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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Quiet, except where it is not

Last week was a moment of celebration for commissioners and and Prop 11/20 proponents when the state courts threw out lawsuits against the Congressional and Senate lines.  This has however been a brief reprieve as the critics of the Congressional plan have now headed off to Federal court.  No word if the Senate Plan will also go to the Feds.

The key with the Congressional plan is the treatment of African Americans under the new lines.  The Commission successfully created 9 new 50% Latino seats, and one new 50% Asian seat (the only one in the continental US) but they created exactly ZERO 50% African American seats.  It’s not that they couldn’t… they chose not to.  Instead of chasing down the golden 50% figure used to determine voting strength in the VRA caselaw, they instead sought to achieve the principle: electability.  And the African American community repeatedly testified that they would rather have 30-40% of a few districts rather than 50% of one.  If this does go to the Supreme Court look forward to a dissection of the quote from Commissioner Parvenu who said that the Voting Rights Act in Los Angeles was being used as a weapon against the African American community – probably the most provocative one-liner of the year.

Could we still see a rewrite of the Congressional plans before 2012’s campaigns begin?  It is possible.  What seems most plausable in the case of a court overturning of the lines is that there could be a rewrite of the seats in LA.  How this helps the Republicans pushing the lawsuit is anyone’s guess.  It is conceivable that the domino effect could resolve the Miller/Royce battle or push Campbell/Rohrabacher back into a single district, but it’s not going to create a new Republican seat anywhere near Compton/Carson or Watts.

The Senate plans appear to be most threatened by the referendum process, and as one Republican operative has said “it’s no longer about the money, it’s about the time.”   Can the petitioners obtain the 504,760 VALID signatures with just 12 days left?

On the national scene, Pro Publica continues its focus on the “Hidden Hands in redistricting,” this time with a video. While the article used Republican Attorney Tom Hiltachk’s California Institute for Jobs Economy and Education as the California example, the rap video makes no mention, reportedly because the producers weren’t sure how to rhyme to or even pronounce “Hiltachk.”

While many have likened the California redistricting to the system in Arizona –what is happening in AZ shows just how different they really are.  Last night the Arizona legislature impeached the chair of the commission at the request of the Governor after the commission developed a plan which would have given the Democrats a chance at obtaining seats in next year’s election.

For those of you keeping score on Twitter, the Mathis term as Chair is one of the #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage .

State / Federal

Video: The Redistricting Song
ProPublica
As part of our investigation into the reality of redistricting, we've created, yes, a music video. For more on the shenanigans we detail in the video, see our Devil's Dictionary. For more on the secret money influencing redistricting, see our investigation, The Hidden Hands in Redistricting.

Can Redistricting Ever Be Fair?
Governing the States and Localities
Redistricting always creates drama. Every 10 years some number of legislators and congressmen find the new redistricting map draws them out of a job or puts them in a much more precarious position. One party or the other finds itself handicapped by the shape of the new districts. Naturally, politicians raise a fuss. “There are always going to be sore losers with redistricting,” says Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “Redistricting is, in many ways, the thing that legislators take most personally.”

Will California's Newly Drawn Senate Maps Stand?
KCET
Last week the California Supreme Court rejected a request by a GOP-supported coalition (known as FAIR, or Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting) to invalidate California's newly drawn state senate maps. Apparently undeterred by a denial of their petition for hearing to the state's highest court, the coalition is now asking the U.S. Department of Justice to invalidate the maps, particularly districts in Monterey and Merced. The group contends that the maps violate the Voting Rights Act by impermissibly diluting the voting power of Latinos. A cynic would say that the real reason behind the group's suits is that they realize that the new lines will likely lead to fewer republicans in the State Senate.

GOP should just accept redistricting
Merced Sun-Star
Some people just cannot take no for an answer, no matter how embarrassing the situation becomes. The California Republican Party's unrequited desire to overturn the California Citizens  Redistricting Commission's work is enough to make you squirm in discomfort. Its latest rejection came at the hands of the California Supreme Court. Six of the seven justices were appointed by Republican governors. But all seven of them slapped down the GOP's pitiful plea that the court intervene on its behalf.

