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Local Democrats take aim at Dreier

Citizens Redistricting Commission could draw new opportunities onto the state's political map.

November 24, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Members of the Cañada Crescenta Democratic Club made the unusual move this week of endorsing a congressional candidate for a district that has yet to exist.

Local Democrats want state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who terms out of the Assembly in 2012, to consider running for Congress — depending, that is, on how the district currently represented by veteran GOP Rep. David Dreier is redrawn this summer.

With a Nov. 2 voter mandate to reduce the number of political boundaries that separate cities and counties, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission could decide to remove Los Angeles County communities from Dreier's cross-county 26th Congressional District, which then might lead to the creation of a new San Gabriel Valley congressional district.

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"We don't know what the district is going to look like or if there is even going to be a [new ] district, but it appears folks want to make sure I'm in a good position to run if there is," Portantino, a former mayor of La Cañada Flintridge, said Monday.

Dreier's office did not return calls.

Changes would also be expected for Portantino's current 44th Assembly District.

"My Assembly district will probably lose [parts of] Los Angeles," said Portantino of the commission's goal to keep cities whole within regional districts. "My district would have to replace the population from L.A. by shifting east, west or north, and so a number of candidates preparing themselves to run for the Assembly will have to do so without knowing where exactly that district is going to cover."

Despite the club's early endorsement, Portantino has held off announcing any possible election bids until new districts, based on 2010 Census findings, are released in the summer.

"I'm considering all my options and watching the work of the committee, but I'm pleased members of our community are encouraging me to be open to that possibility."

On Nov. 18, State Auditor Elaine Howell randomly selected three Republican and three Democratic applicants and two decline-to-state voters to fill the commission's first eight seats.

The body meets for the first time on Nov. 30 and must select six other members from the applicant pool before year's end, according to its website, wedrawthelines.ca.gov.

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