California 13th District
The East Bay is the workaday, unglamorous side of the San Francisco Bay Area—a narrow strip of land between the bay and the surprisingly high mountains that rise just to the east. The shoreline is not picturesque, with its closed-down Navy bases and its docks, airports, and salt evaporators. The Bay Bridge, bisected by Yerba Buena Island, cuts an inspiring figure, though it requires constant patching; work is under way to add a new span, with completion scheduled in 2013. The San Mateo Bridge to the south is at best utilitarian. In World War II, when the shipyards of Richmond were buzzing, the East Bay south of Oakland was still largely uninhabited farm fields. After the war, the area filled up, south along old Route 17: San Leandro, originally settled by Portuguese; Hayward with its California State University campus and seafood industry; Union City with its rail yards; Fremont, home of a General Motors/Toyota joint-venture auto plant; and Newark, with dozens of industrial plants ranging from salt processing to computer network servers. Hit hard by the dot-com bust, the East Bay revived with biotech, construction, and health care. Underneath the East Bay is the Hayward Fault, not as famous as the San Andreas, but just as dangerous. An earthquake there in 1868 registered about 7.0 on the Richter scale.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 13th Congressional District of California is made up of this string of East Bay towns in Alameda County. The district is racially and ethnically mixed in the California manner. Fremont is home to the Little Kabul neighborhood of Afghans. Koreans and other Asians have moved in large numbers to Fremont and Hayward. In 2007, the district was 35% Asian, 23% Hispanic, and 7% African-American. This has long been a Democratic area. Democrat John Kerry got 71% of the vote here in 2004, and Democrat Barack Obama won it with 74% in 2008.