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Friday, January 6, 2012

 

Rappers Delight

The meddling with redistricting hit a new low today in New York City with the reported coming release of a rapping mix tape from Das Racist, in association with a group called SEVA, which we’ve never heard of, so they must be a shady front group or something.

This should be right in ProPublica’s wheelhouse and a perfect next exposé… except for the fact that Das Racist has already collaborated with them on the nerdiest and maybe only redistricting rap video known to mankind. 

So, without new material, we will continue to bicker over the old ProPublica piece.

It seems that most everyone has now weighed in, from f-bombs to crazy accusations.  One of the most tweeted responses was from Matt Rexroad, someone who has been himself a leader in the State Redistricting Process and one of only three individuals to actually present a statewide redistricting plan to the State Commission.   There is also this piece from Politico that dissects some of the claims, and then this piece from Joe Matthews that is solid until the last paragraph when it busts out with a crackpot ideas like multi-member districts (which would violate the VRA and spirit of the CVRA), expanding the number of legislative seats (job security for all redistricting consultants! Yeah!!), and proportional representation (which is working great in Italy).

But the real fireworks are just around the corner.  The State Supremes will be hearing a case on Tuesday regarding the redistricting writ petition from backers of the Senate Referendum.  They want the courts to block the commission plan and either 1) draw new lines, 2) use the existing lines, or 3) adopt a plan developed by Redistricting Curmudgeon Emeritus Tony Quinn.

To see the case, and all other legal proceedings facing the Commission, visit Redistricting Legal Guru Justin Levitt’s All About Redistricting page.

And on Monday Redistricting Partners will be releasing a memo with analysis of the most interesting, albeit probably not legal option provided for in the lawsuit: a proposed nesting of Assembly Districts into Senate Districts.  This would save Blakeslee, Strickland, free Fran Pavley from a competitive race, and put Bonnie Lowenthal back into an open Senate District that encompasses Long Beach and goes into Orange County while still staying strongly Democratic.  The one TBD Loser or Winner would be Ted Lieu who would be put into a 2012 race, causing him to run earlier than planned.  Some believe this would allow him to serve 10 years under the “Perata Rule” but others point to a decision regarding Doris Allen that would force him to cut his service short after 6.

That memo will be released first on twitter at twitter.com/@udrawthelines then included in the Monday Redistricting Report.

State

Redistricting flap: ProPublica story flawed, Republican strategy questioned
Capitol Weekly
We have all had those days where you are in a location where you can’t immediately get all the details, but you know something wild is happening because your phone will not stop lighting up. Mine was the Wednesday before Christmas. It had nothing to do with my family or any client. It was the initial publication of the ProPublica.com piece on redistricting that claimed somehow the Democrats had gamed the system. At the time, I thought it was just my Democrat friend Paul Mitchell attempting to get one more headline before people forgot about redistricting until 2021.

Academic analysis: Redistricting Commission done good
Ventura County Star
An analysis of the political district maps created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission done by UC San Diego political scientist Vladimir Kogan and Public Policy Institutue of California scholar Eric McGhee has determined that the commission did a good job of carrying out its mission. Among their conclusions: "There is little doubt that the maps produced by the CRC, and the process through which these plans came about, represented an important improvement on the Legislature-led redistricting of 2001….”

Dems Rigged Redistricting Map, Publication Charges
Hercules Patch
Investigative journalism web site Pro Publica has charged that a group of California Democrats in the House of Representatives conspired with union members, community groups, elected officials and others to influence the outcome of redistricting lines by a bipartisan citizen panel. The story claims that the people who testified before the citizen commission charged with redrawing the district lines did not identify their ties with the Representatives, and that their testimony resulted in redrawn districts favorable to Democrats in the state.

California Supreme Court to meet Jan. 10 on Senate maps
The Fresno Bee
The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week to consider which district lines will be used in this year's state Senate elections if a referendum challenging newly drawn districts qualifies for the ballot.The session will be held Tuesday, Jan. 10, in the Supreme Court Courtroom at 350 McAllister St., San Francisco.The high court announced recently that it expects to rule "as early as the end of January" on the issue.

Challenges to state Senate redistricting moving forward
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
The California Supreme Court will hear arguments on Jan. 10 about redistricting lines that will be used in 2012's state Senate elections. A Republican group had asked the California Supreme Court on Dec. 2 to shelve the newly drawn state Senate district map, even though the court previously declined to take up such a challenge. The petition was filed recently by a group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting. The group has submitted more than 711,000 signatures for a referendum to stop the new electoral map from being used in next year's election.

