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Monday, July 25, 2011


There’s No Crying in Redistricting!

When the commission failed to release the second draft observers recognized they were doing so to avoid some welling up confrontation – with the largest battle one over the drawing of LA Congressional districts.  The African American community has diminished in that region, and the grand compromise to give them three seats in 2001 was being threatened by a commission process that could use a more literal reading of the Voting Rights Act to eliminate one or two African American-held seats.

Sunday the commission couldn’t avoid it any longer, and by the time they were done, two commissioners had broken down in tears and Commissioner Parvenu delivered a line that could go all the way to the Supreme Court:"Voting Rights Act is an instrument to be used against the African-American population.”  Law students, bookmark that.

The commission ultimately rejected a plan that would create a majority-minority African American district, allowing those high propensity voters to be spread into three districts.  For LA based members of the Congressional Black Caucus there was a sigh of relief... Well, at least for two.   Laura Richardson still needs to sweat out a challenge from Assemblyman Isadore Hall who was observing all of this on a flight to DC... thanking God for Commissioner Parvaneu, and in-flight Wi-Fi.

The other big play of the weekend was for the BOE -- basically an afterthought for the commission, but a big deal to a select few.   The commission visualizations would have given Democrats a 3-1 advantage.  Business groups, not keen on this prospect, organized a last minute blitz, promoting a plan that would maintain their two Republican seats and make Jerome Horton their best friend for a decade.  When their plan was shot down they returned with a murder-suicide strategy - employing the VRA to force the commission into a live redraw of the seats. 

Commissioner Dai said "a lot of people will be made happy with this new plan," and that is true if he means George Runner, corporate America, and Horton's fundraiser.

The lines are drawn, and should be released Thursday.  Expect a Friday vote and a two week waiting period before the final vote on August 15th.  Until then, expect a lot of history-book-writing as folks from the trenches come up to tell us what really just happened. 


Independent commission finishes drawing new districts
The Sacramento Bee
California's first-ever independent redistricting commission finished drawing 177 new congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization maps late Sunday after a rare conflict over racial issues. The new maps, which will be released to the public on Friday, are expected to generate a flurry of lawsuits and at least one referendum drive, all of which would, if successful, shift redistricting to the courts for final resolution before the 2012 elections.

Minority representation a challenge for redistricting commission
Los Angeles Times
Many of L.A.'s black leaders gathered in Exposition Park one recent drizzly morning to sound a warning. Hard-won political gains were under attack, they said, in the once-in-a-decade redrawing of California's voting districts. There were references to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and exhortations to "let your voice be heard." The leaders urged their audience to lodge protests with the citizen group formed at voters' behest to create the new political maps.

Latest CA Redistricting Comm'n Maps Put Parts of Long Beach Into 3 State Senate Districts & 3 Assembly Districts; Cong District Action Expected Sunday
If ultimately adopted by the Commission and not changed further by possible litigation, these election district lines would determine how Long Beach is represented by elected officials in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. for the next ten years. The actions below aren't final...but they are on the road to being released as final drafts at the Commission's July 28 meeting with voted adopting due by mid-August.

GOP already down on redrawn districts
The Press-Enterprise
The state redistricting commission plans to unveil its "preliminary final" maps proposing new political lines for California this Friday. They're expected to be largely consistent with an evolving series of maps released publicly throughout the months-long process. If so, expect some opposition from Republicans, who have already been raising concerns about the independent panel's work.

Redistricting worries California black leaders
California's African American leaders will nervously be watching Friday when a citizens commission releases its final redrawing of California's political map for the next decade.

South Bay coast feels the impact of redistricting
Daily News Los Angeles
The most recent congressional maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission splits Torrance and San Pedro and connects the South Bay coastline, including the Palos Verdes Peninsula, to Santa Monica and Malibu via Dockweiler State Beach near El Segundo. The flicks of the commission's pen have many Republicans almost apoplectic. David Hadley, president of the Beach Cities Republican Club, called the lines "a travesty of fair representation."

Eight senators affected by redistricting panel's 'musical chairs'
The Sacramento Bee
A decision by California's redistricting commission today could alter or jeopardize the political careers of numerous California state senators in what amounts to a numbers game whose stakes are massive. Affected senators are Ted Gaines, R-Roseville; Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina; Rod Wright, D-Inglewood; , D-San Leandro; Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel; and Tom Berryhill, R-Oakdale. Other senators caught in the numbers game are not likely to feel much pain -- Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, will be termed out of the Legislature in 2014 so she is ineligible to run in any new Senate district.

