Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D- La Canada Flintridge, who represents Altadena in the state Assembly, has already begun to raise money for a 2012 congressional race, but with the new congressional boundaries based on the 2010 census still not set, it's unclear which district he'll be eligible to run in.
Portantino, who has been in the Assembly since 2006, has an Altadena fundraiser scheduled for later this month and says he has already held several other events.
Right now, Portantino's home town of La Canada Flintridge is in the 26th Congressional District, a long foothill district that stretches from Rancho Cucamonga in the east to La Canada Flintridge in the west.
Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, has represented the district for 30 years, making it one of the few Republican strongholds in Southern California. A small segment of east Altadena is in the district as well, though most of Altadena is represented by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena.
Every 10 years federal law requires state to review districts based on new census figures.
Portantino said he expects that the 26th will likely be the district he is eligible to run in. If not, he said, he expects La Canada Flintridge will likely be somehow lumped together with other foothill towns.
"I anticipate that there will be a foothill district," Portantino said.
Others are not so certain that La Canada Flintridge will be in that district, though. Doug Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College and redistricting consultant, has submitted recommendations to the current redistricting commission looking at the new districts. He says there are a lot of different scenarios for how the foothill towns will be organized in the new redistricting plan.
"The 26th will probably see some of the biggest changes in the whole state," Johnson said.
As currently constituted, the 26th features a series of disconnected foothill areas that cannot be crossed without leaving the district multiple times, Johnson said.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is charged with creating the new lines, has guidelines requiring it to look at various factors, including minority representation and respecting city borders, Johnson said.
Johnson suggested that the 29th district, represented by Schiff; the 32nd District, represented by Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte; or the 25th District, represented by Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, could all be possibilities.
Altadena could also potentially end up in a district with La Canada Flintridge, making Portantino the representative for the town if he were to be elected.
As for how it could affect Dreier as the incumbent, a representative for the congressman declined to comment on the redistricting process.
Kathay Feng, the director of the California branch of Common Cause, who has closely followed the redistricting process, agreed there is no certainty for Portantino.
"Clearly the district is going to change. ... The only question is how," Feng said.
Feng said she has heard multiple ideas on how the foothill areas should be arranged. Some have argued there should be a single foothill district, while others have said that La Canada Flintridge has common interests with Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank.
The redistricting commission will be releasing a draft plan in June and a final plan in August.
Portantino said regardless of which district he ends up in, he plans to run on the issues. He said he is not running in opposition specifically to Dreier or anyone else, but with an intention to focus on education and on local issues like extending the Gold Line, bringing federal support to JPL, and working on open space and fire protection improvements.
We'll continue to report on redistricting and what it will mean for Altadena. Check back soon for another story.