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Friday, January 27, 2012

Decision Time

Today is the big day when the State Supreme Court will rule on the State Senate lines – they won’t be putting out new lines this am, but they will decide if they are getting into the line-drawing business.  For the best legal analysis and court documents visit Justin Levitt’s website

Predicting what a court will do is very tough, but here are a couple things to think about.

:: The Supreme Court  wants to respect the voter choices in Props 11 and 20 and the commission process.  So they should be circumspect about coming in and just redrawing the whole state. 

:: The Supreme Court will also want to respect the referendum process and if the plans are “likely” to be subject to a referendum then they should be stayed.

:: Complicating things is the fact that the State Senate maps have already received pre-clearance from the Federal Department of Justice under Section 5 of the VRA.  New plans could be submitted for pre-clearance, but that should be a timing and practicality consideration, pushing the courts away from tinkering with districts that overlap Yuba, Monterey, Merced or Kings Counties.

:: The complaint suggests that the court could use the old 2001 lines, something that has been generally laughed at given how out-of-whack those old seats are, the fact that they were part of a 2001 gerrymander, the Voting Rights Act implications, etc… However a court in Pennsylvania just ruled that they will use the 2001 lines.  PA isn’t CA, and the population discrepancies and VRA concerns pale to the Golden State, but it is interesting….

:: The first point could have gotten a leg up from a recent US Supreme Court decision in a Texas case where the court-drawn plans were thrown out because, in part, they did not defer to the legislatively drawn plans when they created their own.  Even though the legislative plans were drawn with clear political intentions, the courts said they couldn’t be ignored.   Propublicans can take issue with the State Commission process, but nobody has ever suggested it is worse than the Texas legislature!

Suffice it to say there is a lot of potential outcomes, but if Curmudgeon Emeritus Tony Quinn put a rusty old revolver to my head I would predict that the court redraws, but just a tiny bit, and in a way that is very deferential to the State Commission plans.

Bob Hertzberg may be waiting for the court decision to begin his campaign for State Senate, but Portantino and Swanson have dropped their bids.  At one point, among the four Democratic women facing Senate re-election, three were facing serious challenges from men.  Now it is just down to Pavley who already won the Democratic Party endorsement. 

And if Hertzberg does jump in, he probably doesn’t want to go the cheeky route and run as an Independent, according to a new independent poll on the voting patterns in the Open Primary.  It found, using Hertzberg as an example in the Berman/Sherman race, that voters in the San Fernando Valley were much less likely to support a Non-Partisan candidate, arguably because voters in that area are much more likely to see Party label.  In San Diego, were those districts are close to a third DTS, it seems that this play could fly a bit better.

Notably, the poll also said that the idea of Berman/Sherman both going to the General Election was not likely with or without an Independent in the race.  This is something we have been saying for months.  Anything can happen, but the current lineup suggests that the Republican will capture enough votes to deny one of the ‘ermans a place on the ballot in November. 

When the Supreme Court decision comes out look for a special Redistricting Report or follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/udrawthelines.


Calif. Supreme Court to rule on new Senate maps
Mercury News
A group of Republicans will find out Friday if their attempt to block newly drawn state Senate maps from being used in this year's elections was successful. The California Supreme Court announced Thursday that it would release its decision on which boundaries should be used for the June primary and November general election. Republicans want voters to overturn the Senate maps, drawn last year by an independent commission, and already have turned in signature petitions for a ballot initiative. They say the high court should appoint an expert to draw different maps for this year's elections because their initiative is likely to qualify.

State high court will decide redistricting case Friday
Ventura County Star
The California Supreme Court will issue its decision Friday in a case that seeks to suspend implementation of the new Senate districts adopted by the Citizens Redistricting Commission last year. The court announced Thursday it will file its opinion at 10 a.m. It is being asked to delay the use of the maps until voters have a chance to decide the outcome of a Republican Party-sponsored referendum that seeks to overturn them. If the court grants the GOP's request, it will have to decide what set of maps will be used instead for this year's state Senate elections.

Possible fraud in redistricting process taken up by CA court
One News Now
A Republican Party official believes California's high court will find that the state's redistricting process should be invalidated. The California Supreme Court is reviewing the state's newly carved political maps drawn by a independent citizen redistricting commission. Republicans say Democrats influenced the process and influenced commission members to draw lines that strengthened Democratic strongholds. Opponents of the process hope to qualify a referendum to overturn the maps on the November 2012 state ballot.

Federal government approves California's new political districts
The Sacramento Bee
California's newly drawn legislative and congressional lines cleared a major hurdle today when the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that they do not dilute minority voting power in four counties under federal oversight. The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires such approval of any new political districts formed in Kings, Merced, Monterey and Yuba counties to ensure that they do not adversely affect minority groups. The justice department gave the green light in a two-paragraph ruling that did not elaborate on its findings.

Justice Department signs off on California redistricting
The Los Angeles Times
The citizens commission that drew California’s new political maps won an important nod Tuesday from the Department of Justice, which  signed off on the new congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts for four Northern California counties. The counties—Kings, Merced, Monterey and Yuba—were under scrutiny because of concerns about past possible violations of the federal Voting Rights Act.   The maps required approval, or “pre-clearance” in government jargon, from the federal agency.

