Archive for the ‘State of California’ Category

Brentwood man enters special April 5 Assembly election race as write-in candidate to challenge Suisun mayor

Monday, March 28th, 2022

Supports cutting gas taxes, opposes facemask mandates for school children, announces endorsements; district includes all of Antioch

Erik Elness. From his campaign.

Erik Elness, a 25-year Brentwood resident and business owner, filed paperwork with the Contra Costa County Elections Department on Friday, March 18, 2022, and was certified as an official ‘Write-In Candidate’ for the April 5, 2022 Assembly District 11 Special Election. The AD-11 seat was vacated when former Assemblyman Jim Frazier resigned on December 31st.

“I decided to run as a write-in candidate, because I wanted to give the hard-working voters of our Contra Costa and Solano district a choice of who they want to vote for in this special election,” Elness stated. “Government has grown bigger and more controlling, and individual liberty has been gradually taken from us.”

A Republican, he is challenging Democrat Suisun City Mayor Lori Wilson who is the only candidate to file in the race. While her name will appear on the ballot, voters must write in Elness’ name to vote for him.  The winner will serve out the remainder of the term through the end of the year, in the current district which includes Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Byron, Knightsen and portions of Pittsburg in the Contra Costa County part of the district.

Within several days of announcing his candidacy, Elness was unanimously endorsed by the Solano County Republican Central Committee and endorsed by CD-8 Congressional Candidate, Major Rudy Recile (U.S. Army, retired), former CD-9 Congressional candidate Antonio Amador, and former AD-11 Assembly candidate Dave Miller. In addition, former AD-11 candidate Lisa Romero has endorsed him, as well.

Elness said he was shocked to learn the Assembly Democrats recently voted against temporarily suspending 50 cents per gallon off the state gasoline taxes. He agreed with the bill to cut state gas prices, adding, “the people of California need relief, now from increasing gas prices, impacting their budgets and our economy. That bill was one simple way to help accomplish that.”

Elness also stated, “I’m ‘pro-choice’ when it comes to COVID vaccines and masks. I don’t believe our children should be forced to wear masks at school.”

“Sacramento politicians are out of touch with the needs of the people who live and work in our neighborhoods. I worked corporate jobs for 23 years and I’ve been a small business owner for nearly 13 years, running a successful family business with my wife,” Elness shared. “We deserve a representative in Sacramento in tune with the issues, concerns, and challenges facing families in our community.”

“I support equal opportunity in education, with every child in every neighborhood receiving a quality education,” he stated. “I applaud successful public schools (my kids had a lot of great teachers in public schools.) But I believe families should have choices when it comes to home school, private or charter schools.’

“I strongly support the U.S. Constitution and I will strongly oppose any new State laws that infringe on our Civil Rights, including our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Elness continued. “I support our firefighters, local law enforcement officers and deputy district attorneys who work tirelessly to protect our Constitutional liberty and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

To learn more follow his campaign on Facebook at Erik Elness for CA Assembly, District 11 and Instagram at erikelnessforassembly.

To vote for Elness in the April 5 Special Election, simply fill in the ‘bubble’ in the write in section and neatly print his name, “Erik Elness” on the write in line.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Gov. Newsom lifts mask mandate for unvaccinated indoors March 1, schools March 12

Monday, February 28th, 2022

Still required on public transit

Joined by governors of Oregon, Washington to offer more updated health guidance for the three western states

SACRAMENTO – With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance. After 11:59 p.m. on March 11, California, Oregon and Washington will adopt new indoor mask policies and move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.

State policies do not change federal requirements, which still include masks on public transit.

Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom: “California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.”

In California, starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. After March 11, in schools and childcare facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended. Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities. As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance.

Newsom also presented his COVID SMARTER Plan introduced on Feb. 17, which stands for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education and Rx.

Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown: “Two years ago today, we identified Oregon’s first case of COVID-19. As has been made clear time and again over the last two years, COVID-19 does not stop at state borders or county lines. On the West Coast, our communities and economies are linked. Together, as we continue to recover from the Omicron surge, we will build resiliency and prepare for the next variant and the next pandemic. As we learn to live with this virus, we must remain vigilant to protect each other and prevent disruption to our schools, businesses, and communities––with a focus on protecting our most vulnerable and the people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

In Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority rules requiring masks in indoor public places and schools will be lifted after 11:59 p.m. on March 11. Other state and federal requirements, such as those for health care settings, public transit, and other specialized settings, will remain in place for a period of time.

Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee: “We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement. While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”

In Washington, indoor mask requirements will be lifted as of 11:59 p.m. on March 11. This new date does not change any other aspect of the updated mask requirements Inslee announced last week. Masks will still be required in certain settings including health care, corrections facilities and long-term care facilities. The Washington State Department of Health will be issuing new guidance for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols.

 

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Assemblywoman Bauer-Kahan, Supervisor Burgis introduce bill targeting illegal dumping

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Supervisor Diane Burgis stand in front of a truck with nine yards of garbage illegally dumped on roads in the county during press conference in Antioch on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

AB 2374 increases fines, adds teeth to state law on illegal dumping 

At a press conference today, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Antioch, Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (AD16-D-Orinda), District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, the bill’s sponsor, and local county leaders announced the introduction of AB 2374. Entitled “Crimes against public health and safety: illegal dumping”, the bill was introduced in response to the rampant illegal dumping plaguing communities across California.

“The illegal dumping of trash, furniture, mattresses, appliances, and toxic materials is out of control in both our rural and urban areas – it isn’t just unsightly, it is putting the health of our communities and environment at risk,” said Bauer-Kahan. “Every Californian deserves the right to live in clean, garbage-free neighborhoods.”

“We started this out when we were trying to figure out how to handle it. That’s when we learned of the multiple agencies each responding,” said Burgis. “We formed a Think Tank of agencies in the county, plus East Bay Regional Park and our garbage haulers. And it’s expensive.”

“What people were doing was instead of taking it to the landfill or transfer station, they were just dumping it on the side of the road,” she stated. Pointing to the truck filled with items picked up along East County roads that was at the press conference Burgis said, “That’s nine yards, but they usually pick up 15 yards of large and small items in East County, each week.”

This bill builds upon previous legislative efforts of Bauer-Kahan and Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in 2019. These efforts provided funding to the counties of Alameda and Contra Costa to establish a pilot program for additional enforcement of illegal dumping laws in both counties. This program has been successful, but more tools in the arsenal to fight illegal dumping are necessary. Policies like increased enforcement, street lighting, and cameras throughout the East Bay region have also helped, however, California still lacks sufficient penalties to deter people from this harmful behavior.

AB 2374 raises fines on illegal dumping of commercial quantities up to $5,000 upon first conviction, up to $10,000 on a second conviction, and up to $20,000 on third or subsequent conviction. Additionally, this bill will give judges discretion to require the convicted to pay for the removal of their illegal dumping, suspend the business license of any individual convicted of dumping waste connected to their business, and allow for that person’s name and name of the business to be publicly displayed as convicted of illegal dumping.

“We want everyone to be doing the right thing, but there’s a limit to what we can do to educate and incentivize good behavior,” said Burgis. “It’s important for the public to understand that dumping has an impact on the quality of our drinking water, and that it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. I applaud Bauer-Kahan for her efforts to empower us with the tools we need at the local level to start getting greater control of this problem.”

Contra Costa County District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, who also serves on the County’s Illegal Dumping Ad Hoc Committee, added, “Residents deserve beautiful land and clean neighborhoods to live and work in. We want to be sure that everyone, including commercial businesses, hear loud and clear that they cannot illegally dump in our community without hefty fines, hence the need for this legislation.”

“Illegal dumping is a plague on our entire state – impacting our most urban, suburban, and rural communities. In a pilot project in my Supervisorial District alone we’ve removed nearly 1,200 tons of trash from our streets. This legislation provides needed enforcement authority to combat illegal dumping and blight in our neighborhoods, while alleviating the unfair burden of clean up from residents and local businesses,” said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley.