From The Twitterverse

@sairy: Attempting to make sense of #CA redistricting round 2 maps: http://t.co/6DYK9Gt

@MattRexroad: I will be the next person in the redistricting meeting to cry. #wecantdrawlines

@udrawthelines the silent war in redistricting? Three letters, four seats, and nobody is paying any attention. #wedrawBOE

@FaithFrontLine: If you would like to fax in your comments about the redistricting. Please fax your concerns to 916-651-5711. Let's stand together

@Highdesertdaily: Public Opinion Sought On Redistricting, Both Locally And Statewide http://fb.me/TDcbNwit

@chrischaffee: No crying in redistricting, but there's a few Reps crying in DC looking at their new lines. #wecrythelines

@MattRexroad: Redistricting Commission moving closer to impasse over race issue in Congress. #courtsdrawthelines

@politicalchicks: Racial gerrymandering is alive and well, but apparently if you do it on purpose it's ok... #redistricting

@ MattRexroad: Congressman Jerry Lewis is having his fate decided by the Redistricting Commission right now.


County supervisors to see new redistricting maps on Tuesday
Visalia Times-Delta
Tulare County supervisors will be presented Tuesday with maps suggesting three ways to redraw the county's five voter districts. After holding a series of public meetings in which five initial draft maps were put up for public comment, members of the 2001 Advisory Committee on Redistricting literally went back to the drawing board. They redrew the maps and narrowed down three choices that incorporate the comments received from the public.

Salinas officials seek changes to redistricting proposal
The city has sent a letter outlining its concerns, chief among them that county representation in Salinas is divided among four supervisorial districts and the new districting plan doesn't change that. Some 4,100 voters would be shifted from one district to another inside the city, but otherwise, district lines would remain much as they are now.

Tuesday could be last hearing on Butte redistricting
What could be the last hearing on supervisorial district boundaries for the next decade is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday. The hearing, which will take place during the afternoon session of the Butte County Board of Supervisors' regular meeting, could lead to the final vote on a proposed plan — called Option 4 — that would establish new district boundaries.

Part of West Hills may switch county districts in redistricting proposal
Daily News Los Angeles
A small portion of West Hills would fall under a different supervisorial district under a recommended plan for redrawing electoral boundaries. The Boundary Review Committee, which advises the Board of Supervisors on redistricting, reviewed 19 plans submitted by the public and ultimately decided to make only relatively minor changes to existing boundaries.

Fixing politics
The Daily Californian
Though a majority of UC Berkeley students live in the areas surrounding the campus, there is currently no student super-majority city council district. While many have called for such a district — most notably ASUC External Affairs Vice President Joey Freeman — its creation would simply be gerrymandering.

S.F. blacks' political clout imperiled
Malia Cohen, as the lone African American on the 11-member San Francisco Board of Supervisors, always keeps in the back of her mind that she could be the last. And as long as identity politics, such as race and sexual orientation, continue to play a role in how some people vote, the dwindling number of African Americans living in San Francisco puts black representation on the Board of Supervisors at risk.

County Redistricting – Back at it Again
Romick in Oakley
The Board of Supervisors will continue the Public Hearing to consider a proposal to adjust the boundaries of county supervisorial districts based on the 2010 Census, July 26, 2011 at 1:00pm. At their last meeting they were unable to gather the three necessary votes to reach an agreement. Also, Federal Glover offered up a fourth map (17D) in an attempt to reach a compromise.

New Placer County supervisorial district may link Auburn, north Lake Tahoe
The Sacramento Bee
Eastern Placer County may see its political influence diminish as the county adjusts political boundaries to accommodate the Lake Tahoe area's shrinking full-time population. Under tentative redistricting maps, the supervisorial district that includes the north shore of Lake Tahoe will grow to include Auburn.

Keep that redistricting debate alive
We do, however, stand behind assertions in that editorial, and the trail of events down through recent history that has, once again, delivered us to a point of north/south division. It’s nothing like the divide between the North and South in America’s Civil War, but it’s close. It is also abundantly clear that the debate over redrawing supervisorial district lines is far from over. In fact, this dispute may have the kind of legs demonstrated by the South’s die-hard believers, who still wave their Stars and Bars.

Stanislaus County supervisors eye redistricting options
The Modesto Bee
Supervisors Bill O'Brien and Dick Monteith said a plea from Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra resonates with them. At a hearing Wednesday, Vierra said Ceres, the third-largest of the county's nine cities, would prefer being represented by one supervisor under Option 1.