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Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Fair is in the Eye of the Beholder

When the voters passed Propositions 11 and 20 the message was heard loud and clear:  Voters wanted fair districts that would bring an end to the squiggly lines, split cities and nonsensical configurations that were signs of gerrymanders.  Voters wanted competitive elections that would force candidates to fight for the middle, making elections matter again.  And voters wanted to fix the dysfunction in Sacramento.  Three simple outcome goals, seemingly none achieved.

The early post-mortem on the new state lines includes articles in nearly every paper in the state complaining about splits of counties and cities and the pairing of disconnected cities.  There will be more competitive elections this coming year, but questions linger as to the plans' long-term competitiveness, and anyone who thinks these new maps will fix Sacramento probably needs their head examined.

The other strong theme in the articles are the shifting candidates for the legislature and congress, who is retiring, who is moving, who is totally screwed.  If the voters were casting ballots for instability and anti-incumbent redistricting then they have scored on that front.  The current plans, which draw out 173 legislative and congressional districts, displace or pair-up more than 60 incumbents.  It seems everyone in Sacramento has the latest rumor about what Central Valley Congressman is retiring and which African American district Janice Hahn is going to try and steal next.

This and other redistricting drama were debated this week by Tony Quinn and Paul Mitchell on Capitol Public Radio’s Insight program.  The debate was civil until Quinn suggested that things were better back when we had 29 members of Congress, a point that devolved into yet another redistricting fist fight causing host Jeffrey Callison to jump across the desk and tackle Mitchell while R.E. Graswich restrained Quinn.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to see the next Redistricting brawl first hand, mark September 30th on your calendar.   That’s when UC Berkeley will be holding their conference “A Brave New World: CA’s Redistricting Experiment” with presenters ranging from KQED host John Myers, to Rexroad and Mitchell, a few commissioners, and Kathy Feng from Common Cause to break up the fights.  Get there early to claim your ringside seats!


California Redistricting Reaction
Capitol Public Radio
Was California's redistricting process a success? A citizens commission drew the new maps that were finalized August 15, a job previously done by lawmakers. We'll discuss this topic with Paul Mitchell and Tony Quinn, two political consultants with a background in redistricting issues.

Redistricting Maps Shake Up Political Landscape Locally
Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch
Seal Beach, on the other hand, will be the northernmost end of a coastal district that extends down to Laguna Niguel. Rossmoor, Los Alamitos and Seal Beach, will be joined together in state senate and assembly districts that include more inlands cities and fewer coastal cities than in both the current districts and the ones proposed by a nonpartisan redistricting panel earlier this summer. For Los Alamitos officials, that shift is a victory.

Redistricting Anything But Fair, Say Critics
The Santa Clara Weekly
Santa Clara's new congressional district, CD 17, extends from Alameda County into Santa Clara County; including Newark, Fremont, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and parts of San Jose. The city's new assembly district, AD 25, covers Newark, Milpitas, San Jose's Berryessa neighborhood, and parts of Fremont. The new senate district, SD 10, reaches even further afield, marrying Santa Clara to Alameda county cities Castro Valley and San Ramon as well as Milpitas, Fremont, Newark and Berryessa. The commission explains these puzzling groupings in the following way: "The district contains cities and local communities of interest marked by several shared interests, including employment and business based on high technology economies and demographic characteristics linked by income level, housing, and immigration status."

Battle begins over state's redistricting plan
California Common Cause thinks the referendum reflects how fearful the political establishment is of losing power. The way the State Senate districts are drawn now gives Democrats a shot of holding a two-thirds majority, enough to raise taxes. "I think there are a lot of people who are so used to a zero sum game where they've always been able to win in this game of redistricting," said Kathay Feng of California Common Cause. "They are sore losers."

California Crazy: Redistricting Edition.
Daily KOS
Each of the four maps the Commission has drawn is subject to this process.  Each one individually can be challenged by gathering enough signatures, and by doing so at least temporarily nullifying the map.  What happens if the map is nullified? The California Supreme Court must appoint 'special masters' (sounds kinky) to draw the lines.  If the voters eventually approve of the commissions' map, the Supreme Court lines goes away, replaced by the Commission's districts.  If the voters reject the Commission's work, the Supreme Court-drawn lines stay in effect until the next redistricting.

