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Monday, December 19, 2011

 

All I want for Christmas is Two State Senators

The media only wants to focus on the negative, thus the headline in today’s Press Enterprise “New lines leave some voters without a Senator.”  Sure, because of an oddity in redistricting the entire City of Santa Monica has no senator for two years, but in exchange the Commission gave the western half of San Francisco two.  Sounds fair to me.

For the intervening two years the State Senate will appoint members to provide constituent services for the affected areas.  That could be a political blue-chip assignment for folks like Senator Ted Lieu who would desperately want to be assigned to the new turf in Santa Monica while the political leadership there (read: Sheila Kuehl and Crew) may not be so inclined. 

The whole issue of “deferring” representation for one set of voters and “accelerating” representation for another is probably the most confusing part of redistricting.  It is an inevitable byproduct of the process when you have four year seats with half elected every two years.  It impacts cities, school boards, water boards… basically every local government. 

The alternative would be to go the route that the City of LA has.  They say explicitly that districts take effect immediately, which could have its own crazy implications.  How about these examples:

:: What if the new lines draw Paul Krekorian out of his Second District?  If the lines take effect immediately, and he suddenly lives outside of his district, is he eligible to serve?  The State Senate lines take effect at the next election, removing this issue.

:: What if the commission wanted to really mess with him… could they draw his 2nd district into the African American core of the city just to begin a recall of him using those new voters?  That sounds like a bit of a constitutional crisis, but under the charter would be totally legal. 

:: And what happens to the voters who cast ballots for him in the first place?  Did they vote for him for a four year term, with an asterisk that read “unless the unelected redistricting commission chooses otherwise?”  Redistricting should always respect the voter choice --- this silly game of math and maps and shenanigans can’t trump actual ballots cast, can it?

It seems that deferrals and accelerations are a necessary evil to preserve voter choices and avoid the kind of gamesmanship that could come from an overly-politicized redistricting system.  And from 2002-2004 more than 3 million residents had either no State Senator or two, and really nobody noticed, so it really can’t be that bad, right?

State

New lines leave some voters without a senator
The Press-Enterprise
Because of a quirk in the way state Senate districts are created, some communities will be without a senator's representation for a while. Others will have "double coverage." Parts of California that may temporarily lose representation in the State Senate are shown in red. Areas that could be represented by two senators are shown in green. Opponents of the new Senate plan are trying to qualify a 2012 ballot referendum to overturn the map. The phenomenon stems from the Senate’s system of staggered elections and how the new districts were numbered. A huge swath of Riverside County is affected, including most of the Coachella Valley and all of Lake Elsinore. Parts of San Bernardino County also stand to lose a senator for two years.

Local

Redistricting Commission Hears Pleas to Keep Council Districts Together
Brentwood Patch
A small crowd of about 40 people came out Thursday night to the Iman Cultural Center in Palms to give their input on how new Los Angeles City Council District lines should be drawn, at a special hearing before members of the city commission tasked with updating district maps. "The concept is to hear about how [residents and other stakeholders] define their community," said Rob Kadota, the appointee to the commission from Council District 11 and a vice chair of the commission as a whole.

Santa Ana Ward Redistricting More Confusing Than Transparent
Liberal OC
When it comes to the task of redrawing the Ward Boundaries for Santa Ana, city officials have followed a confusing and nontransparent process that has left the public significantly uninformed and otherwise out of the loop. For example; if it wasn’t for our digging, the public would have no idea that there are currently two proposals pending review and discussion at the City Council’s Public Hearing scheduled for December 19th. City officials have not sent a press release notifying the media that a second proposal was posted on Tuesday December 13th.

Newton: Council lines spark conflict
The Los Angeles Times
Fresh on the heels of Los Angeles County's contentious, divisive and nakedly political supervisorial redistricting debate, the City Council is embarking on its process. Early signs are that it will be contentious, divisive and nakedly political. The council is rife with rumors of deals being cut to protect incumbents in exchange for favors, of enemies settling old scores and of the public being invited to participate in a preordained process — a "facade," to use one council member's word. Many of the rumors are exaggerated, fanned by rivalries and distrust. But the process has already highlighted the council's many divisions.

Candidates

All I want for Christmas is a new Congress …
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Nevertheless, that shiny new cadeau will lose some of its luster, and will probably even seem old by June, and certainly will seem so by November. In fact, I’m already asking my political secret Santa for a shiny-new something else. I want a more tolerant congressional delegation for Christmas. Please, Santa? Since 2006, San Diego County’s U.S. representatives have voted the same way on nearly every LGBT issue: Reps. Susan Davis (D) and Bob Filner (D) in favor; Reps. Duncan Hunter (R), Darrel Issa (R) and Brian Bilbray (R) against. Considering Bilbray’s and Hunter’s predecessors, the 2:3 ratio goes back almost a decade.

California lobbyists write checks to legislators running for Congress
The Sacramento Bee
When Anthony Portantino ran for state Assembly in 2006, Sacramento lobbyists were forbidden from contributing to his campaign. But now that Portantino is considering a run for Congress, the lobbyists he has worked with since joining the Legislature are free to help him seek federal office. Many are. At least nine of Sacramento's registered lobbyists contributed to Portantino's congressional campaign during the first nine months of this year, a review of federal elections data shows.

