Saturday, July 30, 2011

Coastal Political Aboutface


I'm angry at the California Citizens Redistricting Committee. For the past 40 years, I have lived in Marin and Sonoma Counties along the 101 corridor. In every election, I have voted for candidates whose districts included the Northern California coast, and who paid attention to its issues. When I lived in Marin, I was sometimes represented by politicians from Sonoma. The reverse was also true. But grew to understand that, though each county's residents viewed the others suspiciously, they all shared a love of the coast and voted for candidates who protected it well.

The Committee released its new redistricting maps yesterday, and disenfranchised the coast from most of Sonoma County's residents along the 101 corridor. In some or all of the cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, and Petaluma, residents will now be voting for candidates for state or federal offices who have not one foot of Sonoma County coast in their districts. The political views which will be debated in those races will turn an about face from the coast and Redwood Empire to the Napa Valley and the Vallejo Hwy 80 corridor. Issues such as marine sanctuaries and coastal access will be replaced by port facilities and highway interchanges.

I don't think Sonoma County residents will like being moved to the inland empire. And I'm hoping they will show their love of the coast by electing strong environmentalists to the whichever political offices remain representing stretches of the coast. The 2nd and 10th Assembly Districts include the Marin and Sonoma coasts, and every resident except those in Rohnert Park and those along Hwy 12 from Kenwood to Boyes Hot Springs. The latter group is included in the 2nd Senate District which covers the Marin and Sonoma coasts. Unfortunately, residents of Rohnert Park have no representatives of any coast. And the coast loses federal representation in the 2nd Congressional District from most all of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, and Cotati residents.

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