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.

Federal lawsuit filed against California congressional maps
The Sacramento Bee
Former GOP Rep. George Radanovich and four other plaintiffs announced today that they will file a lawsuit in federal district court arguing that the lines drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission violate the Federal Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit, which will likely be filed later this week in Southern California, will argue that California's 14-member commission violated the law by intentionally not creating majority African-American and Latino congressional districts in Los Angeles County when it drafted the state's 53 congressional districts, according to a release.

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.

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.

Court rejects lawsuits challenging Calif. redistricting
The Bellingham Herald
The California Supreme Court rejected lawsuits Wednesday challenging the state's newly drawn state Senate and congressional districts as unconstitutional. The court's unanimous action marked a major step toward implementing California political districts that were drawn for the first time ever this year by a citizens commission, not lawmakers. "This is a great day for the people of California," said Stan Forbes, current chairman of the 14-member redistricting panel.

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.

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.

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. 

‘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.)

Ariz. Senate Votes to Remove Independent Redistricting Chair
National Journal
The GOP-controlled Arizona state Senate voted Tuesday evening to remove the chair of its independent redistricting commission after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer called for her impeachment. Brewer convened a special session in order to impeach chairwoman Colleen Mathis, alleging that the commission, under her guidance had engaged in "gross misconduct" in producing a map that gave Democrats in the state an opportunity to gain seats in next year's elections. Brewer's motion narrowly got the two-thirds majority required to remove Mathis, with 21 yes votes, 6 no votes, and 3 abstentions.

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.

Is Mercury Insurance Chairman's Big Donation to Republicans Aimed at Helping His Anti-Consumer Ballot Initiative, Group Asks
Consumer Watchdog
Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph contributed $1 million to the California Republican Party to fund a ballot initiative that would repeal the new State Senate district lines drawn by an independent commission earlier this year.   Today, the California Supreme Court rejected Republican efforts to toss out the commission's redistricting plan. Joseph has already contributed over $8.1 million to a ballot initiative to repeal Proposition 103's prohibition on insurance companies from considering a driver's coverage history when a motorist applies for insurance.

Massive Turnover in the State Assembly in 2012
Fox and Hounds Daily
Editors of the California Target Book, which I publish, has recently finished and placed online their analyses of the 80 Assembly districts and 53 Congressional district that will be up for reelection in 2012. We are holding off on the state senate analyses until it is determined, whether or not the referendum to overturn state Senate lines – funded by the CA Republican Party and a $1 million donation by Mercury Insurance CEO George Joseph – qualifies or not. Much has been written on the impact the new lines drawn by the new Citizens Redistricting Commission will have on Congressional races next year.

LA county to provide voting help to South Asian communities
Southern California Public Radio
California’s Los Angeles County, Cook County in Illinois and Queens County in New York have been ordered to provide voting assistance to Indian Americans. Also, Hamtramck, a city of about 22,400 residents in Wayne County, Mich., will be required to provide voting help for its residents of Bangladeshi origin. It is the first time that any languages spoken in the nation’s South Asian communities have been included in the language assistance provision (Section 203) of the 1975 federal Voting Rights Act.

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.)

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.

Business Prepared to Go to War in Senate District 27
Fox and Hounds Daily
As part of an on-going effort to prevent a veto proof Democratic majority in the state senate, business interests have zeroed in on the newly created Senate District 27 that covers the western portion of Los Angeles County and the Eastern section of Ventura County. New redistricting has created concern that the Senate could go two-thirds to tax-hungry Democrats, which have focused business interests on SD 27 as a key swing district where a Republican can win with big-time financial help.

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.

Latino numbers are up; why isn’t their clout?
Hispanic Ohio
Latinos in the United States have been betting on the numbers – their numbers. In the last three decades, I’ve heard politicos, academics, activists and others boast that a swelling population would eventually bring the Latino community power and respect. They include President Barack Obama, who just last month told a group of Latino online journalists gathered at the White House that he was confident that he’d see a competitive Hispanic candidate running for president during his lifetime.

