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Redistricting: New Maps, New Campaigns

The State Redistricting Commission approved a draft of the maps that suggest a change to Mountain View's assembly and Milpitas' congressional districts before the final vote Aug. 15.

Some cities in the northern regions of Santa Clara County will soon have new electoral districts, if the California Citizens Redistricting Commission adopts the first draft of maps they released last week.

Cities like Mountain View will shift from the 22nd Assembly District with representaive Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) to the 21st with Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park) and from the 12th Senate District with Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) to the 11th with Joseph Simitian (D-Palo Alto).

Milpitas will move into a new congressional district comprised of parts of Fremont, Newark, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and a northern portion of San Jose–and out of the Representative Mike Honda's 15th to an entirely reconfigured 17th district. As a result, Congressman Honda (D-Campbell) announced he would run for the 17th district in the 2012 elections.

However, Milpitas remains in the 20th Assembly District represented by Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and in the 10th Senator District with Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro).

Los Altos, Los Altos Hill and Palo Alto remain in their current districts.

"I think the commission did a fairly good job at creating a compact district," Gordon said of the drafts released on Friday, July 29. "Fong had a compact district and I did not. My district had a thumb that extended down into the Santa Cruz Mountains."

Gordon, who represents mostly San Mateo County but also Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hill in Santa Clara County, would now pick up Mountain View. He would lose San Carlos and Redwood City.

He believes however, that because the communities have similar interests his adjustment will be smooth.

"There are interests in common with areas that I had been representing," Gordon said, who wouldn't have to move his office any closer since it's currently on the Los Altos side of El Camino Real across from Mountain View.

"Technology, the redevelopment agencies and high-speed rail are issues that I have worked with before and I will work with the [Mountain View] officials to make sure they are represented at the state level."

The independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission plans to vote on the final maps on Aug. 15 after another public review stage. The public can view the maps and then fax, email or leave their suggestions or opinions on the commission website.

In June, the commission .

"[Redistricting] ensures that the population change is considered in the new districts and that changes in the interests of the current and new residents can be taken into consideration," Commissioner Vince Barabba wrote in an email.

"Based on the experience of the commission in traveling throughout the state and from our other public input formats, I believe most residents will embrace the new districts."

According to the commission, a total of 2,700 members of the public spoke at 34 commission hearings around the state and they received close to 20,000 written comments.

Both Senators Alquist and Simitian–Mountain View's current senator and potentially it's new one–will be unable to run for reelection due to term limits. This fact and the new district line could forecast an interesting election season as local voters will now possibly have candidates from San Mateo County and not just from Santa Clara County.

Outgoing Senator Alquist, who had not released a formal statement, did send the following to Mountain View Patch via a spokesperson:

"The  senator has been honored to represent Mt. View in the Legislature and will continue to vigorously advocate on behalf of the people of Mountain View for the remainder of her term."

Request for comment from Assemblyman Fong was not received by publication time.

All four northern Santa Clara County cities remain in the same Board of Equalization district.

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