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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Refer this, or "that"

The redistricting reform process began years ago with Conservatives pushing ballot measures, first 77, then 11 and finally 20, to steal away the power of the pen and finally clean up the process of redistricting.

Fast forward to now and these same activists are railing against the process and outcomes, producing referendums against the Senate and Congressional lines, and waiting to find out if the author of Prop 11/20, Charles Munger, is going to write a check to undo the Frankenstein that he created.

The debate this week came down to a back and forth between the Attorney General’s Office, the Citizens Commission, referendum proponents, the Rose Institute and others about the definition of “that.”  At risk is the fundamental hope of the referendum process: that the State Supreme Court would be required to redraw “that” plan when the requisite numbers of signatures are filed.  Those pushing the referendum argue that the mere collection of signatures would trigger a re-write and a running of the 2012 elections under court-drawn lines.  The Commission believes their lines will still stand in 2012 even if the signatures are gathered.  The Commission further believes that the courts are only in a position to make adjustments to their plans – not to do a complete rewrite.

These issues are pivotal as the referendum seeks to gain steam and start raising the millions of dollars necessary to upend the new plans.

In candidate news this week has seen the entrance of Lori Saldana into a race against Brian Billbray in San Diego, the exit of Roger Hernandez from the Congressional race in San Gabriel Valley and more confirmation that Betsy Butler will hop into the Santa Monica to West Hollywood seat that at one time had five active campaigns on the Democratic side.  Those and more are in our Candidates Section below.

State

Referendum drive aims at killing California's new congressional district maps
The Sacramento Bee
Opponents have launched a referendum drive aimed at killing California's newly drawn congressional districts. The campaign will be led by Carlos Rodriguez, a Republican political strategist who has run numerous congressional and legislative campaigns. "The maps just absolutely make no sense in a number of cases," Rodriguez said of congressional districts drawn for the first time this year by a citizens commission, not the Legislature.

Redistricting commission trying to thwart referendum
The Orange County Register
The group, FAIR Redistricting (Fairness and Accountability In Redistricting), is charging that the so-called Citizens Redistricting Commission is attempting to block a referendum calling into question the new political maps drawn by the commission. It does not seem, from this vantage point at least, the commission has any right or role in using taxpayer dollars to fight the referendum.

Craig Huey: Redistricting promised change, delivered same old bias
DailyBreeze.com
Broken promises. Politics as usual. This best describes the final district boundaries drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. And these flawed, politically biased districts will last 10 years. The result: uncompetitive races, incumbents who never lose, districts that divide cities and boundaries that make no sense, especially from the viewpoint of the "communities of interest" criteria specified by voters.

West Orange County legislative mixer shows effects of redistricting
Orange County Breeze
Redistricting shadowed the event. Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA40) did not come nor did he send a field representative. He announced on August 15 that he would run for re-election in the new 39th District that includes Buena Park but not Cypress or Los Alamitos. The District straddles the Los Angeles – Orange County line, with Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar within its boundaries as well as Yorba Linda, Placentia and Fullerton.

Ending the Republican Gerrymander of California
California Progress Report
I'll admit it, I wasn't a fan of the redistricting commission when it was proposed. I opposed Prop 11 in 2008, the initiative that created the commission; opposed Prop 20 in 2010, the initiative that extended the commission's jurisdiction to Congressional seats; and supported Prop 27 that same year, which would have abolished the commission entirely. What explained my stance? The arguments that commission supporters made struck me as absurd and not reflective of reality. Backers claimed that the commission would create a bunch of purple districts across the state, giving voters choices and somehow forcing politicians to work together.

Citizens Redistricting Commission challenges proposed initiative
Central Valley Business Times
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission, the group that has redrawn the lines of state Assembly and Senate and congressional districts to end decades of gerrymandering, is mad. It says a plan to put an initiative on the ballot to try to overturn the state Senate lines has misleading and inaccurate information and the commission wants state Attorney General Kamala Harris to have it rewritten.

Citizen Commission Far Preferable to Politician-run Redistricting
Fox and Hounds Daily
The 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission has just completed their work on legislative, Board of Equalization and congressional district maps. And, as promised to voters who approved redistricting reforms, the redistricting process was undertaken in fully-noticed public meetings throughout the state, allowing for, and welcoming, community input. Much of the proceedings, including the Commission selection process, were also provided for public viewing online. The National Federation of Business/California and our members around the state were involved throughout the process, providing input and recommendations. Last week, the final maps were approved by a diverse group of Commissioners with nearly unanimous votes.

Redistricting: The Coming Democratic Supermajority?
California Independent Voter Network
In conjunction with Califonia's top two open primary system and term limits in the state legislature, the new legislative maps drawn up by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission are certain to shake up the balance of power in Sacramento.  An analysis of the new district maps that have been drawn up by the Citizens Redistricting Commission and certified by the secretary of state reveals that the Democratic party could very well end up with a two-thirds majority in both the State Senate and Assembly.

