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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown

Today is Election Day for many local governments around the state that appreciate either a) the additional cost of having an off-year election or b) the smaller electorate that turns out.

For voters in SF the ballots are particularly confusing.  Are you going to vote for one, two or three?  Why are Rose Pak, MC Hammer and Willie Brown not on your ballot?  Do you need a Stencil?

One thing we do know:  If you have already voted, then you are probably Asian.  An analysis from Redistricting Partners that has gotten some attention in SF shows that the mayoral campaign is being dominated by early absentees from the Asian community.  Looking just at the Permanent Absentee Voters, Asians are outperforming the LGBT community by 50%, and maps of the neighborhoods along with an uber-nerdy regression analysis supports this trend throughout the city.

In the rest of the state you may also be voting for one, two or three, but that could be coming to a close as the California Voting Rights Act kicks in and local governments are chosing to convert to districted elections. The CVRA is the least-covered, most impactful law that nobody has ever heard of.  As the state redraw comes to a close one can expect that a number of muckrakers with access to mapping software (I’m looking at you Miller and Vorderbrueggen) are going to start digging into this big story.

Until then, here’s the news.


Nearly 80% of Chinatown mail-in ballots in already
The San Francisco Chronicle
An early read of San Francisco's mail-in ballots suggests Tuesday could be a real muscle-flexing night for Chinese American voters. It also appears that the race for mayor has come down to the last couple of days, with traditionally liberal and progressive voters making up their minds at the last minute - or perhaps sitting it out. An analysis by Redistricting Partners, a Sacramento political consulting firm, found that as of last week, 79 percent of expected mail-in voters in Chinatown had turned in their ballots - 32 percentage points above the citywide average return at this time during two earlier election cycles.

More trustees eyed with Yuba College redistricting

Daily Democrat
Yuba Community College District will likely have seven trustee areas instead of the current four as a result of redistricting. The Board of Trustees will have a redistricting presentation at their monthly meeting Wednesday at Woodland Community College, Building 800. The trustees will address redistricting at 2 p.m. during the work session with an update presented during the board meeting at 4 p.m. The update is an informational item not an action item. Paul Mitchell, with Redistricting Partners, sent a letter to Chancellor Doug Houston in October informing the California Voters Rights Act "places a burden on districts that do not have single-member districted elections."

Yolo County Board of Education board begins redistricting hearings
Daily Democrat
The Yolo County Committee on School District Organization is considering the rearrangement of the Yolo County Board of Education Trustee Areas. Education Codes require boards of education to adjust trustee boundaries every 10 years based on census figures if "each trustee is elected by the residents of the area he or she represents." The County Committee has established a sub-committee of two to propose appropriate configurations for County Board trustee areas.

Chin recall petition certified
Hanford Sentinel
Recall organizers now have the official go-ahead to start circulating petitions asking voters to recall Hanford City Councilman and former mayor Dan Chin. City Clerk Pamela McCarthy officially approved the latest revision of the proposed recall ballot language Thursday. It was the fourth time the group of residents led by Albert Cano, a Hanford police sergeant who lives in Chin's district, attempted to have the petition certified for circulation.

Election will affect all Tri-Valley cities
San Ramon Express
San Ramon voters will go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new mayor and several members to their City Councils. Although municipal elections in Danville and Pleasanton are still a year away, Tuesday's results and the composition of the councils cities will have a major impact on issues where other cities in the Tri-Valley share major interests. Every member of the San Ramon City Council, including the mayor, serves on a number of Tri-Valley, regional and even statewide boards, committees and panels.

Full slate of candidates in race for council seat
Contra Costa Times
When Janice Hahn won her bid for Congress in July, it set off a stampede to take her spot on the Los Angeles City Council. Twenty people initially set their sights on the race, but when the dust settled, the field of declared candidates had narrowed to 11. That was little consolation to voters in the San Pedro-to-Watts district, who were left trying to sort them all out amid a flurry of mailers and colorful road signs. Among the candidates are a state assemblyman, a Los Angeles city firefighter, a police officer, a former Los Angeles city councilman, two former Hahn aides, several business owners and a Realtor.

Cabrillo College board presents plan for new districts
Santa Cruz Sentinel
With the 2010 census showing a greater population growth in Santa Cruz and Watsonville than in other parts of the county, the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees had to redraw some of their district maps. The Board Redistricting Committee, consisting of trustees Alan Smith, Katy Stonebloom and Rachael Spencer, presented a proposal at a board meeting Monday. The districts must be kept relatively close to one another in terms of total population. Additionally, the committee considered several factors in redrafting the boundaries.