Was political district panel swayed?
Recordnet.com
ProPublica, the Pulitzer-winning online investigative news organization, last month published a story saying that the state's Democratic leaders managed to influence the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, was one of the biggest beneficiaries. Among other things, the report cites campaign spending records in which McNerney in July paid $20,000 to Sacramento-based consultant Paul Mitchell who issued maps that purported independent citizen groups gave to the commission as suggestions. But New York-based ProPublica got it wrong, insists Mitchell and the woman who represented San Joaquin County on the commission.

Redistricting report roils California politics
Politico
News stories on redistricting are often read by only the most devout political junkies — but one report on the once-in-a-decade process has torn through the Internet and set the political class aflame. The article that started the uproar is a revealing, behind-the-curtain look at California’s line-drawing process, which for the first time was undertaken by an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The report, published last week on ProPublica, a New York City-based nonprofit investigative outlet, alleged that Democrats sought to systematically game the newly implemented commission.

Rampant Corruption in California Redistricting
reason.com
Over the summer, the web site I edit, CalWatchdog, published a series of articles documenting the way that the political left exploited the redistricting process in California to assure strong gains for the Democratic Party. The report included an exclusive interview with a redistricting commission member who alleged partisan behavior by his supposedly non-partisan commission colleagues, but the series didn’t cause much attention in the media, the Capitol, or among the public. Apparently, no one was surprised that a commission formed with the best of intentions—i.e., taking backroom political deal-making out of the process by which political lines were drawn—was cynically manipulated to create a partisan advantage.

More Redistricting Nonsense
NBC Southern California
Redistricting reform may be meaningless in terms of changing California's broken governance system. But it sure is entertaining. A new report from the investigative journalism organization ProPublica has touched off a political controversy. ProPublica showed that leading Democrats secretly tried to influence the citizens' redistricting commission that drew the new maps -- using a phone San Joaquin Valley front group and the testimony of citizens who didn't disclose they were doing the party's bidding.

Vorderbrueggen: Little evidence redistricting plot worked
Contra Costa Times
Since when did insider politics about a wonky political mapping process attract so much attention? Last week, apparently. A New York-based investigative nonprofit's story detailing congressional Democrats' covert campaign to influence redistricting in California has inspired equal parts partisan invective and armchair analysis. California's own salty dog, state Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, called ProPublica's assertions bull puckey. His indignant GOP counterpart, Tom Del Beccaro, demanded the state immediately flush down the toilet all the redistricting commission's newly adopted maps and launch an investigation.

ProPublica Blew Orange County Redistricting Story Targeting Loretta Sanchez
OC Weekly
Earlier this month, ProPublica--a respected, investigatory news agency based in New York City--issued a report that blasted Democrats for an unethical campaign to corrupt the California Citizens Redistricting Commission that was charged with designing new boundaries for federal and state elections. Though high-ranking Democrats are deriding the article, ProPublica's report is in many ways a valuable contribution to the public's understanding of the behind the scenes machinations that control government entities.

Vincent P. Barabba: Redistricting commission was not manipulated by anyone
Mercury News
On Aug. 15, I had the privilege of submitting to the California Secretary of State, on behalf of my fellow California Citizen Redistricting Commission members, the new maps for elections throughout the next decade. Thanks to voter-approved initiatives, this was the first time in California history that legislative, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts were drawn by an independent, nonpartisan commission. Historically, redistricting was the purview of the Legislature, whose members primarily saw the job as an incumbent protection and preservation plan.

Shocker! Dirty politics played role in redistricting maps
The Sacramento Bee
A recent exposé that shows how Democratic Party operatives manipulated the California Citizens Redistricting Commission must have the politicians and their henchmen chortling in Sacramento and in Washington. The report by ProPublica, a non-profit New York-based news operation, proves conclusively that one of the two major parties used less-than-honest means to influence a public hearing process that determined how congressional district lines were drawn in California. What a shock!

Special hearing set for redistricting writ petition
At The Lectern
The Supreme Court has scheduled a special January 10 oral argument for the Redistricting writ petition.  It’s been only 19 days since the court agreed to decide the petition and set an “extremely expedited briefing schedule” that will allow “oral argument in this matter as early as the first two weeks in January 2012, and the filing of an opinion in this matter as early as the end of January 2012.” Coincidentally (or likely not), January 10 is the deadline for the counties to complete a random sampling of the 709,013 signatures submitted to qualify a referendum on the State Senate district map that is the subject of the writ petition.

