FREMONT -- The commission redrawing state political boundaries appears poised to split Fremont into two Assembly and congressional districts despite fierce opposition from city political leaders.
A majority of commissioners Wednesday expressed support for congressional district maps that would divide Fremont along Peralta Boulevard and Mowry Avenue, placing about 65 percent of the city's residents -- along with all of Newark -- in a district where most voters are from Santa Clara County.
Likewise, commissioners appeared to back new Assembly districts that would divide Fremont roughly in half along Walnut Avenue and Stevenson Boulevard, with the southern portion of the city and Newark being placed with Milpitas and eastern San Jose.
All of Fremont, along with the rest of the Tri-City area and Hayward, still would be part of a single state Senate district, under the commission's latest proposal. San Leandro would be in Assembly and state Senate districts with Oakland, but in a congressional district with Hayward.
While the maps still are preliminary, the 14-member commission seemed resigned to splitting Fremont as it approaches its July 28 deadline for issuing a final plan to realign congressional, Assembly and state Senate districts. The commission must equalize the population in each district, based on numbers reflected in the 2010 census.
"I just think this is the lesser of the harm that is done," Commissioner Michelle DiGuilio said of splitting Fremont.
The last round of redistricting in 2001 left Fremont -- the Bay Area's fourth-largest city -- intact and the largest city in its congressional and Assembly and state Senate districts.
Fremont political leaders fear the proposed redistricting would dilute the city's clout in both Sacramento and Washington.
"I think we're going to be underrepresented," said John R. Smith, a local Democratic Party leader. "We will be totally overridden by any of the concerns from Santa Clara County."
Indo-American political activists also have opposed the commission's plan, fearing that a divided Fremont would sap their emerging clout in southern Alameda County.
Fremont residents have been showing up by the dozens at commission meetings and public hearings after early redistricting proposals divided the city.
Last week it appeared that the lobbying effort had been effective when the commission issued a new congressional map that had all of Fremont grouped together with Hayward, Union City, Newark, the Tri-Valley area and portions of Contra Costa County.
However, commissioners rejected that because it would have placed Richmond into a congressional district with rural Yolo County near Sacramento.
On Wednesday, the commission endorsed shifting Richmond into a congressional district with Berkeley and Oakland. That forced it to reshuffle other East Bay congressional districts, moving San Leandro south into a district with Hayward, Union City, Dublin and the Tri-Valley area, and pushing southern Fremont and Newark south into a district with Santa Clara County.
Commissioner Connie Galambos Malloy, of Oakland, proposed placing Livermore and Pleasanton with Santa Clara County, but a majority of commissioners rejected the proposal.