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Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The CNN-ification of CA Redistricting


This weekend John Stossell, er… I mean, CNN, did a one-hour show on redistricting.  The show, called Gerry-Rigging, busted out all the Rorschach test districts, parodied the “ear-muffs district” in Chicago, taunted a guy on a tractor as he drove the 200 yards connecting three congressional districts, and interviewed the woman who represents the “dragon district” in Florida (and was amazingly wearing a head to toe green ruffled dress that made her look like an actual dragon).

When it came to California there was less obvious malfeasance to find.  Commissioner Michael Ward, who apparently likes to walk around half-naked beach goers in a full suit, decried the low-tide district that is the new Waxman Congressional seat.  This Negative-Nancy shtick apparently earned him a spot in the show even though the commission staff and individual commissioners were begging the CNN producers to talk to any of them besides Ward.

Ward claimed that the strip of beach connecting the upper and lower halves of the district was the byproduct of an insider game of commission politics to create the three African American seats.  However, as I told the producers, it was really a byproduct of not wanting to split LAX in half.  How in God’s name would you ever be able to get your luggage if the plane landed in Maxine Waters’ district but the baggage claim was in the Waxman seat??

The Matt Rexroad and Paul Mitchell show was interspersed throughout the CA section, which you can see here until someone at CNN calls You Tube to complain.  Highlights include Matt standing their silently while I discuss the virtues of creating districts that empower the LGBT community, and me standing there silently while he rips the commission for how they drew the LA African American Congressional seats.  Kathay Feng from Common Cause is, as usual, the only one that says anything intelligent.  Berman and Sherman struggle to be not-outright-mean to each other, and Tony Cardenas plays the role of a Congressman-2-B.  (We've seen Cardenas play poker, and he's not bluffing!)  It is all truly Must See TV!

But what the CNN Producers forgot to include was this picture of Rexroad which truly represents how most of the commission, and the audience at the Berkeley post-redistricting event, feel about him. 


California Redistricting: It ain’t over til it’s over
Halfway to Concord
Paul Mitchell at Redistricting Report advises that CNN will air its report on Redistricting in California and other states Sunday, Nov 20 at 5, 8, and 11 p.m. Meanwhile, Mitchell notes that an initiative to overturn the California Redistricting Commission maps may have succeeded in reaching the 700,000+ signatures needed to gain the November 2012 ballot. In fact it has…

State GOP’s problem isn’t unfair districts
Press Democrat
California is a decidedly blue state, but the state Supreme Court is no Democratic stronghold. Six of the seven justices were appointed by Republican governors. But that didn't change the outcome of the state GOP's blatantly political challenge to new congressional and state Senate districts.

Winner in Redistricting Is Still to Be Determined
The New York Times
Republican legislative victories in the 2010 elections were hailed as a major opportunity for the party to redraw district lines to their benefit ahead of next year’s Congressional voting. But what was supposed to have been a clear advantage for the Republicans has turned into more of a muddle, with both parties claiming some advantages but conceding that the year-long redistricting process could end up a wash in the end.

Redistricting Hurts African-American Vote
The Sacramento Observer
African American leaders throughout the state are working feverishly to make sure the once-a-decade drawing of California’s political lines properly reflects communities of color. Their efforts led many to Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law this week to share their concerns with the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC). Political, civic and business leaders are concerned that the CRC was considering a move that would cripple African American political power.


PACCD Board of Trustees Seek Public Comment to Guide Redistricting Required by 2010 Census
Press Zoom
The Pasadena Area Community College District Board of Trustees is seeking public input on proposed redistricting plans for the representative areas within the PACCD. The PACCD represents the service area of Pasadena City College. The board has partnered with the Community College League of California (CCLC) and Redistricting Partners to enable the process in compliance with the 2002 Federal and California Voting Rights Act. Redistricting is the process of drawing Trustee area boundaries within the district. It is done every 10 years after the release of the United States Census.

City Hall lobbyists withdraw bids for LA redistricting contract
LA Times
The top two firms competing to secure a $100,000 public relations contract from the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission abruptly dropped out of the running Tuesday, throwing the panel's work into turmoil.

GTLNC President Andrew Westall to Lead L.A. City Council Redistricting Commission
North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch
Andrew Westall, president of the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, was appointed as executive director of the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission recently. After a GTLNC meeting on Nov. 15, Westall acknowledged his recent appointment to Patch but stated he was unable to publicly comment. Westall was contacted via email and phone for further comments, but did not respond to questions as of this article’s publishing.

Hearings set for redistricting contract
Daily News Los Angeles
Promising to make redistricting fun and relevant to residents, a subcommittee of the City's Redistricting Commission remained deadlocked between two firms that would conduct media and community outreach. With a contract of $95,000 to be decided upon, the outreach committee of the Redistricting Commission urged Cerrell Associates and Dakota Communication to appear before the full commission to determine which should organize outreach for the series of hearings to be held beginning in December.