Local officials respond to ProPublica investigation; analysis: Democrats manipulated state redistricting effort
Times-Standard
The piece, written by the New York-based nonprofit investigative foundation ProPublica, claims Democrats plotted ways to influence the California Citizens Redistricting Commission during its task of updating the state's congressional, state Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts using the latest 2010 Census data. Analysts have said the commission's new maps will greatly benefit the Democrats, allowing the party to pick up as many as seven congressional seats in the upcoming election year. In Humboldt County, the maps drew Congressman Mike Thompson out of his current district while Sen. Noreen Evans and Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro retained their districts.

Herhold: A road map for those of you in denial
Mercury News
Consider a recent story from ProPublica (www.propublica.com) about how congressional Democrats influenced the map-drawing in the latest round of California once-a-decade redistricting. ProPublica gathered emails that made clear Democrats enlisted local voters, elected officials and unions to carry their message to the citizens' redistricting commission. The piece said the Democrats huddled for weeks with Mark Gersh, the party's top mapmaking guru. This was not the smoke-filled plot of deception that the ProPublica story implies.

Calif. redistricting process rigged?
Politics and Government
One conservative attorney says California voters have again lost to Democratic state lawmakers who reportedly hijacked the drawing of new political maps. California Republican Party chairman Tom Del Beccaro has called for a "thorough investigation" following a report by ProPublica that says state Democrats hijacked California's redistricting process. The story states that Democrats tricked the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which initially proposed political maps that threatened Democratic strongholds.

Local

L.A. City Council redistricting panel urged to create a sixth Valley district, unite Koreatown
Contra Costa Times
The City Council's Redistricting Commission is being urged to create a sixth council district in the San Fernando Valley, a single council district that includes all of Koreatown, to reduce the number of districts that span the Santa Monica Mountains and make sure Little Tokyo's council district remains intact. After 10 of 15 scheduled public hearings across the city, commission board members said public input has been vigorous and passionate, but conflicting desires also pose a challenge to drafting district boundaries which the commission hopes to recommend to the City Council by Feb. 22.

Redistricting Mobilizes San Francisco Filipinos
New America Media
Worried over the potential erosion of political leverage, leaders from San Francisco’s Filipino community have been meeting to solidify their response to the upcoming redrawing of the city’s voting districts. At stake is the electoral strength of the community, particularly in two areas—District 11 and District 6—where most of the city’s Filipinos reside. These districts are deemed “overpopulated” and must “give up” substantial numbers of residents to other electoral districts.

Solano Community College forums to focus on trustee districts
The Reporter
Solano Community College is holding a series of public forums Wednesday to allow the public to learn more about changes in how college board members will be elected. Currently, seven trustees represent four separate areas of the county. The latest Census data may require changes in trustee districts to ensure that trustee districts have about the same number of residents. The board has reviewed one proposal put forward by the consultants from the Community College League of California in collaboration with Redistricting Partners.

Valley Activists Voice Their Concerns About Redistricting
Hollywood Patch
About 125 community leaders and activists from the San Fernando Valley attended a meeting Tuesday night to discuss their concerns about revamping City Council Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 12. It was the ninth of 15 community meetings in the first round of public hearings for the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission and the resounding message was: “Keep our neighborhoods in one district.” The public comment kicked off with two city council members.

Redistricting Reforms Local Appointments
Big Bear Grizzly
It seems like old times, but it is a new era for a pair of San Bernardino County advisory boards. The county Board of Supervisors approved appointments to the Sugarloaf Municipal Advisory Council and Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District Advisory Commission during its Dec. 13 meeting. According to Becky Griffin, county clerk of the board, new regulations put into place through the redistricting process dissolved all of the county’s advisory committees. “The positions were vacated and the Board (of Supervisors) had to reform the committees through resolutions,” Griffin said.

Valley leaders urge council map changes
Daily News Los Angeles
Seeking a greater political voice for the San Fernando Valley, dozens of local leaders called for a major re-do of the city's council district map at a Tuesday night hearing. Representatives from Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley and Granada Hills spoke in favor of creating six districts contained wholly in the Valley. The region currently has seven districts, but two stretch over the Santa Monica mountains into Hollywood and West Los Angeles. "Someone from Los Angeles presiding over the hill can't possibly understand Valley concerns," said Cherie Mann, a member of the Granada Hills Neighborhood Council. "It's a whole other planet, really."

