Saturday, September 13, 2014

Where Was Torrance in Congressional Politics? 1983-1993, CD 27, 42

Continuing my exploration of the Congressional districts, locating where Torrance fit within the California delegation, I found that in the 1980s, the state legislature gerrymandered districts so monstrously, one wonders how anyone put up with such distortions.

Once again, the city of Torrance was divided, but into two parts instead of three.

In the 1980s (From 1983-1993), the California delegation grew from 43 to 45. Not as much gain as in prior decades.

Looking over the Congressional maps from the 1980s, one finds that Torrance was divided into North and East Torrance, joining with the Beach Cities, Inglewood (!), all the way up to Santa Monica and Topanga.

West and South Torrance (190th to Crenshaw) joined with Palos Verdes, then a long strip of land along the port of Los Angeles, including Signal Hill and Cypress, all the way down to Huntington Beach.

Just listing the cities, and the wide expanse of space, is disconcerting.

District 27 (North and East Torrance)

For the state records with the new map, check here.

Mel Levine.png Mel LevineDemocraticJanuary 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993Western Los Angeles (Manhattan/Redondo Beach, Santa Monica)Retired

Mel Levine

Mel Levine's picture
Mel Levine was born in Beverly Hills, currently lives in Santa Monica, serves as legal counsel in California and Washington, DC.

Pro-Israel, supporting a strong foreign policy (he voted for war authorization in Iraq (Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm), he accumulated a far-left wing voting record in Congress notwithstanding.

Last month, Levine was appointed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti as president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, LA Department of Water and Power.

Choosing not to run in 1992 (redistricting removed Inglewood and took in all of Torrance for an entirely new district), Levine ran for US Senate, losing the Democratic primary to Barbara Boxer (who then won the seat)

One of the interesting aspects about the 1980s CD-27 gerrymander is that a liberal Jewish congressman represented the predominantly black Inglewood area for a decade.

GOP operatives took advantage of this trend, who targeted Levine as an arm of the corrupting Berman-Waxman West LA machine:

Racism Charged: Speaking of the 27th, [1990 Republican Congressonial candidate David Barrett] Cohen has provoked an angry rebuke from Levine by sending out a campaign mailer that portrays the incumbent's Westside political machine as racist.

Addressing black voters in Inglewood, the mailer says Levine and other members of the liberal Waxman-Berman machine "take you and your vote for granted and treat Inglewood like a voting plantation for Mel Levine."

The 27th was redrawn to include part of Inglewood just before Levine made his first run for Congress.

 This statement from Levine was too much to ignore:

Levine brands the mailer "an unfortunate effort by a desperate political candidate to dream up some wild charges." Terming his record on civil rights "solid," Levine adds: "He is suggesting I am a liberal racist, which is an absurd and outrageous charge."

Apparently, he never  met Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and he forgot LBJ's invidious remarks about his Great Society agenda: "We'll have those n--ggers voting for us for the next 200 years."

South Bay politics was a heated affair then and now, and even though Westside progressive Henry Waxman did not represent the South Bay until the 2012 election, his machine's influence carried the Democratic ticket into the region long before.

District 42 (West and South Torrance)

This district was huge, even larger than Dana Rohrabacher's 45th district in the 2000s.

Here's the Torrance/Palos Verdes Section of the district.

Here's the Long Beach/Signal Hill portion of the district.

Here's the North Orange Country section.

Here are the Congressmen who represented West and South Torrance in the 1980s:

DanLungren 2009.jpg Dan LungrenRepublicanJanuary 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989Los Angeles (Palos Verdes), northwestern OrangeRedistricted from the 34th district, Appointed acting treasurer
Dana Rohrabacher.jpg Dana RohrabacherRepublicanJanuary 3, 1989 – January 3, 1993Redistricted to the 45th district

Once again, the Republicans who represented Torrance were part of an all-star line-up, or the "Who's who" of California Republicans.
Dan Lungren

Lungren was a force to be reckoned with in Long Beach politics for years (Yes, believe it or not, Long Beach was a Republican stronghold for decades too).

Lungren served in Congress from the late 1970s to the late 80s, then receiving the nomination for state treasurer from Republican Governor George Dukemeijan.

Lungren gave up his house seat, which went to fellow conservative Rohrabacher. Sadly, Lungren lost the nomination, but later he was elected state Attorney General (1990, 1994), then lost the 1998 Governor's  race to Gray Davis (recalled in 2003)

On the issues, he was a strong social and fiscal conservative. He supported punishing business for hiring illegal immigrants, although he also favored guest worker permits for foreigners.

Tough on crime and illegal drugs, Lungren presided over California's first execution in twenty years.

Falling behind the liberal trends catching up all over California, Democratic gubernatorial challenger Gray Davis painted Lungren as too conservative for California. After Lungren's unsuccessful run for Governor in 1998, he ran for Congress again, this time in North California.

Lungren's return led to four more election wins, until redistricting in 2011 pitted him against local doctor Ami Bera a second time, and Lungren lost.

Dana Rohrabacher


Rohrabacher is to Orange County, California what Lincoln is Illinois: inseparable in identity.

A strong conservative on all issues (including immigration, and moreso than his previous colleague Lungren, in my view), Rohrbacher submitted legislation which would prevent illegal immigrants from receiving emergency room health care. He also authored legislation which would deny social security to illegal immigrants.

He should have focused on requiring citizenship for enrollment in a public school.

During the 1990 Congressional campaign, Rohrabacher faced a slew of attack ads for cutting funding to the National Endowment of the Arts as well as support for oil-drilling off the California Coast:

Would-be political giant-killers, seeking the maximum bang for their limited campaign bucks, are turning to cable television.

In the 42nd Congressional District, arts supporters upset with U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's drive to rein in the National Endowment for the Arts are putting the finishing touches on two cable ads targeting the Lomita Republican. [Wow! Lomita!]

The ads, tentatively set to air starting Oct. 20, do not address the NEA debate. One features a recent Money Magazine voting comparison that gives Rohrabacher an "F" on economic issues.
Another takes Rohrabacher to task for recommending new oil drilling off the California coast. The script calls for shots of the oil spill this year off Huntington Beach that came ashore in Orange County. The voice-over calls Rohrabacher a congressman "the California coastline can't afford."

Despite the attack ads, Rohrabacher remained in the 42 district with a comfortable voting margin term after term. A strong anti-communist during the Cold War, the OC rep highlighted his efforts pushing out the Russians in the late  1980s: "I was Vladimir Putin's worst nightmare."

At any rate, he stands his ground (then and now) on issues, and commands a great deal of respect. During his tenure in the 2000s, he confronted Mexican consulate authorities on Catalina Island for handing out identification cards listing American legal status.

One of his reasons for condemning this practice:

“Where you have illegal immigration, crime and drugs are sure to follow.”


Today, Rohrabacher is situated in the safely Republican 48th Congressional District. If population trends continue more dramatically in the next decade, with fewer house seats to apportion, and the OC Republican remains in office, his district might encompass key portions of Torrance once again.

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