California Redistricting Map Angers Latinos And Republicans, Benefits Democrats
The Huffington Post
Critics from organizations such as the National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials, NALEO, believe the redrawn district lines do not fairly represent the Latino population. "We feel like the commission’s state senate map that was adopted could turn back the clock on the Latino political process in California," Rosalind Gold, Senior Policy Director at NALEO, said. "Latinos accounted for 90 percent of the state's population growth, but we still don't think the maps reflect that."

Fallout from Republicans, Latinos over state redistricting maps
Southern California Public Radio
“Some of the participants in this clearly were biased," Del Beccaro said. "They were driving the commission. They failed to disclose their contacts and affiliations and when it came to the Senate lines, the worst of all of that came out.” Del Becarro says panel members used inconsistent criteria to draw the lines which they say gives Democrats an unfair edge. GOP leaders plan to collect signatures for a referendum so voters can toss out the new Senate map. Some Latino groups don’t like that one, either.

California Redistricting — The People Win Again
News Hawk Review
The Republicans are threatening to create a voter referendum asking people to vote down the districts because it is believed that there are too many potential Democratic-friendly districts, meaning that the Democrats might be able to achieve a super majority in the Assembly and State Senate. The Republicans have a history of nominating very conservative candidates who in a district where a moderate might compete, simply lose. That goes back to the days of Max Rafferty.

Redistricting Commission Finishes New District Maps
Fullerton Stories
“(We) presented to the people of California a transparent and open process which produced fair and representative districts,” Commissioner Vincent Barabba said at a press conference Monday. “We believe we balanced the interest of all Californians.” The new congressional maps set up a potential faceoff between incumbents Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar). Both reside in the newly created 39th Congressional District, which includes cities in North Orange County as well as parts of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.

Commission certifies maps amid criticism, looming challenge
The Press-Enterprise
A Republican group announced it would begin collecting almost 505,000 signatures to block the panel’s Senate plan, and will possibly target the congressional plan, as well. The group, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, contends the map violates the state constitution. Earlier, Commissioner Michael Ward, a Fullerton chiropractor and one of the panel's five GOP members, accused the commission of breaking the law and compared its members to the politicians who drew the current lines in 2001.

Voting districts finalized and face immediate challenges
Los Angeles Times
Republicans aren't the only ones girding to fight the new maps, which are to be used during the next decade in elections for 120 seats in the state Legislature, 53 in Congress and four on the state Board of Equalization. Activists argue that Latinos are underrepresented in some new districts and are threatening a court challenge.

Final redistricting maps released
The Daily Democrat
Yolo County is set to be part of a district that also includes all or parts of Lake, Solano, Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Glenn counties. Congressman John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, plans to run in this new 3rd District. Yolo County's current representative, Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, said in a statement Monday he would seek election in the new 5th District. This will cover all or parts of Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Contra Costa counties. His previous district stretched all the way to the Oregon border, including Yolo County.

New California legislative maps finalized, may be challenged
The Malibu Times
In the state Senate, Malibu is separated from Santa Monica, with which it shares a school district. In the state Assembly, Malibu is no longer grouped together with Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village. The cities, along with Agoura Hills, comprise the local Council of Governments (COG), which work together on environmental issues related to the Santa Monica Mountains watershed. They also share the transportation corridor formed by the 101 and 405 freeways, Pacific Coast Highway and the canyon roads that connect them.

Political boundaries could lead to legal fight
Tracy Press
“This commission broke the law,” said Republican Michael Ward, the only commissioner to vote against the new lines, at a press conference Monday. "This commission simply traded the partisan, backroom gerrymandering by the Legislature for partisan, backroom gerrymandering by average citizens,” he was reported as saying. Despite an apparent dismissal of Ward’s claim by commission chairman and fellow Republican Vincent Brabba, Ward’s charges look to be the groundwork for what could become a legal or ballot-box challenge of the commission’s work.

Panel OKs new California political boundaries but GOP lodges challenge
Mercury News.com
The California Supreme Court moved to expedite any potential court challenges to the state's new electoral maps by requiring electronic filing of lawsuits. The court issued the order Monday, shortly after the California Citizens Redistricting Commission certified the legislative and congressional maps. The order requires potential lawsuits to be uploaded to the court's website.