“By upping the fines and providing tools for the courts to publicly hold violators accountable for committing these acts, we disincentivize actors and create public knowledge on who not to work with,” Bauer-Kahan added. “I want to thank Contra Costa County for bringing this bill idea to my attention and look forward to getting it implemented statewide.”

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Candidate filing period for June 7 Primary Election begins Monday

Saturday, February 12th, 2022

For county DA, sheriff, supervisor, Superior Court judges and other offices, U.S. Senate, Congress, governor and other statewide offices, and State Assembly

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach/Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

On Monday, February 14, the June 7, 2022, Candidate Filing Period will begin, and nomination papers will be available for candidates running for Statewide Constitutional offices, County offices, Superior Court judges, United States Senator, United States Representative in Congress and Member of the State Assembly. The nomination period runs through 5:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2022.  A list of offices currently up for election can be found here: https://www.cocovote.us/wp-content/uploads/22Jun07_PositionsUpForElection-1.pdf

Papers for offices that are up for election will be available at the Contra Costa Elections Office, 555 Escobar Street, Martinez.

For further information on the primary election and key dates, visit www.cocovote.us.

With COVID-19 still in play, the Contra Costa Elections Division is asking interested candidates to schedule an appointment through email at candidate.services@vote.cccounty.us or by calling 925-335-7800. Walk-ins are accepted, but subject to the availability of staff. Appointments are available on weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Filing documents and information will be provided to interested constituents at their appointment. The process takes 20 minutes.

All visitors will be asked to check-in at the Elections lobby and will be required to wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines.

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California indoor mask mandate to end for the vaccinated Feb. 15

Monday, February 7th, 2022
A post on the California Governor’s Facebook page on Monday, Feb. 7 reads, “On February 15, California’s statewide indoor mask requirement will expire. Unvaccinated people must still wear masks in indoor public settings. Cases have decreased 65% since the Omicron peak.”
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Glazer, 42 other state legislators from both parties call for increase to Renters Tax Credit 

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

From $60 to $500 for single residents and $120 to $1,000 for single parents and couples in eligible households. Focused on poorest. Last changed in 1979.

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

SACRAMENTO – Low-income California renters who have been drowning in unaffordable housing costs would see much-needed relief under a bill unveiled Wednesday by State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Contra Costa) and co-authors representing more than one-third of the Legislature.

The legislation, SB 843, would increase the California renter’s tax credit for the first time in more than 40 years and would represent significant help to renters across California. Eligible households would receive $500 for single residents and $1,000 for single parents and couples. Currently, eligible renters have their tax liabilities offset by only $60 for single filers or $120 for joint filers.

The bill would make the tax credit more valuable to the poorest Californians by making single parents eligible for the same credit as couples and allowing people to receive the full credit even if the amount exceeds their tax liability.

“We’ve treated renters like the doormat outside California’s economic recovery house,” Glazer said. “We cannot make an economic comeback without renters having their rightful place inside. Renters have waited 42 years for a modest level of fairness in our tax code. We can’t make them wait any longer.

“An increase in the renters’ tax credit will mean that people don’t have to choose between putting food on the table, taking their kids to the doctor, and making the rent.”

Those eligible for the new renter’s credit would be single filers making $43,533 or less and joint filers making $87,066 or less. Nearly 2.4 million renters would be eligible for the tax credit, according to 2019 Franchise Tax Board estimates.

California has not increased the renter’s credit since 1979. The proposed increase accounts for inflation since then. SB 843 provides direct help to renters – those who typically struggle the most to find affordable housing, and who have been hit hard during COVID-19.

Glazer’s previous attempt to increase the credit – SB 248 – was described by CalMatters as the “most bipartisan bill of the year.”  That bill had 30 co-authors. SB 843 already has 43 — and counting — from across the state and all parts of the ideological spectrum.

Assemblyman Steven Choi, R-Irvine, a principal co-author, said: “Nearly half of the state’s residents are renters, but we simply have not done enough to help them with our state tax policies. This legislation can serve as one tool to make renting more affordable. It would be a real boost to working families who are struggling to make ends meet with the high cost of living in California.”

Too many renters have struggled for too long, said Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger.

