Redrawing California’s political lines will help determine if we fight or fold in the face of the climate crisis.
Mary Creasman, CalMatters Special.
Mary Creasman, CEO of California Environmental Voters is also the California Environmental Voters Education Fund.
Decisions in the next month will shape California’s future for the next decade. The state is going through a transformation processto redraw the lines for our congressional, state Senate, and Assembly districts. This work is being carried out by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Since June, the commission held hearings and sought input from the public. By year’s end, they must finalize maps and determine how communities are grouped together; this will shape how Californians are represented in government for the next decade.
Unfortunately, the commission’s draft maps so far can only be charitably called a “hot mess,” You can borrow their comments about San Diego from them. It seems that in the commission’s rush to finish draft maps, substantial parts of the state were disregarded.
In Northern California, the Karuk Tribes’ historic lands have been split among districts, against the recommendations of tribal leadership and community organizations. Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley cities are divided between two House districts. calls from the Asian Pacific Islander communityThis area should be united. The three Sierra Nevada districts all dip into the Central Valley, ignoring the input of local residents.
In San Diego and Orange counties, two sets of communities — the coastal communities from San Clemente to Solana Beach and the inland city of Fallbrook — have been drawn together. This is against almost everyone involved, even Commissioner Patricia Sinay of San Diego County. The commission must act quickly, even though there is still time for this to be corrected.
This is a crucial issue. Redistricting will determine whether we will fight the climate crisis or fold. Scientists have repeatedly stated that we have only until 2030 to stop the climate crisis. most severe impacts of the climate crisis. The redistricting process is done only once every 10 year. It will be determined by the people who are elected as representatives of these new districts how we respond before the 2030 deadline.
Unfortunately, Californians are not well-representedin the fight against climate change. In recent years, most bills to address climate change have died in the state Legislature, and that’s because corporate interests are calling the shots in Sacramento. Seventy-five percent of the Legislature accepts campaign contributionsDirectly from oil companies, or from oil industry Political Action Committees.
There is a disconnect between Sacramento’s actions and Californians’ priorities. Californians want to see their leaders, according to polls. prioritize addressing the climate crisis. Californians have the opportunity to speak out and remind their leaders about redistricting.
Since 2010, California Environmental Voters Education FundTo encourage participation in redistricting, the commission has partnered with community organizations throughout the state. We hear repeatedly that Californians want environmental concerns and impacts to be considered when the commission organizes districts.
If California doesn’t have district lines that group communities based on common climate concerns, priorities and impacts, then these neighborhoods won’t have elected representation that delivers for them.
This is not about winning or losing elections. This is about drawing districts that reflect the unique needs, struggles, and values of each California community in order to ensure their representation. Californians will be more affected by the climate crisis and the resulting threats like environmental racism than any other issue over the next ten years.
In other states, the legislature draws district lines. This process favors the party that is in power. We are lucky to have a non-partisan process that gives all of us the opportunity to make our voices heard – but the commission has to deliver on improved maps that truly reflect community input and priorities.
Californians, I urge you to join our effort. Please help us ensure that we are ready to combat the climate crisis when we get out of the redistricting process.
Mary Creasman has written about the topic as well. giving California a gradeIts climate action how we achieve real changeAfter the election clean transportation requires new leadership on the Assembly’s Transportation Committee.