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Friday, October 28, 2011

State


California high court rejects challenges to redistricting
Los Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to intervene in new voting districts drawn by a citizens commission, deciding unanimously to reject two challenges to the boundaries. The high court considered the legal challenges, brought by Republicans seeking to overturn congressional and state Senate district maps, in a closed session, and the judges did not comment on their reasons for rejecting the lawsuits.

CA Supreme Court denies 2 redistricting challenges
San Francisco Chronicle
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected two Republican challenges to the state's new electoral maps, dealing a blow to GOP efforts to halt new district boundaries that could diminish their political clout. The state's high court rejected two petitions from Republicans challenging the validity of the state Senate and congressional redistricting maps recently adopted by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting Lawsuits Rejected
KQED News
The odds of survival for the state's first ever independently drawn political maps grew dramatically this afternoon, as the California Supreme Court summarily rejected legal challenges to the new districts for the state Senate and Congress. The state's high Court rejected (PDF) the petitions filed by Republican activists against the maps for California's 40 state Senate districts and 53 congressional districts. The decision, according to a news release issued by the Court, was unanimous by the seven justices.

GOP-backed coalition now wants feds to kill California Senate maps
The Sacramento Bee
A Republican-backed coalition that failed to persuade the California Supreme Court to kill the state's new Senate maps is now asking the federal government to reject them as a dilution of Latino voting power. Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting – which is also leading a separate referendum drive against the maps – has filed arguments with the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the legality of the new boundary lines, attorney Charles H. Bell Jr. said.

Redistricting Map Stands, Temecula Split
Temecula Patch
A plan that cut Temecula into two congressional districts was upheld by a judge Thursday. The California Supreme Court unanimously denied two pending petitions for writs of mandate that challenged the validity of the state Senate and congressional redistricting maps that have been certified by the Citizens Redistricting Commission. (Vandermost v. Bowen, S196493; Radanovich v. Bowen, S196852.)

Lake Elsinore, Wildomar Redistricting Stands
Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch
On August 15, the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission certified to the Secretary of State all four required statewide electoral maps—covering the 40 State Senate and 80 Assembly districts, California’s 53 congressional districts, and the four districts of the California State Board of Equalization. The petitions for writs of mandate filed in the Supreme Court challenged only the state Senate and congressional districts. 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.

California Supreme Court Rejects GOP Challenge to Redistricting
Roll Call
The California Supreme Court denied a Republican challenge to the state’s new Congressional map today, clearing the way for the redrawn districts to remain in place for the next 10 years. The lawsuit, led by former Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) and filed Sept. 29, cited violations of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In a statement at the time, Radanovich said the independent redistricting commission drew “districts so politically driven that they violate our California Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.”

GOP’s redistricting lawsuits thrown out
The Orange County Register
The state Supreme Court today threw out Republican lawsuits seeking to erase newly drawn district lines for Congress and the state Senate, according to the Associated Press. The lines were drawn earlier this year by the independent, bipartisan Citizen Redistricting Commission, which was approved by voters in an effort to remove the politics and bipartisan gerrymandering that has occurred when the Legislature draws the lines.

State Supreme Court rejects redistricting suits
Contra Costa Times
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected two lawsuits challenging newly drawn political districts for Congress and the state Senate. 

The state's high court rejected two petitions from Republicans challenging the validity of the state Senate and congressional redistricting maps recently adopted by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Supreme Court also rejected their requests for an emergency stay that would have halted use of the maps. The court voted 7-0. "Obviously all of us on the commission are ecstatic over the decision," said Peter Yaw, a redistricting commissioner and former Claremont mayor. 

California High Courts Reject Challenges for Redistricting
Annenberg TV News
The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected two challenges to the boundaries of on Wednesday challenging redistricting lines. The legal challenge was brought by Republicans hoping to overturn congressional and state Senate voting district maps. Their lawsuit alleged that current boundaries violate state constitutional requirements that require districts to be compact and contiguous and also fail to comply with the federal voting rights laws governing minority representation.

