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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

State

DIANNE HARDISTY: Redistricting: a nightmare for many
Bakersfield Californian
Republican dream: Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, will lose the tail of his 20th Congressional District, which swoops down into the Democratic-leaning Kern County neighborhoods that gave Costa his narrow victory in 2010. Costa decides not to seek re-election in 2012.

Democratic dream: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Rep. Devin Nunez, R-Visalia, of the neighboring 22nd and 21st Congressional Districts, are redrawn into the same district. They duke it out and one is gone.

Every politician's nightmare: Having no real power over their political fates, they will wake up some day in August and discover that California's Citizens Redistricting Commission has so drastically redrawn their district's boundary lines that they will have to move into another district to stay in office, fight one or more politicians in their own party to get re-elected, or face contrary voting blocs that they have long avoided.

Dan Walters: State's political deck is full of wild cards for 2012
Modesto Bee
The lines of 53 congressional districts and 120 legislative districts are bound to change a lot. Population shifts will mean few districts along the coast and more inland. Latinos will probably gain at the expense of white politicians.

Incumbent legislators and congressional members could find themselves thrown together in new districts. A high number of retirements is likely, especially among congressional incumbents of both parties.

Matt Rexroad, a Yolo County supervisor and Republican political consultant, has pointed out in an Internet analysis the high number of California congressional members who are 65 or older and might not want to risk re-election in newly drawn districts.

California Republican Redistricting Hypocrisy over UC Berkeley's Statewide Database
Steve Maviglio for the California Majority Report
Our friends at the uber-right "Flash Report" have been spewing their usual red meat rhetoric about the new Citizens Redistricting Commission and its staff, accusing it of being tilted towards Democrats. In a Flash Report blog yesterday, GOP stalwart Mike Spence writes: "Now we know the Commission has decided to be partisan and go with the Democrats," lashing out at the respected UC Berkeley Database Director Karin MacDonald.

Mention of redistricting sends audience member fleeing
Riverside Press Enterprise
Jodie Filkins Webber was sitting in a banquet room on Tuesday, Feb. 15, listening to the mayors of Corona, Norco and Eastvale answer questions from the audience.  Suddenly, Filkins Webber bolted from the room as if it were on fire.  Actually, the reason was a hot subject -- redistricting. Someone had asked the mayors for their views on it.  Filkins Webber, a Norco lawyer, is a member of a new state panel that will redraw political lines after the release of new census figures.

National

Pols grease state lawmakers' palms
Politico
Even as they spent furiously on their 2010 campaigns, House Democrats and Republicans were quietly doling out cash in preparation for their next battle for survival: the upcoming round of redistricting.   The exercise in political palm-greasing funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to state legislators who could control their fate this year when the new congressional maps are drawn.

Lawyers lining up for costly redistricting battle
Star Telegram
When he was chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Tom Phillips presided over several cases involving political redistricting.  Now a partner in the Baker Botts law firm, the 61-year-old attorney is revisiting the issue from a different perspective as a $10,000-a-month legal adviser for the House of Representatives.

"I guess the redistricting process employs a lot of lawyers," said Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, a member of the Senate redistricting panel.

State One Person, One Vote Still Unsettled

Stateline
Just how equal is equal enough? For state legislative districts, that’s a key legal issue that remains unresolved. The muddle comes from two relatively obscure court cases originating in the last redistricting cycle.

Local

REGION: Riverside County getting ready to redraw boundaries
North County Times
Riverside County officials are gearing up to redraw political boundary lines in response to the 2010 Census, and they anticipate having to substantially reshape Supervisor Jeff Stone's Southwest County district.

That's because his 3rd District has grown faster than the other four districts over the last 10 years.

Long Beach redistricting on way
Long Beach Press-Telegram
The City Council discussed the criteria for redistricting, stressed the need for public input into the process, and questioned how council members can avoid the rancor that arose the last time the council sliced up Long Beach in 2001.

Editorial: Citizens should help redraw supervisorial districts
Marin Independent Journal Editorial
Supervisors, to their credit, are planning to have at least three public hearings on the proposed lines. But the additional step of formally including an independent citizens panel in the process would be in keeping with the theory that the lines are about representing the people, not serving the interests of politicians.