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Friday, February 10, 2012

 

What’s Next?

Throughout the year we have been following redistricting, impacting the state process, doing local redraws for community colleges, school districts and cities, and preparing for the upcoming 2012 election cycle.  We have also been doing a significant amount of custom data work for candidates, ballot measures and the state’s largest associations and PACs.

This has led to the creation of a new spin-off company, RPdata, which is launching today in San Diego and two weeks from now in SF.   Our new firm will be a continuation of our relationship with Political Data Inc. and provide enhanced voter information for campaigns, organizations and grassroots efforts.   Looking for DTS voters that have given to Democratic campaigns?  Searching for Latinos that have donated to Republicans?  Need to call that single, high-income, Jewish Doctor who has donated to environmental causes?  We’ve got them all!  For updates follow us at twitter.com/@RPdataCA

On to state redistricting…. The past couple weeks since the court decision to keep the Senate lines has focused attention on just how much the Republican Party spent on redistricting, just how nicely that money could have been spent to elect Senate Candidate and current Assemblyman Jeff Miller (who we are told has a new website URL at http://jeffmiller2012.com/).  The post-redraw elections are also getting settled with some huge matchups getting attention in our candidates section below.

And just when you thought ProPublica had gone away, they’re back!  This time they’re after a process whereby the commissioners themselves used Republican and Democratic hired line-drawers to construct lines outside of the commission process.  This reminds us that whatever the claims about influence at the CA redistricting commission, nothing they did even compares to the shenanigans in CO, AZ, TX or just about anywhere else.

It also looks like there’s a lot of action at the LA City Council redistricting.  But ever since Redistricting Partners received the contract to do the LAUSD redraw, the whole region has become a snark-free zone.  From what we can see, everything is going splendidly in LA.  There’s no smog, no traffic jams and no controversy.

 

State

CA GOP ‘Idiots’ Lose State Senate
Cal Watchdog
Back to the campaign drawing board for California Republicans. The California Supreme Court recently upheld the maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The immediate fallout: State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, told his hometown paper that he wouldn’t seek reelection, due to the unfavorable maps approved by the court. In another swing seat, Republicans have yet even to field a candidate. State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, announced that he wouldn’t seek reelection in order to run for a new seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Colorado Redistricting Had Inside Help
ProPublica
Colorado was supposed to be an exception to the bitter fights over gerrymandering that define redistricting in much of the nation. Unusually, the Democratic governor gave up the chance to stack the map-drawing commission in his party's favor. Instead, he pushed for a balanced commission that would approve the new maps by consensus. Bob Loevy, a retired political science professor and Republican, wholeheartedly embraced this bipartisan vision. He was optimistic that the commission's 11 members -- five Republicans, five Democrats and one independent -- could craft fair maps guided by the needs of voters. But as the process unfolded, Loevy says, he grew disillusioned. 


$2.1 Million Redistricting Campaign Flips California the “Bird”
Flash Report
While everyone’s attention has been focused on candidate finance reports, an important campaign finance number has been ignored: the total cost of the Republican redistricting referendum. According to its fourth quarter campaign finance report, the Republican group Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting spent a whopping $2.1 million on its effort to put the new state Senate maps to a vote in November. The committee collected $1.7 million, or 80 percent, of its funding from the California Republican Party.

10 Ways to Improve Redistricting Process
Cal Watchdog
Parents and gamblers have a hard time being objective. “If you ever put that much money on a pony, you kind of like it when it rounds home,” the self-described “proud father” of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, Charles T. Munger Jr., told a redistricting conference last September. Munger financed the Proposition 11 and Proposition 20 initiatives that instituted the commission.

Redistricting: Lesson in Being Careful What You Ask For
The People’s Vanguard of Davis
A few years ago, Republicans, believing that legislative districts had been unfairly drawn, joined with the "good government" folks who believe that partisanship is bad to create a citizens redistricting committee to replace what they saw as partisan cronyism. The problem was that the lines shockingly still gave the Democrats an advantage, in fact, perhaps an even greater advantage than they had previously. So in response, the Republicans decided that they actually did not want the citizens to draw the lines, they want judges to do so.  And they sued to stop the changes from taking place.

Ruling on redistricting a wake-up call for California GOP
The Los Angeles Times
Now that the state Supreme Court has delivered the Republican Party a 7-0 smack-down, California can proceed with a key piece of its ongoing political reform. That would be electing legislators in districts drawn in public by a bipartisan citizens commission, rather than in secret by politicians for politicians. Republicans had argued for decades that the Legislature — perpetually ruled by Democrats — should be stripped of its corrupting power to draw districts to the majority party's advantage. Of course, Republicans thought it was OK 10 years ago when they and Democrats conspired to gerrymander districts to protect incumbents of both parties.