California's congressional delegation is in for a shakeup
California Medical Association
California, which has the largest congressional delegation in the country (53 members), will see big changes in 2012 as the direct result of redistricting and the public’s low approval ratings of Congress. Pundits are predicting at least nine newcomers in the next Congress. These changes may also dilute some of California's power in Washington, D.C., as a few long-term politicians, with decades of seniority that have gained them positions of power, may be gone.

Electoral redistricting in action
The San Francisco Chronicle
California is getting a clear look at what happens when citizens - not politicians - draw the boundaries of election districts. A half dozen old timers are announcing retirement plans, paving the way for new faces and wide-open races. These veterans - three Democrats and three Republicans - may be the vanguard of a sweeping and welcome change to the gerrymandered world of state politics. For decades, the crucial business of designing electoral districts for Congress and the Legislature was left to politicians themselves.

The Court: Caught In The GOP’s Political Games?
California Progress Report
It’s no secret that anybody with the two or three million needed to buy enough signatures can get even a dead horse on the California ballot. But last Tuesday, when the state Supreme Court heard arguments in the Republican Party’s attempt to block the use of the new state Senate districts drawn by the state’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, that telling fact was never mentioned. Maybe the grossly misconceived ballot provision that gave rise to the redistricting case wouldn’t have allowed it to be considered. In any case, the justices seemed blissfully ignorant of it and of a lot of other crucial political facts as well.


Salinas City Council likes redistricting proposal
The Californian
Although it still has to come back for a formal vote, the Salinas City Council on Tuesday informally blessed a series of small changes in the boundary lines to the city's six council districts. The council unanimously signaled its support for the small adjustments to the districts as recommended by the Salinas Redistricting Committee — a citizen's committee that drew high praise from council members. "I want you all to know how much I appreciate the work that you've put into this effort," Councilwoman Jyl Lutes said. "This report is very well done."

The 10th Redistricting Map is the Charm
Laguna Niguel Patch
It took them 10 maps, but Capistrano Unified’s trustees finally decided on how to carve up the expansive school district’s trustee areas. Map “J” will come back at the next meeting for a final vote, but trustees voted 4-3 Wednesday night to approve a map that divides San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel in three, Mission Viejo, Dana Point and San Clemente in two and keeps intact the cities of Aliso Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita. Trustees Ellen Addonizio, Lynn Hatton and Sue Palazzo were opposed.

Draft City Council Redistricting Maps Rankle Rosendahl
Venice Patch
The Los Angeles City Redistricting Commission on Wednesday released draft maps of newly redrawn City Council boundaries as part of a redistricting process that drastically altered some districts and drew protests from council members. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl on Wednesday blasted out an email criticizing the draft maps for "lopping most of Westchester and part of Playa Vista" from his 11th Council district into another.

Some LA City Council members outraged over proposed redistricting
The battle for political power in the city of Los Angeles has taken a new turn with the release of new City Council district boundaries. The proposed map is just a draft, but already there are claims of backroom deals and political payback. The proposed map angered L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry the most — her district would lose much of downtown and its economic wealth. “That’s old school patronage politics," Perry said, "which is 'I’m going to punish you and take away your assets and then nobody will pay any attention to you or you wont be able to get anything done.'”

The Political Blood Sport Known as Redistricting Comes to L.A.
Yesterday the Los Angeles' 21-member Redistricting Commission released its draft boundary lines for the 15 City Council districts in the city. The proposed map is already drawing fire from many elected officials and community activists. You can bet the that word gerrymandering will often be heard throughout Los Angeles over the next month and a half. The city's Redistricting Commission is responsible for proposing shifts to the 15 council boundaries based on changes in the population. The commission is working off demographic information gathered during the 2010 census.

Redistricting map shakes up L.A. political landscape
The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles' Redistricting Commission released its proposed boundary lines for 15 City Council seats, pushing one district deeper into the San Fernando Valley, pulling another completely out of it and employing what Councilman Bill Rosendahl called an "outrageous case of gerrymandering" against his coastal district. If approved, the draft map would move Councilman Tom LaBonge’s 4th District west into such Valley neighborhoods as Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys,  Encino and Lake Balboa, according to information released Wednesday by the 21-member commission.

Commission Releases Redistricting Maps, Angering Some City Councilmembers
Chatsworth Patch
A draft map of new Los Angeles City Council district boundaries that will be in place for the next decade was released Wednesday, drawing an angry response from some council members who said the maps made little sense. The district boundaries were released by the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, a 21-member panel appointed by the city's elected officials to redraw the maps based on 2010 census data. The Los Angeles Times also has an interactive map, showing the current districts and how they could change.

