The initial "visualizations" of legislative districts presented by staff to the Citizens Redistricting Commission last week contained contradictory proposals for state Senate districts along the Central Coast. Part of the reason is that the commission divided the state into two sections, north and south, and Ventura County was the dividing line. It fell into something of a crack between north and south.
The Northern California proposals did not include a comprehensive Senate plan -- only some quick comments were offered about possibly "nesting" the Assembly districts. But they did include selected Senate plans for the four Section 5 counties that are receiving special attention because of the need to clear any maps with the U.S. Department of Justice. One of those counties is Monterey, and the Senate district visualization for Monterey County included it with San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and small sliver of western Ventura County.
The Southern California proposals did include Senate district visualizations, including one that showed most of Thousand Oaks included in a north-south strip in western L.A, County that runs from Santa Clarita to Malibu.
Combined, those two plans are contradictory, because taken together they would create a black hole of most of Ventura County -- about 750,000 people, which are not enough to make a Senate district (target population of about 931,000 people). And the plans, taken together, show nowhere to go to pick up the additional population because all of neighboring Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties are spoken for.
Sometime before Friday, when it releases its draft maps, the commission is going to have to decide if it wants to go with the Monterey County, Section 5 plan suggested in the north or with the Southern California Senate scheme. It won't be able to do both without making an orphan of Ventura County.
Meanwhile, the SoCal Senate district visualizations have left some observers in the Capitol speculating about the possibility of Republican Tony Strickland and Democrat Fran Pavley essentially having to switch seats, with Strickland moving east and Pavley moving west. As one observer suggested to me on Friday, perhaps the Stricklands will have to consider moving back into the apartment in Thousand Oaks into which they moved last spring so that Audra Strickland could run against Linda Parks for supervisor.