Reality Check Hits GOP in Cali Redistricting Fight
Politic 365
When the California Supreme Court chose the state’s Redistricting Commission Senate maps recently, it was a real blow to the Republican Party in the Golden State. In the newly drawn maps that were approved by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, it appears that the GOP would lose a few seats in the State Senate. When Proposition 11, which took the ability to draw legislative districts out of the hands of the state legislature, was passed back in November 2008, it was considered a win for then-Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Redistricting Dispute: Right call from court on election
Times-Herald
Oh, please. The Republican whining over redistricting has reached a ridiculous pitch following the state Supreme Court's wise decision to proceed with elections this year using district boundaries created by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The commission, created by voters in 2008, did exactly what we asked them to do: Draw fair boundaries without respect to political consequences. With five Democratic members, five Republicans and four unaffiliated with a political party, the commission managed to reach near-unanimity on new Assembly, Senate, Board of Equalization and congressional maps.

Crack GOP Shyster Team Lectures State Supremes
Calbuzz
Of all the silly ape dances performed by California Republican apparatchiks in recent years, few have been as puerile as the tantrum they tossed over the state Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling upholding newly drawn senate districts. At a time when the GOP’s ever-shrinking share of voter registration keeps shattering its own records for decline, the sputtering outrage of the big brains over at party headquarters would be entertaining if it wasn’t so pathetic.

GOP needs to court voters, not judges
Press Democrat
Good grief. Can't the California Republican Party do better than questioning the integrity of its own appointees? When the state Supreme Court rejected yet another GOP challenge to new state Senate district boundaries, party leaders blistered the justices. This reaction from Tom Del Beccaro, the state chairman, was echoed by at least two legislators: “Without a justifiable excuse for not honoring their obligation to do so, the Supreme Court simply ignored our plainly written law. As a 24-year practicing attorney, I can tell you that the failure to honor the law as written undermines the rule of law and encourages detrimental litigation.”

California Supreme Court Chooses Citizen Redistricting Commission Senate Maps
The Huffington Post
In a victory for the 61 percent of the California who voted in the 2010 election to expand the 2008 Voters First Act to include congressional districts, in a unanimous 7-0 decision. In their unanimous decision the Supreme Court stated: ...not only do the Commission-certified Senate districts appear to comply with all of the constitutionally mandated criteria set forth in California Constitution, article XXI, the Commission-certified Senate districts also are a product of what generally appears to have been an open, transparent and nonpartisan redistricting process as called for by the current provisions of article XXI.

Opposing View: Partisanship corrupted redistricting panel
USA Today
The commission's first "independent" move was to hire Q2 Data and Research, a firm with deep Democrat ties. But to do that, the commission's executive director significantly lowered the hiring standard without any reasonable explanation. Instead of trying to repair its reputation, the commission doubled down on partisanship. Dr. Gambino Aguirre, the lead commissioner, failed to disclose his deep ties and donations to political organizations that benefit from the lines as they are drawn now. Moves like these do not instill confidence in the public; they point towards corruption.

California Republicans should back redistricting course
The Modesto Bee
The California Republican Party just won't let go of its beef with redistricting. The state party wanted the California Supreme Court to postpone use of the state Senate district maps drawn by the California Redistricting Commission until after it's known whether a referendum has qualified for the ballot. This was the second time the GOP turned to the court for help, and Friday, for the second time, the court said no, leaving in place the maps drawn by the citizens' commission that was created by voters.

On Redistricting: The Court Gets It Half Right
California Progress Report
The California Supreme Court last Friday decisively rebuffed the Republican attack on the new state Senate maps drawn by California’s new independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. But the way it was done could invite as many future problems as it solved. In so doing, Chief Justice Tani Cantil- Sakauye’s lengthy opinion in Vandermost v. Bowen was a perfect illustration of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter’s classic warning against courts wandering into the political thicket of the redistricting process.

Republicans Lose Big on Redistricting Gamble, Brown Moves Forward
The Huffington Post
California is in the midst of a big experiment in political reform, which has already led to a huge defeat for an increasingly right-wing Republican Party. Open primaries have replaced partisan primaries and redistricting has been taken away from the politicians, with each disrupting comfy old arrangements. Though these moves, adopted by initiative, were heavily backed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, they've been heavily opposed by most Republicans. The California Republican Party put most of its remaining marbles on a desperate bid to derail the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

California Supreme Court Strikes a Blow to Republicans in 2012 Races
KCET
Think the battle over the state's legislative lines is so 2011? Think again. As readers of my column know, California voters passed two ballot initiatives which took the power to draw legislative lines out of the hands of the legislators and put that power into the hands of a 14-member independent redistricting commission. The commission was comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters who are registered as Decline to State. Last year the commission completed its charge of drawing new lines based on 2010 census data for the board of equalization, state assembly, state senate and House of Representatives.

GOP gets shut down again on redistricting
The Fresno Bee
The California Republican Party supported independent redistricting reform -- until it didn't like the lines the commission drew for legislative elections. So the GOP ran to the courts, hoping activist judges would invalidate the lines. But on Friday, the state Supreme Court unanimously decided to leave in place state Senate district maps drawn by the voter-created commission. This was the second time the GOP turned to the court for help, and the second time it was slapped down.

Court Decision Changes Dynamic of State Senate Races
Fox & Hounds
Many of the news stories that reported on the California Supreme Court’s decision to keep the proposed state senate districts as drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission in place for 2012 — even though a pending referendum against them likely will qualify for the ballot — focused on the Democrats ability to secure two-thirds of the senate so that they can pass tax increases. This decision and the tax issue will surely alter the rhetoric of state senate campaigns.