L.A. redistricting plan to be released after closed-door session
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Redistricting Commission plans to release Wednesday a draft set of boundaries for 15 City Council districts. But a proposal made Tuesday night by one of the commission's secret subcommittees is already causing an uproar on the Westside. A 10-member panel that met past 9 p.m. Tuesday drafted a plan to move Westchester out of the coastal district represented by Councilman Bill Rosendahl. The plan would let LAX, which is just south of Westchester, remain in Rosendahl's district.

Redistricting proposal hits hard: 9th District to become poorest in LA
Blog Downtown
L.A.'s proposed redistricting map was released yesterday, displaying drastic changes in council district boundaries and wreaking havoc on certain councilmembers; none more so than Jan Perry. Perry's 9th District currently encompasses Downtown and much of South L.A., but under the new map her entire area would shift dramatically south. The district stands to lose most of Downtown - and gain Watts, along with three large public housing projects; Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts.

Sparks fly over L.A. City Council redistricting proposal for Westchester
Contra Costa Times
A proposed redistricting plan that would shift most of Westchester away from Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl's 11th District drew angry reactions Wednesday from local leaders, while a planned change for the Harbor Area district was far less controversial. Rosendahl called the plan to carve out a big chunk of Westchester and move it into Councilman Bernard Park's 8th District "insane," a "shock" and "an insult to the Westchester constituents."

Board Approves Step towards Independent Redistricting Commission
San Diego County News Center
“We have an opportunity to make a fundamental change to redistricting knowing that voting rights lie at the heart of our democracy,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, who first introduced the idea of pursuing the independent redistricting commission in October. At that time, the Board had just completed a year-long redistricting process and adopted new supervisorial district boundaries based on the 2010 U.S. census. Current state law requires county supervisors to draw the electoral districts for their own counties.

Fil-Am groups gear up for redistricting hearing
Inquirer Global Nation
San Francisco’s Filipino-American groups are primed to turn out in high numbers for a public hearing to address the redistricting of the city’s sixth district. In fact, the president of the Filipino American Arts Exposition Pistahan Parade and Festival  and San Francisco Entertainment Commissioner, Al Perez, made sure that “all bases are covered” with last week’s preliminary meeting. Perez is reminding Filipinos that another meeting is scheduled for this weekend. “We decided to hold another one, a follow-up one, to make sure that we come prepared,” Perez announced. “We cannot afford to be complacent.”

Redrawing council districts, with sharp elbows and arm-twisting
The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Councilwoman and mayoral hopeful Jan Perry is fighting to hang on to the downtown business district — a key base of support and generous source of campaign funds. Councilman Bernard C. Parks doesn't want to lose Baldwin Hills, the upscale, predominantly African American neighborhood where he lives. And Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents a Westside district, is determined to keep Los Angeles International Airport under his purview.

Three Valleys Municipal Water District changes divisional lines
Contra Costa Times
Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont recently approved the adoption of new divisional boundaries for the first time in 20 years. The district's Board of Directors adopted the boundaries as part of a redistricting study, which found a change in population as a result of 2010 census data. "Last Wednesday the board selected what's actually called the minimal change option, which created very minor changes in some of the division lines, but enough where the population would be more equally aligned," said Kirk Howie, assistant general manager over administration for Three Valleys.

Modesto City Council tables decision on revising district boundaries
The Modesto Bee
Modesto leaders postponed until March a decision on revising the boundaries of City Council member districts. The Modesto council was scheduled Tuesday to consider an amended map for electing the six council members by district. The map recently developed by the council-appointed Citizens Districting Commission had relatively minor changes to the district boundaries. But the plan released last week riled La Loma neighborhood leaders because it would divide the area between Districts 2 and 4.

Board of Trustees Vote to Create First Majority-Minority Area within the PACCD
Pasadena News Now
The Pasadena Area Community College District (PACCD) Board of Trustees voted to create the first Asian majority represented area within the district at its first meeting of 2012.The redistricting gives the PACCD its first ever majority-minority Asian seat.  This provides greater voting opportunity to the growing Asian population within the district and complies with the Federal Voting Rights Act. "Serving students and our local communities are top priorities for Pasadena City College,” said Geoffrey Baum, PACCD Board President.

New Modesto City Council district maps rile some residents
The Modesto Bee
A proposed map makes fairly minor adjustments to Modesto City Council districts, but one change has touched a nerve in the La Loma area. About a 12-block section of La Loma would be taken out of Councilman Joe Muratore's District 4 and added to Councilman Dave Geer's District 2. The City Council could approve the redistricting plan Tuesday to comply with federal requirements for incorporating population data from the 2010 census. But it's not really the preferred map of the city's redistricting commission, and it doesn't sit well with Muratore and La Loma neighborhood leaders.

School districts struggle to comply with Voters Rights Act
Lake Tahoe News
Lake Tahoe Unified School District may be in violation of the California Voters Rights Act based on how board members are elected. While the CVRA was enacted in 2002, the 2010 Census is forcing all elected bodies to look at how people get into office and if constituents are fairly represented. The federal Voting Rights Act also plays a roll. Lake Tahoe Unified School District board members are expected to discuss the issue Feb. 14. LTUSD first broached the subject in January 2011.

