Redistricting proposal splits Menlo along 101
All of Menlo Park west of 101 would be in Eshoo's district
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has proposed dividing Menlo Park into two congressional districts, moving the Belle Haven neighborhood into a separate district to be represented by Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco.
If the commission were to approve the latest proposed map on Aug. 15, a new 18th Congressional District, represented by Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, would include Menlo Park west of U.S. Highway 101, Palo Alto, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley.
Belle Haven and unincorporated North Fair Oaks, along with East Palo Alto and Redwood City, would be part of the 14th Congressional District represented by Speier.
The latest proposal was released last Friday (July 29).
"I think that's just a horrible shame," said Menlo Park Councilwoman Kirsten Keith. "Belle Haven is Menlo Park. (The representation) needs to be all of Menlo Park."
Keith had already written a letter to the redistricting commission protesting a prior proposed map that assigned central Menlo Park and Belle Haven to one congressional district and Sharon Heights to another.
"It doesn't make any sense. I am hoping they will revisit this," she added.
"I think it's disgusting, myself," said Belle Haven resident Matt Henry. "Belle Haven is part of the city of Menlo Park. ... Belle Haven always gets cut out."
One of the objectives of the redistricting commission was to comply with the 1964 Voting Rights Act to "ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice."
But that reasoning doesn't sway Henry.
"To me, it makes more sense for our community to be part of this city. It's better for us," Henry said.
"We have the same politics as Menlo Park," he added. "We might argue and squabble, but we're the same family. We have the same objectives and financial base. I think this is just another layer of complexity for us. I think it's awful."
As for the redrawn state Assembly and Senate districts, Portola Valley and Woodside, now represented by Sen. Leland Yee, would move to the Senate district that includes Menlo Park and Atherton, and is represented until November 2012 by Sen. Joe Simitian.
Rich Gordon, who represents these four communities in the state Assembly, would continue to under the latest proposal. He would see his long and thin district no longer stretch south to Los Gatos but stop around Santa Clara and expand westward to include Half Moon Bay, San Gregorio and Pescadero.
To view the map (and comment via email), visit crc.ca.gov.
Almanac Staff Writer Dave Boyce can be emailed at email@example.com.