District maps should stand
RecordNet.com
The state Supreme Court wisely and unanimously rejected two Republican challenges to new Senate and congressional districts. The ruling deals a blow to Republican efforts to block the new maps, which the GOP claimed in its lawsuits failed to comply with the Voting Rights Act and did not meet the constitutional criteria for being a transparent redistricting process. The claims are as disingenuous as they are ironic. The court saw through the thinly veiled political move and even refused a Republican request for an emergency stay that would have stopped use of the maps in 2012.

Redistricting Commission Wins by Knockout
NBC LA
Mike Tyson once knocked out Michael Spinks in 90 seconds. But that fight seemed long compared to the now-all-but-over battle over redistricting. Last week the California Supreme Court dismissed -- quickly, unanimously and without even bothering to hold an argument – two challenges to maps of legislative districts drawn by the citizens’ redistricting commission. In so doing, the court made plain that the commission’s maps are here to stay, and further challenges are folly. 

 Local

Could San Diego County Set the Trend for Redistricting Independence?
KCET
As far as San Diego County supervisorial candidate Steve Danon sees it, there's a trend about to take flight: Removing redistricting power from supervisors. "The bottom line is, people are very upset with the way government on a local, state and federal level is operating," said Danon, the third district seat frontrunner. "So, if this is one step to restore that accountability, to have an independent commission, it's a step in the right direction."

It's Time We Redraw the School Attendance Zones in Milpitas
Milpitas Patch
Do you know when the last time Milpitas Unified School District's school zone boundaries were evaluated? Never. Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) has never redrawn the schools' boundary zones, and does not have a process to evaluate and redraw them.  Milpitas' population has grown from 26,561 in 1970, to 67,476 in 2011. 

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.

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.

Council approves new boundaries map
The Press-Enterprise
Council members approved a Moreno Valley redistricting map that left a school board member accusing them of playing politics. After two hours of discussion Tuesday, the City Council voted 3-2 to adopt a slightly revised version of a plan, known as No. 9, which a group of residents submitted. Robin Hastings and Bill Batey dissented. Mike Rios, who the voters elected to the Moreno Valley Unified School Board a year ago, cried foul. He asked the council to eliminate plan No. 9 and support either of the other two proposals. ------ To see a video relating to this article, go here: Watch as The Moreno Valley City Council Votes on a Redistricting Map, Prior to It’s Validation of Accuracy by Their Consultant!

City, LAUSD get ready to redraw lines
Daily News Los Angeles
The two commissions redrawing political boundaries for the city of Los Angeles and the school district are mixing old-fashioned grass-roots politics with new technology to reach out to the public for the expected controversial process. The two panels -- 21 members for the city and 15 for the school district -- are charged with developing new City Council and school district maps by March 1, 2012. "We are going to do more outreach than ever before," said Arturo Vargas, chairman of the city redistricting panel.

City not inclined to create voting districts
North County Times
A campaign to make Escondido the first North County city to elect council members by geographic districts gained momentum in recent weeks when the threat of Voting Rights Act lawsuits prompted the city's two school districts to begin electing trustees by geography. But even though the city and school districts cover essentially the exact same group of voters, city officials expressed confidence last week that continuing to have each council member represent the entire city would not make Escondido vulnerable to such lawsuits.

Berkeley Redistricting Proposal: Keep Neighborhoods Intact
Berkeley Patch
When I looked at most of the plans that were put forward for redistricting Berkeley's council districts, I was taken aback by the way the lines were drawn. I believe the most important thing to consider in redistricting is the preservation of neighborhoods (communities of interest) within council districts. There is no question that Berkeley's population has grown dramatically in the last 10 years after years of steady decline. 

 Candidates

Gay LA Assembly candidate holds SF fundraiser
The Bay Area Reporter
Supporters of a gay Los Angeles-area state Assembly candidate are hosting a fundraiser for his campaign in San Francisco Thursday, October 20. The event is to benefit Luis Lopez, a Latino political activist who is running for the new 51st Assembly District, which encompasses Northeast Los Angeles and East L.A. The Silver Lake resident is in the process of moving into the district, as his current home ended up in the new 43rd Assembly District seat.

Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani reveals she's gay

The Merced Sun-Star
Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani is gay, according to comments she made Tuesday during an interview with The Record of Stockton. Galgiani, 47, said she hopes her admission will send a positive message to youngsters, especially those struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity. "It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are," she told The Record. The Livingston Democrat also said during the interview it wasn't until well into adulthood, after she was elected to represent the 17th Assembly District in 2006, that she knew her sexual identity.

Blakeslee stays away from redistricting lawsuits
The Tribune
Central Coast state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, whose political future may hang on the redrawing of Senate boundaries, is declining to take a position on Republican activists’ continuing attempts to undo the work of the California Commission on Redistricting. “Sam is currently spending his time and energy working on reform efforts and representing his constituents, not trying to influence his own lines,” his aide, Erin Shaw, wrote Friday in an email to The Tribune.

Julian Activist Makes Third Run for Congress
East County Magazine
Local community activist Connie Frankowiak will once again make a run for Congressman Duncan Hunter’s (R-Alpine) seat in the United States Congress in 2012. In June, she will face off against fellow Democrat David Secor, Tea Party activist Terri Linnell, and Congressman Hunter in the new “top two” open primary. As the name states, only the top two vote getters will move on to the general election in November. 2012 will mark the third time the 70-year-old Julian native will vie for Congressional office.  Her prior attempts stalled after failing to make it out of the Democratic primaries.  Most recently, she lost to Ray Lutz in 2010.

Seifert to seek second term as Solano County Supervisor
Daily Democrat
Solano County Supervisor Linda Seifert has officially announced her intent to seek a second term in the June primary. Seifert, 61, represents District 2 and voters in Benicia, parts of Vallejo, Green Valley, Suisun and Fairfield. Her re-election campaign getsunder way Nov. 17. "I love the work and opportunity to serve the community," Seifert said in a Times-Herald interview Thursday. "The challenges that existed when I was sworn into office four years ago are still there and I want to continue to confront those challenges and make a difference in solving them."

Congressional candidates lining up more support
Los Angeles Times
Incumbents battling colleagues for the same new congressional districts in next year’s elections recently  added more backers. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village), who is running for the newly drawn 30th District  in the San Fernando Valley, has received the backing of the West Coast Studio Locals of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

72nd Assembly race gets crowded
The Orange County Register
The race to replace termed-out Assemblyman Jim Silva, R-Huntington Beach, was already looking competitive and entertaining with Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep and Huntington Beach Councilman Matt Harper gearing up for battle. But now two more Republican candidates are apparently throwing their hats in the ring, spicing things up even more. While they’ve yet to open campaign accounts or launch campaign websites, Huntington Beach Mayor Joe Carchio and and Little Saigon businessman Long Pham have been added to the list of GOP 72nd Assembly District candidates attending a Nov. 17 event hosted by the Fountain Valley Republican Assembly.

Furutani looks to draw on experience, idealism in 15th District race
Daily Breeze
The South Bay assemblyman was a student at El Camino College near Torrance when he joined protests against the war and funding cuts to education while advocating for ethnic studies classes at his school. "The whole country was percolating with political activism and I got swept up into that," Furutani, 64, said as he watched volunteers prepare campaign materials for his latest run for office, aiming for the vacant 15th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

SDSU legislative race heats up
The Daily Aztec
Former democratic state Sen. Denise Ducheny announced her run for Congress last month launching what many have speculated will be a major in-party rumble with her senatorial successor, Juan Vargas. With Rep. Bob Filner now running for mayor of San Diego, the 51st congressional seat will be available for the first time since its creation in the early 1990s. 

Dennis Cardoza Makes Retirement Official
Roll Call
California Rep. Dennis Cardoza announced today that he is retiring at the end of the 112th Congress. The five-term Blue Dog Democrat's announcement came as no surprise. California's new independent redistricting commission placed him in the same Central Valley district as Rep. Jim Costa, his good friend and a fellow Blue Dog. Costa and Cardoza voted for each other instead of for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the roll call vote for Speaker at the beginning of this Congress.

