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Monday, January 24, 2011

State

Red Rover, Red Rover; Population shifts call for redistricting
By Tony Quinn
Comstock’s Magazine
When the populations of all congressional districts bordering the Bay Area are added together, they are short one full congressional district, and the inland area from the Oregon border down to about Bakersfield is overpopulated by at least one full district. This means the Bay Area will lose a seat in Congress and the Central Valley will gain a seat.

In past decades, this population shift might not have mattered that much because of the ability of politicians to gerrymander districts to keep favored incumbents in office. One can hardly imagine the Democrat-controlled Legislature producing a plan that did not have a seat for former Speaker Pelosi. But the Legislature is no longer drawing the districts; a nonpartisan commission is.

The redistricting commission gets under way
By Tony Quinn
Capitol Weekly
Slowly and cautiously, the new Citizens Redistricting Commission created by the voters to redraw political districts in 2011 is coming to life.  All 14 members have now been chosen and last week they began assembling their staff.

But the launch has not been without its problems. 

Redistricting: You now have a voice
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal
Unfortunately, the Santa Clarita Valley is not large enough to encompass a congressional, Senate or Assembly seat. So our valley will need to be linked with other communities.

Should it be Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley or eastern Ventura County? Those are questions the commission will decide, and you will have an opportunity to provide your input. Later in the year, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission will hold public hearings to receive input on its plans.

New Panel Holds Key to Minority Political Power in California
New America Media
“Whether communities are kept together or split up makes all the difference in whether the [political] game is fair,” says Rosalind Gold, senior director of policy, research and advocacy at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund in Los Angeles.

“You can have a community that is very actively engaged in the civic process,” she adds, “but if the lines are not drawn in a fair way, then all that work won’t produce political gains and political progress.”

Included in the story is: Who's Who: Meet California's New Citizen Redistricting Commission

Hearings in 50 cities?  Claremont?
There has not been any press coverage, but the twitterverse lit up when the commission set a goal of holding outreach meetings in 50 cities.   Also, the commission said that they will be holding their next set of meetings in Claremont, instead of Sacramento.  And, yes, Claremont is where the Rose Institute, a leading player in redistricting, is located.

Local

Council will look at citizens panel on Sacramento redistricting
Swarm Blog
Sacramento Bee
It's nowhere near a done deal, but City Council members agreed Tuesday night to look at the possibility of a citizens advisory committee to help it wade through the redrawing of Sacramento’s council districts.

City redistricting in 2001 was an honest effort, not Gerrymander
By Councilwoman Lauren Hammond
Sacramento Bee
It may be time for the city to have a citizen commission on redistricting or a professional review panel. If so, we should just do it. There is no need to create a divisive atmosphere or manufacture nefarious intent when neither was present.

San Jose City Council names members to serve on redistricting committee
San Jose Mercury News
The committee's task is to redraw district boundaries based on results of the 2010 Census. It could end up slicing off some areas to make each district as equal in population as possible. The major difficulty occurs when communities and associations don't communicate with committee members. At least that was the problem 10 years ago, according to Dave Fadness, who represents District 10.

Community College Districts
If you are interested in seeing what kind of population changes have happened within community colleges in the past 10 years, check out the new maps at http://redistrictingpartners.com/community-colleges/ a part of a project between Redistricting Partners and the Community College League.  Like the current Assembly and Senate district estimates, these are imperfect predictions of what the state will look like in April’s US Census release.  However this information does give some direction to College Presidents, Superintendents and Trustees.

National

Odds good for Democrats as Nevada adds a seat
Washington Post
Explosive growth in the Las Vegas area means Nevada will gain a congressional seat in 2012. And that's likely to benefit Democrats.

This is the eighth in an occasional series in the Washington Post that focuses on the decennial redistricting process in key states. Check out the others: Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and California