20 Aug 2014
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Redistricting: Long Term Impacts Few

Mayor Doug Tessitor responds to the approved legislative redistricting maps.

Redistricting: Long Term Impacts Few Redistricting: Long Term Impacts Few

"What are your thoughts about Glendora's place in the new redistricting maps?"

Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get!”  Voters wanted to change the political “climate” by having a citizen’s commission set district boundaries; now that they have done so, many are afraid they won’t like the political “weather” that is going to result. My first reaction was exactly that.

Upon reflection, I think the changes will not have much practical impact over time.  California will still be a blue state with Democrat majorities.  Republicans and Independents will still struggle to have input in the direction of the state.  That’s the “climate” of California.

The “weather” will be impacted by taking the legislature out of the district boundaries setting business which will make for less gerrymandering.  It will not eliminate it, because some of the rules imposed on the commission require it.

The Voting Rights Act requires that ethnicity be a part of the setting of boundaries.  That has created some unusual district configurations and has introduced race into the equation.  That appears to be the basis of most of the threats of legal challenges to the new system.  Latinos, Blacks, and Asians all want to have representation that reflects their proportional position in society.  The Republicans are afraid they may lose seats in the State Legislature as a result.

I think all the angst about these changes is overblown.  Ethnic groups are not necessarily monolithic - of one mind – politically.  I hope that when the dust settles, good Republican and Independent candidates, regardless of ethnicity, will choose to run.

If their ideas and values are effectively communicated, and resonate with the voters, they will win election.  It will be a positive change in the “weather” if competing ideas and choices are introduced in our elections. 

Now to the specifics, and the immediate impact on Glendora:

I hate the fact that David Dreier will, likely, no longer represent Glendora in Congress.  He has done an excellent job representing the interests of our city and our region.  His seniority and position as Chairman of the Rules Committee has magnified our voice in Washington.  Assuming he continues in Congress he will still be supportive of our local issues.  He deserves to be reelected in a new district.

State Senator Bob Huff and Freshman Assembly Member Tim Donnelly will no longer represent Glendora.  That is also a shame, because both are good people and they have the economic well being of the state and local interests as top priorities.  Bob Huff has a longer track record and has been an effective and supportive voice for Glendora and the San Gabriel Valley.  If reelected in their new districts they will continue to be supportive of our interests, I believe.

One unfortunate result of the redistricting is the fact that – with the 210 Freeway as the dividing line.  This will just provide more ammunition for the South vs. North contingent.

The good news is that we will have two congressional representatives with skin in the game for Glendora.  What is helpful to one area of Glendora is beneficial to the whole city.  Congressional Reps will see Glendora only, not North Glendora or South Glendora.

The State Senate and State Assembly districts do not divide Glendora which is good.  They do include disparate communities that may have little in common with Glendora, which could be cause for concern.

The solution to the concerns is to make sure that whoever ends up as  our elected representative is aware of our needs and interests.  An active, involved electorate goes a long way to ensure that our elected officials remain mindful of who they represent.

For a conservative Republican like me, the political “climate” in California is not ideal.  The potential changes in the political “weather," however, make life interesting and should give us all new incentives to engage in the process.

Climate Change, in this context, can indeed be man-made!

*The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of Doug Tessitor alone.  They are not to be construed to represent official positions of the city or the opinions of any other council member.

Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor fields your community questions and answers them in a weekly column. In Glendora Patch’s Mayor’s Roundtable, you are invited in an ongoing dialogue about issues and concerns you have regarding your city. Share your ideas and voice your opinion.

Have a question you'd like Mayor Tessitor to answer? E-mail hazel.lodevicotoo@patch.com

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