Bill Monning opts for a Senate run; Mark Stone in for Assembly
Santa Cruz Sentinel
A Carmel Democrat, Monning has long signaled his intentions but waited until Monday, when new statewide political boundaries were finalized, before making an official announcement. He said he was emboldened by a new, Democratic-leaning seat, and touted his two-term record in the state Assembly. "I am enthused by redistricting and fired up and ready to go," Monning said. "If the voters were to elect me to represent them in the Senate, there would be a continuity of issues, a continuity of relationships I've built."

New political maps create opportunities, challenges for some - not all – candidates
The 32nd District roughly mimics the 30th Assembly seat currently held by Assemblyman David Valadao, R-Hanford, and includes Valadao's home. But the revision of the district gave Democrats a hearty registration boost. They top Republican registration in the new 32nd District by about 13 percentage points, according to separate analysis by the Los Angeles Times and by redistricting consultant Redistricting Partners. A press release from the Salas campaign claimed the gap was more than 14 points.

Commission releases its final maps
The Signal.com
With the exception of a state Senate map that splits Santa Clarita north to south along McBean Parkway, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission preserved a whole Santa Clarita Valley in its final maps. Both state Assembly and congressional districts kept the valley together under one representative. California’s independent redistricting commission certified the state’s new legislative and congressional maps Monday, prompting a weak thumbs-up from local representatives.

Republicans challenge new legislative boundaries
The redistricting plan splits the Coachella Valley between two Assembly districts, but all the desert communities will be represented by one state senator and the same member of Congress. The maps are supposed to shape California's legislative landscape for the next decade.

Citizens panel formally approves new redistricting maps
Daily Breeze
Hahn's current congressional district, stretching from San Pedro to Venice, was carved into three separate pieces that overlap with areas already represented by Richardson, Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Henry Waxman. "I know many of these communities and I understand the issues that affect them," said Hahn, who was elected last month to Congress after serving 10 years on the Los Angeles City Council.

Redistricting carves up Tulare County
With the exception of Assemblywoman Connie Conway’s district, the new boundaries for state Assembly, Senate and U.S. Congress are greatly different as Tulare County’s map looks like a giant puzzle. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved its new maps Monday, carving up Tulare County like a Thanksgiving turkey. The maps are unchanged from what the commission revealed in late July.

Janice Hahn to Run Against Laura Richardson
Long Beach Post
The majority of Long Beach used to be housed within the 37th District, which also included parts of Carson and Compton, represented by Congressmember Laura Richardson. With redistricting finally complete, that is no longer the case as the old 37th has been split into the new 44th and 47th districts, with Long Beach residing in the latter.

New congressional district maps divide Menlo Park
Despite protests from Menlo Park leaders and residents, new California political district maps approved Monday still split the city into two congressional districts, separating the low-income Belle Haven area from the rest of Menlo Park. Mayor Rich Cline, who sent a letter Aug. 11 to the California Redistricting Commission urging it to redraw the congressional lines to keep all of Menlo Park in one district, said he is frustrated by the news. "The folks on the redistricting committee really blew it on that issue," he said.

California redistricting commission makes it final: Menlo Park gets two congressional districts
The Almanac
In its representation in Washington, D.C., Menlo Park has long been entirely within one congressional district and represented since 1992 by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park. The new map divides the city at U.S. 101, assigning the Belle Haven neighborhood to the district represented by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco.

Finalized Redistricting Maps Give CA Democrats an Edge
Scotts Valley Patch
Residents within Santa Cruz County will be happy to know that the approved final maps keep the city of Santa Cruz and it's congressional voice whole, after the commission's first-draft maps had divided the city of Santa Cruz down the middle in order to correct its 2 percent retrogression of Latinos.

California's New Election Map Draws Fire from GOP and Latino Groups
Fox News Latino
"We feel like the commission’s state senate map that was adopted could turn back the clock on the Latino political process in California," Rosalind Gold, Senior Policy Director at NALEO, said. "Latinos accounted for 90 percent of the state's population growth, but we still don't think the maps reflect that."

Calif. Redistricting Likely To Have National Impact
On Monday, the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission is expected to give final approval to a new map of congressional and legislative districts. Those newly drawn districts, combined with a new primary election system, are likely to shake up California's political status quo for the first time in two decades. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Bruce Cain, director of the University of California Washington Center, about the national implications of redistricting in California.