“California renters have struggled to meet rent prior to the pandemic, and have faced rents that in some areas have tripled,” said Senator Hurtado. “Even with steps we have previously taken, many renters face homelessness. This tax relief credit will provide much needed relief for renters, and I am happy to support it.”

Senator Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, said there couldn’t be a better time than now to help renters.

“We need to help California renters, many of whom are struggling, with permanent financial relief,” said Senator Susan Rubio. “I want to thank Senator Glazer for introducing this bill, and I’m happy to be a co-author. Increasing the renters tax credit, while we have a healthy budget surplus, will put money where it’s needed the most and help families now and in the future.”

Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said so many historic moments have come and gone without much help for renters. Until now.

“A lot has changed since 1979: my LA Clippers relocated to Los Angeles, the internet was ‘born,’ the Berlin wall fell, and a NASA spacecraft flew past Pluto,” Wilk said. “One thing that hasn’t changed? California’s $60 renter’s tax credit. Offering low-income renters such little assistance is inexcusable and reflects a bygone era. I am excited we are taking serious steps to put this behind us, too.”

Senator David Cortese, D-San Jose, said: “I’d like to thank Senator Glazer for his leadership as well as my colleagues for introducing this bill that will significantly expand our state’s renters tax credit and provide much needed relief to not only millions of low-income renters, but also our ‘missing middle’-income population that is often overlooked. And by doing so, this bill will provide stability to our families and prevent the displacement of valuable members of our communities – including our teachers, nurses, nonprofit employees as well other essential workers who are being forced to leave the state due to high cost of living and skyrocketing rents.”

 

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, a co-author, said, “Renters have been disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19. Until the pandemic is fully behind us and jobs can return to full capacity, some renters may continue to face a risk of homelessness or housing instability. Updating the renters tax credit is a way of providing critical direct relief to some of California’s most vulnerable.” 

Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, R-Huntington Beach, said: “After a difficult two years throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is my priority to find and work toward solutions that lower the cost of living. This tax credit will help many families in our community not have to choose between paying for rent and providing food for their family. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to get this bill passed through the Legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.”

Jiseon Kim, a University of California Los Angeles senior majoring in history and public affairs and Head of Advocacy at Swipe Out Hunger at UCLA, said that students are among the many Californians facing high housing costs today, “one of many obstacles they face in being able to earn their degrees. This bill would help address our cost of living issues and will contribute to all students’ overall educational success.”

Senator Brian Jones, R-Santee, said the bill recognizes the needs of working families.

“The State’s $45 billion budget surplus was built on the backs of hardworking Californians, including renters, who now deserve a break,” Jones said.

The Renter’s Tax Credit is a common-sense idea that offers urgently needed relief to California’s millions of families burdened with high rent, said David Knight, Executive Director of the California Community Action Partnership (CalCAPA). While California homeowners receive $5.8 billion in tax relief through mortgage deductions, renters’ relief has been barely a blip on the radar, Knight noted. The cost of the new renter’s credit would be around $1.2 billion, according to 2019 Franchise Tax Board estimates.

“It’s a matter of fairness,” Knight said. “California’s housing policies have favored homeowners for decades by offering them a tax credit for the interest on their mortgages. But, renters haven’t been granted similar benefits. CalCAPA is proud to support this important bill, which makes our housing policy more fair and equitable.”

Senator David Min, D-Irvine, said: “Housing remains a top issue for Californians in every corner of our state. From the rising cost of living to the COVID-19 crisis, California renters have faced no shortage of challenges in recent years. I’m honored to be a coauthor of SB 843, which will help thousands by making crucial and long overdue updates to the California Renters Tax Credit.”

The renter’s credit was established in 1972. Since its only increase in 1979, rents in California have more than quintupled while the renters credit remained flat. Median state rent exceeds $1,500 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, and rentals in cities like San Francisco average more than $2,700 a month.

Senator Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, said: “Expanding eligibility for the renters tax credit is incredibly important. Especially now, as Californians continue to struggle with the pandemic, it is important we do everything we can to make California more affordable for all Californians. I am proud to be a coauthor of Senate Bill 843, and thank Senator Glazer for his leadership on this issue.”