Local

Advocacy Groups Submit Alternative Redistricting Maps
Eagle Rock Patch
In January, residents from Koreatown to Highland park filled St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church in Chinatown to make a plea--unite our communities. For many of those residents--whose ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods have been divided among multiple Los Angeles City Council Districts for decades--those pleas appeared to have gone unanswered when the Redistricting Commission released their proposed maps on Jan. 26. Though the maps mostly unite Highland Park, Mount Washington remains divided between three council Districts--1, 13 and 14.

Email prompts new flare-up over downtown L.A. redistricting
The Los Angeles Times
In the latest controversy over redrawing Los Angeles City Council districts, an email circulated among downtowners this week said a “deal” had been made to secure a meeting with a key aide to Councilman Jose Huizar on an iconic Central City project if people spoke out in favor of shifting much of the area into Huizar’s district. A Huizar spokesman said any suggestion of a quid pro quo is “ridiculous.” But Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents most of downtown, took issue with the email's implications.

Where's Mayor Villaraigosa on redistricting?
Daily News Los Angeles
The outcry against the new Los Angeles city redistricting proposals has been long and loud. The charges are by now well known. The plan will rip whole chunks of neighborhoods out of one district and stuff them into wildly disparate districts. The two districts that have been most often cited to prove the point are Councilwoman Jan Perry's 9th District and Councilman Bernard Parks's 8th district. Both represent some of the the poorest and most heavily minority neighborhoods in the city. They were heavily hit by the 1992 riots.

L.A. Redistricting: Tom LaBonge's District 4 Looks Like a Losing Matador
L.A. Weekly
This has to be a joke, right? City Council District 4, as drafted by the increasingly unpopular redistricting commissioners, stretches about 10 miles across Los Angeles -- beginning on the gritty (if gentrifying) Eastside, meandering through the extravagant Hollywood Hills and ending up in the center of the Valley, which might as well be another country. It took us a good minute to make sense of this absurd stratus cloud, but we finally realized.... we were looking straight into the eyes a losing matador. The charging bull, the scuttling Spaniard, the swooping red cape -- it's all there. And now we can't picture CD 4 as anything else!

Residents Voice Anger of Redistricting Maps
Beverly Press
Using descriptions such as “crazy” and “completely inappropriate”, dozens of residents spoke out against the initial council district maps released by the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission at a meeting on Feb. 1 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Approximately 700 people attended the meeting, where the full 21-member redistricting commission listened to public comments. The meeting was one of seven being held throughout the city prior to new maps being submitted to the city council by March 1. Residents from numerous city council districts spoke, including the 1st, 4th, 5th, 10th and 13th Districts.

Koreatown Roars Against Gerrymander
Side Car San Francisco
At a packed public hearing Feb. 1 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Koreatown residents expressed rage over a proposed Los Angeles City Council "redistricting" plan — an arcane, once-per-decade element of democracy that most people find about as thrilling as school bonds. Yet something strange began to unfold as Lloyd Lee, a youngish attorney on the board of the Korean American Bar Association, stepped to the mic and announced, "I would like to welcome you to the political awakening of Koreatown. We are not going to be the quiet group anymore that just hands out money without representation!"

Hearings Held on LAUSD District Boundaries
Beverly Press
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Redistricting Commission on Tuesday held a public hearing regarding the commission’s task of redrawing the district’s lines. The new maps will determine who represents Angelenos on the district’s school board. Though the maps must be in the hands of the Los Angeles City Council on March 1, the commission held its first round of public hearings this week. “We’re pretty much an open book at this point,” commission executive director Doug Wance said.

Community urged to call in to fight Oxnard redistricting that negatively impacts Latino voters
Latina Lista
Oxnard residents are being urged to call the California Redistricting Commission to voice their opposition to a proposal that would split Oxnard into two Assembly Districts. Half of Oxnard’s residents, as well as Santa Paula and Fillmore, would be split and go into Simi Valley’s 37th Assembly District, opponents reported. Half of Oxnard would also fall within the 24th U.S. Congressional District. The plan is being reviewed by the commission by June 10.

Congressional District Maps Reveal A Divided Martinez
Martinez News-Gazette
He's been our man in Washington for almost the entire lifespan of many of Martinez's residents. The median age of the City's residents is 38.6, and Rep. George Miller first won his Congressional seat in 1974. Due to last year's redistricting, Miller will be the congressional representative for only a portion of Martinez after the November general election. Miller announced last August that he would run again for "re-election to Congress in 2012 in what will be the 11th congressional district created by the independent redistricting commission, the district that encompasses most of Contra Costa County."

Light Turnout for Chance to Affect New Board District Maps
Galatzan Gazette
Just a handful of people turned out Tuesday night for the first public hearing of the Los Angeles Unified School District Redistricting Commission at Reseda High School. By law, school board boundary lines must be redrawn once in a decade to account for population changes, as recorded by the US Census. Tuesday’s meeting was a chance for members of the public to tell members of the LAUSD redistricting commission how to keep “communities of interest” intact when they draw new boundaries.

