FREMONT -- About three dozen Fremont residents, including two City Council members, were in Sacramento on Tuesday urging members of the state redistricting commission not to split the city in two.

"We're the fourth-largest city in the Bay Area. We want our congressperson's full attention," Councilman Bill Harrison said after the meeting.

While the California Citizens Redistricting Commission is scheduled to release its official draft district maps Friday, preliminary drawings released late last week showed Fremont as the only city in Alameda County split into two congressional districts.

The northern half of the city, along with Newark, Union City, Hayward and San Leandro, would remain in the district currently represented by Pete Stark, D-Fremont. The reconfigured district would stretch across eastern Alameda County, including the Tri-Valley area, all the way to Interstate 205.

The southern half of Fremont would be grouped with Milpitas and much of eastern San Jose in a predominantly Santa Clara County district, currently represented by Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

The maps do not include exact district boundaries, which will be released Friday along with official draft district maps.

Fremont is the largest city in the district represented by Stark.


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City leaders say they fear that splitting Fremont into two districts will give it less clout in Washington, and that the southern half of the city would be an afterthought for a congressperson representing mostly Santa Clara County.

"It would be like Fremont going from being the anchor tenant to a sublessee of San Jose," said Planning Commissioner David Bonaccorsi, who traveled to the commission meeting on a chartered bus with more than 20 city residents, including Councilwoman Anu Natarajan.

Fremont residents spoke during the public comment session of the commission's Tuesday morning meeting to go over the draft maps. Many members of the Fremont contingent were Indo-Americans concerned that splitting Fremont into two congressional districts would dilute their community's growing political clout in Stark's current district.

Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, doubted that the commission would settle on the maps proposed last week. "I think we're going to see many more maps and many more renditions," he said.

The redistricting commission was created by recent ballot measures to take away from politicians the power of drawing Assembly, Senate, Board of Equalization and Congress districts.

The commission is scheduled to release a second set of draft district maps on July 1.

It must certify the new districts by Aug. 15.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002. For more Fremont news go to www.IBAbuzz.com/tricitybeat.