McCarthy, Rubio set to represent area
Recorder Online
House of Representatives Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said he is looking forward to reacquainting himself to the Porterville/Lindsay area, McCarthy served as an aide to Rep. Bill Thomas when he represented the Orange Belt in Congress more than a decade ago and now McCarthy will serve the Orange Belt. Redistricting has shifted the Orange Belt from Devin Nunes’ district to McCarthy’s beginning Jan. 1. Nunes (R-Tulare), has represented the Orange Belt since he was elected nine years ago. But when the districts were redrawn this summer as required by a new U.S. Census, McCarthy’s district changed to pick up the Orange Belt. At the same time he lost the San Luis Obispo region.

Tax attorney Chris Parker hits ground running in Assembly race
The Sacramento Bee
It's official: Chris Parker is the second Democrat vying for the newly drawn 8th Assembly District seat stretching from Citrus Heights to the Wilton area. Parker, 36, moved from downtown Sacramento to Carmichael in October and will compete for an open seat that Republicans are expected to make a top priority statewide in next year's election. An attorney for the state Franchise Tax Board, Parker said the 8th Assembly District is a good fit for him because his office is in Rancho Cordova, where he has worked for nearly seven years.

Rick Orlov's Tipoff: Wesson backs Buscaino for council seat
Daily News Los Angeles
Council President-elect Herb Wesson, seeking to solidify his position, last week looked into political tea leaves and decided to endorse police officer Joe Buscaino for the Harbor-area council seat vacated when Janice Hahn was elected to Congress. In doing so, he overlooked his own political relationship with Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Torrance, developed over the years when Furutani served on the Los Angeles Board of Education and community college board.

Portantino Struggles to find Political Footing
MENAFN.com
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino -- struggling to find his political footing in a changing landscape of legislative districts --  is moving into a gray area, stuck between a potential congressional bid and what would be an uncomfortable challenge for a long-time political ally State Sen. Carol Liu’s seat. Portantino, who will be termed out of office next year, has so far refused to say which way he will go, but his two-track approach could also put him at odds with some donors, who contributed $310,000 to support a challenge to unseat Rep. David Dreier, a longtime San Gabriel Valley Republican.

Pete Wilson endorses in area congressional race
The Los Angeles Times
Former Gov. Pete Wilson has endorsed former Rep. Steven T. Kuykendall as the Republican businessman seeks to return to Congress from the newly drawn 47th District seat in Long Beach. Former Long Beach Mayor Eunice Sato also has endorsed Kuykendall, his campaign announced this week. Developments in other area congressional races include those in the San Fernando Valley’s new 30th District, where veteran Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman are competing in what is expected to be a hard-fought and costly race.

Candidates pick up pace as elections filing nears
The Los Angeles Times
In the San Fernando Valley’s new 46th District, businesswoman Laurette Healey, one of several Democrats running for this seat, recently announced endorsements from Assemblyman Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park) and Scott Svonkin, a board member of the Los Angeles Community College District. In the Westside’s new 50th District, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) added endorsements from Sierra Club California and six more labor organizations, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11, the National Assn. of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO and three locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Nobody can beat Dianne Feinstein?
Mimsy Were the Borogroves
Nobody likes Dianne Feinstein. Not even her former campaign workers. But she almost always wins by huge margins. With voters recognizing that averting the coming financial crisis requires fiscal sanity, can the Republicans do better in 2012 against Feinstein than they did against Barbara Boxer in 2010? Currently, the declared candidates are Elizabeth Emken, Dirk Allen Konopik, Orly Taitz, and Nachum Shifren. None of California’s familiar names are in the race yet—even Dianne Feinstein hasn’t announced, although it’s assumed that she will.

Retired Teacher Running for Local State Assembly Seat
Arcadia Patch
Candidates are coming out of the woodwork to run for the 49th State Assembly District seat currently occupied by Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), who will be termed out in 2012. The 49th District includes Arcadiay and other San Gabriel Valley Cities and a map of the newly redrawn district can be found here. The latest candidate is David Siegrist, a retired teacher and advocate for seniors and veterans, among other things.

Runner endorses Scott Wilk for state Assembly
the-signal.com
"I have great confidence in Scott," Runner said. "The candidates are all really good, but it was just an easy decision to stay committed to Scott." Other Republicans who have announced their candidacies for the seat include Patricia McKeon, wife of Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; and Paul Strickland, school board member for the William S. Hart Union High School District and former staffer for Assemblyman Cameron Smyth.

Carchio eyeing 74th District run
Daily Pilot
A Huntington Beach councilman is eyeing a run for the newly redrawn 74th Assembly District, which also spans Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine and Laguna Beach. If he declares a run, Joe Carchio, 74, would face Assemblyman Allan Mansoor and Newport Councilwoman Leslie Daigle. Each candidate is a Republican. No Democrats have declared. The coastal Orange County district is majority Republican.

A few sharp elbows thrown as seven Democrats seeking Woolsey's congressional seat converge in San Rafael
Marin Independent Journal
The first Marin meeting of the seven Democrats vying to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey and capture the newly created District 2 congressional seat demonstrated once again that there is no 11th commandment to not speak ill of a fellow Democratic Party member. The forum — sponsored by Democracy for America-Marin, Progressive Democrats of Marin and 10th AD Democratic Club — was designed as a showcase, not a debate. The two announced Republican candidates were not invited.