If you're wondering why Congressman George Miller and state Senator Loni Hancock, who don't represent El Cerrito, were in town Saturday morning with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who does represent the city, to collect signatures for their re-election campaigns, the answer is redistricting.
Though Miller and Hancock's current districts do not include El Cerrito and Kensington, recent redistricting puts the two communities into new Congressional and state Senate districts that Miller and Hancock hope to represent. Skinner's current Assembly district already includes El Cerrito, as does the new one that she is running for.
Their joint appearance – hosted by the El Cerrito Democratic Club at – was to gather nomination signatures for the June 5 primary and November general election.
The new Congressional district would return El Cerrito and Kensington to what used to be Miller's district. We are currently in the 10th Congressional District, which with several arms across four counties and is represented by Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.
Our new Congressional district will be District 11, which is more compact and concentrated in Contra Costa County, home of Miller's district office in Concord and his traditional political base. The new district is 50 percent Democrat and 26 percent Republican, according to a Los Angeles Times database, meaning the winner of the Democratic primary, presumably Miller, is likely to win the November election.
For the state Senate, El Cerrito and Kensington currently are placed on the western end of District 7, represented by Mark DeSaulnier. Our new district will be District 9, which stretches along the western parts of Contra Costa and Alameda countiies and includes the current Oakland-Berkeley base of Hancock, who is familiar to El Cerrito voters, having represented the city when she was in the Assembly. The new Senate district is 64 percent Democrat and 10 percent Republican.
For the state Assembly, Nancy Skinner's current District 14 includes El Cerrito and Kensington, which will remain with her Berkeley-to-Richmond base in the new District 15. The district will see some signficant changes, with its eastern boundaries receding – losing Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda – and its northern boundary expanding up to Hercules. The new district is 65 percent Democrat and 9 percent Republican.
Candidates can file either by paying a filing fee equal to one percent of their salary or by collecting a certain number of qualified signatures. The annual salaries are $174,000 for U.S. Representative and $95,290.56 for members of the state Senate and Assembly, according to the California Secretary of State's office.
You can compare the old and new electoral districts at a Web site produced by the Los Angeles Times.