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Monday, March 21, 2011

 

"...Who Cares?"

 

Last week saw the final pieces being set at the California Citizen's Commission with the hiring of their line drawer and legal counsel.  At the same time organizations around the state continue to build their own redistricting advocacy groups around the state and city redraws.  Many seem hopeful or anxious, but one Pennsylvania Congressman sums up another viewpoint when he eloquently stated for the Wall Street Journal, "Who Cares?" 

State

California's redistricting panel can't escape partisan pressure
Los Angeles Times
Frustrated by blatant gerrymandering and politicians protecting incumbents above all else, voters took the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts away from state lawmakers and handed it to a new independent body. But as the new Citizens Redistricting Commission hires key staff, it is becoming clear that partisans will not give up power without a fight.

Redistricting panel picks legal consultant despite partisan split
Sacramento Bee
California’s independent redistricting commission chose a legal firm Friday to advise it on minority voting rights, but only after a partisan deadlock ended with one of two finalists withdrawing.  The winner was Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, an international law firm that made headlines last year for successfully challenging California’s ballot measure banning gay marriage.

Bay Area redistricting expert wins state contract to draw new political boundaries
Contra Costa Times
An Oakland firm co-owned by UC Berkeley Statewide Database Center director Karin Mac Donald was chosen to redraw California's political districts under the direction of the new, voter-created independent redistricting commission. 

With three of the four present Republican members dissenting, the commission disqualified the only other bidder, the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, late Saturday on the grounds that it failed to fully disclose 10 years' worth of donors.

End to gerrymandering will benefit San Joaquin
The Stockton Record
The last time around, in 2001, redistricting around San Joaquin County was such a travesty Hiram Johnson, California's great reformer, is still spinning 360s in his grave.The county and the city of Stockton were sliced up like vegetables in a Slapchop. We paid for it in reduced political clout.  Now, redistricting - the redrawing of state political district maps after each census - is coming around again. This time San Joaquin's prospects look very good.

Taking politics out of drawing political districts
The Desert Sun
No longer will they resemble Rorschach inkblots carved out to keep the majority party in power and toss some safe district crumbs to the minority party. Combined with the new top-two primary system in which the top two vote-getters face off in the general election, we could have politically competitive districts in which moderates have a chance of getting elected.

From the Tiwtterverse:

@MattRexroad: Tony Krvaric (Karen MacDonald) is impartial as I am an astronaut. Best redistricting comment of the day.

@stevenmaviglio: Rose Institute is to redistricting as the Tobacco Institute is to smoking. Biased and unbelieveable. #wedrawthelines

@KQED_CapNotes: #CAGOP chair Nehring: "Republicans & Democrats must take a radically different approach" in CA after Prop14 & Redistricting. #crp

@cmarinucci: GOP frmr chair Sean Steele says when Calif redistricting lines are redrawn Aug 26,"2/3 of Democrats won't be representing their own districts"

National

GOP plays it safe on redistricting
Politico
House Republican leaders won’t acknowledge it publicly, but the outline of the GOP’s national strategy for drawing new congressional maps is taking shape. The operating principle: Don’t get greedy.

AND MORE: Open Mic on this issue: is this a smart strategy for Republicans or are they potentially leaving seats on the table? And California’s 53 House seats will be drawn by an independent commission. Will Democrats or Republicans have an advantage, or is too early to tell?  Frost/Norquist Murphy answer.

The top 10 states to watch in redistricting

Washington Post
Regular Fix readers know about our “Mapping the Future” series, which goes through each state and how the map might be drawn.But if you don’t have time to read about every state, which are the ones you should pay the most attention to — and why?  [Editor: California is #4]

There Comes a Time When People Just Have to Set Boundaries
Wall Street Journal
Just in time for the once-a-decade process of redrawing U.S. House lines, a set of computer programs for hobbyists has arrived that bring redistricting to the basement.

"Isn't technology wonderful?" said Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle after looking at an email of his hypothetical district. "Some guy from California drew a map. In Pittsburgh, there are two words for that: Who cares?"

Local

Sacramento's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Join the City Redistricting Process
There’s never been an openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender city council member in Sacramento. The L-G-B-T community is hoping to change that with a city redistricting committee.