The State's Redistricting Commission has tweaked its "Visualization" map (discussion draft) for our Congressional District 07 in a way that makes our tiny voice in Congress even less important than it would have been based on the prior map. That's right, in the first round of public comments, input other than ours prevailed. The new "visualization" of our Congressional District added more of South Placer County and removed Folsom. The result is even further dilution of the extensive unincorporated areas in Sacramento County north of the American River. Arden Arcade will clearly be dominated by South Placer County if VCD-PLACER-SAC-1102 isn't changed further. The good news is that the Redistricting Commission has left the door wide open to public input. The current "visualization" isn't necessarily how things will wind up. A flood of comments to the Commission can make a difference.
Why is this happening? Perhaps it is because of comments to the Redistricting Commission from people in Placer County. Their member of Congress, who lists his residence as being in Elk Grove - well outside the District, has a history of selective listening. He is able to do that in part because his Congressional District 04 is vast. As currently configured, it runs from the foothills to our east all the way to the Nevada line. South of Lake Tahoe, District 04 runs along the west side of the Sierra Crest from Tioga Pass to Kings Canyon National Park in Fresno County. The Redistricting Commission is proposing to separate the urbanized and rapidly growing South Placer County area from the forests, parklands small towns and mostly rural areas that make up the majority of District 04. The result is that South Placer's suburbs are now being grouped with suburban areas in Sacramento County (including Arden Arcade) into a reconfigured Congressional District 06 that will no longer link us with Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove.
Arden Arcade's demographic circumstances are quite different from those of South Placer County, even when you take into consideration that our demographics combine the fairly well-off neighborhoods of suburban Zip Code 95864 with comparatively challenged neighborhoods of densely-populated Zip Codes 95821 and 95825. Even so, the median household income in Arden Arcade is about 40% less than that of South Placer and the poverty rate here is roughly double that of South Placer's. Our community has a ton of people who live in somewhat spartan apartments vs. South Placer, where a ton of people live in rather nice, single-family gated communities. Data like this matters because the redistricting efforts are supposed to group "Communities of Interest" rather than gerrymander districts based on party registration. As we have previously pointed out, the people of Sacramento County's northeastern suburbs have very little in common with South Placer's suburbs. One other point to notice is that CD06 currently has 4 cities: long-established Folsom and the much newer Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova. Those newer cities were created from the unincorporated cloth of Sacramento County. Their roots are very much like ours. If, say, Arden Arcade and Carmichael were cities, one could clearly see they were "communities of interest" linked with the other new cities. As it is, though, the unincorporated areas have no Mayors and City Councils to speak up for them, Our community is thus fair game for mischief makers who influence redistricting maps.
If you don't want to be drowned out by South Placer, now is the time to speak up. The Redistricting Commission is open to input and will be holding meetings and inviting public comment as they create draft and final maps from the discussion-based visualizations. The mapping process will continue until late December, when the final maps will be certified. You don't need to submit an essay. Just make a "communities of interest" argument based on nonpartisan commonalities between communities. Besides commenting about Arden Arcade, you can also make a pitch for Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova having more in common with with Arden Arcade than Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville. After all, Elk Grove being grouped with San Joaquin County cities like Stockton and Lodi seems also misplaced. Word has it the Commission is hoping to generate another draft in two weeks. Convenient links to the Commission's maps and comment pages are available at the regional political news and analysis publication, The Sacto Politico.