California’s New Redistricting Legislation Helps Neighborhoods Where Prisoners Once Lived
BET.com
As BET.com’s Joyce Jones reported today, California has successfully implemented a new redistricting process that puts the task of redrawing districts into the hands of the people, instead of politicians. The new legislation is beneficial for California residents because it will also ensure the proper counting of the approximately 140,000 incarcerated persons in the state to ensure fair representation. Black Californians aren’t the only ones applauding the new redistricting legislation — the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund applauds the measure, as well.

GOP Group Can Start Collecting Signatures to Challenge Redistricting
Pacific Palisades Patch
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced late last week that ballot measure proponent Julie Vandermost, an Orange County businesswoman, and her supporters can start collecting the 504,760 signatures of registered voters needed to qualify the measure for the next statewide ballot. Vandermost and the GOP-supported Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting (FAIR) are leading the effort to overturn the new State Senate districts.

CA Redistricting Commission debates definition of "that"
Rose Institute News
The Commission claims that "of that map" is a reference to the specific Congressional, Assembly, State Senate, or Board of Equalization map drawn by the Commission. But the Commission incorrectly defines "that." The "of that map" language in Proposition 20 simply differentiates among the jurisdiction covered by the map (Congress, Assembly, State Senate or Board of Equalization). "That" is not a reference to the specific map drawn by the Commission. The meaning of "that" in this case is that if the Commission fails to adopt a Congressional map, or if a referendum against a Congressional map qualifies, the Court will step in to draw a Congressional map and only a Congressional map.

California Senate passes bill to end prison-based gerrymandering
Prisoners of the Census
This legislation directs the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to report the last known addresses of incarcerated persons to the Secretary of State and the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The data will then be used to count incarcerated individuals as members of their home communities. If passed again by the California Assembly, the new rule would go into effect in the 2020 redistricting cycle.

California Redistricting Win Ensures Black Voice in State Politics
New America Media
A couple of weeks ago, the fate of African American political representation in California remained uncertain as the Redistricting Commission prepared to approve or reject its final maps. Although the threats of potential lawsuits remain to be seen, African Americans are now heaving a collective sigh of relief after successfully defending and preserving our political representation statewide. This fight was bigger than just preserving the raw numbers of black elected officials. This was a battle against organized forces that wished to turn back the clock on civil rights and progressive politics.

How new redistricting maps could reshape California politics
The Christian Science Monitor
“A lot of politicians up here are spending the majority of their time trying to figure out what to do and how to wage their campaigns,” says Barbara O’Connor, director emeritus of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. “If the maps hold up against legal challenge – and I think they will – we will have battles like you’ve never seen before." "The leadership is between a rock and a hard place, trying to figure out how to pick among their favorite children,” she adds.

Panel to Explore Political and Social Impact of Redistricting at League of Women Voters Event
Pasadena Now
In a statement, the League of Women Voters Pasadena said the scheduled panelists are Kathy Feng, executive director of Common Cause; Dr. Lori Glasgow, assistant chief deputy for county Supervisor Mike Antonovich; and Tara Schultz, director of administrative services of Alhambra. Feng will focus on developments in drawing boundaries for new Assembly, Senate and Congressional districts. Glasgow will discuss challenges to changes proposed by a county commission for the five supervisorial districts, while Schultz will provide perspective on how Alhambra has proceeded with its redistricting process.

Interest groups see opportunity in California Legislature's turnover
The Sacramento Bee
California's Legislature is on the brink of unprecedented turnover next year, prompting interest groups to intensify their efforts to raise money and recruit candidates. Seat-shuffling caused by term limits and the decennial redistricting process could mean upward of 40 percent of the Legislature's 120 seats will be filled by freshmen come next December, some observers and analysts project.
 
California's redistricting, by 14 citizens
The Los Angeles Times
And rather than being led by a cohesive team of founders, we were 14 strangers united only by a desire for good government. But the framers of the initiative were smart. Not only did they set up a meticulous commissioner selection process, they also ranked in order the criteria we were to consider in drawing boundaries, including, at the top of the list, the U.S. Constitution's requirement of equal population among like legislative districts and compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act. Lower-ranking criteria included factors such as geographic contiguity; integrity of counties, cities, neighborhoods and local communities of interest; compactness; and nesting — the placement, where possible, of two smaller Assembly districts within the exact boundaries of one larger state Senate district.

ANCA-WR Leads Successful Initiative to Ensure Fair Redistricting in California
Asbarez.com
“In addition to submitting proposed district maps and written testimony to the CRC describing the Armenian community dynamics in California, the ANCA-WR worked with individuals throughout the state to help ensure that their voice was heard,” said Garen Yegparian , who helmed the ANCA-WR Election Committee’s Redistricting Task Force. “The ties that bind our neighborhoods and communities are multi-dimensional.  Ensuring that a common district encompasses these areas is important and helps address core quality of life issues in our community.  It is unfortunate that we were the only representatives of the Armenian community advocating fairly drawn districts,” he added.

