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Cooking the Districts

Monday, March 28, 2011

The big insider news over the weekend was the first circulation of a draft congressional plan from the Cook Report.  It is only available to Cook Report subscribers, but Redistricting Partners has a copy, has analyzed it, and is briefing clients on its ramifications.  A public analysis and maps will be made available this week and emailed to the Redistricting Report list.

State

Cook Political Report: Redistricting Preview: California (requires subscription)

What happens when politicians who have grown accustomed to the luxury of choosing their voters are forced to cede redistricting authority to a group of amateur citizen commissioners? In this gigantic laboratory of reform, more than a handful of incumbents are rightfully fearful they will be sacrificed for science. House Editor David Wasserman maps out some of the most talked-about speculative scenarios and outlines who could be in trouble. A “blank slate” commission map could endanger up to 15 incumbents and create as many as five new opportunities for Hispanic candidates.

Citizens Redistricting Commission is taking partisan fire before it draws a single line
Contra Costa Times
The idyllic island voters envisioned where grown-ups would gather in white flowing robes and draw harmonious congressional and legislative districts has sunk into the cold, cold sea.  OK, I'm kidding about the white robes.

Mercury News editorial: Criticism of redistricting commission wildly off-base
San Jose Mercury News
California's new redistricting commission is working furiously to meet its Aug. 15 deadline for redrawing legislative lines. Partisans are busy too -- trying to smear its 14 members with wild accusations. Don't be fooled. The criticism aims only to undermine the commission's credibility and generate political support.

Interview with Professor Jessica Levinson
Red Racing Horses
Q. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 33-19, with one open seat, in the present California congressional delegation. If the result of the 2012 election is a 40-13 split, will you be shocked?  A:  No, actually. I won't be shocked.

Q:  What about 45-8?  A: I'd need to see a map of how that happened before I could pass judgment. Part of the uncertainty is that we're dealing with 20 years, not 10, of demographic changes. Ten years ago there just wasn't much of an effort to deal the population changes in California, in an effort to simply secure incumbents. So there are essentially two decades of population shifts to account for now.”

Redistricting called cause of state budget impasse
San Francisco Chronicle
It might sound crazy, but some political insiders think the budget impasse has less to do with anti-tax conservatives than redistricting.

Palm Springs Congressional District
Flash Report
A few months ago I posted here a quick look at the Congressional seat currently occupied by Congresswoman Bono Mack. Now that the data is in it is probably worse that I expected. The big issue for her is if Imperial County is included in her district, or in the one currently represented by Congressman Filner (possible candidate for Mayor of San Diego).

Redistricting panel to tour state, hold 67 hearings
Ventura County Star
As a retiree whose children are grown, Gabino Aguirre figured the first thing he should do in helping to arrange public hearings for the Citizens Redistricting Commission was to ask fellow commissioners about potential scheduling conflicts. Their unanimous response, he said, was that they had made a commitment and were willing to put their personal and professional lives on hold for the next five months.

Our View: Merced County needs to be free of Section 5
Merced Sun-Star
We strongly endorse efforts by local officials to remove Merced County from a spurious list of places that have been ruled as racist. Technically called Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the list includes us, three other California counties and nine entire states, most in the Deep South.

Interactive map: Where congressional districts will change the most
Sacramento Bee
Changes in California’s population over the past decade will shift some legislative and congressional seats from Democratic-voting coastal areas – such as San Francisco and Los Angeles – to more conservative inland areas this year.

Redistricting efforts likely to overlap in complex ways
Modesto Bee
A massive effort to redraw political boundaries is under way to ensure every American is equally represented by elected officials. California's congressional and state legislative districts will be redrawn by a politically neutral citizens committee.

Local legislators face redistricting uncertainty
Napa Valley Register
Napa County’s legislators in Sacramento will be sitting on the sidelines as a special commission sits down this year to redraw the boundaries of their home districts.

Redistricting panel shows true colors of ideology
Sacramento Bee
If those who volunteered for the state's new redistricting commission believed that it would be a convivial civic exercise, last week's initial clashes over hiring legal and demographic advisers proved otherwise.

Dan Walters: California GOP hits sharp skid
Sacramento Bee
While the state's new redistricting commission should shift legislative and congressional seats from Democrat-voting coastal counties to Republican-leaning inland areas, it's not likely to result in any major gain of GOP power.

California Redistricting Assistance Sites - Now Open
The Redistricting Group at Berkeley Law (affiliated with the Statewide Database) has opened six technical assistance sites in the following locations: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fresno, Sacramento and Berkeley.

From the Twitterverse

@lucasoconnor Lesson I learned here: total ignorance about a place makes redistricting it infinitely easier. http://bit.ly/hXOF3H

@funboxcomedy: Good Wil Redistricting #gopmovies

National

The GOP’s Census problem
Washington Post

When the Census released its reapportionment totals in December, much of the focus was on the new seats in red states, and how it was a good thing for Republicans. The data released by Census on Thursday, though, shows how those same population shifts are creating new challenges for the GOP.

Local

County springs into action on redistricting
Mountain Democrat
El Dorado County’s population grew by 16 percent in the past 10 years – from about 156,000 to just over 181,000. The 2010 census data show that El Dorado Hills grew by 77 percent during the period, while South Lake Tahoe lost about 9 percent.

Ex-Supervisor Moheno joins county redistricting effort. will handle outreach
Visalia Times Delta
Lali Moheno said the past few days have been nerve-wracking for her.  Not surprising. Just a few days ago, Tulare County Supervisor Phil Cox called her to ask if her Visalia public-relations firm would oversee the process of getting public input for the new committee tasked with developing a plan to re-draw the boundaries of the county's five voting districts.

Watsonville prepares to redraw council district lines
Santa Cruz Sentinel
During the past 10 years, hundreds of new homes transformed a landscape of open fields and orchards along East Lake Avenue and Ohlone Parkway. Now the new neighborhoods at the city’s eastern and western edges could change the political geography as an effort gets under way to redraw boundaries for City Council districts in response to new population figures from the 2010 U.S. census.

Forums and hearings planned as release of census figures advances county redistricting effort
Banning Record Gazette
The process for drawing new Board of Supervisors’ district boundaries will include community forums in April and at least two public hearings in June and July where residents will be able to discuss mapping proposals and offer plans of their own before new district lines are approved.