South LA’s 8th district begins redistricting discussions
Intersections South LA
The results of the 2010 census have led to a spate of efforts to re-draw political lines at all levels, from Congressional districts to State Senate boundaries.

East Bay population shift to shake up BART districts
San Francisco Examiner
Population growth in the East Bay is shifting BART voting districts away from San Francisco, but board members from The City said the new alignments won’t have a major impact in the next elections.

Board considers proposed redistricting at Nov. 22 special meeting
Bay Area Rapid Transit
The following options for new election districts will be discussed by the Board of Directors on November 22, 2011. Option A makes significant changes to the existing districts. It takes District 5 out of Contra Costa County and rotates the other districts to make them more compact. This option will be recommended by the redistricting consultants. Option B is a minimal change plan. It equalizes the districts by making local changes.

Council members consider possibility of postponing redistricting decision
The Daily Californian
UC Berkeley student government leaders presented their redistricting proposal to the Berkeley City Council during a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night, garnering some support from certain council members who are considering delaying action on the proposals until after the 2012 election. By postponing a redistricting decision, the council would allow the students to submit a charter amendment for the November 2012 ballot to make their proposal compliant with city code, and thus be considered among the five other proposals submitted to the council.

County Board of Supervisors Considers Handing over Redistricting to an Independent Commission
Empower San Diego
Thanks in part to the efforts of the Communities in Unity Redistricting Coalition (CIU), the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is considering a move that would forfeit their redistricting powers to an independent commission. However, the proposal brought forth by Supervisor Greg Cox would have the commission made up of panel of retired judges.

Reedley’s redistricting plan completed
The Reedley Exponent
After reviewing two different plans, the Reedley City Council made a decision that will eventually alter the boundaries of the city’s five voting districts. In order to comply with state and federal voting rights acts, the city’s voting districts must be redrawn every 10 years following a Census to balance out the populations of each district. Even though Reedley is divided into five voting districts, city officials are elected at-large which led some councilmembers to question the need for redistricting.

Dixon to discuss options in picking new city leader
The Daily Democrat
Community involvement is being sought in choosing Dixon's new city manager and determining how that will come about is up for discussion. Since former City Manager Nancy Huston left in June to take a position with Solano County, Police Chief Jon Cox has stepped up to provide interim aid. Sooner or later he'll have to shift his focus back to the Police Department, officials have said, and a recruitment for Huston's replacement has been under way.


Assemblywoman Huber plans move to Rancho
Mountain Democrat
The first local casualty of California’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission is El Dorado Hills’ own Democrat Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, who announced last week that she’s moving to Rancho Cordova. The commission packed up Huber’s notoriously gerrymandered 10th Assembly District and shipped it to Marin County. El Dorado Hills now resides in a more heterogeneous District 6, alongside fellow suburbs Folsom, Cameron Park, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Fair Oaks and, tellingly for Huber, Roseville — the home of Republican Assemblywoman Beth Gaines.

Augustine to run for Assembly

The Reporter
Former Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine is once again entering the political arena, coming out of retirement to bid for the newly created 11th State Assembly District seat, he announced this week. The Assembly post, created by the California State Redistricting Commission in late July, covers most of northern Solano and eastern Contra Costa counties. "After 14 years in local government, I learned that we accomplished a great deal more if we weren't concerned if the person sitting next to us was a Republican or a Democrat," Augustine, who will run as a nonpartisan candidate, said in a written statement.

Former California State Assemblyman Van Tran Endorses Steve Kuykendall for Congress
Orange County Breeze
Former California State Assemblyman Van Tran has thrown his support behind Republican businessman and former Congressman Steve Kuykendall for the newly created 47th Congressional District. “We need principled, independent candidates who can make the decisions needed to put our country back on track to economic prosperity and fiscal accountability,” said former California State Assemblyman Van Tran. “Steve Kuykendall has the experience and is clearly the best candidate to do just that.”

Moorlach Endorses Edgar for Congress
Orange County Breeze
County Supervisor John Moorlach today added his name to the growing list of Orange County leaders who have endorsed Troy Edgar’s campaign for Congress. Moorlach’s endorsement is significant, as the Supervisor represents a significant portion of the newly created 47th Congressional District. “I am glad to support Troy Edgar for Congress. Troy Edgar is a great champion for taxpayers. As a Councilman he truly serves to get important goals accomplished, displaying his leadership, focus, and results-oriented approach to life,” said Supervisor Moorlach.