District 9 stakeholders explore 'dismal' implications of redistricting
Southern California Public Radio
Stakeholders and business owners of Los Angeles' Ninth District gathered at Councilwoman Jan Perry's field office on Central Avenue Tuesday night to discuss how the current redistricting of Los Angeles will affect them and the surrounding community. In what was referred to as an emergency meeting, the Central Avenue Business Association (CABA) hosted Hugo Ortiz, a field director for Perry, to explain the changes that could be at hand. "Overall, the message from our office is that this will make us one of the poorest districts in L.A.," he said. "I guarantee you that."

Latinos Missing From L.A. Redistricting Process
New America Media
The participation of the Los Angeles Latino community in the process of redistricting has been extremely low. The absence of their voice either through private channels or public hearings will have long-term negative repercussions over the next 10 years. The Redistricting Commission that is in charge of redrawing the political landscape of Los Angeles to reflect demographic changes that have taken place in the past decade has now released the borders of the map. It is now the public's turn to make its opinions heard so that needed corrections will be made in the final map.

Group sues for emails related to Sacramento redistricting
The Sacramento Bee
An open records advocacy group is suing the city after being denied emails and other communications regarding last summer's volatile City Council redistricting process. The California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) filed a suit Friday in Sacramento Superior Court demanding emails between City Council members related to redistricting between April and August of last year. Peter Scheer, CFAC's executive director, said "we're hoping to open the door on some of the crucial exchanges" between council members as the redistricting process unfolded.

FAC sues Sacramento City Council for emails on redistricting plan
First Amendment Coalition
The First Amendment Coalition and a Sacramento community group have filed suit against the Sacramento City Council for access to Council emails and other records concerning a  controversial redistricting plan for Council districts that was adopted last summer. The suit, filed Friday by FAC and Eye on Sacramento, a local nonprofit, grows out of the Council’s refusal to disclose certain records requested by the organizations under the California Public Records Act.

L.A. Redistricting: Eric Garcetti's District 13 Looks Like an Evil Squirrel
L.A. Weekly
While gazing at the recently proposed boundaries for L.A.'s 15 voting districts -- which is clearly what we like to do in our spare time -- we realized that the gerrymandered City Council District 13 is the spitting image of an evil squirrel. And so begins our (badly Photoshopped) series on the L.A. Redistricting Commission's politically warped new districts! District 13 is manned by City Councilman Eric Garcetti, most infamous among stubborn L.A. citywatchers as the development hound who ruined Hollywood.

Fil-Ams Worry Over Neighborhood in SF Redistricting
New America Media
Despite the overwhelming support from the Filipino community, advocacy groups are uneasy about the final outcome of the ongoing redistricting of San Francisco’s District 11. Redistricting of District 11 is more contentious because “it is where the Filipinos are more scattered,” says Bernadette Sy, executive director of the Filipino American Development Foundation and Bayanihan Community Center.

Are Asians Now “The Other White Meat”?
City Watch
If the title of this piece offends you, imagine how much this LA City Council Redistricting travesty should offend you, me or any other person with a sense of moral decency and common sense.  Call it race consciousness, call it racial obsessiveness, call it racial awareness, call it whatever you want … but don’t forget to include the term “racism” in describing the circus that this City Council redistricting effort has become.

Pasadena Chronicles: Redistricting and the Latino Community
Pasadena Now
Although it’s been a while since I’ve written it’s not for lack of things that took place in Pasadena. We seem to be at a particular intersection where several institutions in the area are defining and taking stock of whom they currently serve, how that constituency may have changed and how they may need to alter that service in the future. Redistricting takes place following every decennial (10 year) census. The Latino community in Pasadena makes up about a third of the city. Like any other group that has large numbers in the city the characteristics of the group is varied: the language, education, orientation, and income are diverse in nature.

Hundreds Pack Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Hearing in Westchester
Brentwood Patch
The draft maps that will change the boundaries of Los Angeles City Council districts as part of the redistricting process have "inadvertent errors" throughout the city, including the proposal to remove parts of Westchester from City Councilman Bill Rosendahl's 11th District, the chairman of the redistricting commission said Thursday night during the second of seven public hearings on the proposed maps. The hearing was held in a Westchester gymnasium packed with more than 500 people and Rosendahl was greeted like a champion boxer when he entered with a roar from the crowd, a standing ovation and chants of "Bill! Bill! Bill!"

Westchester residents turn out in force to object to council redistricting
Mercury News
Westchester residents turned out in force Thursday night to weigh in on preliminary Los Angeles City Council district maps that would split the community in two, with some calling the plan "illegal" and "fatally flawed." The public hearing held by the city's Redistricting Commission - the 21-member agency that last week released the maps that will eventually make their way to the council - drew a crowd of several hundred people to the Westchester Recreation Center gym. The proposal calls for moving about 80 percent of Westchester - which today is represented by 11th District Councilman Bill Rosendahl - into Councilman Bernard Parks' South L.A-based 8th District.