‘Crappy’ Republican Lawsuits Against New, Citizen-Drawn Voting Districts Thrown Out by California Supreme Court
REDHatGIRL
The refreshingly un-gerrymandered voting districts unveiled by California’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission in June have a damn good chance of going to stone, thanks to the California Supreme Court’s big “F you” to whiny Republicans today. Seven justices up in San Francisco reportedly took one look at the GOP-backed lawsuits — which alleged the largely blue, largely incumbent-ousting districts were unconstitutional, or some BS like that — and threw them back in the plaintiffs’ faces. (Well, a month-long look, but that’s pretty brief for messy high-court litigation.)

Congressional District Could Start Seeing Blue
Monrovia Patch
Wednesday’s California Supreme Court rejection of Republican-led challenges to the state’s new electoral maps has reignited talk that Republican strongholds in the San Gabriel Valley will give way to new Democratic majorities. The scenario couldn’t be more apparent for Congressman David Dreier, R-San Dimas, who is currently serving his 15th consecutive term in the House of Representatives, representing Monrovia in the 26th District since 2002.

California GOP disclosed donors late, Common Cause says
The Sacramento Bee
California Common Cause said today that it has filed a complaint with the state's watchdog agency alleging the state GOP violated disclosure laws in connection with a referendum drive to kill the state's newly drawn Senate districts. The California Republican Party has made numerous contributions, totaling $936,000, to the referendum drive since late September, state records show. The goal is to qualify a ballot measure aimed at overturning Senate maps created by a state citizens commission.

CA Supreme Court unanimously rejects redistricting challenges
CAFWD.org
California’s new electoral maps just cleared a major hurdle, thanks to a unanimous ruling today by the California Supreme Court to deny two challenges to the maps, which were created through the citizen-driven redistricting process. The entire seven-member court took part in the ruling, which challenged the validity of the Congressional and state Senate maps. The plaintiffs - Orange County GOP activist Julie Vandermost in the Senate lawsuit and former GOP congressman George Radanovich in the congressional lawsuit – have not yet commented on the defeat. They had argued that the maps did not comply with the Voting Rights Act.

California Citizens Redistricting Commission blasts lawsuits
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
The California Supreme Court is reviewing a request to dismiss lawsuits challenging newly drawn political districts for Congress and the state Senate. Opponents say the new maps don't meet constitutional requirements for redistricting and obligations under the Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory electoral procedures. But the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which drew the new districts after voters approved of the new non-political process, said all criteria were reasonably considered and applied and asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suits.

Republicans at Idle
New America Foundation
Is it me? Or do California Republicans need something to do? The decision by the GOP and its backers to throw $400,000 more into a referendum of the redistricting commission’s state senate districts suggests that the California party has a serious case of boredom. And since the party can’t drink or smoke weed or watch TV (at least not as a legal entity), the next best thing is to blow money on a referendum that can’t get the party anywhere.

Drive to overturn state senate maps gets last-minute boost, raises eyebrows
sgvtribune.com
Before Michele Bachmann took the mike at a Tea Party town hall in Pasadena, attendees were given a mission. At the back of the room a petition awaited their signatures. The petition promised to "reverse the gerrymandered state senatorial districts" drawn in this year's redistricting process. Sign up, attendees were urged. The call came on the heels of a California Republican party donation of $400,000 to the repeal campaign. Until then, fundraising for the effort had mostly stalled.
 

Local 

Should L.A. County Supervisors Give Up Their Redistricting Power?
KCET
What would it take to rethink redistricting at the L.A. County level? What would it take for an independent commission to draw the new district lines every 10 years, instead of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors? Many argue the supervisors have job security unjustly prioritized. What would it take for a power shift? "A scandal," said Justin Levitt, law professor at Loyola Law School. "If there's litigation that again will cost the taxpayers millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe that will be a sufficient scandal to motivate real public pressure for change in the way the system is run."

