By James Rufus Koren Staff Writer
Posted: 06/10/2011 09:42:17 PM PDT
After months of meetings and public input, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission on Friday released a first draft of what California’s new Assembly, Senate and Congressional districts could look like.
The drafts will be edited over the next few months, but they represent a big first step for the commission, a body selected late last year to draw California’s political boundaries without regard to the fate of incumbent politicians or of political parties.
And, indeed, the fate of several local lawmakers – including Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands – appears threatened by the new maps.
Lewis and Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, represent different districts now, but they would live in the same district under the draft proposal.
A San Bernardino-centered district would include all of Rialto, where Baca lives, as well as the section of Redlands where Lewis hangs his hat.
The district takes in several cities that are mostly or entirely part of Baca’s current district: Rialto, Colton and most of Fontana. The district would likely be Democratic-leaning, giving Baca an edge.
The bulk of Lewis’ existing district – which includes Redlands, Yucaipa, the Morongo Basin and much of San Bernardino County’s High Desert – would be in a new district that would stretch to include all of the San Bernardino Mountains, all of the High Desert, all of the Morongo Basin, and all of Inyo and Mono counties.
Baca said he was “elated” and that the San Bernardino-based district would favor him over Lewis.
“I’m going to have to send (Lewis) a letter,” Baca said. “I’ll say, `Hopefully you can consider voting for me in the future.”‘
Lewis, though, said he is concerned about how the draft proposal splits up Redlands and separates Redlands, Loma Linda, Highland and Yucaipa, which he said share a “long-standing close relationship.”
“The draft map that we see now has blown those communities of interest asunder, and left its pieces at the fringes of much larger blocs of interest to the west and north,” Lewis said in a statement Friday.
The draft maps could boost western San Bernardino County’s representation in Congress. Under the draft proposal, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Chino Hills and the Los Angeles County city of Pomona would make up a new district, breaking off parts of four existing districts.
Baca said there’s a good chance that district would be represented by a Democrat.
“I think that it makes it a competitive seat that a Democrat could also win the West End,” Baca said.
State Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Montclair, a Chino resident is interested in running for that seat, an aide said Friday.
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, represents a sprawling district that includes part of San Bernardino County’s High Desert and all of Inyo and Mono Counties.
Under the draft proposal, McKeon’s district would be entirely within Los Angeles County.
Under the draft plan, Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Chino, would see little change of her district.
The only tweak to her district, which currently includes Chino, Ontario, Pomona and Montclair, would be the addition of the unincorporated part of Fontana surrounding Auto Club speedway.
Wilmer Amina Carter
Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, D-Rialto, cannot run for another term in the state Assembly.
But her district, like Torres’, would remain largely the same. The district – which now includes most of Fontana, all of Rialto, all of Colton and a large part of central and western San Bernardino – would include all of Fontana, Rialto, Colton and Grand Terrace but would represent a smaller portion of San Bernardino.
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, would see his district expand into the mountains and into San Bernardino and Highland.
His district now includes Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Loma Linda and pieces of San Bernardino and Highland. The proposed district keeps Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands, but would take in all of Highland and the lion’s share of San Bernardino.
That could make the district less conservative than it has been in previous elections.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, represents an odd-looking district that includes parts of San Bernardino County’s High Desert, as well as foothill communities in Los Angeles County.
Under the draft plan, Donnelly’s district would expand to cover more of San Bernardino County’s High Desert, most of the San Bernardino Mountains, the southeastern corner of Kern County – including Edwards Air Force Base – then go on to include all of Inyo and Mono counties. The district would cover Mount Whitney and Death Valley – the highest and lowest points in the lower 48 states.
It would remain a reliably Republican district.
Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa, would see his district shift only slightly, losing Perris, part of Moreno Valley and communities in the San Bernardino Mountains but picking up some desert areas and both the Soboba and Morongo reservations.
Assemblyman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, represents Adelanto and Victorville. His Antelope Valley-based district would lose Victorville but keep Adelanto and the desert communities between Adelanto and the Los Angeles County line.
Gloria Negrete McLeod
State Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Montclair, would see her district shift but stay largely intact. Her district includes Pomona, Ontario, Fontana, Rialto and part of San Bernardino and Chino.
The draft proposal shows her district picking up more of Chino but dropping some of San Bernardino.
But Negrete Mcleod might not be representing the district for long. An aide said Friday morning that the senator is interested in running for a new congressional seat.
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