Proposed Koreatown redistricting debated
The Los Angeles Times
Alex Cha stood before the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission last week and told panel members: "As an Asian American living in the city of Los Angeles, I feel voiceless." He had gone to the San Fernando Valley meeting to protest proposed new City Council boundaries that call for Koreatown to be divided between two council districts. Disappointment over the proposal has run deep in the neighborhood, where over the weekend ministers complained about it to their congregations, and volunteers gathered signatures on protest petitions outside local grocery stores.

Rosendahl Fights Redistricting Plan
Palisadian-Post
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has urged residents to reject a draft plan for redrawing his 11th District, which includes Pacific Palisades. The proposal would shift most of Westchester and part of Playa Vista to the 8th District (represented by Councilman Bernard Parks). A public hearing on the proposed map will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchester Recreation Center, 7000 W. Manchester Ave. Hours before the draft map was released publicly last Wednesday, Rosendahl sent out an e-mail calling the proposal 'an outrageous case of gerrymandering.'

Free speech and L.A. County's supervisors
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors oversees a vast operation: It incarcerates thousands of inmates; it cares for children whose parents have abused or neglected them; it runs hospitals, clinics, beaches, harbors, parks and a welfare system. So it's no surprise that the board's meetings draw animated commentary. What is surprising is what those commenters want to talk about. At a recent meeting of the board, the first member of the public to comment was Eric Preven, who calls himself "The County Resident from District 3."

Rosendahl Rep. Encourages Opposition to City Redistricting Plan
Brentwood Patch
A representative from Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl's office urged the Pacific Palisades Community Council on Jan. 26 to oppose the latest plan for city council redistricting. "Instead of trimming along the edges, the [redistricting] commission is considering amputating the bulk of Westchester and part of Playa Vista from the rest of our district," according to a letter written by Rosendahl.

'Redistricting' of the voter population is all part of a process
Digital Journal
With elections approaching, the issue of political “redistricting” is buzzing in the air. Yes, it does have an impact upon local elections. But readjusting the district lines is not as negative as some might think according to redistricting consultant Paul Mitchell. Electoral district map boundaries are redrawn every 10 years based upon United States Census Bureau data and is part of our national political process. As law professor, Justin Levitt, writing for the Huffington Post described it, 428 congressional districts, in 43 states, must be redrawn (seven states have one Representative apiece); 7,382 state legislative districts (and hundreds of thousands of local districts) must also be adjusted.

Downtown Representative Quits Redistricting Panel
Los Angeles Downtown News
Estela Lopez, a member of the panel redrawing the boundaries of the City Council's 15 districts, has resigned from her post. The move came two days after draft maps released by the Redistricting Commission sparked a bitter divide in Downtown Los Angeles. Lopez, the only commissioner with strong personal and professional ties to Downtown, submitted her resignation on Jan. 27. In a letter to First District Councilman Ed Reyes, who appointed her to the commission, she said being a member of the panel was interfering with her duties as executive director of the Central City East Association, which manages business improvement districts in Skid Row and the Arts District.

Community leaders mobilize to respond to redistricting changes
Daily Breeze
With new maps proposing to dramatically reshape Los Angeles City Council district boundaries, neighborhood leaders and community groups across the city are mobilizing to ensure their interests are represented. And they'll have several opportunities to weigh in within the coming weeks, as the city's Redistricting Commission has scheduled seven meetings to gather comments citywide. "If there is one thing that is certain, it is that these maps will change," said Arturo Vargas, chairman of the 21-member redistricting panel.

Confusion is word of the day in L.A. City Council remapping
Contra Costa Times
Residents of Sunland-Tujunga feel betrayed. Sherman Oaks and Studio City residents are divided over what might happen to them. And there is wide confusion from Lake Balboa to Silver Lake over how they'll share a single City Council district. Last week the Los Angeles redistricting commission released new maps that dramatically reshape City Council districts. That's prompted a flurry of emergency meetings by neighborhood councils and other groups to determine how the new maps will affect them, while City Council members stage rallies in opposition to their new districts.

Redistricting Maps Could Change Political Landscape
Beverly Press
Representation at city hall would dramatically change for the Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Hollywood and many other neighborhoods under the draft maps released last week by the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission. Residents can still voice their concerns to the commission until March 1, which is the deadline to submit the finalized maps to the city council. Seven public meetings have been scheduled at sites throughout the city through March 1, and residents can also submit their comments and critiques, or their own maps, to the 21-member commission at www.redistricting2011.lacity.org.

Candidates

Mateo Camarillo, Candidate for San Diego City Council, District 9
Scoop San Diego
Mateo Camarillo, Chairman of the Latino Redistricting Committee has met with several community leaders and community organizations who have asked him to run for the newly created San Diego City Council, District 9 based on the need to have a representative with a proven record by responding to the needs of underserved residents of San Diego. Mr. Camarillo has agreed to run for 2012. The new San Diego City Council, District 9 is a majority Latino District.

Mitchum kicks off bid for Congress
Santa Maria Times
Republican Chris Mitchum officially launched his bid for the 24th District Congressional seat Wednesday night with backing from unofficial GOP candidate Tom Watson, a retired Naval officer and Goleta businessman. Saying it's time for new representation, and that Mitchum offers an alternative to "creatures of government" such as incumbent Democrat Lois Capps and GOP candidate Abel Maldonado, Watson threw his support behind Mitchum at the gathering, held at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara.

