May 11, 2001

Editorial

Duchney Launches Misguided Congressional Redistricting Proposal

Gloria Penner, KPBS- FM radio political pundit, interviewed Ms. Denise Ducheny in a recent broadcast. Ms. Ducheny told Ms. Penner that she thought that the 50th congressional seat, now held by Congressman Bob Filner, should have its area extended to include Imperial County! She implied that Imperial County had only 140,000 residents and, therefore, wasn't big enough to deserve a Congressional District. She neglected to say that Imperial County is in the 52nd Congressional District, the district that Congressman Hunter currently represents. It was created (gerrymander) 10 years ago in order to provide him with a safe seat. He knew he didn't appeal to the Democrats in the South Bay area and that he would not survive reelection.

Ms. Ducheny's scenario would actually call for an extension of the 50th Congressional boundary into Imperial County. It would be gerrymandered into the 50th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Bob Filner (D). Congresswoman Susan Davis (D) is the other Democratic incumbent in the 49th District. These two, Democrats Davis and Filner, are solid professionals who now represent U.S./Mexico interests. The 52nd Congressional District, which is represented by Republican Duncan Hunter, would no longer be representing the "border" communities. Duncan Hunter clearly has been out of step on every major border issue that has come up for deliberation in the Congress.

The scenario proposed by Denise Ducheny would have the impact of reducing the Congressional districts adjacent to the border to two, and increasing the total number of constituents that each Congressman/woman would have to represent.

What is needed in San Diego County is another Democratic District to counter-balance the strangle hold that Republicans exert within San Diego County. Currently there are three Republican Congressmen versus two Democrats. If a new district is formed, it would be best situated in the fast growing North County. Population growth has exploded in Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, Fallbrook, and Carlsbad. One Republican, Congressman Darrell Issa, represents them all. The majority of the growth has been from Mexican American citizens. In a quirk of gerrymandering fate, they are represented by a Republican whose views are the antithesis of those held by the population.

La Prensa San Diego would recommend that a close look be taken at current population shifts. It makes better sense to create a new congressional district where it is needed — in the North County.

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