Redistricting Chairman Disputes ProPublica's Little Saigon Logic
Voice of OC
Orange County's Little Saigon didn't get its own district in new House of Representatives boundaries because of the regional impact of Los Angeles County's massive population, not because of hidden maneuvering by Democrats, the chairman of the California Redistricting Commission said Tuesday. Stanley Forbes said an article by the online investigative news organization ProPublica that generated statewide political debate during the holidays missed the main problem the 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission faced last year when trying to draw new boundaries in Orange County.

Rewriting political map
Daily News Los Angeles
There are valid reasons for Los Angeles residents to worry about City Hall's approach to redrawing City Council district lines. This makes it all the more important that concerned citizens exert their influence. Unlike the state of California, whose new approach employs a citizens commission protected as much as possible from conflicts of interest, L.A. will use a commission that is appointed by city officials and includes one-time political staffers.

Rick Orlov: SOHA wants an end to divided districts
Daily News Los Angeles
When it comes to political representation, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association believes that less is more. Or at the least, more cohesive if it keeps its community as one. In its recommendation to the Los Angles Citizens Redistricting Commission, the association - one of the more powerful in the city - is asking that it no longer be divided between Council District 2 and 5 (Paul Krekorian and Paul Koretz). It also believes that the San Fernando Valley, with 38 percent of the total city population, should have six completely Valley-based districts, with only a small portion of the East Valley included in a crossover district.

Water fight brewing
Gilroy Dispatch
Gilroy's City Council voted unanimously to have the City Attorney initiate legal action against the Santa Clara Valley Water District in the wake of the district's decision to split Gilroy and Morgan Hill on an electoral map. "We need to make sure that our interests are heard and represented," Mayor Al Pinheiro said Tuesday. The Santa Clara Valley Water District is the largest water resources manager in Santa Clara County. It sells water to the county's various cities and offers flood protection services countywide.

Candidates

Without district changes mandated by court, Sam Blakeslee is out of race for State Senate
Santa Cruz Sentinel
In a decision with potentially far-reaching political implications, State Sen. Sam Blakeslee said Wednesday that he would not seek re-election. But he added one major caveat. Blakeslee, a first-term moderate Republican who represents much of the Central Coast, said he wanted to avoid a time-consuming and potentially futile campaign after redistricting shifted his district strongly in favor of Democrats. Barring an 11th hour court intervention, Blakeslee said he preferred to spend his last year in the Legislature on meat-and-potatoes issues such as pension reform, water rules and tax policy.

New political faces to represent new places
The Foothills Sun-Gazette
For those living in the foothills, some of their representatives in both the state and federal capitals will change. For all residents, the districts in which they have voted will be changing as well in an effort by the Voters FIRST Act to take the power of redistricting out of the hands of politicians (which brings up conflicts of interest and could allow legislators to draw district lines to the benefit of their reelection efforts) and put it into the hands of a committee of citizens with balanced political views.

Reps. Howard Berman, Brad Sherman tangle in Woodland Hills public forum as they vie for same Congressional seat
Daily News Los Angeles
Locked in the toughest campaign battle of his life, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman was asked Thursday why voters should pick him over fellow Democrat Rep. Howard Berman. "I am accessible," Sherman replied, noting he made 300 appearances at San Fernando Valley events in 2011. "It's not only that I'm in the Valley, it's that I am at events at the Valley." But Gene Smith, campaign manager for Berman, immediately countered: "Brad goes to the opening of every envelope in the Valley. But how many bills has he passed?"

Candidates for 50th Assembly District to Square Off Sunday
West Hollywood Patch
West Hollywood voters will get an opportunity Sunday to hear from the three Democrats competing to represent the city in the state Assembly. Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, political veteran Torie Osborn and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, all candidates for the newly created 50th Assembly District, which includes West Hollywood, will participate in a forum at Malibu City Hall%uFEFF hosted by the Malibu Democratic Club. West Hollywood resident Brad Torgan, the lone Republican in the race, was not invited to the forum.