California's redistricting maps draw an immediate challenge
The Sacramento Bee
Officials of the California Republican Party and the Senate Republican Caucus said they will support a signature-gathering drive aimed at overturning newly drawn Senate districts before they take effect. "This is not an attack on the process – it's an attack on the product," said David Gilliard, a Republican strategist who will lead the referendum drive to place the Senate boundaries before voters.

California redistricting panel OKs new boundaries
The San Francisco Chronicle
If the maps survive any legal or ballot box challenges, they will remain in place for the next decade, and could give Democrats the chance to seize a two-thirds majority in the state Senate. The new boundaries may also lead to fewer Republican members of Congress. California has 53 congressional representatives; currently, Republicans hold 19 of those seats.

Commission finalizes Calif. redistricting maps, GOP plans challenge
California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro told The Associated Press that the party will file a petition and form a committee called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting on Tuesday seeking a referendum on the June 2012 ballot to overturn newly approved state Senate districts. Del Beccaro said the party will submit ballot language to the secretary of state's office. “There isn't any doubt that this commission did not apply consistent standards when drawing its maps and the worst of that relates to Senate maps,” he said.

Final Redistricting Maps
Milipitas Patch
Milpitas leaves the 15th Congressional District and enters the newly reconfigured 17th. This means Milpitas voters will now share a congressperson with Fremont, Newark, Cupertino, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale–instead of South Bay neighbors Campbell, Los Gatos and Gilroy–for the next decade. Congressman Honda (D-Campbell) announced he would run for the 17th district in the 2012 elections.

CA Supreme Court Establishes Electronic Process for Redistricting Challenges
On Monday, August 15, the Commission certified to the Secretary of State electoral district boundaries for four statewide maps covering California's 53 congressional, 40 State Senate, 80 State Assembly, and 4 State Board of Equalization districts. Under California Constitution article XXI, section 3, subdivision (b)(2), registered voters may challenge these maps by filing a petition for a writ of mandate or prohibition in the California Supreme Court within 45 days of certification—that is, by Thursday, September 29, 2011.

Redistricting: Gilroy to Have Two Congressional Districts
Gilroy Patch
Gilroy, now represented by Elaine Alquist in the 13th Senate District, Luis Alejo in the 28th Assembly District and Mike Honda in the 15th Congressional District, will be in new Senate District 17, Assembly District 30 and Congressional Districts 19 and 20.

Redistricting's Next Step: Referendum or Legal Challenge?
Altadena Patch
The main critics of the plan come from two very different sources: the California Republicans, who say that the plan is "unfair, if not unconstitutional," as well as Latino groups, who believe that the plan has shortchanged Latino voters in some key areas around the state. Mark Standriff, a spokesman for the California State Republican Party, confirmed that the party will provide "money and volunteers" for an effort to get a measure to overturn the state Senate component of the redistricting plan on the ballot.

Redistricting Maps Complete; Challenges Ahead
Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch
Locally, the new congressional map has raised some hairs. It places all of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar into District 42 (see attached map), but it leaves out much of a key Southwest Riverside city. Under the new congressional lines, much of Temecula and North County San Diego now fall into District 50.

From the Twitterverse

@Rickhasen- ELB: California Republicans Plan Referendum Against Just-Approved Redistricting Plans: http://t.co/92h5hVJ

@EASTLA_NEWS- Yaroslavsky's Westside district would be carved up by Latino plan latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/…

@californianews- Monterey County ed panel to meet on redistricting dlvr.it/gc50h


SLO supervisors approve redistricting plan
Members of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors — as divided as the regions they represent — chose a redistricting plan Tuesday that slightly alters the two South County districts, reflecting a decade’s population growth, and divides the community of Templeton into three different districts. The supervisors whittled their way from four options down to two last month, only to see that number grow back to four as two more options were presented again Tuesday — preferred options B and C, both with slight modifications.

Another County District Map Submitted
Hermosa Beach Patch
As efforts to remap California’s voting districts continue, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina on Tuesday submitted her own proposal to redraw supervisorial district lines in the county.  The proposed map, along with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' alternative plan, would create a second Latino-majority district and differ from the map, known as A2, already recommended by the county’s Boundary Review Committee.