Survey shows racial block voting
Glendale News-Press
Analysis of three Glendale City Council elections during the last decade show some patterns of racially polarized voting and possible violations of the California Voting Rights Act, according to a consulting firm hired to collect and decipher the data. Glendale Community College and the Glendale Unified School District in November jointly commissioned Redistricting Partners to conduct a $35,000 study to determine whether they should move from their current at-large election process to a district system.

Gays, Asians Fight for Own City Districts in Los Angeles Redistricting Battle
The Informer
Redistricting is so hot this season! California's doing it; L.A. County 's doing it; and, because the city charter requires we do it once per decade, L.A. proper is jumping on the redistricting train in 2012, too. Literally. Tomorrow at 9 a.m., the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission will "embark on a city bus tour" that will allow them to observe, in natural habitat, "various communities' district lines and to explore what changes, if any, are feasible," according to their presser. Aw! As if the puzzle pieces weren't carved out months ago, behind closed doors.

City Council votes to delay redistricting in Berkeley
The Daily Californian
Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday in favor of deferring redistricting in Berkeley until after the November 2012 election, a decision that could eventually result in a student supermajority district. By delaying redistricting, the City Council — which voted 7-2 in favor of the postponement — hopes to place a charter amendment on the November 2012 ballot that would, if approved by Berkeley voters, change the requirements for redistricting proposals.

Anybody Can Draw Their Own Electoral District in LA
Advancement Project
The drawing of political maps, a process performed every decade in response to changing populations, used to be a bewildering task. Now, however, Los Angeles residents will be able to trace their own electoral districts and submit redistricting proposals with the help of an easy-to-use website. Before this tool was available, Angelenos could only give testimony at the Redistricting Commission's meetings because a group or neighborhood needed to be in a certain jurisdiction. Few people had the money or expertise to know how to even draw the different districts and their boundaries.

L.A. City Redistricting Commission to tour areas with disputed boundaries
Daily News Los Angeles
In preparation for drawing new City Council seat maps, the Los Angeles City Redistricting Commission is taking a citywide tour today to explore communities that have complained about their district boundaries. "This gives us a chance for the full commission to drive through the city to see firsthand the communities that have complained about being divided," said Andrew Westall, executive director of the commission. The 21 commissioners will fill three vans as the members who held public hearings in the communities explain the disputes.

Pomona to consider redistricting
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Pomona City Council members will conduct a special meeting Tuesday where they will receive information on potential changes to council district boundaries. The 2010 Census shows the city has a total population of 149,058. Pomona's Charter says the city's six districts must be nearly equal in population. At present each should be about 24,843, said Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jared.

Redistricting takes center stage
M-M-M-M My Pomona
In the span of 16 hours, key decisions will be made that will impact the lives of Pomona residents for the next ten years. This is about redistricting - the decennial redrawing of lines to ensure equitable distribution of population after each census. Redistricting impacts the representation that residents have, and on a greater scale determines whether communities of interest are kept together or are broken apart, and whether the rights of minorities are maintained or regressed.

YCCD redistricting maps approved, making 7 different trustee areas
Daily Democrat
Yuba Community College District has officially split into seven different trustee areas. At its board meeting Wednesday evening in Marysville, trustees voted 6-1 to approve the redistricting maps, which will take effect during the November election. The district is moving to seven districts from its current system of four to better comply with the California Voting Rights Act. The seven trustees will have their own areas to represent. Currently, Areas 1, 2 and 3 have two representatives each and Area 4 has one.

SBCC District Board Draws New District Lines
EdHat Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Community College District Board of Trustees has approved a new redistricting plan effective November 2012. The current at-large election model with seven trustees representing four designated geographical areas will become a by-trustee model with seven trustees and seven designated area districts. Each trustee must live in his/her designated district and can be elected only by voters residing in that district. Previously elections were held at-large and voters could vote for trustees in all four areas, regardless of where they live.

City defers redistricting, plans charter amendment
Redistricting in Berkeley will be deferred to 2013 after a 7-2 vote by the City Council last night. In the same vote, the Council agreed to draft an amendment to the City Charter which would allow for redistricting that could deviate from the 1986 boundaries. “It seems to me to be completely outdated and counterproductive having to stick to 1986 lines,” said Mayor Tom Bates. “Redistricting should be about fairness, not about perpetuating the political career of any person.”

APIs Urged to Let Voices Be Heard in Redistricting
Rafu Shimpo
Whether Little Tokyo will remain in the 9th Council District or Koreatown will be united into one district will depend on the redrawn map of the Los Angeles City Council. A 21-member citizens commission is seeking input from the public and Asian Pacific Islanders are urged to get involved. Several members of the Redistricting Commission attended a press conference on Wednesday in Little Tokyo, including Arturo Vargas, chair of the redistricting commission, and commissioners Robert Ahn, Helen B. Kim and David Roberts. “Redistricting means many things, it means empowerment and having the opportunity to have an equal voice and equal representation,” said Kim, an attorney and board member of the Korean American Coalition.

