representing those majority views (their ‘base’)”… on votes, I get that…

    But in the discourse, debate, I reject that.  Probably why I’m a NPP…

    Why wouldn’t a Boxer/Feinstein point out that XX % of their constituents have concerns about abortion at whim, partial birth abortions… even if they ultimately vote for ‘woman gets to decide, no matter what, and everyone should pay for that’?  Many other examples are possible… we are a divided nation on many issues… in discourse and debate, our representatives should bring that difference of view forward… before they vote… or otherwise they may just be ‘opportunists’… just licking their finger, putting it in the air and considering votes they’ll get in the next election… a form of “prostitution” as it were… (male, female, other… selling “services”)

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