The city council is unanimously against the draft map of the congressional district, which would separate Santa Monica from much of the Westside and combine it into one district with large parts of the San Fernando Valley.
At a council meeting on November 23, members unanimously voted to send a letter to the California Redistricting Commission asking them to group Santa Monica into beach and westside cities that match their problems, challenges, and values.
While the letter will refer to proposed Congressional, Senate, and Congregation districts, the primary concern is the draft Congressional District Plan.
This card would remove Santa Monica from the district of Congressman Ted Lieu and place it under the jurisdiction of current San Fernando Valley Congressman Brad Sherman. Malibu is grouped with Santa Monica in the planned new district and the Valley areas Encino, Woodland Hills, Canoga Park, Chatsworth and Granada Hills.
“I don’t think that’s an appropriate direction for us. It’s not the alignment we’ve ever been in before. I think we have a lot more communities of interest … with the west side cities, for example with the beach towns in a COG, ”said Mayor Sue Himmelrich, who requested to send a letter to the Redistricting Commission.
Santa Monica is currently located in the 33rd Congressional District, which includes all of the beach towns from Palos Verdes to Malibu, as well as Calabasas and Agoura Hills. Santa Monica is also represented on a Council of Governments (COG) with several west side cities, including Beverly Hills, Culver City, and West Hollywood.
Councilor Christine Parra raised concerns about how the proposed redistribution would affect Santa Monica’s mutual aid relations, as Santa Monica currently has mutual aid agreements with cities in its COG.
“Mutual aid goes from police to police, from fire to fire, from emergency management to emergency management,” Parra said. “That means we train together, help each other if there’s an event in one of our respective cities, we come out and join forces and share plans … each other.”
California’s constitution stipulates that the Redistricting Commission should draw lines that unite interest groups, but Himmelrich said it doesn’t believe this led to the proposed redistribution of Santa Monica to cities in the San Fernando Valley. The constitution defines a community of interests as a population that shares common social and economic interests and should live in a single district for the purpose of effective and fair representation.
“This is about real politics and not about a community of interests with a certain group, but about who our person will be, who is running for it, who is running for it. There is a lot of hunting, that has nothing to do with what a suitable district would be for us, ”said Himmelrich.
The city council will now submit a letter signed by the mayor setting out his position on the planned redistribution. The reallocation is completed every ten years after the census to ensure that each Senate, assembly, and congressional district has a similar number of people to ensure equal representation in government.
The California Redistricting Commission released their draft cards on November 10th and must submit their final cards by December 27th.