Solano Community College board set to vote on redistricting plan
The Reporter
After gathering public comment at three sessions, Solano Community College trustees will meet tonight to consider a redistricting plan. If adopted, changes in how voters elect Solano College trustees could be in place for the next board election. Currently, seven trustees represent four separate areas of the county. Under the plan, seven trustees will still comprise the board, but how they are elected will change.

College trustee area boundaries approved
The Press-Enterprise
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District trustees on Thursday approved redrawn trustee areas that reflect the population shifts in the district indicated by the 2010 census. The changes are in effect for the November 2012 election, when terms expire for trustees Eugene Kadow, of Banning, who represents Trustee Area 1; Dorothy McGargill, of Hemet, who represents Area 2 in the San Jacinto Valley; and Joan Sparkman, of Murrieta, who represents Area 5. Despite the new boundaries, trustees on the five-member board — who are elected by area — will continue to represent the same area.


Logue wins support of state Republican chairman
Appeal Democrat
If any other Republicans are considering a jump into the 3rd Assembly District race, state GOP chairman Tom Del Beccaro is backing the incumbent of sorts. In a press release, Assemblyman Dan Logue, who represents the district before redistricting takes effect, said he had the backing of Del Beccaro. "Few have done more to fight for the principles of freedom and individual liberty than Assemblyman Dan Logue," Del Beccaro said in the release from Logue's campaign.

Hollywood allegiance clear in the Berman/Sherman race
Jewish Journal
My colleague Jonah Lowenfeld was quick to the draw that is the heated congressional race between Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, both veteran Jewish Democrats that are staunchly pro-Israel, but because of California redistricting, are now competing for the same seat in the House of Representatives. In a nutshell, Sherman is the people’s congressman, a town hall meeting confidante who listens well to the needs of his constituents. Berman is the Hollywood darling, a power player in Washington who is well-liked and well-connected.

Milpitas vice mayor plans Assembly bid
Mercury News
The redrawing of California's political boundaries has prompted one Milpitas official to plan a run for the state Assembly. Vice Mayor Pete McHugh says he is thinking about running for the newly created 25th State Assembly District, which under statewide redistricting will shift more political power toward Milpitas. "The main reason I'm running is it's something that I've dreamed of doing for a long time," McHugh, 70, said, adding the other reason he's mulling his state-level candidacy is that he wants to fix Sacramento. "I feel that with my years of working in Santa Clara County I could contribute toward improving the state and help resolve its financial mess."

Marquez picks up endorsements
The Downey Patriot
Downey City Councilman Luis Marquez has been endorsed by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard in his bid for state Assembly. The endorsement marks the second congressional member representing Assembly District 58 – for which Marquez is running – to throw their support behind Marquez. Rep. Linda Sanchez has already given her endorsement. "I am very proud to endorse Luis Marquez for California's 58th Assembly District. As mayor of Downey, Luis demonstrated an inspiring and independent leadership style that produced tangible results for the residents and businesses in his city," Roybal-Allard said in a statement.

Valadao finally has Democratic opponent
Hanford Sentinel
John Hernandez, CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will run for Congress in 2012 against David Valadao. Hernandez, who lives in Fresno, made the announcement this week that he’ll take on Valadao, a first-term Republican assemblyman from Hanford. Hernandez admits he has some catching up to do. Valadao launched his campaign in August and has already built up a substantial war chest. Valadao staff members say t latest federal campaign finance reports will show he has raised $408,000 and has cash on hand of $386,000.

Gatto is Democrats' choice to replace Portantino
Valley Sun
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) is the Democratic Party’s choice to represent La Cañada when Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge) steps down at the end of 2012. On Sunday, local Democratic Party delegates endorsed Gatto, who was unchallenged, for the redrawn 43rd Assembly District. Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden got the nod over South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti as the party’s nominee for the new 41st Assembly District, which includes part of Portantino’s Pasadena turf. Both districts have a higher number of registered Democrats than Republicans. The primary is June 5.

Republican Tony Amador to run for new 9th Assembly seat
The Fresno Bee
Republican Tony Amador, a Lodi resident and retired federal marshal, will seek the newly drawn 9th Assembly seat stretching from south Sacramento through Elk Grove to Lodi. Amador will compete against a field expected to include incumbent Democratic ssemblyman Richard Pan -- who is moving into the district to run - and Elk Grove City Councilwoman Sophia Scherman, a Republican. Amador said the new district is a perfect fit for him because he lived in Elk Grove for nearly 20 years before moving to Lodi in 2009.

Wilk ‘releases’ Strickland from endorsement
On the heels of his announcement to run for Congress, state Sen. Tony Strickland is no longer endorsing Scott Wilk in his bid for the state's 38th Assembly District seat, Wilk confirmed Monday. "Tony Strickland gave me the option of releasing him from his endorsement," Wilk said. "He told me I could keep the endorsement but gave me the option of releasing him ... and I'm going to release him." Strickland, who announced his candidacy in the 26th Congressional District election last week, would not comment on the endorsement issue.

