Redistricting File Photo

A newly formed 16th Congressional District – replacing the 18th District represented by Anna Eshoo – stretches from Pacifica to the Santa Cruz Mountains and east into Los Altos.

Local residents – at least those aware of it – breathed a sigh of relief last month after the state’s independent redistricting committee dropped an eleventh-hour plan for reworked congressional districts that would have put Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in the same district as Newark, and a part of Mountain View in one that would have extended down the coast to San Luis Obispo County.

Observers claimed the California Citizens Redistricting Commission – an independent body convened to avoid forming boundaries based on political bias – was trying to create districts with similar population sizes and address complaints that San Jose was separated into four individual districts with no majority of residents in any of them.

The coastal 16th District, which supplanted the 18th District represented by longtime U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, was proposed Dec. 16. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder described the plan as “absurd and unnecessary.” The proposal surfaced with little media attention.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said he reached out to local leaders about the proposed change and impending vote on new boundaries, which occurred Dec. 20.

Los Altos Hills Councilmember Kavita Tankha, among others, voiced her disapproval to commission members, who had restored much of Eshoo’s original boundaries by Dec. 19.

“Our words and our activism have the power to make the changes we want to see in our lives and in our town,” Tankha wrote in an email to residents Dec. 19. “Tonight was one such night.”

Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View are included in the boundaries for the new 16th congressional (Eshoo), 23rd State Assembly (Marc Berman) and 13th State Senate (Josh Becker) districts. 

All three districts extend across the Santa Cruz Mountains to the coast.

Simitian saw his own supervisorial District 5 boundaries change earlier in the month when the board majority voted to include Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and San Jose’s Almaden Valley as part of District 5, which also encompasses Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Simitian lost a portion of Sunnyvale as part of District 5 – Supervisor Otto Lee will represent all of Sunnyvale as part of District 3 – but now represents nine of the 15 county cities.

The redrawn supervisorial districts take effect Thursday. All county and state districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect updated U.S. Census data.

Meanwhile, a notable change to the 24th State Assembly District occurred when redrawn boundary lines had both Berman and Assemblymember Evan Low sharing the new 23rd District. Saratoga and Campbell – Low’s communities – are now part of Berman’s district. Low resolved the potential conflict by announcing his intent to run for re-election in the newly created 25th District, which includes a portion of San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Cupertino.

The new statewide district boundaries take effect with the 2022 primary election.