Rep. Lungren on his work ahead this year
Elk Grove Citizen
U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) said recently that he expects to be in his district about 50 percent of the time leading up to the June and November elections. The other half of the time will be spent in Washington, D.C., “doing the job I was elected to do and love to do.” While Lungren is in his district, he said he will have to balance Congressional responsibilities and campaign work. He mentioned that he and his staff are careful about mixing the two as he prepares for a likely rematch with Elk Grove resident Dr. Ami Bera. “I try to do 100 percent on both sides, which leaves very little time,” Lungren said.

Political battle will be intriguing
ChicoER.com
Sam Aanestad's entry into the congressional race should be welcomed. Democracy works better with closely contested elections. The battle to take Wally Herger's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives got a lot more interesting with the news that former state Sen. Sam Aanestad is now in the running. State Sen. Doug LaMalfa received the endorsement of Herger when the longtime congressman announced his retirement last month. In a heavily Republican district, that should have been enough to scare most Republican challengers, but Aanestad apparently will announce today that he wants a crack at the seat, too.

California Democrats to pick their primary colors
The Sacramento Bee
Let the endorsements begin: The California Democratic Party votes this weekend on its official candidate picks for the June 5 primary. The party's convention runs today through Sunday, with party Chairman John Burton and former White House aide Van Jones kicking things off tonight in San Diego. Come back to Capitol Alert during the weekend for full coverage. Political junkies will be paying close watch to Saturday afternoon's endorsing caucuses for districts in which no candidate got enough votes at the pre-endorsement conference to get recommended outright.

Assembly candidates rake in $1.5 million
La Canada Valley Sun
Four months before the June 5 primary election, eight candidates vying for three state Assembly seats representing Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino and La Cañada Flintridge have already collectively raised more than $1.5 million in campaign cash. The race attracting the most money is in the 49th Assembly District, which includes San Marino and several other San Gabriel Valley cities. In their bids to replace termed-out incumbent Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), three Democrats and one Republican raised more than $640,000 as of Dec. 31, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the state on Jan. 31.

New Assembly Candidate Joins Race
The Pioneer Online
Sarabjit Kaur Cheema may have launched her campaign later than others, having kicking off her campaign run on Sunday and to just the Indian community, but she’s confident her technical understanding of transportation, her educational career and grassroots empathy will gain her a seat in the newly drawn 20th assembly district. Cheema, an Indian Sikh, welcomed the Indian community to Raja Sweets restaurant in Union City where she spoke in Punjabi tongue to her cohorts to link support and energy among local Indians. Cheema told The Pioneer this community will be vital to her election process.

Lots of candidates lining up for June's Merced elections
Merced Sun-Star
Squeeze in, folks. It's going to be a crowded election. Eight people have already lined up to run in the Merced County Board of Supervisors election on June 5. There's been no indication that John Pedrozo, Hub Walsh and Deidre Kelsey are getting nervous, but with a month left in the filing period, the three races are already promising to provide a tough fight for the incumbents.

Wilk picks up statewide YR endorsement; local group disputes it
the-signal.com
The California Young Republican Federation has endorsed Republican Scott Wilk for the 38th District Assembly race, although the Santa Clarita Valley Young Republicans are disputing the endorsement, saying it’s too early to select candidates. In the open June primary, Wilk is expected to face fellow Republicans Patricia McKeon, wife of Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon; local high school board member Paul Strickland; and Democrat and San Fernando Valley businessman Edward Headington.

Arnold man joins Assembly contest
Calaveras Enterprise
A political activist for the past decade, Marc Boyd's entrée into politics was only a matter of time. A property manager living in Arnold, Boyd joins a crowded race for California's District 5 Assembly seat. Although not as seasoned a politician as fellow candidates Rico Oller, a former Assemblyman, and Frank Bigelow, a Madera County supervisor, Boyd is accustomed to rubbing shoulders with policy makers. In 2007, Boyd prepared a climate action plan for San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's administration that featured 101 initiatives to help San Jose soften its ecological footprint.

Edgar Drops Congressional Race for State Assembly
Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch
Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar backed out of the 47th Congressional race in favor of a bid for the newly created 72nd California Assembly District, he announced Tuesday. The move means that there is no longer an Orange County candidate for the Congressional seat representing Long Beach, Rossmoor and Los Alamitos. It also pits Edgar up against city leaders from Huntington Beach and Westminster for the assembly seat serving parts of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Supervisor McQuiston running for Assembly
Bakersfield.com
Retiring Kern County Supervisor Jon McQuiston has decided to look for more work in government, not less — by running for the state Assembly. McQuiston announced Tuesday he will run to represent the newly created 32nd Assembly District, which locally looks like the current 30th District represented by David Valadao, R-Hanford, who is running for Congress. McQuiston is a Republican. The other announced candidates for the seat are former Delano Councilman Pedro Rios, a Republican, and current Bakersfield City Councilman Rudy Salas Rudy Salas , a Democrat.

