Commentary: California’s new districts make no sense in county
by Pam Newberry
Jun 17, 2011 | 4549 views | 2 2 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the citizens commission redrawing California’s districts, I had hoped that, finally, the San Lorenzo Valley would be reunited with the rest of Santa Cruz when they drew the lines for the state’s congressional districts. Sad to say, the commission has apparently not thought this a priority, since the new boundaries fracture the valley into nonsense bits and pieces.

The boundary, as proposed, roughly follows Highway 17, then cuts back and forth through Scotts Valley like a mad jigsaw operator, cuts back onto Graham Hill Road through Zayante, continues straight through the middle of Ben Lomond, turns up Alba Road, runs north along Empire Grade past Jamison Creek, then cuts west to the coast at the north end of Swanton Road, heading north along Highway 1 and taking a dip in the ocean at Waddell Creek (that just can’t be right), before it finally peters out just south of Año Nuevo.

I can understand why they cut out Watsonville, connecting us to Monterey by a thread west of Highway 1, and lumped in Morgan Hill and Gilroy — apparently because Watsonville would have more in common with Salinas than with Santa Cruz or Monterey, although I’m not sure what connects us with Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

But I cannot begin to understand why they cut our community in half, leaving the northernmost parts of Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley as orphans attached to the southern part of a district that includes Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Palo Alto.

There is no community of interest between the northern half of SLV and Silicon Valley. Some vague connections could be called on between Scotts Valley and Silicon Valley, but I think there are many more connections with Santa Cruz County. Certainly there are no common media, leaving voters in the Silicon Valley district having to go far afield to find news of candidates who will certainly focus their campaign dollars in the voter-packed cities to the east.

Surely there is some more logical way to draw this line that does not sacrifice the voices of voters in northern Santa Cruz County.

The only way this will change is if the commission hears from people living in this area. From now until June 30, there will be public meetings — the closest is on June 25 in San Jose — or you can comment online at

The next draft of maps will be released July 7. Let’s raise our community’s voice and hope that we can reunite our county for the next decade’s elections.

Here is a link to a good map of the districts:,0,4015285.htmlstory/.

Pam Newbury is a Bonny Doon resident.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 05, 2011
What can be better than MORE voices representing the City? Or do you prefer to artificially prevent the voices from being represented by supporting less seats? We have the right to be heard, and some of those in power would seek to not share that with the people who represent all views. This makes perfect sense.
June 23, 2011
I think that the new boundaries are better. They more closely represent Scotts Valley with that of Santa Cruz. The writer indicates that SLV should not be separated from SV, I think SLV should not be separate from Santa Cruz. In fact all of the redwood peninsula communities should be under a single jurisdiction for preservation and management of what is a local, state and National resource.

The media is not really valid. Currently this paper and the Santa Cruz Sentinel covers their friends. No matter where the lines are moved to, they will stay right where they are.

In fact the change that is created will have to be serviced by business of all kins and acts as an economic stimulator. The kind that helps recovery. Redistricting could not have come at a better time, to create jobs.

The more varied the bounderies, the more work, the more jobs.

The issue that "it's" connected to Silicon Valley. Take a closer look. It's is perfectly defined as proposed. It is too bad that some people can't handle change, but when the lines are redrawn, they will get along like the rest of us.

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at