On tenterhooks: What will redistricting do to our 47th Congressional District today?




Couple of days ago, everybody’s hair was on fire – the Democratic Party of Orange County, Latino groups like LULAC, the office of Loretta – because of this outrageously partisan “rough draft” redistricting map which splits OC Latinos – heretofore dominant in the 47th CD and overwhelmingly Democratic voters – into three different districts!

An OC GOP wet dream, this map would drown the bulk of Santa Ana into solidly Republican/white Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley, ensuring no Democratic and no Latino representation in the OC for many years to come:

Suspicious minds wondered if the one Orange County member of the commission, a Republican (natch) named Dr. Michael Ward, was being given droit du seigneur to carve up the OC (and rid the OC GOP of their longtime nightmare Loretta.)  When I noticed he’s a chiropractor, my mind went “Mike Schroeder’s boy!”  But even if true, it’s not that big of a deal – the final maps have to be signed off on by 3 Dems, 3 Reeps and 3 non-partisans, and the commission does seem very responsive to the public.

A lot of my fellow Dems have been concerned from the beginning that this whole process would be gamed by Republicans – for one thing, why do they have equal representation on the commission when there are far less registered Republicans in California than Democrats?  Then, on the other hand, EVERYBODY seems to be nervous and suspicious, which has to be good.

It’s true that the idea is to make all districts less safe and more competitive.  And that this is all supposed to be conducted with no regard to Party or incumbent (though that doesn’t apply to me as a blogger since I’m not on the commission.)  But the above evisceration of both the Latino “community of interest” and the Democratic 47th District is WAY jumping the shark.  I note that the (largely GOP-voting) Vietnamese community managed to keep themselves protected and intact with Garden Grove and Westminster together, but our Latinos have been diaspora’d out like Jews across the earth.  This map, if left standing, would surely have led to a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act.

But it was not to be.  Due, possibly, to all our squawking, today’s “first draft” map looks very different … but not a WHOLE lot better for minorities:  NOW the erstwhile 47th looks like a cage-match between Viets and Latinos – with a slight edge to Republicans and Viets.  Still no cigar:

Maybe Loretta WOULDN’T do so bad in the above map, as she’s been the biggest champion of Vietnamese-American interests in Congress for quite some time.   But still, this map has to give Van Tran big rotten-Tet-pastry dreams of returning to power.  And in any case it does not hold together OC Latinos’ “community of interest.”  To do that you need to include West Anaheim and West Orange (west of the 55) together with Santa Ana, as blogger “Seneca Doane” has done in the following proposed map (which he defends at eloquent length here.)

Then I notice Seneca drowns the Viets in a sea of white.  Maybe this is harder than I thought.  Still, this map is worth looking at, and mostly keeps cities together:

Other fun observations: Dana Rohrabacher’s 46th district has always been a grotesque mockery, as its snaky long finger up the coast to Rancho Palos Verdes was obviously chiseled out to keep it Republican-safe. Now that finger has been exchanged (in those first two maps) for Newport Beach, which is a lot more geographically logical, and still keeps the district just as rich, white, and Republican.

But here’s the fun part: John Campbell, who has been representing the South County, lives in Newport. Will he move further south to keep his position? I’m trying to ask around, but Tony Bushala’s little rumor last night that Ed Royce is thinking of moving to the South County to run there makes me think NO. The lazy leader of the “resistance” will probably move on to lobbying for used car dealers.

And I like the idea of say, Beth Krom, running another very good campaign for the 48th, but this time in a presidential year, and against someone who’s not an incumbent.  (Or, in the case of Royce, a CARPETBAGGER.)

Well, we’ll know a lot more in several hours – these are interesting times!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.