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New maps would put Richmond in new federal, state districts

on June 10, 2011

A California citizens’ commission proposed new political district boundaries for the 2012 elections for the state Legislature and Congress that likely would have Richmond represented in Washington and Sacramento by a new cast of characters.

On Friday, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released its first round of draft maps for Congressional, State Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization districts.

state senate district 7

The entire city would now be represented in the state senate by Loni Hancock.

The 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission was established by voters under Proposition 11 in 2008 in response to gerrymandering, drawing boundaries for political advantage, by lawmakers.

The goal is to pave the way for more moderate politicians and ease the partisan gridlock that has plagued the state for years.

The new map, if approved by nine of the 14 members by later this summer, would mean big changes for Richmond, which would gain a new congressional representative and lose a state senator.

The redistricting also could influence the outcome of future elections by mixing in new voting blocs with Richmond voters.

On the new map, Richmond’s state senate representation undergoes a drastic change.

The 7th District, represented by State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek), moves east and south, losing the slice of East Richmond voters who occupy that area. (View the current 7th District here)

That area of Richmond will now be united with the rest of the city in being represented within State Senator Loni Hancock’s (D-Oakland) 9th District.

Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez), a longtime House member who has represented Richmond, gives up most of his Richmond constituency in the new map, as his 7th District cedes coastal territory to the 9th District, represented by seven-term Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).

California’s Assembly District 14, represented by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D–Berkeley), pulls its eastern boundary in toward the bay, becoming more coastal while drifting farther north. (View District 14’s current boundaries here)

map of 14th assembly district

The 14th Assembly District would move west and north.

The new District 14 now encompasses Hercules and Pinole while losing Lafayette and Orinda.

The proposed maps would shift Richmond’s political position to the west and south, away from inland Contra Costa County and more aligned with East Bay communities like Berkeley and Oakland.

A final version of the maps should be decided by the commission by Aug. 15.


  1. Don Gosney on June 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Have these people lost their minds? They’re making the same kind of mistakes they made after the 1990 census when they placed Oakland and Richmond in the same districts.

    Their warped thinking back then was that since Oakland was Black and Richmond was Black they should have all of the Black folk represented by the same person–and in this way they had a better chance of having a Black representative.

    What they ignored is the fact that Richmond and Oakland aren’t even on the same planet. The issues and even the people are so radically different that it would be a disservice to both communities to suggest they should be represented by the same type of representative.

    What this really does is takes the quarter of a million people in West Contra County and says that they don’t count. It says that they get to pay taxes but that they won’t have a voice.

    When we were represented by Barbara Lee back in the early ’90’s as a State Assemblyperson it was as though she didn’t even drive through Richmond on her way to Sacramento. She was our representative without ever really trying to get to know her constituents. If it wasn’t so serious it would have been humorous. From the outside people could laugh about it but for those of us who had to live with this injustice it was a slap in the face.

    To suggest that the people of San Leandro and the people of Port Costa share the same issues and concerns shows just how out of touch these people are.

    The redrawing of district lines has to be more than just demographics. It has to be about the people.

  2. Anita Johnson on June 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Well…George Miller has not done anything for Richmond except support local casinos, and military recruitment of all our children ‘left behind’ with his legislation. Perhaps it will not make a heck of a difference to have Barbara Lee represent us, but at least we would not be represented by someone who ‘laments the wars but feeds the war machine’ voting for more and more funds for the wars and for the pentagon as Miller continues to do. Barbara Lee said NO to the war in Irak. Miller went with Bush and now continues to support the Obama-wars with the money we need desperately in Richmond to improve our lives.Miller is just a talker.
    It’s time for him to go and talk elsewhere.

    • Ludmyrna Lopez on June 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

      I absolutely like Barbara Lee, she is a progressive voice in Congress. I agree with George Miller on many issues. Make no mistake about it though–the coslidation of Richmond and Oakland is a bigger national issue here–a political play. Consolidating Richmond and Oakland is designed to create more conservative seats and reduce the number of progressive seats that represent urban centers at the state and national levels. George Miller and Barbara Lee work together on most issues. Even if you have disagreed with either of them, losing any one of them in Congress is a loss for Richmond.

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