Democratic endorsement fights heat up
The Press-Enterprise
Democrats running in three Inland Southern California congressional and legislative seats are trying to lock up support for endorsement caucuses at this weekend's state convention in San Diego. A non-incumbent endorsement requires 60 percent of the convention delegate vote. Incumbents need 50 percent, or 60 percent if there are two or more incumbents in a race. Several Inland candidates seek the party's official backing, or want to prevent their rival from getting it, in the 35th Congressional District, Rep. Joe Baca vs. state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod; the 47th Assembly District, Cheryl Brown vs. Joe Baca Jr.; and the 31st Senate District, Steve Clute vs. Richard Roth.

Interest high in race for open supervisor seat
The Daily Journal
As the race for the District Four county supervisor seat grows, the question at this point isn’t so much who will win as it is who else will run. Six people appear firmly in the campaign and one more possible contender might be waiting in the wings. With the candidate filing period not even opening for a week,  the final ballot roster for June 5 primary could very well look different. For now, though, it is sizing up to be the first hotly contested race for the district in 13 years and one of only a few multiple-candidate showdowns in recent memory.

Assemblyman Paul Cook announces candidacy for the 8th Congressional District
examiner.com
Assemblyman Paul Cook, who currently represents the Morongo Valley and the cities and unincorporated areas bordering the Coachella Valley in the California Legislature, has announced his candidacy for the new 8th Congressional District.  He is the seventh candidate to declare for a seat that spans San Bernardino, Inyo and Kern counties. Cook stated, "We face three major challenges in this country: jobs, the national debt, and government's inability to control spending and to balance the budget. I've worked hard to lower taxes and make California a better place for business, and I've been a tireless advocate for veterans.

Councilman's brother enters Chula Vista race
U-T San Diego
Robert Castaneda, brother of Councilman Steve Castaneda, has jumped into the City Council race, filing papers Wednesday to run against incumbent Pamela Bensoussan and former Otay Water District board member Larry Breitfelder. According to the latest campaign filings available, Bensoussan raised $12,622 since July and spent $2,724 on the race so far. Breitfelder raised $11,456, which included loaning his campaign $5,000, and spent $8,894 during the same time period. Because Bob Castaneda filed his intention to run this week, he is not yet required to report his fundraising for the June 2012 elections.

Gabelich Won't Run; Race For Congress Heats Up
Gazettes.com
Eighth District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich said Tuesday that she would not run for a third term and instead threw her weight behind Al Austin for the April election. Gabelich called a press conference for the announcement that she would not run a write-in campaign after completing two full terms in office. The city's term limit law precludes council members from appearing on the ballot for a third term. Gabelich used the press conference to chronicle her 30 years of public involvement, starting in the 1980s as a member, then president of HUSH and HUSH II, community advocacy efforts to limit flights at the Long Beach Airport.

Campaign Contributions Raise Troubling Questions for Assembly Speaker Perez & Sacramento Democrats
California Progress Report
Democratic activists hoping for big gains in the California legislature this year were dealt a serious blow after campaign finance reports released last Thursday raised troubling questions about Assembly Speaker John Perez's strategic priorities and the California Democratic Party's ability to achieve a two-thirds majority in the State Senate and Assembly. Democrats currently enjoy a majority in both the Assembly and the State Senate, but would have to pick up at least two more seats in each chamber to achieve the super-majority needed to pass revenue increases over the objections of a Republican minority.

CA-26 Video: An Interview with Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks
Flap’s California Blog
With California State Senator Tony Strickland locking down the Republican Establishment endorsements and with Democrat Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett’s reluctance to withdraw from the race, Linda Parks may be the odd candidate out. Watch Parks to try to attack Strickland, while her “real” opponent in the “top two” June primary election will be Bennett.

California poised to lose clout in Congress
North County Times
California will lose a measure of clout in Congress after November's election, no matter which party best exploits the state's freshly redistricted regions and election rules. Six California representatives with a combined 133 years of seniority have already announced their retirement. Another nine incumbents ---- including Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray ---- are regarded as vulnerable. The changes mean California's 53-member congressional delegation, the nation's largest, is likely to experience the biggest turnover in at least two decades.

Troy Edgars Switches Target from Congress to State Assembly
Orange County Breeze
Earlier today, Mayor Troy Edgar announced that he will be running for California’s newly drawn 72nd Assembly District, encompassing West Orange County. In launching his campaign, Edgar has already amassed almost $300,000 Cash on Hand, and has picked up endorsements from some of West Orange County’s most respected leaders, including Representative Ed Royce, State Senator Tom Harman, and Assemblyman Jim Silva.

The 18th Assembly District: This Year's Most Competitive Race
East Bay Express
The 16th Assembly district has long been known as a "black seat" in the state legislature because the demographics of the district had historically tilted toward African-American voters living in East Oakland. For the past six years, the seat has been held by Sandré Swanson, one of the most prominent African-American politicians in the Bay Area. But an historic exodus of blacks from Oakland, coupled with a dramatic redistricting and a newfangled primary season, has changed the demographic landscape of the district. As a result, the 16th, now known as the 18th Assembly district because of redistricting, may one of the most competitive legislative contests in California this year.

