With the final voting district maps completed this week, political reality is beginning to sink in, and for Rossmoor and Los Alamitos, that means a shift into a Democratic-leaning congressional district anchored by Long Beach.
Seal Beach, on the other hand, will be the northernmost end of a coastal district that extends down to Laguna Niguel. Rossmoor, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach, will be joined together in state senate and assembly districts that include more inlands cities and fewer coastal cities than in both the current districts and the ones proposed by a nonpartisan redistricting panel earlier this summer. For Los Alamitos officials, that shift is a victory.
“I’m really satisfied with the outcome of the redistricting, especially the assembly and senate districts,” said Los Alamitos City Councilman Troy Edgar. “The biggest thing that we needed to protect against was being used as population filler to complete a district.”
Originally slated to be part of a coastal district dominated by large beach cities, Los Alamitos ran the risk of having its interests as a small Los Angles County gateway city being overshadowed by the needs of larger cities that prioritize environmental beach and tourism issues, said Edgar. Los Alamitos and Rossmoor have less than half the population of any other city in the proposed districts. As the second smallest city in Orange County, Los Alamitos depends on the strong working relationships it has developed with small neighboring cities and cities with common interests, he said.
“For a small city, it’s all about leverage,” he said. Small cities work together to get funding for joint projects such as road repairs and other infrastructure improvements, added Edgar.
Conversely, Edgar said he doesn’t mind seeing his conservative Orange County city shifted into a Congressional district dominated by left-leaning Long Beach and including Cypress, Stanton and Garden Grove. Someone who represents the Port and the aerospace community in Long Beach will likely have the political clout to protect and garner federal funding for the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, noted Edgar.
The new map also makes it unlikely that Congressman Ed Royce will continue to represent Los Alamitos and Rossmoor. In fact, it is likely to force Royce, and Representatives Gary Miller and John Campbell to compete for two the same two Congressional districts.
Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong plans on taking advantage of the new boundaries and said last week that he will run for U.S. Congress in 2012. At this point, the 2012 race will feature DeLong, a Republican, and Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-LB-Paramount). Other candidates can still declare and enter in the open primary.
Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-LB-Paramount).
Seal Beach, on the other hand, is likely to continue to be represented by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, whose Orange County District is widely viewed as safe.
This was the first time in the state’s history that a 14-member commission, made up of citizens, has re-drawn the political lines. An independent California redistricting commission did just as expected Monday, and gave its final approval to a new election map. The new maps will be used during the next decade of elections for the 120 seats in the state legislature and 53 congressional seats.
Opponents of the plan have 90 days to collect 504,000 signatures to qualify a referendum. If enough signatures are collected, the commission plan would be suspended and the state Supreme Court would have the final say on district lines in time for the 2012 election.