Larry Miles launches bid for Sacramento County Assembly seat
The Fresno Bee
Miles, an attorney and member of the San Juan Unified School District Board of Education, announced today that he will run for the newly drawn 8th Assembly District. Miles said he decided to run after Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, announced that she would not seek re-election to the seat. The Sacramento Democrat believes his two decades of living in the Arden-Arcade area and the seven years he has spent representing a portion of the new district on the school board will give him an edge with voters in June.

30th district leaning toward Sherman
Jewish Journal
In the race for California’s 30th district, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) is running ahead of fellow Jewish Democratic incumbent Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys), an independent political newsletter has reported. “Look, Sherman has released a poll showing him far ahead,” said David Wasserman, the house editor at The Cook Political Report, an independent newsletter that began publishing political analysis since 1984. “Berman has not released any polling thus far. That reflects that Sherman is starting this race with an initial advantage, primarily because he occupies more of the district.”

Hahn, Richardson differ on Isadore Hall's exit from race
Los Angeles Times
With Assemblyman Isadore Hall out of what had been a three-way race for a new congressional seat, the Janice Hahn campaign has been wasting no time trying to claim the advantage for the freshman Democratic congresswoman from San Pedro.  Hall’s departure from the race for the new 44th District, which runs from the harbor area to South Gate, leaves only one African American in the race—Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) for a seat that had been drawn to favor the election of a black.

Blakeslee of SLO may not seek re-election
SanLuisObispo.com
If the California Supreme Court upholds redistricting boundaries hammered out by a voter-mandated citizens’ commission, Republican Sam Blakeslee said he likely won’t run for a second term in November as state senator of the 15th District.A GOP-backed referendum to overturn the boundaries is pending at the California Secretary of State’s Office. It could qualify for an upcoming ballot, but probably not in time for the June primary or November general election. The Supreme Court this month could decide what Senate districts to use in those elections.

Placer County primary election off and running toward June 5
Auburn Journal
Little-known new names are cropping up early in Placer County as the countdown starts on the June 5 primary and Nov. 6 presidential election. Signature-in-lieu petition collection officially started Friday and will last through Feb. 23. One of the prospective candidates signing on to gather signatures that will help defray election costs, Lincoln’s Jack Uppal said Tuesday that he’ll be seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, for the District 4 seat.

New Candidate Declares For Congress: Jess Herrera (D)
Ventura County Star
Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera will be announcing he is running for Congress in the new Ventura County based congressional district. I don't know when it will be official but he did request the paperwork to start a campaign. There will now be five declared Democratic candidates and no declared Republicans. Calitics has an interesting analysis of the district that shows it could be a swing district. Their analysis shows that Democrats have a registration advantage. I appreciate their work in collecting the data.

Political Signal for the 59th Assembly Race: Bye-Bye to Politics as Usual
City Watch
The political radar is on in South LA. Eyes are directed toward the candidates who are seeking the vacant California 59th Assembly District seat- Greg Akili, Raul Claros, Daymond Johnson, and Reginald Jones-Sawyer. Residents are sending a message that they are saying bye-bye to %u201Bpolitics as usual’. This election is going to be quite different than elections in the past. Residents are looking to be strategic with their vote and are empowering themselves through voter education sessions to make smart political decisions.

Sherman, Berman & Republican challengers to appear at town hall meeting
Jewish Journal
Kicking off what many expect to be a long, hard-fought and expensive campaign in the 30th congressional district, the Woodland Hills - Tarzana Chamber of Commerce is convening a candidates’ town hall meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5. The two well-known and well-funded Democratic incumbents, Reps. Brad Sherman (D- Sherman Oaks) and Howard Berman (D - Van Nuys), will be there, as will the two Republican challengers, businessman Mark Reed and author Susan Shelley.

Ruiz Makes a Dash for Cali’s 36th
Politic 365
Dr. Raul Ruiz has the type of personal story that makes focus groups swoon: growing up lower-middle class in California’s Coachella Valley, he went door-to-door, asking his neighbors to help him pay his way to college, with the commitment that he’d return to practice medicine. Ruiz only collected about two thousand dollars, but he still made good on his promise.  After graduating Magna Cum Laude from UCLA, then Harvard Medical School, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard School of Public Health, Ruiz returned home to serve the same people who had put him on his path.

Democrat Ends Bid, Leaves Hahn and Richardson to Fight in California
Roll Call
Democratic state Assemblyman Isadore Hall announced today that he is dropping his Congressional bid to instead run for re-election. His exit leaves only Democratic Reps. Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson, propelled together thanks to redistricting, running in the new south Los Angeles district. Hahn and Richardson, one of three Member-vs.-Member races in California next year, are now set for two face-offs: the June jungle primary, which would serve as a test run for a two-person race, and the November general election.

