New congressional districts being drawn up by state legislatures show that population loss is causing a rapid erosion of big cities' political clout. In Maryland, Democratic Governor William Donald Schaefer, a former Baltimore mayor, threatens to veto a Democratic-backed plan that dramatically shifts voting strength from the Baltimore area to the Washington suburbs. California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr. (D), meanwhile, sees no way to avoid a big transfer of power from Los Angeles and San Francisco to San Diego and the counties around L. A.--with a major loss of Democratic strength. And in Illinois, where Chicago must lose a seat, the dominant GOP is pushing a plan that would force veteran Democratic Representatives Dan Rostenkowski and Frank Annunzio into the same district.

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