Cardoza getting out of politics
RecordNet.com
Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, announced Thursday he won't seek another term and is retiring from public office. Cardoza, 52, was elected five times to represent the 18th Congressional District, which includes a finger of San Joaquin County stretching into south and central Stockton. He was a leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and was a conservative Democrat. Cardoza offered no explanation for the decision. Richard Pan to seek south Sacramento County Assembly seat
The Sacramento Bee
Assemblyman Richard Pan is packing his bags in hopes of staying put. The Sacramento Democrat has decided to move into a newly drawn south Sacramento Assembly district to seek a second term in the Legislature next year, an aide said Monday night. Pan's current Assembly District was redrawn recently by California's citizens redistricting commission, placing the pediatrician and freshman lawmaker in the same district as Democratic colleague Roger Dickinson for next year's election.

Pan May Run Against Scherman for Assembly Seat
Elk Grove Citizen
Dr. Richard Pan, a Natomas resident who is about midway through his first term representing Assembly District 5 in State Assembly, said on Oct. 24 that he plans to move to the future Assembly District 9 that includes Elk Grove. The Democrat may run against Elk Grove City Council Member and Republican Sophia Scherman next year.

Jenny Lam is First Chinese American Appointed to SF Redistricting Task Force

CAA
Jenny Lam, Director of Community Initiatives at CAA, was appointed to the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force on June 28 and currently serves as its vice chair. Jenny was nominated by Supervisor Jane Kim and confirmed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors. As part of the nine-member Task Force, Jenny will help redraw the supervisorial district lines to ensure every district has equal representation based on the 2010 Census.

Yaroslavsky Talks Politics, Mayoral Race
Sherman Oaks Patch
Zev Yaroslavsky is still pondering whether to run for mayor of Los Angeles. The soon-to-be-termed-out Los Angeles County supervisor answered the obvious question during an appearance Wednesday night before the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association (SOHA). “I’m not a believer in term limits, but four decades is a good run,” Yaroslavsky said of his 36 years in elected office as a city councilman and, subsequently, county supervisor.

Endorsements mount in two heated Assembly races
Los Angeles Times
State Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) has endorsed attorney Andrew Lachman, one of four candidates for an open, newly drawn San Fernando Valley-based state Assembly seat. Lachman also announced some additional backing, including three labor endorsements -– Laborers Local 300, Painters & Allied Trades Local 39 and Plumbers Local 78 — and Marlene Bane, a member of the Jewish Home for the Aging board of governors.

California Republican Assembly Endorses Mercado-Fortine
24/7 Press Release
Local members of the California Republican Assembly met Tuesday evening to participate in an endorsing convention for purpose of endorsing candidates running for election for local office in the Santa Clarita Valley Nov. 8. For the Santa Clarita Community College District, Bruce Fortine was endorsed for re-election to Seat #4, and Scott Wilk was endorsed for re-election to Seat # 5.

AsianWeek Interviews With San Francisco’s Mayoral Candidates: Leland Yee
Asian Week
With Asian Americans comprising approximately one-third of the city’s population, the next mayor of San Francisco should have plans to address issues relevant to this robust community. To ensure that they do, AsianWeek.com has invited all of the 16 mayoral candidates–including six well qualified and prominent Asian Americans: Mayor Ed Lee, California State Senator Leland Yee, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Wilma Pang a longtime community activist and college professor–to share with our readers their solutions to what they deem the most prevalent problems in the Asian American community.

Conference brings together candidates, potential backers
Capitol Weekly
An array of candidates who have never before served in the Legislature will gather in Sacramento to sit down with a group of political power players who want to take a look at the new crop of contenders. The unusual, invitation-only conference, called the Candidate Forum 2012, is intended to educate hopefuls on the reality of politics. It is sort of like a political casting call – people with resources for campaigns meeting those who want to run for office.

Butler, Osborn Get Fresh Endorsements
Agoura Hills Patch
The endorsement competition is heating up between 50th Assembly District candidates Betsy Butler and Torie Osborn. On Thursday morning, both candidates announced that they have won additional supporters.