Coffee klatches with Glover
Martinez News-Gazette
After this year’s redistricting process changed the boundaries of Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors districts, Martinez lost a longtime representative in Gail Uilkema and gained a new delegate in Federal Glover. The shift took place in early September, and since then Glover has appeared at several civic and community events in an effort to introduce himself and get up to speed on local issues.


Drive to kill new California Senate Districts to submit signature
Capitol Alert, Sac Bee
A Republican-backed referendum campaign to overturn the state's new Senate districts is vowing to submit more than 700,000 signatures Thursday to place the issue before voters next November.

Redistricting sets up tussles for many seats in Congress
The Washington Times
The last time California redrew its congressional districts, Republicans and Democrats cut a deal to preserve all the incumbents, essentially erasing the country’s biggest electoral fishing ground from the map in 2002. But voters weren’t amused. In the intervening years, they established a citizens commission to redraw the lines. In the process, they declared open season on incumbents and set up what political analysts say could be a dozen races to watch next year.

Democrats focus on three Inland seats
The Press-Enterprise
Inland Southern California’s reshaped political landscape figures prominently in congressional Democrats’ plans to take back the House in 2012, party leaders said Friday. Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to reclaim majority status, which they lost two years ago in a tea party-fueled drubbing. As many of five of those seats could be in California, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel told reporters during a Capitol Hill briefing.

Candidates for U.S. Congress vie for votes
Whidbey News-Times
With three people in the Republican race for a chance to challenge local political juggernaut Rick Larsen, one would expect a lot of sparks when they all get together. That is exactly what happened at Tuesday night’s candidate forum at the Oak Harbor Senior Center. Candidates for national, state-wide and local offices took the mic to state their purpose and field citizen questions.

Civic Circus – 11/08/11
You may have heard about the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission, the 14 member citizen body that drew the lines for the State Senate, State Assembly, Board of Equalization, andCalifornia’s House of Representatives. They had dozens of public meetings across the state, took input from who knows how many lobbyists and special interests, and finally published official maps a few months ago. Unsurprisingly, those arbitrary lines on maps are already being challenged in court. Beyond that, redistricting also happens at the county and city level.

AM Alert: It's Election Day
The Sacramento Bee
It's not the big 2012 showdown, but today nonetheless is Election Day. In Ohio, voters are deciding whether to repeal a law limiting collective bargaining rights. In Mississippi and Kentucky they are electing (or re-electing) governors. In San Francisco, voters will decide whether to make interim Mayor Ed Lee their first elected Chinese-American mayor. They'll use ranked-choice voting - an instant runoff system - to choose among 16 candidates. Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, the subject of some unflattering robocalls, plans to spend the day courting votes from his Leland Yee for Mayor trolley.

Rep. McCarthy Killed Plan to Save Six California GOP Congressmen
Human Events
When a redistricting plan in California was unveiled earlier this year that would have reduced the present Republican ranks in the 40-member state senate from 15 to 11, Golden State Republicans went to war.  In short order, they helped raise nearly $2.4 million for a statewide drive to collect the 504,000 signatures on petitions needed to thwart what they considered blatant gerrymandering. But when a similar redistricting plan came down for California’s 53 U.S. House districts and GOPers were faced with the possible loss of six of their present nineteen U.S. Representatives, the proposed counter-offensive fizzled and, by all reports, is dead.


 Morrell to move after redistricting
The Oakland Tribune
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said he is moving to another home in Rancho Cucamonga because his current residence isn't in the newly drawn 40th Assembly District. Morrell plans to run for the 40th Assembly District in 2012. Sen. Bob Dutton, who is the GOP Senate leader, has expressed interest in also running for the 40th district when he terms out of the Senate next year.

Jan Perry resigns from council leadership post: 'I have a mouth. It doesn't need to be shut'
Southern California Public Radio
Councilwoman Jan Perry, the No. 2-ranking official on the Los Angeles City Council said today she is resigning from her leadership post out of "disgust" with what she described as behind-the-scenes maneuvering over redistricting and the council presidency. Perry, who represents downtown and part of South Los Angeles and has served as the council's president pro tem since 2009, will remain on the City Council.

Redding Council member running for District 1
Even with the election a year away, engines are already revving in the race for the newly redrawn California State Assembly District 1 seat. Rick Bosetti, a City Council member in his hometown Redding, has announced his intent to campaign for District 1. Bosetti has been involved in Redding policy matters for almost 25 years.

