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Berman vs. Sherman: 'This Could Be a Clash of the Titans'

Cardenas sees redistricting plan as an opening for a Congressional run.

The rough and tumble has already begun even though redistricting maps have not been finalized.

Democrats Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) and  Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), with homes just blocks from each other, would end up living in the same district, setting up a battle for the same House seat. Sherman currently represents parts of Chatsworth.

The Washington Post says, "This could be a clash of the titans."

And POLITICO sees a political war ahead, reporting:

Sherman and Berman are longtime nemeses. Following the last round of redistricting, Sherman accused Berman and his brother, Democratic consultant Michael Berman, of orchestrating a redistricting plan that left him weak to a primary challenge from a Latino candidate and famously accused his fellow congressman of “stabb[ing] me in the back.” Now the two are pitted together in a San Fernando Valley-based seat–and it looks like a matchup could be on. Just hours after the map was released, Berman, a former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, released a statement vowing that “there is no question that I would want to continue representing” the area. The race would be a barnburner since Sherman has more than $3 million stockpiled.

“I’m not saying goodbye to anybody yet,” Sherman told the Glendale News-Press. “I think the maps are going to change massively.”

“I don’t see how we can get around this confrontation... ,” Richard Mullin, president of a Santa Monica-based public opinion research company, told the Jewish Journal.

Within hours of the release of the maps, City Councilman Tony Cardenas–who was just elected in March to a third term–announced his intention to run for a new congressional seat, which would be more than two-thirds Latino, and would pull largely from geographic areas currently represented by Sherman and Berman. (See attached maps and PDFs).

In a statement, Berman suggested that if the redistricting plans hold, he would choose to run in the West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas District:

"California's Citizens Redistricting Commission still has months of work and numerous public meetings ahead of them," Berman said. "Still, if the final districts look anything like the draft map released today, my home is squarely in the district it is calling 'West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas.'  It's premature to make an official campaign announcement until district lines are finalized, however, there is no question that I would want to continue representing this community."

Sherman also seemed to be antcipating a showdown with Berman.

"It certainly means there will be a lot of battlefields in California," Sherman was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.

The draft maps released Friday morning was the first of four expected drafts, which will be subject to public meetings and discussion.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission released early draft maps of new congressional, Assembly, state Senate and Board of Equalization district boundaries Friday. The new maps are based on 2010 census data and 23 public hearings the commission held across the state in recent months. 

The commission's proposal includes a new East San Fernando Valley District, where no sitting members of Congress live, according to Cardenas's spokesman Josh Pulliam.

"Valley voters have entrusted me to represent them at the state and local level, and I've delivered on their priorities: good jobs and safer communities for our families," Cardenas said in a statement.

The new districts would be roughly divided by the 405 and 5 freeways, creating what the draft plan calls the East San Fernando Valley - Tujunga District and the West San Fernando Valley - Calabasas District. A small section of the East Valley district would cross the 405 into the Lake Balboa area, while the West Valley district would cross the 405 and run along both sides of the 101 Freeway corridor to the 170 Freeway.

The Los Angeles Times analyzed the possible redistricting and predicted it would cause trouble for Berman, who represents the 28th District:

The new maps promise to cause political migraines for a number of incumbents, including one of Los Angeles’ most enduring Democratic politicians, Howard L. Berman.

Berman could face a challenge from a well-known Latino if he runs in a more Latino east San Fernando Valley district carved from a chunk of the congressman’s current district, or a possible race against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in a new district that includes Berman’s home and extends through the west San Fernando Valley.

According to Berman's Web site, California's 28th congressional District, which he represents, spreads from the northern San Fernando Valley and includes San Fernando, Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City, Sylmar, and North Hollywood. The southernmost border follows Mulholland Drive, taking in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, and the Hollywood Hills at the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Sherman's 27th congressional District extends in a horseshoe shape beyond the 170 Freeway on the east and dipping a bit beyond the 134 freeway on the south, to the Angeles National Forest on the north, part of Chatsworth on the west and just beyond the 101 freeway on the second leg south.

The growth of the Latino population in the proposed new eastern district–which would include Panorama City, San Fernando, and possibly Sunland–would be highly favorable to Cardenas, said Jaime Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles. "But congressional seats don't open all that often, so this is going to be a horse race," Regalado said.

Cardenas, a Democrat, in 1996 became the first Latino to represent the San Fernando Valley in the California Legislature, where he served three terms.

Elected to the City Council in 2003 to represent District 6, which includes part of North Hollywood, he has championed business tax reform and has helped create the city's first Animal Cruelty Task Force within the Los Angeles Police Department. Cardenas was recently .

Cardenas chairs the city's Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee and is vice chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

"I was honored to be the Valley's first Latino legislator," Cardenas said Friday, "and I am humbled by this historic opportunity to be the first Latino to serve this beautiful and diverse community in Congress.''

