Keeping Sonoma and Marin together in Congress makes sense – Marin Independent Journal


When it comes to delineating state and federal legislative district boundaries, Marin is usually the tail trying to wag the dog.

Our population generally makes Marin a small piece of a Congressional or State Senate district.

That’s why Representative Jared Huffman risks seeing his home county excluded from the North Coast District he represented for three terms.

The ten-year task for the district recalculation is to reduce their numbers to about 800,000 for Congressional districts and to 1 million for state Senate districts. With a population of approximately 260,000, Marin County will not dominate any district.

The Assembly quarters have a target of 500,000 inhabitants, giving Marin a greater presence.

As of 2013, Huffman, a longtime resident of San Rafael, has represented the 2nd Congressional District of the North Coast, which stretches from Marin to the Oregon border.

The work of readjusting district boundaries is now in the hands of an independent commission of state citizens, which must balance population demands with districts comprising “communities of interest” – sharing social, economic interests. and common policies – and racial equity.

It is not a simple task.

Trying to match these priorities with the required numbers is not easy. Often geography and politics stand in the way.

But that’s an improvement over letting politicians redraw the lines. California voters embraced the independent commission as a reform allowing politicians, often protecting themselves and threatening their enemies, to set limits.

One of the maps proposed by the commissions would remove Marin from District 2 and add him to Democratic Representative Mike Thompson’s 5th District, which includes Napa County and parts of Sonoma, Contra Costa, Lake and Solano counties.

The state panel faces a deadline of November 15 to publish its final draft of maps offered for public comment. Their final cards are due on December 27.

Ten years ago, the 2011 commission debated whether or not to bring Marin into a San Francisco-based congressional district, similar to the state Senate district or the Congressional district of the 1970s and 1980s.

While Marin and San Francisco share social and economic interests, Marin’s addition to a San Francisco-centric neighborhood often left him dominated by the rumbles of San Francisco politics, with Marin’s issues often being second-rate priorities. .

That changed for the Congressional District in 1991, when the local district was redesigned to encompass Marin and most of Sonoma County – reflecting a strong and growing bond between the two communities.

This connection continues today. This is why, in 2011, the editorial board of the IJ spoke out against the regrouping of Marin in a district centered on San Francisco. The commission ultimately maintained the Marin-Sonoma connection, but added the northern coast counties to meet the required population target.

We still believe that the political setup is a solid foundation for a legislative constituency. This makes sense and should be kept as part of the Congressional, State Senate and North Shore assembly lines of North Bay and North Coast.

The 2011 commission was right.

It is important to re-examine legislative lines, but it is equally important to recognize that a strong social and economic bond must be maintained in accordance with the objective of forming districts that reflect “communities of interest”.

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