Ex-councilman claims new boundaries violate his rights
Former Councilman Ralph Lee White said Friday that city officials deliberately drew a map that excludes his Eighth Street home from the city voting district where he rightly belongs. The new map violates both the city charter and his civil rights, said White, who is no stranger to controversy. His challenge puts him in a fight that could be hard to win. White, a 68-year-old bail bondsman and mainstay of Stockton politics, spelled out his case in a claim, which is often the first step to a lawsuit. White filed it at City Hall late Thursday.

Bonnie Lowenthal Drops Out of Senate Race
Long Beach Post
"Bonnie Lowenthal has been a great friend and a strong advocate for our communities in the California State Assembly an I support her re-election 100%. I look forward to continuing to work with her to improve the quality of life for our constituents and will seek her counsel and support as I continue my bid to represent the newly created 33rd Senate District."  Last month, the Long Beach Post reported on an independent poll that showed Lara with a 6-point lead in the race against Lowenthal.

Acting San Francisco Mayor Poised to Win Election
International Business Times
San Francisco's interim Mayor Ed Lee is poised to become its first elected mayor of Chinese descent, a political milestone for a city where Chinese-Americans now account for a quarter of the electorate. Lee, a one-time civil rights lawyer and career civil servant who had never run for elected office, has campaigned as a pragmatist who can tackle the city's chronic budget problems.

State Sen. Joe Simitian to run for Santa Clara County supervisor -- again
Mercury News
State Sen Joe Simitian, who will be termed out of the Legislature next year, announced Sunday that he will run again for Santa Clara County supervisor. If successful, Simitian, 58, will replace Liz Kniss, who next year reaches the three-term limit for supervisor. She represents north county areas on the five-member board. "I know the job," said Simitian, who served as county supervisor from 1997-2000.

Seven candidates vie for four seats on Vacaville Unified School District board
The Reporter
Experience, dealing with fiscal austerity, children's educational needs and transparency are among the qualities, personal assessments and goals raised by seven candidates seeking four seats on the Vacaville Unified School District governing board. The candidates are Jerry Eaton, Greg Fletcher, Michael Kitzes, Sherie Mahlberg, Larry Mazzuca, Tracee Stacy and Jay Yerkes. Election Day is Tuesday. As a former school board member of a Central Valley school district -- and in his job as a foreign language teacher at Vanden High School -- Eaton believes he is uniquely qualified for a seat on the VUSD board.

PCC Board of Trustees Race Only One on Altadena Ballot
Altadena Patch
Today the race for a seat on the Governing Body of the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees will come to an end as incumbent Jeanette W. Mann and contestant Brian M. Fuller face off at the polls. Mann and Fuller are vying for a spot that will represent Area No. 2, which includes Sierra Madre, as well as East Altadena, Upper Hasting Ranch, Lower Hasting Ranch, Daisy-Willa, Eaton Blanche, East Eaton Wash, East Orange Grove, Fox Ridge, Sierra Madre Villa, North Pasadena Heights, Highlands, Bungalow Heaven and Brigden Ranch.

Uhler on filing fence no longer. He’s running for Placer supe
Auburn Journal
Already building up his campaign war chest, Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler said he expects to run for re-election in 2012. Uhler, whose Granite Bay district expanded farther into Roseville after redistricting this year, said Friday that he would like to get a chance to continue the work he and other supervisors have done to keep county spending in check and finances in balance.

Nunes staffer says congressman won't challenge Feinstein
The Kansas City Star
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is not running for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, Nunes' chief of staff said Monday. While falling somewhat short of a flat-out political declaration of permanent disinterest, the statement Monday seemed to step back from the congressman's earlier suggestions that he might be enticed into the Senate race.

Campus Democrats endorse Hannah Beth Jackson for State Senate
Campus Democrats UC Santa Barbara
At an special endorsement meeting held Wednesday, November 2nd, Campus Democrats at UCSB endorsed former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson in her bid for California State Senator for the 19th District. Jackson will face both Democratic and Republican challengers in the primary election next year, and fought hard for this endorsement critical to winning support on campus and in the local community. She was endorsed with near-unanimous support from club members. Jackson is making a second bid for the 19th District seat after losing the 2008 election to current Republican Senator Tony Strickland by an incredibly small margin.

CA-Sen: Will Rep. Devin Nunes Run Against Senator Dianne Feinstein?
Flaps California Blog
Running ads against long-time incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is one thing. Rep. Devin Nunes has never been known for diplomacy when it comes to Democrats in the California congressional delegation, especially Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to get off her butt and do something,” the Tulare Republican said regarding the economic problems besetting his San Joaquin Valley. “I have tried to be nice, and I have tried to work with her. She is all talk, and no action.”