City News Service contributed to this report

American Citizen June 12, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Crooked and biased liberal politicians, in order to secure votes, will continue to favor their Latino constituents, ignoring the real concerns of our non-Latino, tax-paying community. Berman paid his brother Michael Berman's consulting firm Berman & D'Agostino $195,000 from campaign funds from 2001 to 2006. This included $70,000 in consulting fees for the 2006 election. In 2005, $50,000 in consulting fees were paid to the company, and Michael Berman himself was paid a further $80,500 in campaign management and consulting fees. In the 2002 campaign, Berman & D'Agostino was paid $75,000 in political consulting fees. Remember when Tony Cardenas and his colleague Jan Perry — with an assist from Assemblyman Fabian Núñez — sought Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s personal involvement last August to make an unguaranteed loan of public funds to Islas, a rich political insider. The push came after Islas, his wife, his business partner, his employees and their family members gave Cardenas $10,100 in contributions in 2006 and 2007. Yet, He was re-elected??? "Liberal Lefty," Sherman enjoys calling anyone who disagrees with him a "racist," when in reality it is reverse racism that thrives in the SFV. Why should we hope redistricting would make a difference?
American Citizen June 12, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Remember when the Center for Public Integrity reported in 2006 that members of the House Ethics Committee and their staffs had taken many privately sponsored trips, about 400 trips from 2000 to mid 2005, at a total expense nearly $1 million. Of these, Democrats took about 80% of the trips at about 70% of the cost. Berman and his staff were at the top of the chart, with trips costing more than $245,000. Berman himself had taken 14 trips at the Aspen Institute's expense, including two to China with Mrs. Berman. Aspen replied that its events for members were like graduate seminars, and did not push any policy agenda. "Gene Smith, Berman's chief of staff, said that the bulk of the congressman's foreign travel can be attributed to his being a senior member on the House Committee on International Relations." The SFV has been bought and paid for...sad representation by even sadder, ignorant voters.
Mark Reed June 12, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Clash of the Titans – Sherman and Berman? More like “Clash of the Valley’s Biggest Tax and Spender’s” While Sherman and Berman battle it out to retain their jobs, all of us in the Valley will be fighting to keep our jobs homes families Medicare benefits Social Security Veterans benefits businesses and our futures. The Valley has never seen such high unemployment foreclosures loss of manufacturing and loss of real-estate values. The Valley once had three Veterans facilities and now, it has one, the Sepulveda Veterans Hospital. Most Valley residents are not aware that its existence is in jeopardy. Sherman has given his blessing to the giveaway of 14+ acres to a private developer. The remaining acres could suffer the same fate. Where are our veterans going to go to get their medical services? Sherman and Berman will use smoke and mirrors to distract you from their voting records. While we pay record prices for gas and food, Sherman and Berman both voted down drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, voted to add 2.8 trillion to our Federal deficit, and voted down the Homeland Security budget. Both of them view immigration as a “dog and pony show.” I wonder who the dog is and who the pony is. (first half of comment)
Mark Reed June 12, 2011 at 05:03 PM
(second half comment) The Valley is suffering from 17 % + unemployment, home foreclosures and a record loss of businesses. We are all unsure of where our futures are going. Sherman and Berman will wage a multimillion-dollar war to keep their jobs. Who is really paying for this war? This coming election is a two for one - one election, and we can get rid of two of the Valleys’ biggest “tax and spenders,” who are ignoring the needs of their constituents and who are concentrating instead on their own political careers. We need a change and we need it now! Our country was not built by unions, labor, management, Republicans or Democrats. It was built by Americans and the mutual respect we have had for each other’s talents, which have been offered in the building of the greatest nation in the history of the world. The free marketplace has given us the tools to wage a war on poverty for over two hundred years. Every day we fail to acknowledge this, we work to undermine the freedoms we enjoy. I ran against the policies of Sherman last year and I am running again in the West San Fernando Valley. If Berman runs in this district, we can get rid of both of them in one election. Visit my website MarkReedforCongress.com send me an email mark@markreedforcongress.com or contact my office at (818) 353-8777 to join the Mark Reed for Congress team. Together, we can restore the San Fernando Valley and our Country. God bless you and God bless America, Mark Reed
Ellen Vukovich June 13, 2011 at 07:20 PM
My understanding is that Sherman Oaks has been divided in half - half in Waxman's District - which includes the Westside. And, the other half in the new East San Fernando Valley District. Therefore, the greater Sherman Oaks community needs to demand that our community not be cut in half. For a second time - currently, Sherman Oaks is represented by 2 City Council Members. Not good news at all (so far!). Remember, this is a long POLITICAL process.

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