Redistricting still splits Menlo, but along 101

All of Menlo Park west of 101 would be in Eshoo's district

Click on maps to enlarge and see captions.

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has divided Menlo Park into two congressional districts, but the border will be U.S. 101 under the latest proposal released Friday, July 29, not the broad swath that had run through the center of the city under an earlier proposal, running from 101 and stopping roughly just east of Sharon Heights.

If the commission approves the final drafts on Aug. 15, the map for the new 18th Congressional District, represented by Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, will include Menlo Park west of U.S. 101, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley.

The Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park and unincorporated North Fair Oaks will be represented by Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco, as will East Palo Alto and Redwood City.

"I think that's just a horrible shame," Councilwoman Kirsten Keith said in a phone interview. "Belle Haven is Menlo Park. (The representation) needs to be be all of Menlo Park."

Ms. Keith wrote a letter to the redistricting commission protesting the original plan to assign central Menlo Park and Belle Haven to one district and Sharon Heights to another.

"It doesn't make any sense. I am hoping they will revisit this," Ms. Keith added.

Would grouping Belle Haven with East Palo Alto and Redwood City, cities with similar demographics, give the residents more clout with their congressional representative?

"I don't know," Ms. Keith replied.

The populations of the two districts are listed as within the required range of plus-or-minus one person. According to statistics provided by the redistricting commission, Ms. Eshoo represents 702,906 residents of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, and Ms. Speier represents 702,905 in San Mateo and San Francisco counties.

As for the redrawn state Assembly and Senate districts, the significant change for this area is that Portola Valley and Woodside, now represented by Sen. Leland Yee, would move to the Senate district that includes Menlo Park and Atherton and is represented until November 2012 by Sen. Joe Simitian.

Rich Gordon, who represents these four communities in the state Assembly, would see his long and thin district no longer stretch south to Los Gatos, but stop around Santa Clara and expand westward to include Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio and Pescadero.

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Like this comment
Posted by Jim Long
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

How they divide up MP is much less improtant than fixing a broken gerrymandering system. There is no way to do that if every community fights tooth & nail for their own special interests. The fact we do not know (ie, it is not obvious) if the new proposal results in more clout for BelleHaven is proof enough to me that we have more important things to worry about then the outcome of this vitally important redrawing of the lines by citizens not the legislature.

Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Vice Mayor Keith is correct. Is is very important to keep all of Menlo Park together in one Congressional District. I believe the rationale for the second iteration was to keep Belle Haven and East Palo Alto together in one Congressional district since they have similar needs. I can also understand its rationale to maintain Districts' similar sizes and shapes.

However, there are alternatives that can achieve the above stated goals while keeping Menlo Park in one district. I propose that Woodside be allocated to Congresswoman Speer's district while Belle Haven and East Palo Alto be allocated to Congresswoman Eshoo's District.

Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Due to the populations of the respective neighborhoods, it might be more balanced populatin wise to swap Woodside and Portola Valley for Belle Haven and East Palo Alto.

Like this comment
Posted by redraw?
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 2, 2011 at 10:08 am

What's the final statewide congressional tally? Dems likely to gain five still? With citizen redrawing, California's natural color seems to be coming out further.

Blue gets bluer. Gotta love California.

Regarding the numbers and random oddities - how likely was it the two districts could be sliced to having a population difference of a mere one resident?!?

I always thought CA districts represented around 450-500K, but now they're covering 702,906 residents.

Plus or minus one.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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