Assemblywoman Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), a co-author, said, “California is facing a housing crisis unlike anything we have ever seen before. In addition to a lack of housing, we also have one of the nation’s highest costs of living. The existing renters tax credit has not been raised since 1979 and due to inflation plus a stagnant economy, Californians are hurting now more than ever. Modernizing and updating this credit to keep up with 21st century living standards is the right thing to do to provide relief to low-and-middle income renters.”

Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, D-Stockton, said: “The ever-rising cost of housing in California has led us to a worrying poverty rate that is unsustainable for our families today and for future generations,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “Too many of us now spend well over 30 percent of our income on rent which forces struggling families into making difficult decisions and cutting priorities. An increase in this tax credit for renters across California would provide essential relief for these individuals as they work to meet these rising costs to keep a roof over their heads.”

 

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Gov. Newsom sends National Guard to assist with COVID-19 testing in Antioch Saturday

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

California National Guard personnel arrive at the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Photo: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Four sent to help at Prewett Family Park site in unusual deployment of state’s military personnel

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that he had activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. The California National Guard is part of the National Guard of the United States, a dual federal-state military reserve force. The CA National Guard has three components: the CA Army National GuardCA Air National Guard, and CA State Guard.

According to their website, the California National Guard is “a community-based land force maintained at the optimum level of preparedness and readiness for service to the state and nation” that “organizes, trains, equips, and resources community-based land forces. On order, mobilizes to support state and/or federal authority.”

Under the control of the governor, National Guard functions range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law.

Residents stand in line in Antioch for a COVID test on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. Video screenshot. Source: Office of Governor Newsom

“California has led the country’s fight against COVID-19, implementing first-in-the-nation public health measures that have helped save tens of thousands of lives,” said Governor Newsom. “We continue to support communities in their response to COVID by bolstering testing capacity.”

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan deployed over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard are being deployed this week in similar capacities.

As part of the highly unusual deployment of the National Guard, four personnel were in Antioch at Prewett Family Park’s Community Center parking lot on Saturday. They made sure everyone was signed up for a test. In an ABC7 News report, Mayor Lamar Thorpe said, “We’re excited to have the National Guard show up and provide us support. In eastern Contra Costa County, we have some of the highest rates of COVID infection. I’m excited we’re working collaboratively to solve this pandemic.”

Click here for vido of California National Guard personnel assisting the Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday, which doubled the number of testing windows and the number of appointments available per day.

This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December.

According to the governor’s office, these measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests. In recent months, Governor Newsom implemented a series of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including first-in-the-nation vaccine and masking measures requiring that workers in health care settings be fully vaccinated, announcing plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend school in-person when fully approved, requiring masking in schools and implementing a standard that all school staff and all state workers either show proof of full vaccination or be tested. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Californians are encouraged to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask indoors and get tested if sick.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

Photo Cutline – California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site on Saturday. Source: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

 

Video screenshot

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Two more days to offer input on California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s final maps for state districts

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

The commission’s final map shows Antioch (in red) divided into Congressional Districts 8 and 10. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

Antioch still split into two congressional districts; shares State Senate district with San Leandro; shares State Assembly district with Concord and Crockett

Divides Contra Costa County in multiple ways, combining portions with communities in other counties as far away as Sonoma and Yolo Counties over 90 miles away

By Allen Payton

On Monday, the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission completed and approved final maps for the state’s Congressional, Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts that are significantly different than the draft maps presented last month. The new maps, which will be in place and affect elections for the next 10 years, split up Contra Costa County in multiple ways and combine portions with other counties and communities as much as 93 miles away.

The California Constitution states that public comment shall be taken for at least three days from the date of public display of any final statewide maps. Additionally, the Commission shall not display any other map for public comment during that period. (To offer additional public comment click here)

“We have reached the finish line for the people’s redistricting process in California. When voters approved the Voters FIRST Act, it created a monumental shift in this decennial process,” stated Commission Chair Alicia Fernandez. “As Californians, my colleagues on this Commission and I answered the call to serve for this great state we honor and love. We conclude our map drawing responsibilities with pride in our final product. We started this process leaving politics out of the equation in hopes of achieving fairer and more equitable maps. I think I speak for my colleagues when I say mission accomplished! Thank you to all that participated in this process.”

