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Santa Monica Should Weigh In on Proposed Legislative Maps, Mayor Says

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By Jorge Casuso

November 19, 2021 -- In what appears to be a game of political musical chairs, Santa Monica could end up in proposed legislative districts represented by elected officials from other areas.

In an effort to group Santa Monica with its more politically compatible Westside and coastal neighbors, Mayor Sue Himmelrich is asking the Council to weigh in on the proposed legislative maps.

A Councilmember item Himmelrich placed on Tuesday's agenda asks the Council to approve sending a letter to the California Redistricting Commission expressing the City's wishes.

The letter Himmelrich would sign requests that Santa Monica "remain with the beach and Westside cities that align with our issues, challenges, and values in creating our congressional, senate and assembly districts," according to the agenda item.

The item also asks the Council to "direct City staff to communicate with the California redistricting Commission and oppose any proposals that would misalign the City’s interests."

Himmerich's biggest concern is with the proposed U.S. Congressional District map, which groups Santa Monica with the San Fernando Valley.

"To me the real problem is the Congressional District map," Himmelrich said. "Nobody wants that."

Elected officials ain the Valley, she said, view Santa Monica as a rich, liberal bastion.

She quoted Stuart Waldman, president at Valley Industry & Commerce Association, who said at a meeting she attended, "We don't want Santa Monica, and they don't want us."

The current 33rd District -- which is represented by Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu -- covers most of the West Los Angeles area, as well as the South Bay to the south and Malibu, Calabasas and Agoura Hills to the north.

The section of Lieu's website focusing on the District's geography features a picture the Santa Monica Pier sign at the top of the page.

The website notes that the District includes the Pier, Santa Monica College and Silicon Beach, which is anchored by Santa Monica.

Under the proposed map, Santa Monica's U.S. Congressman would be Brad Sherman, whose 30th Congressional District currently includes the San Fernando Valley, as well as the eastern part of the Simi Hills in Ventura County.

Himmelrich believes the City also should weigh in on the State Senate and Assembly District maps.

Under the current Assembly map, Santa Monica and Malibu are in the same District, while the Senate map places the two cities -- which are in the same School District -- in two Senate Districts.

The District that includes Santa Monica is represented by Sen. Ben Allen, the other by Sen. Henry Stern.

The proposed Senate map keeps Malibu and Santa Monica in the same District, the Assembly map does not, Himmelrich said.

"Some people are hoping Santa Monica and Malibu stay together," she said.

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