Orange County residents call for changes to federal and state political maps – Orange County Register

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Residents of the Coto de Caza gated community do not want to be lumped into an Assembly District that includes southern Riverside County.

Residents of Little Saigon want northeast Huntington Beach to be seen as part of their community.

And the people of Irvine, for the most part, don’t want their city divided between two congressional districts.

These are just a few of the hundreds of written comments sent by residents of Orange County to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission since November 10, when the commission made public the draft new maps proposed for them. state and federal political districts.

Dozens of county residents have also called meetings held in recent weeks for the commission to gather public comment as it reflects on the latest boundary changes ahead of the Dec. 27 deadline to present maps that will shape power. politics in California for the next decade.

Federal law requires states to redraw political maps every 10 years, after the release of new census data, to ensure that populations are evenly distributed among districts. Once approved, maps of California’s 52 Congressional Districts, 80 Assembly Districts, and 40 Senate Districts will be retained until the next redistribution, following the 2030 census.

The California commission aims to release the final maps of this redistribution series on December 20, spokesman Fredy Ceja said. Members are expected to hold a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol on Dec. 27 as they hand over the final cards to the Secretary of State.

But the public can continue to weigh until December 27, and the commission has scheduled live meetings almost every day until December 23 to hear comments that could change the cards.

Some of the sweeping changes in the commission’s map projects – including the creation of a new seat in the predominantly Latin American State Senate centered around Santa Ana and Anaheim – have been applauded by many residents of the county. But most of the comments were about changes people would like to see before the final cards are submitted.

An analysis of the comments received so far shows that the most local comments focus on the commission’s ideas to redesign the 39th Congressional District, represented by young Republican Kim de La Habra.

The district now includes northeast Orange County as well as significant portions of southeast Los Angeles County and the Chino Hills in San Bernardino County. As the district crosses three counties, supporters of the current boundary note that residents of the district share common concerns about issues such as forest fires in the hills and the traffic corridor around Highways 60 and 57.

According to the proposed map, most of the 39th would be in Orange County, stretching from Yorba Linda to Little Saigon and ending on the coast at Seal Beach. While the result would be a solidly Asian American District, centered around the Vietnamese-American community of Little Saigon, a coalition of residents wrote to oppose the split of the San Gabriel Valley into two districts and the separation of northeastern Orange County, both of which have higher shares of Korean and Chinese. US residents. Such a change, commentators wrote, would dilute the voices of these AAPI communities.

“At a time when our communities need to unite and fight together against growing issues such as the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, economic and social recovery from a pandemic and other forms of historic discrimination, there is is more important than ever for us to preserve our communities, ”wrote to the commission Luci-Ellen Chun, a resident of the San Gabriel Valley.

Other commentators have argued that it makes no sense to place the coastal community of Seal Beach in a congressional district with inland communities such as Brea.

“I have the impression that this district was drawn by trying to arbitrarily find pockets of population and what remains is a district which hardly makes practical sense,” wrote Heidi Gallegos, executive director of the Chamber of Brea trade, on commission.

The residents of Little Saigon expressed their thanks for bringing the hearts of their community together in one neighborhood. But rather than including Fullerton in that district, a number of commentators have called for the commission to incorporate northeast Huntington Beach, dividing the town north of Garfield Avenue. Thai Duong, a resident of Little Saigon, said this was where many young Vietnamese Americans settled to raise their families, extending Little Saigon’s borders to the west rather than south or east. .

Commentators say Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans and other groups of Asian Americans would also be negatively affected by a proposed change to the 45th Congressional District, represented by Democrat Katie Porter of Irvine.

The proposed boundaries would divide the 45th in Irvine between a district of Eastern Orange County and the coast, an idea that Irvine resident Ethan Ball wrote “dilutes the voting power of Asians in County of” Orange ”.

Kian ZabihiI told the commission the split would mean “Irvine would lose a lot of his representative power” and “lose his ability to elect Katie Porter.” The commission is not allowed to take into account how limit changes would affect cardholders to avoid gerrymandering. But Porter lives in the part of town that would be moved to a coastal district according to the draft maps, and although House members are not required to live in the district they represent, it is politically supportive to do so. to do.

When asked about the proposed change in her district, Porter declined to comment, saying she didn’t want to be seen as trying to influence the process. When told about her future plans, Porter said she would consider showing up in the New Coastal District, where she lives and feels closely connected.

Dozens of commentators also continue to pressure the commission to create a single coastal OC congressional district. Instead, the commission’s plans do the opposite, dividing the coast from two districts into three.

“Towns like Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel are much more similar than Newport Beach and inland Irvine,” commentator Angela Adams wrote. “Let’s finally make a coastal district and empower the communities that power the economy of Orange County.”

While congressional districts are getting a lot of attention from commentators, a proposal to change an inland Orange County assembly district is also controversial.

According to the plans, the towns of Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo, as well as the communities of the canyon, are grouped together in an Assembly District with Murrieta and Temecula, which lie on the other side of the Santa Ana Mountains in the southwest Riverside County. While the Ortega Highway connects the two politically similar areas, not much else seems to be doing it.

“The communities of Temecula and Murrieta are woefully remote and they have no idea of ​​the issues and interests of Orange South County,” commentator TL Bradley wrote to the commission.

As news of these proposed policy changes spread, some residents clearly misunderstood the process, with some commentators writing to oppose the Coto de Caza commission’s “annexation” to a neighboring county – even if the political boundaries under discussion could not change the boundaries of the community. or reassign it to a new county.

Similar comments were made by residents of northern OC communities such as Rossmoor, which could be included in state or federal districts with cities in Los Angeles County. Residents there expressed concern that they were under the jurisdiction of the LA County Department of Health, the district attorney, or the school system – changes that, again, could not happen in the redistribution.

Residents can learn more about the process and connect to the next meeting, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1 at WeDrawTheLinesCA.org.


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