The new Assembly District 51 cuts a corridor inland along Santa Monica Boulevard through Hollywood, encompassing Griffith Park. Previously, the city was in the coastal Assembly District 50, which stretched from Malibu to West Hollywood.
Emily Sawicki & Kathleen Ronayne
Beginning in 2022, Santa Monica’s assembly district will include some new territory: Griffith Park. The new Assembly District 51 cuts inland, rather than along the coast, combining Santa Monica’s two-and-three-quarter miles of coastline with 4,210-acre Griffith Park, and most everything in between along Santa Monica Boulevard.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom, who previously announced his candidacy for LA County supervisor, will not be running to retain his seat in the new AD-51.
Speaking to the Daily Press on Tuesday, Bloom called the new district lines “a net loss for Santa Monica,” adding that the previous district made sense as it shared a school district, coastal concerns and much of the PCH. He said Santa Monica may have a reduced level of influence at the legislative level but the city won’t be ignored.
“Santa Monica will always get some level of respect in conversations about the coast as Santa Monica is recognized as a critical community along the coast and the Santa Monica Bay,” Bloom said. “I don’t think we’ll lose all our influence.”
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) finalized new maps on Monday, Dec. 20, placing Santa Monica into new assembly, congressional and state senate districts.
Santa Monica’s state senator will remain Ben Allen, who is up for reelection for the newly-drawn Senate District 24 at the end of 2022. The district now includes Calabasas, Malibu and Topanga, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and South Bay cities like Redondo Beach, Torrance, and Rancho Palos Verdes. It essentially replaces the current District 22, but no longer includes LAX, Westchester, Del Rey and Playa Vista.
U.S. Representative Ted Lieu will continue to represent Santa Monica in a new district, Congressional District 36. While previous Congressional District 33 covered mostly coastal areas encompassing the Santa Monica Mountains down through Rancho Palos Verdes, District 36 ends at Santa Monica to the northwest and expands to include Westchester, Mar Vista and Palms. Beverly Hills will also remain in Lieu’s district.
Lieu will be up for reelection again in 2022.
CCRC communications director Fredy Ceja said the new maps would become official as early as next week: “As soon as we submit them to the secretary of state, and that is Dec. 27,” Ceja explained in a brief phone interview.
On Dec. 27, the CCRC is expected to provide certified maps to the secretary of state’s office. By Jan. 3, candidates for various offices with June 7, 2022, primaries may begin filing nomination signatures. Feb. 10 marks the final day maps can be challenged in court, followed by the candidate filing period, which opens Feb. 14 and runs through March 11.
New districts will all be official by the November 2022 general election, and will remain in place until the next redistricting cycle begins in 2031.
The CCRC was tasked with drawing new state political maps based on census data, a process that happens once every 10 years. California lost a U.S. House seat for the first time, going from 53 to 52, because the state grew more slowly than others. But the state of nearly 40 million people still has by far the largest House delegation.
The borders of each California seat shifted slightly to fit the requirement that they represent 760,000 people.
California is one of 10 states that relies on an independent commission to draw lines, rather than judges or partisan lawmakers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Commissioners aren’t allowed to consider a district’s partisan makeup when drawing lines. Alongside creating districts with even population, the state constitution requires the commission to consider geographic continuity and compliance with the Voting Rights Act, which sets rules for racial representation.
Latinos, who account for 40% of California’s population, will make up a majority of the voting-age population in 16 of the 52 new districts, said Evan McLaughlin, a redistricting expert who works with Democrats.
The 14-member commission included five registered Republicans, five registered Democrats and four people registered without a political party. They were selected through a lengthy process run by the state auditors office. Voters created the commission in 2008 in an effort to remove partisanship from the process of drawing new political lines.
“I’m so proud of the work that together we have completed to serve all Californians,” Commissioner Pedro Toledo, who has no party affiliation, said as the commission finished reviewing the proposed lines. “Despite a difference of opinion at times, there was always commitment to our common goal: The goal of creating representative and fair maps for all Californians.”
The commission faced some criticism for a lack of transparency. Commissioners regularly made map changes in live meetings and sometimes did not upload the new maps for days, making it difficult for the public to understand the changes. Delayed Census data due to the pandemic shortened how much time the commission had to complete its work.
Sawicki is a Staff Writer for SMDP and Ronayne writes for the Associated Press.