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Friday, April 1, 2011

Propositions 11 and 20 Ruled Unconstitutional

In a surprise ruling, the State Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of California’s Redistricting Commission.  The immediate effect is a clearing of the calendars by reporters and editorial boards who were prepared for another day of commission bashing.  The most recent scuttlebutt is over commissioner’s use of Macintosh computers, the popular hardware choice of Democrats and other Liberals.  Expect a number of “I’m not retiring afterall” announcements by sitting members of congress and an appeal by the State’s Realtors and moving companies who were looking forward to the post-redraw increase in business.

State

Redistricting commission should avoid the hype, get down to work
Capitol Weekly
When the redistricting commission selection process started it was expected to form a group of political professors and non-profit types who would oversee the dry and technical job of drawing districts.  The process seemed rigged against anyone with political experience, ideological agenda, or interest in the limelight.  It would essentially be an oversized jury.  Hearings would be public, but the members would be tight lipped and judicious in their public engagement.

Corrupting the Redistricting Commission, Part II
Tony Quinn for Fox & Hounds Daily
The Citizens Redistricting Commission is taking a page from Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling and incompetent French detective in the Pink Panther movies whose crime investigations always suffer from his own ineptitude. After a corrupt process of selecting a line drawing specialist which I detailed in my post last week, it now turns out that the law firm they hired as their Voting Rights Act “experts” is equally tainted.

North Coast Congress (includes prospective map)
Matt Rexroad for Flash Report
Today I share a North Coast Congressional seat that follows Highway 101.  The interesting thing about this seat is that no Member of Congress currently lives in it.  The district is currently represented by both Congressman Mike Thompson and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. 

You Draw the Lines (with maps)
Record-Searchlight
The question remains about which counties are rightly grouped together in the northern rural districts. The long-time custom is to have, more or less, districts that follow the north-south highways --- 101, I-5 and 395.
Part 2: You Draw the Lines
Part III: OK, so while we're gerrymandering

Redistricting hype

Press-Enterprise
Californians created a new redistricting method in the hopes of improving a polarized, poorly functioning government. And voters should let the panel do its work before listening to political insiders try to discredit a process they can no longer manipulate.

Video: Citizens Redistricting Commissioners Explain Their Job
KQED News Fix
Two commissioners from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, Vince Barabba from Capitola and Connie Galambos Malloy from Alameda, appeared on Forum today, discussing their work and some of the criticism that is already being thrown at the Commission.

Lawyers' connections put California's redistricting contract on hold
Contra Costa Times
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is withholding final signature on a contract with its newly hired federal voting rights lawyers after staff members discovered undisclosed political activities.

Redistricting commission sets Valley meetings; Fresno late in process
Fresno Bee
The citizens commission charged with drawing new political boundaries for California's congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts will soon be looking for input from citizens up and down the state. Fresno, however, won't get to weigh in until after the commission releases its first draft of proposed maps. That day is scheduled for June 10. Fresno's meeting is slated for June 23.

National

Uneasiness in California and Florida
National Journal
The decennial redistricting process is a humbling experience for many members of Congress. They must head home, proverbial hats in hand, and beg state legislators tasked with redrawing district boundaries to help them stay in office.

Congressional Redistricting: Is Creating “Safe” Districts a Dying Art?
Sabato’s Crystal Ball
It is conventional wisdom these days that congressional district lines in most places are drawn to protect incumbents of both parties. But if that is the case, the cartographers in many states last time out did not do a very good job. More House incumbents were beaten under the current lines than in any other period since the 1970s.

Blacks seek new clout in once-white suburbs

AP
With more blacks moving from city to suburb, the National Urban League says it is worried states may improperly seek to stem the political clout of African-Americans as they spread into historically white districts.

Local

Supervisors could play favorites in redistricting
Orange County’s Board of Supervisors could make it easier for their allies to get elected when they draw the new lines for their districts – but some say it would be so obvious that such monkey business is unlikely.

San Diego: Slater-Price picks North County resident to fill redistricting vacancy
North County Times
A North County resident may help reshape the boundaries of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors after all. Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who represents much of coastal North County plus Escondido, on Tuesday selected Del Mar area resident Dennis Ridz to fill an opening on the county's Redistricting Advisory Committee.

Riverside County: Redistricting gets under way
Riverside Press-Enterprise
Hunched over large maps -- with markers in hand  - Riverside County's redistricting committee began trying Tuesday to figure out how to divide more than 2 million residents into five equal districts.

Alameda County sets schedule for redistricting
The Oakland Tribune
If all goes as planned, Alameda County could have new supervisorial districts by the end of July. The county's board of supervisors Tuesday approved a schedule for redrawing county districts based on the 2010 U.S. Census numbers.

Two new spots on redistricting committee
Sacramento Press
Two seats are still available on the city’s redistricting advisory committee. The Sacramento City Council decided Tuesday to reopen the application period after Latino residents said they were concerned that Latinos were not represented on the committee.

Comedy Hour at City Council
The City Maven
How many people live in Los Angeles? It sounds like a simple enough question but at today’s Los Angeles City Council meeting, the question may as well have been: Who’s on first? During a brief presentation about getting city officials ready for the Redistricting Commission, which will be tasked with redrawing district boundaries based on data from the federal census, Councilman Tom LaBonge asked a city rep how many people live in the Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City Redistricting Underway
USC Annenberg
The city of Los Angeles began its long journey towards redistricting on Wednesday after the City Council approved a motion that requires government officials to name nominees for its redistricting commission by Aug. 17, 2011. 

Census results forcing shift in Contra Costa County supervisorial district boundaries
Contra Costa Times
Contra Costa's eastern and San Ramon Valley supervisorial districts must shrink, while their three counterparts in the western and central portions of the county must expand.