The Commission drew 4 Board of Equalization districts, 52 Congressional districts, 40 Senatorial districts, and 80 Assembly districts. All districts were drawn within the permissible population deviation.

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in State Senate Districts 9. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

Maps Split Up Contra Costa County More

While the current maps approved in 2011 divide the county amongst four Congressional, two State Senate and three State Assembly districts, what the Commission did to Contra Costa, this time, was split it up even more into three Congressional, three State Senate, and four Assembly districts.

For the State Senate map, the majority of the county, from Crockett in West County to Antioch in East County is combined with San Leandro, Castro Valley and San Lorenzo in southwest Alameda County. Like the draft maps issued by the Commission in November, the new Senate map includes the Far East County cities of Brentwood and Oakley and communities of Discovery Bay, Byron, Bethel Island and Knightsen in the same district as Vallejo, Napa, Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, over 90 miles away.  In addition, the map combines all of West County with the cities of Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda.

For the State Assembly map, the Commission keeps the county split in four districts keeping Far East County except for Brentwood, in the same district as most of Solano County including Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon. It keeps most of West County in the same district, except for Crockett, which is included in the same district as Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton, Bay Point, Pittsburg, Antioch and Brentwood.

The commission, only split the county amongst three districts for the Congressional map. But it splits up East County into those three, new separate districts by carving out Discovery Bay and Byron and leaving them in the same district as most of San Joaquin County. The proposed final map also combines the southern portion of Antioch, plus Brentwood, Oakley, Bethel Island and Knightsen with Central County, including most of Concord, plus Lamorinda, the San Ramon Valley and a portion of Dublin in the same congressional district. Finally, it splits off the northern portion of Antioch, plus Pittsburg and Bay Point, and includes it in a district with the other part of Concord, plus Martinez, West County cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules and Crockett with most of Solano County.

Independent Commission Creates Maps That Benefit Democrats

The place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map, and districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.

However, according to a news report by the left-leaning Politico, “California’s new congressional map boosts Democrats” in their “uphill quest to maintain their minuscule House majority”. The new lines “create more challenging districts for Republican incumbents without substantially undermining the prospects of vulnerable Democrats.” The “map could point to Democrats holding ground or picking up seats.”

The commission’s final map shows all of Antioch (in red) in Assembly Senate Districts 15. Source: WeDrawTheLinesCA.org

See Shape Files/Equivalency Files/Stats and Map Viewer: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/final_maps

In accordance with the California Constitution, the Commission followed these criteria, in this order, to draw district maps:

  1. Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
  3. Districts must be drawn contiguously, so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
  4. Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent possible.
  5. Districts should be geographically compact: such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for a more distant population. This requirement refers to density, not shape. Census blocks cannot be split.
  6. Where practicable each Senate District should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts, and Board of Equalization districts should be comprised of 10 complete and adjacent State Senate Districts.

The last of the criteria makes sense, as there are twice as many Assembly districts as Senatorial districts, and the Commission could have simply divided each Senatorial district into two. But they chose not to follow it when drawing the new maps.

Additional Commission Meetings

The Commission is continuing to hold meetings Sunday and next Monday and accepting additional public comments on the final maps. At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Chair Fernandez announced that the meetings scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, as shown on the Commission’s website, have been cancelled.

December 26, 2021 CRC Business Meeting – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

December 27, 2021 CRC Business Meeting  – 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission Meeting – 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. daily or upon conclusion of business  Public Input Form

Background on Redistricting and Commission

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its electoral districts so that the state’s population is evenly allocated among the new districts.

In 2008, California voters passed the Voters First Act, authorizing the creation of the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization district lines. In 2010, the Voters First Act for Congress gave the Commission the responsibility of drawing new Congressional districts following every census.

For more information, please visit www.WeDrawTheLinesCA.org. To offer additional comments to the Commission about the proposed final maps visit www.wedrawthelinesca.org/contact by Thursday, Dec. 23 at 5:00 p.m.

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