Redrawn political maps could put McKeon in a race against Gallegly
Ventura County Star
Howard "Buck" McKeon has known Elton Gallegly longer than he has known life as a member of Congress. Gallegly was the first congressman McKeon ever met. The two Republicans were introduced at a fundraiser in the late 1980s, when Gallegly was a relatively new House member and McKeon was several years away from launching his own bid for Congress. When McKeon finally landed in Washington as a newly elected member of the House, Gallegly gave him a ride from the airport to the hotel and helped him get settled into his room.

Huge shakeup in Valley congressional race
The Fresno Bee
It would have been one of the most competitive (and expensive) congressional battles in the San Joaquin Valley in decades. The wide-open 21st Congressional District had two young, but savvy candidates running for a seat that would not have been impacted by the baggage of an incumbent. But Democrat Michael Rubio, 34, of Bakersfield. has pulled out for personal reasons, apparently leaving the seat to Republican David Valadao, 34, of Hanford. Rubio, a state senator, decided against running because his second child was born with Down syndrome. "My family needs me more than Congress does," Rubio wrote on his website.

Michael Rubio bows out of 21st District House race
The Fresno Bee
Bakersfield Democrat Michael Rubio on Tuesday pulled out of a budding Valley congressional race, a move that potentially clears a path to Congress for Hanford Republican David Valadao."It's David's district to lose now," said Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual. "The Democrats are going to have to scramble to find a viable candidate."That candidate could be former state Sen. Dean Florez, who has been contemplating a run in the newly constituted 21st Congressional District for months but has taken no steps toward making it a reality -- including raising money.

Will California legislative race be the comeback for former Speaker Bob Hertzberg?
The Sacramento Bee
With freshly drawn districts and a mysterious new primary system, more than the usual number of California legislative races provide intrigue this year.Voters in the new state 27th Senate District, the nicely shaped, Democratic-leaning blob that stretches from Malibu to Santa Clarita, could see a four-way shuffle among three current lawmakers and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.

California legislative races to watch: The return of Hertzberg?
The Sacramento Bee
With just five months until the June primary, legislative contests around California are starting to heat up. While candidates haven't been able to begin the formal process of filing for office until today, when candidate papers can first be pulled, many legislative hopefuls have already spent months raising cash, securing endorsements and plotting their path to potential victory.

California legislative races to watch: Part 2
The Sacramento Bee
With just five months until the June primary, legislative contests around California are starting to heat up. While candidates can't begin the formal process of filing for office until Friday, when candidate papers can first be pulled, many legislative hopefuls have already spent months raising cash, securing endorsements and plotting their path to potential victory. The decennial redistricting process and first election under the state's new top-two primary system has produced a new list of competitive state legislative districts that are being closely watched by political junkies on both sides of the aisle.

California legislative races to watch: Part 3
The Sacramento Bee
With just five months until the June primary, legislative contests around California are starting to heat up. While candidates can't begin the formal process of filing for office until Friday, when candidate papers can first be pulled, many legislative hopefuls have already spent months raising cash, securing endorsements and plotting their path to potential victory.

California legislative races to watch: Shootout in San Gabriel Valley
The Sacramento Bee
The decennial redistricting process and first election under the state's new top-two primary system has produced a new list of competitive state legislative districts that are being closely watched by political junkies on both sides of the aisle. The stakes are high, especially in the Senate, where Democrats see an opportunity to reach a coveted two-thirds majority. Capitol Alert has compiled a roundup of battles we're keeping tabs on in the early stages of the primary campaign. Because the candidate papers have yet to be filed, we've listed only the declared or expected entrants on our radar so far.

Isadore Hall quits congressional race, avoiding split of black vote
The Los Angeles Times
Saying “the Democratic Party needs unity,” Assemblyman Isadore Hall, one of three Democrats positioning themselves to run for a newly drawn congressional seat in southeast Los Angeles County, announced this week that he will instead seek reelection to the Legislature’s lower chamber next year. The Compton lawmaker’s departure from the congressional race leaves a two-way contest between Reps. Janice Hahn of San Pedro and Laura Richardson of Long Beach. 