Lockyer Endorses Quirk For Assembly
East Bay Citizen
Bill Lockyer's blessing was probably a foregone conclusion for Bill Quirk's run for the assembly. Nonetheless, Quirk announced state treasurer's endorsement Tuesday night in an email to supporters. "I've worked with many local and state leaders and Bill Quirk stands out amongst them," said Lockyer. "I proudly endorse him and will work hard to make sure he is elected." With the sudden demise of Assembywoman Mary Hayashi, the endorsement of Lockyer became the big get among candidates hoping to win her redrawn district.

Calbuzz Consultanate: No Serious GOP Threat to DiFi
Dianne Feinstein’s biggest challenge next year won’t come from a serious Republican opponent – it’ll be replenishing her war chest after it was plundered by Kinde Durkee, her longtime campaign treasurer who is suspected of looting as much as $5 million from the senior senator’s coffers. That’s the overwhelming consensus of the Calbuzz Advisory Board of the World’s Leading Authorities on Practically Everything – a panel of the most staggeringly brilliant and experienced political consultants and strategists in California — after we asked: Who will be Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s chief Republican challenger in 2012?

Additional Endorsements show Diversity of CD15 Candidates
Since the November 8th primary election that set up the final showdown for the vacant seat in Council District 15 in the City of Los Angeles between LAPD Officer Joe Buscaino and State Assembly member Warren Furitani, additional endorsements have come in as the candidates that did not make the run-off and organizations that endorsed them have begun choosing among the finalists.

Councilman Dave Allan Plans Run for State Assembly in 2012, Tells Issues
Lemon Grove Patch
Councilman Dave Allan used the public comments portion of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to announce that he’ll run for the state Assembly next year in the 79th District. The newly configured district includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, parts of National City, Chula Vista, San Diego and unincorporated San Diego County, and boasts a population of 466,416.

John K Stahl (R-CA-52) – Bio
Tea Party Cheer
John K Stahl has decided to run for Congress in order to reestablish the American Dream for current and future generations. He is a former Naval Aviator and Distinguished Naval Graduate who volunteered to serve his country in uniform for six years. John earned a BS in Mathematics prior to entering the United States Navy and upon completing his tour of duty, earned an MBA in Finance  by going to graduate school four evenings a week while working full time for Texas Instruments.

Thanks Congressman Thompson, but no thanks on endorsement
As a long time supporter of Mike Thompson, I want to thank him for his many years of service and all the things he has done for Humboldt County, the fishing industry, our roads and the environment to name a few. He has represented our interests well in Congress, but now that he's chosen to run in his new home district instead of ours, he's also offered to choose (endorse) his replacement. As much as I appreciate everything Mike has done for us, I think maybe we'd like to make this choice ourselves.

Thompson backs Huffman as Woolsey's successor
Rep. Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma, who is retiring in 2012 after 20 years in Congress, has no plans to endorse a candidate for the new 2nd Congressional District stretching from Marin County to the Oregon border. But Mike Thompson, a fellow Democrat from St. Helena who represents the neighboring congressional district, stepped into the fray last week. He threw his support behind Jared Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat who has represented Marin and southern Sonoma County in the Assembly since 2006.

Bonnie Lowenthal's state Senate pullout reflects shifts
Long Beach Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal's decision to seek re-election instead of a state Senate seat next year reflects the shifting makeup of new districts and rising Latino clout in Sacramento, political insiders say. It also means diminished chances for Democrats Patrick O'Donnell and Gerrie Schipske, two members of Long Beach City Council who had announced bids for the 70th Assembly District. The change clears Lowenthal as an obstruction for first-term Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who has been endorsed by the California Latino Legislative Caucus for the Senate's 33rd District.

Crowded field in California's 2nd District; eight candidates vying to replace Thompson as North Coast rep
With more than six months until voters take to the polls, a total of eight candidates have announced their intent to run for a seat representing the North Coast in Congress in the newly created 2nd Congressional District. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission shook things up earlier this year when it redrew the North Coast district to exclude incumbent Congressman Mike Thompson's hometown of St. Helena. Thompson, who has represented the North Coast in Congress since 1999, has announced his intention to run in the state's new 5th Congressional District, leaving the coastal race wide open.

22 Dems back Berman over Sherman
The California primary isn’t until next June, but the state’s House Democratic members have already reached a verdict: It’s Berman over Sherman. In a formidable display of support, Rep. Howard Berman, who’s facing off against fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman in a redrawn district, will announce Friday that he’s won the backing of more than two-thirds of the state’s House Democratic delegation, POLITICO has learned.

