Only two days have passed since officials and citizens from American Canyon made their case before the state’s redistricting commission and already they’re toasting to victory.
The city’s request — that American Canyon be reunited with the rest of Napa County in the next set of draft legislative maps — is reflected in a new round of “visualizations” made public on Wednesday.
In previous renderings, the city had been split from Napa county in terms of congressional, Assembly and state Senate districts.
Among the newly visualized boundaries is the so-called “coast” Congressional district, which includes a unified Napa County, along with Lake and Marin counties and a healthy portion of Sonoma County.
Earlier congressional districts saw most of Napa County tossed in with inland communities such as Yuba, Colusa and Glenn counties, while American Canyon was grouped with Solano County and portions of Yolo and Sacramento counties.
Visualizations for Napa’s potential Assembly and state Senate districts were not included in the release.
While Wednesday’s visualizations are only a rough draft, they will likely guide the commission’s discussions between now and the July 14 release date for the second draft maps.
After flooding the commission’s San Francisco meeting with support from the community on Monday, American Canyon officials say the change is an encouraging one.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said American Canyon City Councilmember Belia Ramos Bennett. “This is the reaction that I had hoped for after taking a caravan of people from American Canyon to Fort Mason (San Francisco).”
With visualizations placing American Canyon back with the rest of Napa County on the federal level, Ramos Bennett now expects similar changes to take place in terms of Assembly and state Senate districts.
Mayor Leon Garcia is hoping for a similar outcome.
“I think our strategy worked out very effectively,” he said. “We’re still waiting to see the state district maps, but I’m very optimistic.”
Both Ramos Bennett and Garcia said that the level of support from the American Canyon community — which generated a petition holding more than 1,100 signatures — was unprecedented in the young city’s history.
“This is something that’s had more people on the same page than anything else,” Garcia said, noting that even the city’s 1992 incorporation wasn’t as unanimously supported. “I hadn’t seen a response galvanize as many people as this did.”
The brief period of time between when the council first took action and the release of Wednesday’s visualization added to the accomplishment, Ramos Bennett said.
“In two weeks, to produce the type of results that were produced is fantastic,” she said.
While the American Canyon issue looks to be resolved, the newly proposed district yields a whole new set of questions for Napa’s elected representatives.
If Wednesday’s visualization were to be finalized by the commission, the current 6th Congressional District — which is represented by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma — would be absorbed into the Napa’s new “coast” district.
Earlier this week, Woolsey officially announced her retirement, signaling to a handful of Democratic hopefuls that her seat in Congress was now up for grabs.
At least two hopefuls — Assemblymember Jared Huffman, D-Dan Rafael, and Marin author and political activist Norman Solomon — have registered exploratory committees that they said would be used to make a congressional bid should Woolsey retire. Huffman has raised more than $120,000 for such a bid, according to federal filings, while Solomon has reportedly banked roughly $100,000.
Under the visualized lines, anyone hoping to succeed Woolsey would now have to challenge Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St.Helena, who has compiled a more than $190,000 war chest, according to federal filings.
Under the state’s new top-two primary system, a well-funded Democratic challenger could potentially push Thompson into his first serious November contest in more than a decade, assuming their willing to challenge an incumbent from their own party.