When last we checked in with the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, it was taking a look at joining Humboldt with our neighbors to the east, rather than the south. This would have affixed our county to Redding, and particularly to the bloviatory Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) – a bitter fate for many North Coasters who since 2012 had become accustomed to being represented by Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael).

Well, with the publication of the commission’s latest round of “visualizations,” it appears that idea has been scrapped. As the commission inches ever-closer to an actual map for our Congressional and state legislative districts – a process the independent state body does, now, every 10 years, following the federal Census – Humboldt seems to have been once again tacked on to districts that stretch up and down the Highway 101 corridor, which is the way it has always been previously.

But for hardcore Huffman fanatics, the district doesn’t stretch down far enough in these new visualizations! Right now, the commission has the Congressional district stretching down only as far as Sonoma County, leaving the representative’s home base out in the cold. We’ll look at a map in a second, here.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission is taking feedback on these new visualizations today and tomorrow. You can view them in detail at this link, and you can submit your feedback at this link. Want to watch the meeting? Click this link for a schedule and links to the livestreams. They’ll be going until 6 p.m. this evening, and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. Actual draft maps are due to be released on or before Nov. 15.

Now let’s look at how the current maps play out in these new visualizations, from a Humboldt-centric point of view.


Most of the relevant action in these maps takes place at the southern end, so zoom down there, if you like.

Now, an important thing to remember about the Citizens Redistricting Commission is that it is meant to be non-partisan, and the wants and needs of current officeholders are not supposed to play any role in their decisions.

And it’s certainly not playing any role in this visualization, because Rep. Jared Huffman has been cut off from the bulk of the district he has represented for the last 9 years … and has instead been placed in the district belonging to longtime Congressman (11 terms!) Mike Thompson. (Thompson, a Napaite, represented Humboldt in the House before the 2010 redistricting.)

So what would this mean? Would staunch allies Huffman and Thompson rock-paper-scissors for who gets to represent this megaweathly Marin-Napa Congressional district, which weirdly has ultrapoor Lake County attached to the top of it? If so, who’s going to step up to run for the new North Coast district?

Good questions, but there’s another factor to take into consideration, here: You don’t actually have to live in the same Congressional district that you represent. If this map becomes reality and Huffman still wants to serve the North Coast, he won’t even technically have to move house to run again. Some might frown, but you can’t imagine it affecting the vote much.

State Senate

Not a whole load of change here, though the Second District loses Lake and Trinity Counties in exchange for a bigger bite out of Sonoma. (See current map here.)

State Assembly

Now this one is a little wild. Rather than ending midway through Santa Rosa, as it currently does, the Second Assembly District would stretch all the way down to the Golden Gate Bridge — largely, though not completely, just on the west side of Highway 101 through Sonoma County. The second would gain Rohnert Park and Petaluma and Point Reyes, but would lose Santa Rosa and Healdsburg.

That might be a bit of an issue for incumbent Assemblymember Jim Wood, a Healdsburg resident who we’re almost positive hangs his hat on the east side of the highway.

If this is the case, it’s a little bit more of an issue than it would be for Huffman. In California, legislators must live in the district they represent. A couple of years ago, though, the state legislature passed a law that basically allows its members to declare that their “home” is wherever those members choose to register to vote. 

So if Wood is drawn out of this district, and if he wishes to still represent it in the Assembly, and if he doesn’t want to move house, he would still have to go through the trouble of re-registering to vote at some apartment leased for the purpose.

The Outpost is presenting this as a hypothetical — we do not mean to suggest that Wood would wish to do any or all of these things, we don’t know that the final map will look like this, and we’re still not 100 percent positive that he is on the east side of the highway. But it’s all legal!