Boundaries should unite us, not divide us

By June 24, 2011

The issue: Proposed district maps ignore our Yolo County community of interest

The good news on redistricting? Maps defining the new boundaries of California’s Assembly, Senate and congressional districts are being drawn by a citizens commission with no vested interest in the outcome, other than their personal pride in doing a good job.

The bad news on redistricting? The commission’s proposed maps, released earlier this month, carve Yolo County up into three separate districts for each level of representation, meaning our small county of 200,000 residents would be represented by nine lawmakers.

CAN YOU IMAGINE how difficult it would be to have our collective voice heard?

More good news: Commissioners are accepting public comment, both written and oral, to guide them as they tweak the maps to reflect community concerns. A delegation of local leaders plans to address the commission when it hears public input from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Room 4203 of the state Capitol. All interested residents are welcome to join the group; contact Susan Lovenburg at [email protected] or (530) 304-6360.

Here’s where we stand now, under the proposed maps:

* While 200,000 residents constitute more than 40 percent of the population of an Assembly district, the largest number of Yolo County residents in any Assembly District is about 110,000, a bit over 20 percent. Our voice will be severely diluted.

* Although the concept of redistricting is to “nest” two Assembly districts into a single Senate district, all three Yolo County Assembly districts are nested in Senate districts that do not include another Yolo County district. Thus, our communities are divided into smaller and smaller segments of larger districts.

* Davis and Woodland will not share any common representatives.

* Davis and West Sacramento are in the same Assembly and Senate districts but not in the same congressional district.

* Woodland is in an Assembly district that excludes Davis, but includes Galt and Lodi.

* Davis is in an Assembly district that excludes Woodland but includes Natomas.

THESE BOUNDARIES fracture our Yolo County community of interest. We are connected by our economies, the social fabric of our cities and rural regions, our geography and our governance. But these maps split those asunder.

Collaboration is the name of the game in Yolo, where governments work together with great success on water, transportation, air quality and land use issues. Our residents collaborate, too — Yolo is served by nearly 70 nonprofit community organizations that address hunger, homelessness, health care, children’s needs and the environment, among other important causes.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Yolo County is a community of interest that needs to be reunited. Members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, hear our plea.

Debbie Davis

Debbie Davis

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