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Monday, January 17, 2011


Inside the lines
The Advocate
Editorial Board
California may have all but stripped partisan influence from the redistricting process, thanks to a ballot initiative passed by voters in 2008 to create a citizens’ redistricting commission... But Mitchell says gay organizations nationwide need to be vigilant: “There are still densely populated LGBT communities that have never elected someone who is openly gay. It’s time that they start to get counted.”

Redistricting Q&A: Arturo Vargas of NALEO

Vargas, an expert on Latino demographics and voting trends, will lead NALEO's redistricting efforts this year - which will be extensive. With the rapid Latino population growth, Vargas will work to make sure Latinos are better represented in the next Congress.

And Vargas has plenty of experience. After the 1990 census, Vargas directed MALDEF's redistricting effort that led to a significant uptick in the number of Latinos in the California state legislature.

I think what may happen this time is we may actually wind up seeing some potential for tension in preserving the same number of African American districts, especially in South Los Angeles. You have three African American congressional seats right next to each other, and you have the ocean to the west, you have Jane Harman (D) and Henry Waxman (D) to the north, and to the east you have all the Latino districts. These districts have to grow to absorb more population, and they're going to bump into each other. And at some point, in order to preserve these African American districts the west side districts can only go so far east before they start infringing upon the effectiveness of Hispanic districts.

Republican Redistricting Efforts Bankrupt for 2011?
Roll Call

Republicans are in danger of entering the next stage of redistricting at a significant financial disadvantage thanks to a cash-strapped Republican National Committee and a high-profile outside group that never got off the ground. 

Republicans face obstacles in Redistricting
Sacramento Bee

If there is any state where the power to draw political district lines is well understood, surely it must be Texas.

It was in Texas, after all, where Democratic state legislators fled the Capitol and later the state in 2003 to stall a controversial Republican redistricting plan. The Democrats ultimately relented and the Republicans passed their unusual "mid-decade" map. Partly as a result, the GOP gained six congressional seats in the next election.

Perhaps the biggest wildcard facing GOP plans for Texas and many other Southern states is that the Obama administration must approve their new maps, both for congressional and state legislative districts.


Panelist drops out of Calif. redistricting board
A member of California's independent redistricting panel has resigned from the commission, saying it will take up too much of her time.

Democrat Elaine Kuo (quo) of Mountain View stepped down from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission Friday, saying time limitations make it impractical for her to continue.

Common Cause has an Analysis of the replacement process, summarizing that “In plain English, we think that means that means we start with the pool of 12 Democrats who were remaining as of November 20. 


Redistricting review panel could keep council in line
Sacramento Bee
That's an open invitation for political mischief and too much of a temptation to come up with districts that protect incumbents – not necessarily districts that lead to fair representation.

Read more:

Herhold: Conflicts of interest in San Jose redistricting
San Jose Mercury News
Every 10 years, the San Jose City Council performs its version of the "Dance of the Seven Veils," also known as redistricting. Unlike the new state citizens redistricting commission, which picks qualified people by lot, the process is shaped by inbreeding.

S.F. supervisors prepare for redistricting battle
San Francisco Chronicle
The opportunity comes once a decade, and the outcome can strongly influence the city's electoral landscape for years to come.

"The redistricting process is synonymous with political muscle and can have a profound impact on partisan shifts of power," said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi