Every election cycle, voters choose their representatives.
Every 10 years, however, politicians choose their voters via a process known as redistricting.
By way of redistricting, political boundaries are redrawn to ensure that each district has an equal population and that the voting power of communities of interest are preserved and enhanced. This is in contrast to gerrymandering, whereby communities are carved up to favor and ensure certain political outcomes at the expense of a community’s voting power.
California and Santa Barbara County are unique, having established redistricting commissions composed of politically impartial citizens (theoretically speaking) to draw district lines.
The state commission draws the boundaries of congressional, state Assembly and state Senate districts. The county redistricting commission draws the boundaries of Santa Barbara County’s five supervisor’s districts. Cities are on their own. Unfortunately, thus far, both of the citizen committees have appeared less than impartial.
The state commission appears to be eliminating Republican-held districts, which were few and far between to begin with.
Our county commission has allowed certain members to quit the applicant pool and even quit the commission, only to be allowed to come back for no other reason than because they are Democrats. As it pertains to openings on the commission, Democrats fill any openings rather than minority applicants who, gasp, happen to be Republican!
It appears our congressional district will include the city of Ventura in the future while it loses the northern parts of San Luis Obispo County. There will also be big changes in both the Assembly and Senate districts too, if current visualizations are finalized.
The new Assembly district that includes Santa Barbara would no longer dip into Ventura county, but it will reach into southern San Luis Obispo County. The Central Coast’s Senate district will stretch from Point Mugu into San Luis Obispo county.
You can observe the proposals and comment at wedrawthelinesca.org.
With respect to the county redistricting effort, far left activists have put forth a map they have titled “United Communities.” Talk about false advertising! It splits the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria!
It also violates one of the core principles of the laws, which govern the redistricting process known as “packing”.
The UC map “packs” the 5th District, comprising Santa Maria and Guadalupe, with a whopping 83% Latino population and a 79.7% Latino voting-age population, as if these communities lack Latino representation. Yet, the Santa Maria City Council is composed entirely of Latinos!
Unfortunately, the far left activists have publicly stated, more than once, that they are the wrong type of Latinos being that they tend to be a rather conservative bunch!
Moreover, the UC map pairs a carved-out portion of Lompoc with Isla Vista and UCSB. These communities have absolutely nothing in common with one another.
Lompoc is a relatively poor city made up of permanent resident families trying to pay rent and find better paying jobs.
The students of UCSB, on the other hand, are unmarried, temporary residents who come from some of the wealthiest families in California. They will singularly earn more upon graduation than the average family in Lompoc. Any map that includes IV and UCSB with any North County community is a product of political machinations — read that, gerrymandering!
Fair maps, based on community, rather than political, interests, have been submitted by the nonpartisan County Taxpayers and the California Center for Public Policy. The city of Santa Maria is supporting another good map that creates two solid Latino majority districts, and it keeps whole, as much as is practical, all cities, thereby comporting with the law.
It pairs Lompoc and Goleta together in the county’s swing (3rd) district, giving them the political representation they need and deserve, based on genuine, true and lasting commonalities.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.