Answer: A lightning rod for controversy, judging from reaction to plans by California's independent redistricting commission to split the county's suburbs into six state Senate districts.
"I think it kills the voice of the (suburbs)," Rancho Cordova Councilman Ken Cooley said of the newest proposals, released Wednesday, which continue to show the six-district split.
Rancho Cordova would be a key focus of the slicing and dicing, with older and newer sections of the city split into separate Senate districts.
Motorists traveling an eight-mile stretch of Highway 50 from Folsom Auto Mall to Bradshaw Road would drive through four Senate districts under the latest proposals, Cooley said.
Much of central Sacramento County would remain in one Senate district, but other districts would extend roughly from Wilton to Death Valley; from Galt to Modesto; from Rancho Cordova to Red Bluff; and from Folsom to the Nevada and Oregon borders. A tiny sliver of the county, Isleton, would be part of a wide-ranging district stretching from Yolo County through parts of Napa, Solano and Contra Costa counties.
Consultant Paul Mitchell, of Redistricting Partners, said sparse populations in many northern California counties have prompted the commission to target Sacramento County in equalizing Senate districts. Each must have about 931,000 residents.
The panel, charged with drawing legislative and congressional districts, has tended to focus in Northern California on the San Francisco area and on restrictions against diluting the voting power of minority groups, Mitchell said.
"Sacramento is always like a third or fourth domino," he said.
Political analyst Tony Quinn said the commission has balked at joining parts of Marin and San Francisco counties into one Senate district, which has created a ripple that narrows Sacramento County's district options, Quinn said.
Sacramento County suburbs would be a big loser under the latest draft maps, he said.
"You cannot have effective representation if you don't have some logic to it," Quinn said.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify that six state senators would represent parts of Sacramento County. Updated, 2:45 p.m. July 20, 2011