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Finalized Redistricting Maps Give CA Democrats an Edge

The city of Santa Cruz stays whole, while adding the coastal portion of Monterey to the county's state senate seat.

After much contention and speculation to the contrary, the city of Santa Cruz will stay whole in the new redistricting maps that determine who will represent voters in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

The final redistricting maps for assembly, state senate, Board of Equalization and congressional boundary lines were approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission Monday morning, and certified by the Secretary of State Monday afternoon.

Residents within Santa Cruz County will be happy to know that the approved final maps keep the city of Santa Cruz and it's congressional voice whole, after the commission's had divided the city of Santa Cruz down the middle in order to correct its 2 percent retrogression of Latinos.

All in all, boundaries within Santa Cruz County remain fairly consistent with past boundary lines. Assembly lines remain more or less the same, and state senate boundaries now include all of San Luis Obispo, along with the coastal portion of Monterey.

Coastal Monterey, which used to be in a separate senate district, is a welcome addition to Santa Cruz County's state senate seat, according to Don Lane, Santa Cruz City Councilman.

“We have more in common with the rest of the Monterey Bay area, so I like the idea that our state senator is representing us as part of the Monterey Bay area," said Lane in an earlier phone interview. "This is something we were kind of unhappy about 10 years ago, but the commission has solved that problem, so that's another gain.”

UCSC Political Science professor Daniel Wirls said the new districts may give the Democrats an advantage over Republicans.

“At the level of U.S. Congress, it could have some implications in the elections of 2012 for shifting the balance in the House of Representatives back [to the Democrats],” Wirls said. “It will be interesting to see because redistricting is going on throughout the entire country and all sorts of things could happen, so whatever gains are made for Democrats in California, could be lost in other states where Republicans are in control.”

At this point, Wirls said things are up in the air in regards of which political side will ultimately have more of an advantage. The commission's boundary lines appear to favor California Democrats, but a lot could happen in ways of Republican backlash.

“I think in terms of the bigger picture, we naturally in California have a strong focus on our own state, but again the result has to be weighed against the effects of redistricting across the whole county,” Wirls said.

Glen Schaller of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council said the next question is whether there will be court suits or any referendums, which could send the process back to the drawing board.

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