Redistricting Commission Ignores Citizens’ Wishes, Pushes Controversial Plan

    The commission’s plan, which has come under widespread criticism, would entirely upend Congressional representation in Orange County.

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    The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is pushing forward with a plan that would radically reshape the Congressional district map for Orange County, despite the objections of citizens and local politicians.

    Under the plan, the city of Newport Beach will change districts. Currently, Newport Beach is part of California’s 48th District, which includes many of the coastal cities of Orange County, and which is represented in Congress by Republican Michelle Steel.

    However, the redistricting plan would place Newport Beach along with much of what is now California’s 45th District, which encompasses much of inland central and southern Orange County and is represented by Democrat Katie Porter. This would signify a major shift in Congressional representation for the residents of Newport Beach.

    As a result, the Newport Beach City Council has passed a unanimous resolution calling on the Redistricting Commission to allow Newport Beach to remain in a district with Orange County’s coastal cities. According to Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery, the old map is best maintained “due to the common interests, concerns, and challenges these coastal cities share.”

    Meanwhile, residents of Irvine have raised concerns about being placed together with the coastal city of Newport Beach, which would have tax, energy, and other consequences for their own city. The Irvine City Council recently passed its own resolution objecting to the current redistricting map.

    This led to an eruption of controversy at a recent meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, with citizens claiming that the process has been conducted with a lack of transparency or opportunity for public comment. 

    An agency of the state government, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission is tasked with redrawing both state and federal legislative district maps in accordance with the results of the 2020 census. Their current redistricting map, if finalized, will take effect next year, in the 2022 midterm elections.

    The Commission has responded to objections by citizens, calling them “an untimely and unnecessary distraction as the Commission presses to finish its important work.”

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