By Fernando Alcantara and Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
What does Westminster have in common with Long Beach or Laguna Niguel?
Well, under the redistricting proposal submitted this week by a state panel, parts of this west county city will share congressional districts with the big port city in Los Angeles County, and the small coast city at the southern edge of Orange County.
Indeed, Westminster would be split among two representatives.
Garden Grove may be sliced into three Congressional districts.
As required every 10 years as a consequence of the U.S. Census, new districts are drawn for Congressional, state and local offices, reflecting both population changes and the requirement that such districts be as closely equal in population as possible.
In years past, the districts were drawn by the state legislature, the outcome often being the protection of incumbents. The result was sometimes some odd-shaped boundaries that brought to mind the old term “gerrymandering.”
“This was not the process we used,” said Vincent Barraba, chair of the California Citizens Redistricting Committee. “It was the outcome of a completely non-partisan approach that differed from past procedures.”
Voters mandated this new plan in 2008 when they passed Proposition II, which took district-drawing out of the hands of office-holders.
Much of the discussion about the proposed new districts concerns Congressional seats. Currently, the 47th District seat is held by Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove). The district is currently composed of Anaheim, Santa Ana, most of Garden Grove and portions of Westminster.
A new district, which would approximate the old 47th, would shift to the northeast, encompassing Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange and a smaller part of Garden Grove.
Another proposed district would start in Long Beach, head east into Cypress, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Stanton and Garden Grove.
A coastal district would include Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Laguna Niguel, part of Westminster and a small strip of Garden Grove.
The process is not over, and is not without controversy. One member of the commission, Michael Ward, a Republican from Orange County, said the panel “broke the law … failed to draw maps in an open and transparent process” and that decisions were based on “political motives.”
There have been complaints about representation of Hispanics and Asians in the plan, and some Republicans said they would pursue a ballot initiative in 2012 to overturn the maps.
Under the new maps, four incumbent Republican Congressmen (including Ed Royce. Jr., whose current district includes Stanton, and Dana Rohrabacher, whose current district includes West Garden Grove and parts of Westminster) will contend for three seats in an area running from Diamond Bar to Orange County.
Want to find out just where your home or business would land in this shuffling? Go to http://swdb.berkeley.edu/gis/gis2011/ . At the site you can type in an address and find your planned new political “neighborhood.”