Opinion: Flaws in Rossmoor redistricting plan

Eric Christensen

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission has released its first draft of the proposed new Congressional, State Senate and State Assembly districts (visit their Web site at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov to see the proposed districts and for more information.  Their current proposal has Rossmoor in the Orange County coastal state senate district and state assembly district.

But their proposed Congressional district moves Rossmoor and Los Alamitos into the Long Beach Congressional district!  My wife and I are adamantly opposed to this plan.  We have set forth our reasons in an e-mail to the commissioners on June 17.  If you have concerns, they are actively soliciting comments.  Please e-mail them at www.votersfirstact@crc.ca.gov.  The only way to get this changed is by submitting a lot of public responses.  The following is my response.

Dear Commissioners:

My wife and I are 27-year-residents of Rossmoor, a large, unincorporated residential community in Northwest Orange County.  We were shocked and are extremely upset that your commission has moved Rossmoor and Los Alamitos in the first draft of the proposed new California Congressional Districts from an Orange County-based Congressional District (currently District 40, represented by Congressman Ed Royce) to the proposed LA County-based LBPORT Congressional District.  The LBPORT Congressional District is dominated by the large cities of Long Beach, Lakewood and Paramount.

Including Rossmoor and Los Alamitos in the LBPORT Congressional District where we have no political or community interest seems wholly inconsistent with your motto of “Fair Representation-Democracy at Work!” We believe that inclusion of Rossmoor and Los Alamitos in the LBPORT Congressional District will result in no representation for our communities and we are adamantly opposed to the California Congressional Districts as you have proposed in the first draft for the following reasons:

• We have no political relationship with the city of Long Beach (or Lakewood or Paramount for that matter) or the county of Los Angeles and we have no desire to have one;

• Rossmoor and Los Alamitos, with about 10,600 and 11,200 residents respectively, would have no effective political influence in a district so dominated by Long Beach (Long Beach, the second largest city in the Greater Los Angeles area, would have over 65 percent of the population of the LBPORT District);

• My wife and I moved from LA County to Orange County 27 years ago because we were wholly dissatisfied with the political climate in LA County and we do not want to be forced back now;

• We are active in our community and in Orange County and we strongly believe that it is critical to have our congressional representative Orange County based;

• We believe that the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base is a key local, regional and national asset.  Its immediate neighbors, Rossmoor, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Cypress and Garden Grove have been actively involved with the base for years.  Our Congressman

Ed Royce has been instrumental in protecting the base.

The first draft of the proposed California Congressional Districts would rip the key congressional representation out of Orange County and give it to a congressional district dominated by Long Beach, which has had no history, experience or connection with the base.

• The San Gabriel River and 605 Freeway in our area have acted as a physical barrier between LA County and Orange County and we have very little interest in, knowledge of or community with Long Beach, nor they with us.

• On the other hand, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos have a strong and significant community of interest with Seal Beach (we share the same school system and use their adjacent shopping centers), with Cypress and Garden Grove (we share with Seal Beach and Los Alamitos an effective regional “mayors” council for response to regional issues and Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Cypress share a police dispatch system) and with Orange County, which constitutes Rossmoor’s primary government and on which we interface on a whole list of issues from transportation to government structure.

We believe our congressional representative needs to be Orange County based so he or she effectively understands and represents our needs that are so closely intertwined with our neighboring communities and with Orange County.

• In the past, congressional support has been critical for our community in dealing with our neighbors and with Orange County.

We believe that support is stronger because our congressman, like our other elected representatives, is Orange County-based.

• Finally, our Congressman Ed Royce has done an incredible job representing our interests in Washington and in Orange County.  He is simply the best and most responsive elected official we have ever had the privilege of electing.

He has served Rossmoor exceptionally well for years and has a strong and deep knowledge of and commitment to our community and needs.

My wife and I would be personally devastated to lose his service.

For the above reasons, and to meet your goal of redrawing districts that provide “Fair Representation,” we urge you to reconsider your proposal to include Rossmoor and Los Alamitos in Congressional District LBPORT-1 and return them to the Orange County-based LHYL-1.

Eric Christensen is a longtime Rossmoor Resident and active in community affairs.

Opinion: Flaws in Rossmoor redistricting plan