Latino Activist To Run In New City Council District, But Challenges Abound
Fronteras
A long-time Latino activist said last week that he would run to represent San Diego's new 9th City Council district in this year’s election. Latino political activist Mateo Camarillo draws a map on the day's newspaper during an interview about redistricting in San Diego. The new district, centered in City Heights, is majority Latino. It was drawn that way during last year's redistricting process to give Latinos – who make up almost 30 percent of the city’s population - an edge on gaining a second safe seat on the council.

New lines setting up tight races
Record Net
Former astronaut Jose Hernandez has faced odds before, but never quite like these. He has to win over voters this year in the 10th Congressional District where newly released voter-registration figures reveal an almost-even split between Democrats and Republicans. And - based on historic turnout trends - the new data may work in favor of Republicans. Hernandez also faces an incumbent congressman. Launching into space may wind up looking easier to Hernandez than launching a political career.

Assemblyman goes door-to-door with Patriots
Redlands Daily Facts
The Redlands Tea Party Patriots have had a busy week. The Patriots participated in their third monthly walk through Redlands on Saturday with several objectives. Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, joined the group as it canvassed a portion of eastern Redlands. It was a first for Morrell, who, along with the Patriots, went door to door and discussed the issues with local residents. "We've had other candidates join us before," John Berry of the Tea Party Patriots said. "We were honored to have Assemblyman Morrell with us."

Fundraising reports reflect competition in Calif. congressional races after redistricting
The Republic
New campaign fundraising reports have underscored the competition resulting from California's new redistricting process, which was done for the first time by an independent citizens panel. In a Sacramento-area congressional district, Democratic challenger Ami Bera has more money in the bank than Republican Rep. Dan Lungren, according to finance statements released this week. Meanwhile, Republican Ricky Gill, the top challenger in a San Joaquin Valley congressional race, has more cash than Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney, thanks to substantial loans Gill made to his campaign.

New districts await primary voters in June
The Community Voice
Lynn Woolsey’s 6th Congressional District didn’t get much smaller. It just got skinnier. It also got a new number. Now it’s the 2nd Congressional District. No matter the number, Woolsey decided to retire and opened the gates for a slew of candidates. What the non-partisan 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission did was to carve a piece from the eastern flank of Woolsey’s district and create a new one, the 5th District to include Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Penngrove and then east to add pieces of counties south and east. Petaluma is in the Second District.

Fundraising totals for California federal lawmakers and candidates
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Federal officeholders and candidates for federal office were required to report their year-end fundraising activity by Tuesday, and the results showed varying signs of campaigns' viability and strength. Given new political boundaries, the fundraising totals point to the challenges to some incumbents from redistricting. Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, raised barely more than $10,000 in the last quarter, which signals that he is not aggressively seeking re-election.

Conservatives Face Bigger Election Battle in 2012
Loma Linda Patch
As former Beaumont Mayor Jan Leja wrapped up her presentation to the Redlands Tea Party Patriots on the complicated issue of redistricting, she dispensed an important piece of advice. “Be prepared to knock on doors,” she said. “Be prepared to walk the precincts.” Its going to be a tough year due in large part to the way California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s redrew Assembly, Senate and Congressional districts, she said. Some of maps make no sense. In other districts, Leja said the commission stacked the deck.

How The Money Stacks Up Through 2011 in CA-47
Orange County Breeze
From the Federal Election Commission’s searchable online database of campaign contributions, here is a summary of money raised through the end of 2011 for California Congressional District 47, which includes Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, the Joint Forces Training Base and as far east as Westminster and Garden Grove — stuck like a carbuncle on the east side of Long Beach.

Barstow to see new representation in Assembly
Desert Dispatch
California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Big Bear Lake Mayor Bill Jahn are both seeking conservatives’ support as they seek to represent the High Desert in a newly drawn state Assembly district that unites Barstow and the Victor Valley for the first time. The change comes courtesy of the voter-approved Citizens' Redistricting Commission, which drew new legislative district maps that take effect this year.

Assembly candidates rake in $1.5 million
Pasadena Sun
Four months before the June 5 primary election, eight candidates vying for three state Assembly seats representing Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino and La Cañada Flintridge have already collectively raised more than $1.5 million in campaign cash. The race attracting the most money is in the 49th Assembly District, which includes San Marino and several other San Gabriel Valley cities. In their bids to replace termed-out incumbent Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), three Democrats and one Republican raised more than $640,000 as of Dec. 31, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the state on Jan. 31.

State, federal candidates report fundraising totals
Bakersfield.com
Candidates for state and federal offices have disclosed their campaign fundraising figures for the last three or six months of 2011. The filing deadline for the data was Tuesday. In the new 21st Congressional District, state Assemblyman David Valadao, R-Hanford, collected $246,480 during the three months ending Dec. 31, according to Federal Election Commission filings online. In that time, his campaign spent $15,477 net. At the end of December, the campaign had $386,579 in cash on hand and $2,858 in debts and obligations.

Holbrook rules out bid to unseat Placer County Supervisor Holmes