Santa Clara County Supervisors Narrow Redistricting Choices to Three Maps, One is Controversial and Called Politically Motivated

By Robert Haugh

Last night, the Santa Clara County Advisory Redistricting Commission (ARC) presented five possible maps to the Board of Supervisors. The Board narrowed the choices to three.

They’ll meet on November 16 to pick a final map. If they can’t do it at that meeting, they’ll meet on December 7.

The Board selected the maps called “Yellow, Purple, and EE 2.0.” All three choices would keep the City of Santa Clara in District 4.

District 4 is represented by Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. She’s a San Jose resident who has rarely made appearances in Santa Clara since she was elected in 2018.

Ellenberg made the motion for the final three maps. She was supported by Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee. She was opposed by Supervisors Joe Simitian and Mike Wasserman.

Here’s a breakdown of the Board’s final choices:

The Yellow map is the most controversial. It was publicly criticized for being politically manipulated to remove current District 1 candidates from an election in 2022. Wasserman is termed out and numerous candidates are vying for an open seat. 

The Yellow map was drawn and presented to the ARC by local labor interests. It prevents some District 1 candidates from running because it removes their homes from District 1.  It removes Los Gatos and Almaden Valley from their current district and puts those areas into District 5.

“I was hoping to be the first Democrat in a while in that district,” Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie told San Jose Spotlight. “But I want to do it fairly—I don’t want to take out my opposing votes from the district to win.”

“I don’t care about losing a neighborhood or adding a neighborhood somewhere else, that stuff doesn’t strike me as unethical,” former San Jose Councilman Johnny Khamis said. “What’s unethical is a political organization submitting a map for its own political well-being.”

This is a developing story that we’ll follow.


  1. You’re probably right that Supervisor Ellenberg isn’t around town much. We rarely see her. But I don’t think that’s as big a deal as her supporting a politically manipulative map. It’s dirty politics to to knock candidates out of a district who might win by re-drawing the lines. I hope you focus your future reporting on that.

    • Def can’t be cool to stack the deck against candidates so your peeps win. Whose labor folks backing anyway? Rossi? She’s education. Considine? He placed 3rd in DemClub vote. Chavez backed the labor map too? Says a lot. Ellie is still too pink behind the ears to be making dumb political moves. Simitian and Wasserman know the ropes, Ellie. Stick with people who supported you. Not thugs. You want to be reelected don’t you, Ellie?

  2. I have lived in Santa Clara most of my life—Susan Ellenberg has been the first county supervisor that has actually taken an interest at a grass roots level of our midsize city. Its refreshing to be part of D4. I would say “rarely” is not the right choice of words—unless you are referring to past D4 representatives.

    The future for Santa Clara looks bright…as part of D4

  3. I normally agree with you but Susan Ellenberg has attended MANY Santa Clara events since she was elected. I have not known her to turn down any invitation she has received and she makes a concerted effort to let the citizens of Santa Clara know she is there for them.

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