Santa Monica businessman to challenge Dianne Feinstein
The Los Angeles Times
Another  Republican has joined the short list of mostly little-known people willing to take on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) this  year. Telecommunications professional Al Ramirez of Santa Monica, 43, announced on Tuesday he’s running and wants to be “California’s first Hispanic U.S. senator." Ramirez, who said he’s spent some 20 years in sales and network development, ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in 2010. That was the year that Republican nominee Carly Fiorina lost to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

Capps campaign reports $1 million in hand
Santa Ynez Valley News
Lois Capps, the Santa Barbara Democrat who is campaigning in the new 24th District to keep her seat in Congress, raised $321,643 during the final quarter of 2011, bringing her total for the 2012 election cycle to a little over $1 million, according to a summary of her year-end federal financial disclosure report. The complete year-end report for all candidates is due Jan. 31.

Big field forms to seek new Third Congressional District seat
Lake County News
The field of candidates for the newly formed Third Congressional District includes several veterans, a prosecutor, a Colusa County supervisor and a current member of Congress who will seek the seat as a result of redistricting. The seat, redrawn last year during the congressional redistricting process, represents all or parts of Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties. Lake County has for many years been represented solely by the First Congressional District, the seat for which currently is held by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), who as a result of redistricting will seek reelection to the new Fifth Congressional District.

Rich Gordon to seek another term in state Assembly
Mountain View Voice
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, announced Thursday morning that he would seek a second term in Sacramento. Gordon represents the 21st District, which will include Mountain View and Sunnyvale this year, thanks to the recent redistricting. Gordon, a veteran San Mateo County supervisor who was elected to the state Assembly in 2010, touted in his announcement his success during his freshman term.

County Supervisor Linda Parks launches bid for Congress
Ventura County Star
Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks launched a campaign for Congress on Saturday that wouldn't have been possible two years ago. First, the district she's vying to represent didn't exist. The 26th District was completely redrawn last year by the new California Citizen Redistricting Commission and now covers most of Ventura County, an area with no incumbent representative. Second, Parks is running as essentially a nonpartisan candidate, though she is a registered Republican.

Battle picking up to represent 40th
The Sun
For two Rancho Cucamonga businessmen, the road to victory on Election Day in November got a tad easier in the wake of Rep. Jerry Lewis' retirement earlier this month. But before being able to represent the newly drawn 40th Assembly District, Republican Mike Morrell and Democrat Russ Warner will have to get past each other. Morrell may have a tad more name recognition as the assemblyman represents the 63rd District after being elected in November 2010. He has offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino and Redlands.

Democrat Announces Bid For Local Congressional Seat
Murrieta Patch
A Democrat has announced he will make a run for the 42nd Congressional District, which includes Murrieta, in 2012. Michael Williamson formally announced his candidacy today. According to his announcement, his priorities, if elected, are the economy, jobs, small business, lower taxes, national and local public safety and enforcement of illegal immigration laws. Speaking by phone Friday morning, Williamson said the economy is first and foremost on his mind.

Oller back for another political go-round
Calaveras Enterprise
Rico Oller could not keep himself out of the Legislature for too long. After seven years out of politics, Oller is looking to reclaim a familiar seat as Calaveras County's state assemblyman - a post he held from 1996 to 2000. Oller, San Andreas, was an outspoken conservative who was at times a lightning rod for criticism while in the state Legislature - but was not afraid to speak his mind. Running as a Republican, Oller is vying for the District 5 seat newly created by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

AD50 Candidate Betsy Butler Loses Every Local Dem Club Endorsement, Yet Secures CA Dem Party Endorsement With Sacramento's Help
Venice For Change
Despite losing every Democratic Club Endorsement in the district to opponent Torie Osborn, AD50 candidate Betsy Butler managed to win the California Democratic Party's "pre-endorsement" caucus today with 57% of the vote. So how did this happen, and more importantly, why should you care? Every year, CDP delegates meet a few weeks before their yearly state convention to "pre-endorse" (aka recommend) Democratic candidates they believe are worthy of their party's institutional support.

Herb Wesson, City Council's new boss
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council has a new president, Herb Wesson. But does a new president change anything? The council president is just one vote of 15 on that notoriously difficult to manage body. In that sense, he's not much different from his colleagues. He manages his district and votes along with his colleagues. But the president also has some additional power: He assigns members to committees and acts as the figurehead for the larger body. For years, John Ferraro used the position to establish himself as second only to the mayors with whom he served; more recently, Eric Garcetti has brought a lighter, more cerebral touch to the job and used it to launch his bid for mayor.

Retirements of Lewis and others mean less seniority
When Inland Rep. Jerry Lewis leaves office at the end of the year, he’ll take with him one attribute that none of his potential successors can promise to replicate: seniority. With 33 years in Congress under his belt, Lewis, R-Redlands, is the longest-serving California House Republican in the institution’s history. And while his unparalleled acumen in steering funds to the region has been blunted by a ban on congressional earmarks, Lewis’ remains an influential member of the committee that controls federal spending.