Calif. Assemblymember Isadore Hall Announces Run for Re-Election in the New 64th Assembly District
California Newswire
Assemblymember Isadore Hall announced today he would seek reelection to the State Assembly in the new 64th District. The 64th Assembly District includes the cities and communities of Compton, Carson, Watts, Wilmington, Willowbrook as well as portions of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Statement from Isadore Hall: “I am proud to announce that I am running for re-election to the Assembly to continue to fight for California, our local communities, schools, neighborhoods and families. My singular focus has and will always be to stand up for the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party—our devotion to justice, to equal opportunity, and to human rights; our belief in the potential of people to change things for the better; and our commitment to help working families by providing affordable healthcare, good public schools, safe streets and a clean environment.

Diane Watson backs at least two candidates for same Assembly seat
The Los Angeles Times
Former Rep. Diane E. Watson has long been known for mentoring younger African Americans who aspire to political careers, so it’s hardly any wonder that the Los Angeles Democrat’s endorsement is especially sought after. It’s just that sometimes she doesn’t want to choose among deserving candidates, she said. So when California Democratic Party official Reginald Jones-Sawyer asked for her support in his quest for an open Los Angeles-area Assembly seat, Watson said she got on board. “You can use my name,” she said she told Jones-Sawyer, who works for the city of Los Angeles.

Mayor to announce run for seat
The Coast News
Since Pam Slater-Price announced in September she would not seek a sixth term on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, only one candidate has entered the race for her seat, but that may soon change. Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard said he will announce his candidacy in January, the same month Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts said he will make an announcement about his decision as well. “I’m a very careful guy,” Hilliard said. “I paid for an in-depth poll that found none of the potential candidates have name recognition.”

New 3rd District county supervisor candidate emerges; fundraising committee papers filed by Karen Brooks
Times-Standard
Representatives with the Elections Division of the California Secretary of State's Office confirmed Tuesday that former Republican Assembly candidate Karen Brooks has filed the necessary paperwork to establish a committee aimed at raising funds for her attempt to fill Humboldt County's 3rd District supervisor seat in 2012. Brooks declined to comment on the filing Tuesday, which lists her husband Mark McGowen as the committee's treasurer. According to the Humboldt County Clerk/ Recorder's Office, Brooks has filed additional paperwork stating she intends to run for the seat.

Political Signal for the 59th Assembly Race
The Urban Perspective
The political radar is on in South LA. Eyes are directed toward the candidates who are seeking the vacant California 59th Assembly District seat- Greg Akili, Raul Claros, Daymond Johnson, and Reginald Jones-Sawyer. Residents are sending a message that they are saying bye-bye to %u201Bpolitics as usual’. This election is going to be quite different than elections in the past. Residents are looking to be strategic with their vote and are empowering themselves through voter education sessions to make smart political decisions.

Two Latinas Vying for the CA Assembly
BW News
The new 13th State Assembly District offers the Latino community a possibility of having a Latina as the Member representing San Joaquin County — two Latinas are vying for the District. Early Fall, City of Stockton Council Member, Susan Talamantes Eggman —the first Latina in City Council— announced her candidacy for the State post and on December 17th Xochilt Paredes challenged Eggman as she announced her candidacy for the same district. The 13th Assembly District will represent constituents in Lodi, Stockton, Tracy, Mountain House and others in San Joaquin County.

Congressional district brings shifting demographics, territory
The Daily Republic
A political battle with national implications will play out this spring in the new 3rd Congressional District, with Solano County the expected epicenter. The new district includes incumbent John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, but is much different from the previous district he represented. Geographically, it is almost a mirror image of the old one. Such a shift brings new demographics. In this case, shifting the district from Contra Costa County to rural counties north of Solano County means a bump in the number of Republican voters, a sizeable Hispanic population and a significant amount of new territory for Garamendi.

Another candidate to join 5th District supervisor race; Florez silent on Congress candidacy
Bakersfield.com
A local business manager and community volunteer said he plans to join the race for Kern County's 5th District supervisor's seat. Ronnie Cruz said he would like to improve the Department of Human Services next to Kern Medical Center, aggressively address air quality concerns in Arvin, help curtail gang violence, and create a fund to bury those killed in gang violence. "And I will run a clean campaign," Cruz said in an email. Already expected to compete for the 5th District seat is Karen Goh, who was appointed to the seat last year by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Leticia Perez, a field representative and consultant with state Sen. Michael Rubio.