By Guy Marzorati : kqed – excerpt
In a bid to get representation in Washington that would be acutely attuned to these challenges, Sims and other local activists pushed the California Citizens Redistricting Commission last year to draw a new congressional district enveloping the region — a move that would concentrate the voting power of these diverse communities into one seat.
The commission agreed, and the state’s new congressional map, approved in December, grouped cities, including Vallejo, Fairfield, Richmond, Pittsburg and part of Antioch — many of which have been located in separate districts — into the new 8th Congressional District — the most racially and ethnically diverse district both in the Bay Area and statewide…
But a shining example of the redistricting commission’s ability to uplift community input has been followed by a textbook case of political machinations. The day the commission approved the new 8th District, John Garamendi, a 77-year old white congressman who lives in the Sacramento County town of Walnut Grove, outside the district, announced he would run for the seat…(more)