Democrats give no endorsement for Woolsey successor
Petaluma 360
State Democratic Party regional delegates who met in Santa Rosa Saturday could not agree on which candidate to endorse to succeed outgoing Rep. Lynn Woolsey. 2nd Congressional District debate. That means no candidate in the 2nd Congressional District primary race will benefit from mailers and other advertising paid for by the state party. Delegates who supported candidates other than money-raising and endorsement leader, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, characterized the non-decision as a victory for both voters and the trailing contenders.

California Retirements Present Opportunities
Roll Call
Political dominoes toppled across California last week, with three Republican retirement announcements, one district switch and an influx of rising stars to the Congressional landscape. Rep. Elton Gallegly announced his retirement on an early January Saturday morning. That was followed three days later by the retirement of Northern California Rep. Wally Herger. Rep. Jerry Lewis, a former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced his retirement Thursday, which led Rep. Gary Miller (R) to run for Lewis’ seat.

More House seats in California up for grabs
The Los Angeles Times
The retirement of Rep. Jerry Lewis, dean of the California House GOP, marks the sixth and most significant departure from Congress in the wake of a new redistricting plan, portending a dramatic shake-up of the state's delegation. California, after a decade in which only one seat flipped between Democrats and Republicans, now faces an election with about 12 competitive races. And some predict at least nine California newcomers could arrive in Washington in the next Congress.

House Exodus Will Cost CA Clout
NBC Southern California
Seniority is almost everything on Capitol Hill and because of redistricting and retirements California could lose well over 200 years of incumbents’ experience in the House. “Good,” I can hear some of you saying, “petrified politicians are one of the problems besetting dysfunctional, delusional Washington. Throw all the bums out!” Yes, but…California could find itself the political victim of good government intentions.

Q&A: Assemblyman Isadore Hall
Los Angeles Wave
It has been a trying time for state legislators in recent years, as they grapple with booming deficits and face angry voters frustrated by draconian cuts to education and health care. But now is not the time to throw in the towel, says Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, who is seeking re-election in the new 64th District crafted by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Think Again: California incumbents face a new challenge
The Burbank Leader
It’s going to be a fun-filled year ahead as we try to figure out where we are going as a country, as a state and as local communities. If we’ve seen any lesson thus far, even with the early Iowa Republican Caucus, every vote counts. In Iowa, Gov. Mitt Romney beat out former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum by only eight votes. While voters could take out their economic frustrations on elected officials, I think incumbents are expecting it. But California incumbents should be especially worried because of the convergence of two rare factors.

Three California Republicans Announce Retirement From Congress in One Week
ABC News
Three longtime California Republicans announced their retirement from Congress this week in what amounts to a sort of exodus for the state’s delegation as both parties adapt to a new, independently drawn congressional map in the country’s most populous state. Rep. Jerry Lewis, a 17-term incumbent, announced his retirement today, joining Reps. Wally Herger and Elton Gallegly, who announced earlier this week that they would not be seeking re-election.

Lewis to retire after redistricting makes seat more favorable to Democrats
Democrats have a chance to increase their numbers in the House of Representatives after California Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis announced on Thursday he would retire after serving three decades in office. “After months of consultation with loved ones and family, my wife, Arlene, and I have decided to retire from public life,” Lewis said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful to so many who have provided their support over the years. I have worked hard to justify that support. Thank you all and may God continue to bless America.”

California prepares for major shake-up of congressional delegation
The Republic
The retirement of Rep. Jerry Lewis, dean of the California House GOP, is the sixth and most significant departure from Congress after a new redistricting plan, portending a dramatic shake-up of the state’s delegation. California, after a decade in which only one seat flipped between Democrats and Republicans, now faces an election with about a dozen competitive races. Some predict that at least nine California newcomers could arrive in Washington in the next Congress. Lewis is the third veteran Republican to leave, and his departure is likely to weaken the state’s clout in Congress, where seniority still counts.

How much longer for LaMalfa?
Del Norte Triplicate
Del Norte County’s state senator plans to run for Congress this year. Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Butte, says he will seek the seat of Congressman Wally Herger, R-Chico, who announced his retirement Tuesday and endorsed LaMalfa as a successor. LaMalfa, was elected to the Senate in 2010 and his term doesn’t expire until 2014. Where does that leave Del Norte? If LaMalfa is elected, the governor will call a special election to fill the vacant Senate seat until 2014 when, because of redistricting, Del Norte shifts to another district currently represented by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.

Miller to run for Lewis’ congressional seat
The Orange County Register
The expected congressional showdown between Reps. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, and Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar, for the 39th District will not take place. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, today announced his plans to retire after 17 terms, and Miller then announced that he’ll run for the San Bernardino County seat – the 31st Congressional District – being vacated by Lewis. Apparently Miller would rather battle it out in a district where Democrats have a 41 percent to 37 percent edge in voter registration than contend with Royce, who has raised more money and is probably better known in the newly drawn 39th District.

Gallegly chooses retirement, and Blakeslee is considering his options
The Sun
Rep. Elton Gallegly, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties’ Republican congressman for the past 25 years, will be calling it quits at the end of the current Congressional session. According to his office, Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) informed a gathering of friends and family of his decision to not run for re-election on Jan. 6, calling his time in the U.S. House an “honor and a privilege.” “Serving in Congress and representing my home for 25 years is the greatest experience I could have ever asked for,” Gallegly said in a statement.

