Home Census Final Congressional Maps Divide San Jose in Three Ways, Reshape Borders for Incumbent Democrats

Final Congressional Maps Divide San Jose in Three Ways, Reshape Borders for Incumbent Democrats

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The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is set to approve today final congressional district boundaries that will appeal to City of San Jose officials, but will create election year unrest for Santa Clara County incumbents .

The boundaries released on Saturday and discussed at today’s bipartisan committee meeting retain the same number of Congressional districts – 11 – for the Greater Bay Area, but redraw the boundaries of the districts of San Jose, the Silicon Valley, South County and Coast, based on the 2020 US Census.

San José Mayor Sam Liccardo was elated when he saw the commission revised its congressional maps for San José after the mayor complained a week ago.

The final draft of the redistribution map shows new boundaries for the congressional districts of San Jose.
Map courtesy of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

“Your voices have been heard! he exclaimed on Facebook and Twitter, the day before the publication of the map. “Just a few hours ago,” he wrote, “the commission decided to implement map # 3, which preserves a congressional district with a majority of San José residents. “

The redistribution commission consists of five Democrats, five Republicans and four unaffiliated voters, and faces a Dec. 27 deadline to create 52 congressional districts, one less than the state’s current allocation, plus the Senate and State Assembly districts.

San José, the third-largest city in the state that surpassed the official million-population mark in the 2020 census, is still divided into three congressional districts, but a week ago Liccardo was shocked by a draft map that divided San José into four districts. Almost all of San Francisco and Oakland, for example, are contained in separate neighborhoods.

The three new congressional districts for Metro San Jose include the first predominantly Latino district and another which is the first predominantly Asian district.

Under the plan expected to be approved today, downtown and eastern San Jose, including Alum Rock, are included in a large congressional district that stretches nearly 150 miles south of the San Antonio lake. This district is 50.5% Latin, according to the census.

Parts of this district are currently represented by Democratic Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta.

Another district is revising the Congressional boundaries of Silicon Valley to exclude Fremont, home of Representative Ro Khanna, as well as Palo Alto, Mountain View, Stanford and Menlo Park, while including Milpitas, parts of San Jose – including the Norman Mineta International Airport in San Jose and Berryessa – and all of Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. This neighborhood is 46% Asian and 35% white, according to the census. Fremont will be added to the East Bay District represented by Representative Eric Swalwell.

The third district which includes parts of San Jose includes southern San Jose, stretching from Campbell to Hecker Pass, including the western Santa Clara County communities of Saratoga, Willow Glen, and the Coyote Valley. This region is currently represented by veterans Lofgren and Anna Eshoo.

The territory now represented by Eshoo and Panetta will be combined into one long coastal district stretching 200 miles from Pacifica to Pasa Robles, including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey , Big Sur and Cayucos.

The final draft of the redistribution map shows new boundaries for the Santa Clara County congressional districts.
Map courtesy of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission

A revised Peninsula neighborhood begins in East Palo Alto in the south and ends in Daly City, including Redwood City, San Mateo, Foster City, Millbrae, and Burlingame. Longtime San Mateo representative Jackie Speier has announced that she is not running for re-election.

A hurdle was easily cleared last week for the commission, courtesy of the California Supreme Court. The court refused to hear an emergency appeal filed by several Republican voters on Wednesday who wanted commission legal counsel to be fired and more disclosure of documents linked to racially polarized voting. The judges did not explain why they refused to hear the request.

Commission Chairman J. Ray Kennedy said last week that he hoped to finalize all maps today, to allow time before Christmas for final public review and comment.

Approval of cards requires consensus. The California Constitution requires at least three commissioners from each political subgroup for ratification. But with just four seats on the committee, that means even greater agreement among the “no-party” voters on the panel.

“The Commission is grateful that the Supreme Court promptly dismissed the petition and dismissed the allegation that the Commission failed to conduct itself in full compliance with the law,” Kennedy said last weekend.

Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco lawyer and member of the Republican National Committee, had asked the state’s highest court to fire legal advisers for the state’s independent redistribution commission and force disclosure of private meetings and research on race-based voting models, a court challenge made as the panel was in the final stages of crafting new political maps.