Point/Counterpoint: Redistricting
Visalia Times-Delta
This GOP hypocrisy isn't confined to Washington. It's rife here in California; all you have to do to see it is look at redistricting. For years, Republicans complained that the Legislature shouldn't be able to draw up districts that keep Democrats safely in the majority. When a ballot measure came along a few years ago that would put the power to draw districts into the hands of an impartial, bipartisan commission, many Republicans were ecstatic.

From the Twitterverse

@dgrahamcaso- LA County Young Democrats to host forum re: CA redistricting on Sept. 14 w/ @udrawthelines' Paul Mitchell. For more: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107487932688600

@CapitolAlert- @CAGOP puts $100k into campaign account funding #redistricting referendum effort bit.ly/o1T0oZ

@spkcityheights- This week's Tweet City Heights is up: bit.ly/poioKQ Redistricting Ride Over, Meat of CA Dream Act on Table, One-Woman Nonprofit

Candidates

Napolitano in, Hernandez out in bid for Valley's new Congressional district
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, announced Wednesday he was pulling out of a bid for the Valley's new Congressional district - right after his former boss, Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Santa Fe Springs, declared her own intentions to run there. Hernandez said he would seek re-election in the Assembly and throw his complete support behind Napolitano for the 32nd Congressional District, just as buzz was growing about the intriguing line-up.

Assembly Incumbent Betsy Butler May Enter Local Race
The Look Out News
The state assembly race for the 50th District – the newly redrawn district that includes Santa Monica – may get a lot more interesting soon. That's because some supporters of current 53rd District incumbent, Democrat Betsy Butler, have indicated that she might be moving north to enter the race here, a race which already includes Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and organizer and civic advisor Tori Osborn.

Incumbents Facing Challenges in 2012 – Part I
Jim Ellis Insights
Though it is still difficult to forecast the complete US House political picture next year, mostly because redistricting is only about half finished, we already see that more than 40 sitting members will draw serious competition in either the 2012 primary or general election. Below is a list of 22 incumbents who will be in competitive campaigns next year from states where redistricting is complete. The second half of the overall group will be featured in our Wednesday report.

Incumbents Facing Challenges in 2012 – Part II
Jim Ellis Insights
In concluding our two-part series about House members who will face serious 2012 re-election challenges, below we list 22 more competitive incumbents from states where redistricting has been completed or which is pending but clear.

Eshoo Announces 2012 Reelection Campaign
Los Gatos Patch
With the 2012 presidential election campaigns well underway, candidates for other political offices have begun to emerge, too. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) announced in a press release Monday that she plans to run for a sixth term and hopes to be reelected in the newly drawn 18th congressional district. Eshoo has been representing the 14th congressional district, which includes Mountain View.

Local

Malibu faces new redistricting controversy
The Malibu Times
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is at odds over how to draw new supervisory districts, which must be approved by Oct. 31. Malibu Mayor John Sibert says some of the proposals could be disastrous. Malibu city officials are sounding the alarm over another redistricting controversy, this time at the county level. Just as new legislative maps were approved Aug. 15 at the state and national levels, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is required to redraw the boundaries for the county's five supervisory districts by Oct. 31, following the 2010 U.S. Census.

County Redistricting Hearing to Take Place Sept. 6
Altadena Patch
The county will hold the first public hearing on its redistricting process at 1 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Board of Supervisors hearing room at 500 W. Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. The redistricting process has included the input of a Boundary Review Committee and one meeting already at the Board of Supervisors level, and the county has narrowed the possibilities down to three separate plans.

Vote on Tulare County redistricting delayed
Visalia Times-Delta
The Tulare County supervisors delayed today re-aligning the county’s five voter districts because the population and demographic numbers used in developing three suggested district maps were wrong. So instead of voting on one of the three maps today, as the supervisors were expected to do, they directed county Chief Administrative Office Jean Rousseau to re-convene the 11 members of the 2011 Advisory Committee on Redistricting — which developed the three maps — to re-do two of the maps using the new information.

TID Begins Director Division Redistricting Process, Seeks Public Input
Turlock City News
The Turlock Irrigation District is one of those special districts and has begun the process of redistricting their 5 director division areas. The first public step in the redistricting process was in the way of a staff report at the TID Board of Directors Meeting held on Tuesday, August 30th. Three boundary map alternatives were created in house by staff. Staff will handle the entire analysis and new layout of Director Divisions, a process that could cost up to $100,000 if outsourced.

SLO County redistricting plans violate laws
CalCoastNews.com
San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors’ plan to split Templeton into three supervisory districts is not only impractical, but it appears to break laws set to keep lawmakers from setting boundaries for their own political gain.  Several comments made at meetings during the past month demonstrate the boards failure to follow California laws.

Proposal “J” Offered for Consideration as Redistricting Plan Moves Forward
Colusa County California
Following the August 2 presentation of “Redistricting Proposal I” Board members took a closer look and considered the potential impacts of the proposed changes.   Although the plan was fairly well received, there was some question of long term viability.    There were concerns about the potential issues created by confining  District III to  Williams City limits, and further, the proposal had failed to take into consideration annexation plans currently underway in  the City of Colusa.