LONG BEACH - Hello Hawaiian Gardens, goodbye south Lakewood.

At Thursday's meeting of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, members approved a mapping option that kept Lakewood largely intact in a U.S. congressional district with Bellflower and Downey, and added Hawaiian Gardens to the Long Beach district.

The process is ongoing and final district maps are slated to be released July 28 and adopted by the commission on Aug. 15.

An earlier map proposal had split Lakewood along Del Amo Boulevard and included the area north of there with Hawaiian Gardens.

In an interview with the Press-Telegram last month, Redistricting Commissioner Jodie Filkins Webber explained: "We received quite a bit of testimony from the Long Beach area, and what we wanted to do was respect the city itself, not divide it and really respect the integrity of the city with respect to the population of the diversity ... (and) the Port (of Long Beach)."

Remarkably, Bixby Knolls dodged yet another and unexpected bullet Thursday.

The commission rejected with little discussion a radical third option that would have split Long Beach along a northwest by southeast line. Coincidentally, part of that map ran down Atlantic Avenue through Bixby Knolls.

Recently, when Long Beach city officials were discussing redistricting City Council districts, Bixby Knolls was at the center of a political dustup. A proposal by City Councilman James Johnson to split the 7 th and 8 th council districts along the same line drew considerable community opposition.

The Redistricting Commission had been scheduled to release a second round of draft maps Thursday, but scrapped that in favor of posting what it called "visualizations" of district maps online.

The visualizations are more fluid and the commission says provide greater detail.

Those interested in the progress of the mapping can find it at wedrawthelines.ca.gov.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission is a new 14-member panel charged with redrawing California's Senate, Assembly, State Board of Equalization, and Congressional districts based on the 2010 census.

In Thursday discussions, the Commission was intent on keeping most of Long Beach proper intact at the congressional level. Currently, three members of Congress, Republican Dana Rohrbacher and Democrats Laura Richardson and Linda Sanchez have pieces of Long Beach.

The new map pulls Belmont Shore and the city's wealthier beach areas out of Rohrbacher's district, the bulk of which is in Orange County and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Like earlier versions of the mapping, the recent proposals would unify most of Long Beach and could lead to sole representation in Congress and the state Senate and Assembly.

One change from earlier proposed maps was that San Pedro was added to the Long Beach district, replacing Paramount, Cerritos and other areas to the north.

Richardson's 37 th Congressional District currently encompasses West, Downtown and Central Long Beach and Signal Hill. Under the new configuration, the district would encompass Carson and Wilmington and extend north into Lynwood, South Gate and Watts.

Those are areas currently represented by Linda Sanchez, whose current U-shaped district also included East Long Beach, Cerritos, La Mirada and South Whittier.

The new plan effectively cuts that in half, and political observers are debating whether Sanchez and Richardson are headed for a showdown, or whether Sanchez would vie for an eastern district that would encompass Pico Rivera, Montebello and Whittier.

Further complicating the race is California Assemblyman Isadore Hall's declared candidacy for the new Carson/Compton congressional district.

If neither Richardson nor Sanchez fight to keep Long Beach, that leaves the city wide open for an exciting race.

State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, who is a former Assembly member and Long Beach council member, has already declared his candidacy in the race. Third District Councilman Gary DeLong is also exploring a run for the hypothetical district seat.

greg.mellen@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1291