Hahn's campaign tests her ties to black community
The Los Angeles Times
Take one newly drawn congressional district. Add three Democrats competing for it. Mix in some racial twists, and you have an unusual political stew heading into next year's political campaigns. The working-class district that extends north from the Los Angeles Harbor area is strongly Latino but was drawn under federal civil rights law to encourage the election of an African American. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), who is running in the district, is white. Two black candidates, both Democrats, are also in the contest: Rep. Laura Richardson, who represents the Long Beach area, and Assemblyman Isadore Hall III of Compton.

Berman Beats Sherman in Endorsement Race
The Jewish Daily Forward
U.S. Rep. Howard Berman has lined up support from Democratic colleagues in the increasingly heated Los Angeles race with fellow Jewish Rep. Brad Sherman. Berman has the backing of nearly two-thirds of California’s Democratic congressional delegation, Politico reported. The web site said the 22 endorsements run the spectrum from ultra-liberals like Rep. Maxine Waters to moderates like Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza.

Gay rights organization rejects one of its own
The westside of Los Angeles is home to what is heating up to be one of the more intense primaries for the California Assembly. The 2010 census and subsequent redistricting of legislative seats have placed Santa Monica, Bel Air, Malibu, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood in the new state Assembly District 50. Current Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, and Torie Osborn, a longtime leader in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have all declared their candidacies for the newly-created Assembly seat.

Alan Lowenthal endorses Kawasaki
Contra Costa Times
Eighth District City Council candidate Lillian Kawasaki added State Sen. Alan Lowenthal to her list of endorsements on Friday. Lowenthal's nod to Kawasaki's bid to represent Long Beach's uptown follows another high-profile endorsement by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe last week. The district includes parts of the Virginia Country Club, Los Cerritos, California Heights and Bixby Knolls neighborhoods.

Eric Garcetti backs Herb Wesson to succeed him as council chief
The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti announced Thursday he is backing Councilman Herb Wesson as his successor, a move that could pave the way for the council to elect its first African American president in its 161-year history. Garcetti, who is running for mayor, said he would introduce a motion Friday calling for Wesson to become president at the council's first meeting in January.

Malibu Leaders Endorse Assembly Candidate Butler
Malibu Patch
Betsy Butler, candidate for the 50th state Assembly District seat, received the official support this week of more than half the %uFEFFMalibu City Council%uFEFF. Mayor Laura Zahn Rosenthal, Mayor Pro Tem Lou La Monte and Council member Pamela Conley Ulich announced their endorsement of Butler on Thursday in a press release. "Betsy Butler is the best choice to represent Malibu in the Assembly," said Rosenthal, %uFEFFwho became Malibu's mayor on Monday%uFEFF.

Mike Thompson endorses Jared Huffman for Congress
The San Francisco Chronicle
Up in the massive new Golden Gate Bridge-to-Oregon Congressional District race, Democratic Assemblyman Jared Huffman just scored a major endorsement: Rep. Mike Thompson, who has represented a huge chunk — around 40 percent — of the district since 1998, is in his corner. Also moving to Huffman’s corner is Assemblymember Wes Chesbro, who represents the North Coast from Santa Rosa to Oregon.

Ventura County supervisor to run for Congress
The Los Angeles Times
Ending months of speculation, Steve Bennett, a Ventura County supervisor best known for a set of tough development restrictions, on Wednesday announced his bid for a congressional seat created by last summer's redistricting. Bennett, a Democrat, hopes to represent the new 26th Congressional District, which spans almost all of Ventura County outside Simi Valley.

Newton: L.A.'s next mayor
The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles will not elect a new mayor for another 17 months — the nation will consider President Obama's future first — but the race for City Hall is already underway. Most of the likely candidates are raising money and building support, and last week, for the first time, three who have declared shared a stage. It was hardly a debate — more a conversation in front of an audience — but it was a revealing first look at some of the contours of the campaign.

The Generation That Will Pay
World News
Ricky Gill wasn't like other 17-year-olds. In 2004, instead of goofing around after school, he was the one public high school student in California the governor selected to serve on the state board of education. Now, as a 24-year-old, he is running for Congress—while going to law school. The minimum age to be a member of the House is 25; Gill, a Republican, will turn 25 in May 2012, one month before the primary. "A lot of people think I'm young now, and I wouldn't contest that, but I was really young then," he said, thinking of his teenage term on the school board.

From the Twitterverse

@CarrPR David- It looks like the CA redistricting vote worked. #cnn  http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/18/politics/gerrymandering/index.html

@ARACapitolWatch- MT @CapitolAlert: MT @udrawthelines: Sun 11p EST, 8p PST, CNN documentary on redistricting @paulmitche11& @MattRexroad appear in CA section

@BrianLeubitz- Referendum for Senate #CARedistricting looks to be headed to the ballot. CA GOP are quite the sore winners.  http://calitics.com/diary/14006/crp-submits-signatures-for-senate-redistricting-referendum