L.A. Redistricting Panel Offers Top Job to Councilman's Aide
The L.A. Blog
The 21-member panel charged with redrawing boundaries for 15 Los Angeles City Council districts voted unanimously to offer its top post to an aide to Councilman Herb Wesson, officials said Thursday. After a discussion in a closed session, the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission agreed to begin negotiations with Andrew Westall, a Wesson aide who specializes in demographics and economic development, for the job of executive director.

Temp. redistricting fight goes to court
Atascadero News
Fighting the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors decision to split Templeton into two or three districts, Templeton resident and Templeton Area Advisory Group member Bill Pelfrey has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors to keep Templeton whole. “There’s got to be a better way,” Pelfrey said. “I feel stymied. I think the Board of Supervisors’ handling of this was fundamentally wrong in the first place.” Because of his loyalty to his community, Pelfrey put up his own retirement funds to hire Santa Margarita attorney Sophia Treder of Treder Land Law to represent that community.

Redistricting boosts representation for PV schools: Proposed map for county trustees keeps like districts together
Santa Cruz Sentinel
New trustee areas proposed for the county Board of Education reflect greater representation for the area's largest school district and a better grouping of others along geographical lines. A map proposed by a redistricting task force would increase Pajaro Valley Unified's representation from two to three on the seven-member board. Scotts Valley, a district with 2,500 students, would go from four trustees to one trustee. After ensuring each trustee area contained similar population numbers, the panel's chief goals were to better represent Latinos in South County, group similar communities and avoid carving up small districts.

Only minor changes in new supervisorial district boundaries
Contra Costa Times
The boundaries of Los Angeles County's five supervisorial districts shift ever so slightly today, a month after the Board of Supervisors rejected major changes that would have boosted the voting power of Latinos. The new redistricting map closely follows the previous plan, prompting threats of a lawsuit from civil rights activists who maintain Latinos should constitute the majority in two districts, not just one, since they make up 47 percent of the county's 9.8 million residents.

Claremont among minor adjustments to final redrawing of L.A. County supervisors' districts
Contra Costa Times
Los Angeles County's five supervisorial districts shift have formally been finalized for the next decade by the Board of Supervisors who rejected major changes that would have boosted the voting power of Latinos. The final redistricting map closely follows the previous plan, prompting threats of a lawsuit from civil right activists who maintain Latinos should constitute the majority in two districts, not just one, since they make up 47 percent of the county's 9.8 million residents.

Lawsuit filed to stop SLO County redistricting plan
Cal Coast News
The new redistricting lines for San Luis Obispo County were one day away from going into effect when a lawsuit was filed challenging the proposed boundaries. William Pelfrey, a resident of Templeton, said he filed the suit because he believes the SLO County Board of Supervisors failed to follow government code and instead drew supervisory boundaries in an attempt to improve several board members chances at reelection.

Santa Clara County school board considers redistricting proposals
MercuryNews.com
For the first time in nearly 20 years, an electoral redistricting plan may change the areas represented by members of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. And a new map could end up pitting two longtime trustees against each other in next fall's elections. The seven trustees, elected to four-year terms, represent various areas of the county, from Gilroy to Palo Alto. Because of population growth and shifts, boundaries between their areas must be redrawn to equalize the number of people they represent -- roughly 255,000 per trustee. The lines haven't been redrawn since 1992.

Modesto to consider picks for redistricting panel
Modesto Bee
The City Council could appoint a committee tonight that would start to work this week on revising Modesto's six council districts. The city went to district elections in 2009, filling the seats for Districts 2, 4 and 5, and will hold the first elections for the other three districts in two weeks. Modesto's charter requires redistricting with the release of 2010 census data earlier this year. Mayor Jim Ridenour said he doesn't anticipate major changes to the district boundaries, because Modesto has not grown since the lines were drawn more than two years ago.

No movement yet on council ward redistricting
The Press-Enterprise
Although both Inland counties and a special state redistricting commission redrew voting maps for their political jurisdictions earlier this year, the city of Riverside hasn't even started reapportioning council wards to factor in 2010 census data. City Clerk Colleen Nicol said there's a simple reason for the delay: the Nov. 8 runoff in Ward 7.