For the record: Sherman didn’t flip-flop to attack Berman
The Jewish Journal
A correction to our coverage of the debate between Brad Sherman and Howard Berman (Sherman Lays Into Berman in Four-way Congressional Debate, Jan. 13) appears in the print edition of the Jewish Journal that hits newsstands today. The problematic sentence in the original article read as follows: “On more than one occasion, Sherman attacked Berman for supporting a bill that he himself had also voted for.”

Portantino bows out of senate race
Glendale News-Press
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has decided not to seek election in 2012, ending an exploratory bid to challenge a longtime political ally, state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge). Portantino, who will be forced out of the Assembly by term limits later this year, said he will travel to New Jersey in February to care for his ailing mother. He is leaving open the possibility of running for office in the future. “You only have one mom,” Portantino said in a phone message Thursday.

Sen. Dutton's Entry Adds Intrigue to Race
Loma Linda Patch
The race for the Inland Empire’s 31st Congressional District is shaping up to be among the most competitive in the state following Wednesday’s announcement from state Senator Bob Dutton that he would run for the seat. It also serves as yet another example of the scramble set off by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission as some elected officials find their districts chopped up and rearranged. Dutton’s decision pits him against Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, and fellow Republican and Rep. Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar), who himself had avoided a run against Republican Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) for the 39th Congressional District.

Gordon to seek second state Assembly term
The Daily Journal
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, announced yesterday he will seek a second term in the Legislature. Gordon, who currently represents the 21st Assembly District, will run for the 24th Assembly District seat as the California Citizens Redistricting Commission has finalized new district maps that will be in place the next 10 years. The former 13-year San Mateo County supervisor was elected to the Assembly in 2010 and represents about 500,000 constituents. “Over the last year, it has been an honor to represent the residents of the Peninsula,” Gordon said in a statement.

Supervisor Michael Kobseff considering bid for Assembly
Mt. Shasta News
Some are calling it the Herger Tsunami. It hit Tuesday of last week and shifted the political landscape in far northern California. One of its effects is a decision by Siskiyou County Supervisor Michael Kobseff to consider a run for California Assembly in the new District 1 that will have no incumbent this election year. Kobseff said last week that he is “putting together a committee to assess our viability in an Assembly campaign.” “I love serving the people of Siskiyou County, and I’m not looking to abandon what I’m doing now,”%u2008Kobseff said.

Berman-Sherman battle stirs embers of 1980 speakership fight
The Sacramento Bee
The political shootout of the year, at least in Southern California, is the duel between two veteran Democratic congressmen who were thrown into the same district by the independent redistricting commission, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. Their high-octane contest in the new 30th Congressional District has divided Los Angeles' Jewish and labor communities. As it turns out, it has also stirred the embers of a bitter, 32-year-old battle in the state Capitol over the speakership of the state Assembly.

California Retirements Present Opportunities
Roll Call
Political dominoes toppled across California last week, with three Republican retirement announcements, one district switch and an influx of rising stars to the Congressional landscape. Rep. Elton Gallegly announced his retirement on an early January Saturday morning. That was followed three days later by the retirement of Northern California Rep. Wally Herger. Rep. Jerry Lewis, a former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced his retirement Thursday, which led Rep. Gary Miller (R) to run for Lewis’ seat. The three exits highlighted the leading causes of turnover for the delegation in the upcoming election — redistricting and age — and ensured that at least nine California Members elected in 2010 won’t be returning in 2013.

Takano-Tavaglione showdown a priority for Democrats
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside-area congressional seat got a boost Wednesday from national party leaders, who listed his race in the top tier of their “Red to Blue” initiative that targets competitive races in traditionally conservative areas. Two other Inland seats also were named for special attention as the party strives to increase Democrats’ numbers in the House by 25 and regain the majority. While acknowledging it’s a lofty goal, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel pointed to polls that show House Republican approval ratings below those of Democrats.

H.B. councilman gets in Assembly race
Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot
Huntington Beach City Councilman Joe Carchio has announced that he will run for the newly aligned 74th Assembly District. Carchio, who has served on the dais since 2006, will face Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and former California Republican Party Treasurer Keith Carlson in the June primary. Each candidate is a Republican. Carchio, 74, said Thursday morning that he has yet to file all his paperwork but has made up his mind to run, more than a month after he first announced that he was considering it.

Denham means business
Tracy Press
The race to represent Tracy in Congress added another heavyweight last week, when Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, formally announced his campaign for the 10th District of California. Denham has represented the Central Valley south of Tracy for a decade — eight years in the State Senate and the past two as a congressman for Oakdale, Madera, the Yosemite Valley and the rest of the 19th District. But redistricting changed the lines, lumping Tracy south of Interstate 205 with Manteca and Stanislaus County. Despite the new political boundaries, Denham touted his familiarity with the area and its “unique issues” as the reason he’s best-suited to represent th