Redistricting Commission approves final draft maps

July 31, 2011

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved the final drafts of the state’s controversial new district maps today, setting off what many expect to be a flurry of lawsuits over the next two weeks. [CaliforniaWatch]

The commission now has until Aug. 15 to formally certify the maps and present them to the secretary of state. If the maps are not adopted by then, they will be sent to the state Supreme Court, California Watch said.

Special interest groups including the California Friends of the African American Caucus, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans for Fair Redistricting have objected to the lines and threatened to sue.

Last weekend, the commission voted to retain a pair of major San Francisco law firms – Morrison Foerster and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to handle any litigation, which the state has backed by setting aside $1.5 million.

“Ultimately, we would hope that the quality of the maps is such that it will convince everybody that we’ve followed all the criteria, and we’ve done our very best and we have actually been representative of the people of California,” Commission Chairman Gabino Aguirr said. “However, because this is new territory and because of the complexity of what we’ve done, there are some folks who perhaps will not fully understand and appreciate the labor that has gone into this, the transparency of the process, the following of all that criteria and will in fact go to court to challenge us on those levels.”

The move to go with two firms sent a strong message that the commission intends to fight any legal challenges, said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California to California Watch. Schnur said the chances of litigation were “pretty significant,” and that if the maps do end up in the hands of the Supreme Court the result might not be so bad for voters.

“At this point it seems almost certain that there will be a legal challenge,” he said, adding that when the court stepped in 20 years ago the results were the most equitable maps the state has seen “in a generation.”

“Giving this to the courts may have been the best reform to begin with,” he said. “But it would have been impossible to pass an initiative to do that in the first place.”

Formed when voters approved Proposition 11 in 2008, the commission must consider a variety of factors when drawing the maps, including geographical compactness, keeping communities of interest together and protecting minority representation pursuant to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, California Watch added.

While some legislators find themselves in districts with multiple incumbents under the new maps, many districts are now without a single lawmaker, prompting at least 10 legislators to already announce a run for Congress, according to California Watch.

At least nine of the 14 commissioners must vote yes, including three yes votes each from Republicans, Democrats and those affiliated with neither party, in order to approve the final draft.


8 Comments

  1. rogerfreberg says:

    It’s funny in San Luis Obispo that my supervisorial district sneaks all the way down from Cambria to scoop up me and Christine Mulholland… even though we are near ‘water’ ( Laguna Lake), I guess we share a lot in common with the ocean communities. Gerrymandering is as much about exclusion as inclusion.

    There are a lot of special interests who will be unhappy with these proposed changes… and although I haven’t seen them… by the loudness of the ‘squeeling’, I guess they must be pretty good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. SewerHeightsRez says:

    As long as you’re googling you might want to throw in “ribbon of shame”. I wonder how many people here are even aware of it? Not too many I’ll bet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • zaphod says:

      most up to date news based article I could find STAR
      It would be a tragedy to get rid of a ribbon of shame, only to have it be replaced by a whole carpet of crud.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • ApathyWillKillYou says:

      SewerHeightsRez

      I was not previously aware of the term “ribbon of shame”. Thanks for bringing that to light.

      It is another example of GERRYMANDERING and once again proves that this age old tactic is not immune to either major party or any influences to “stack the deck”.

      To me it is obvious that elected ‘officials’ regardless of party (in most cases, but not all) are completely discconected from their constituency to the point they serve not the districts they represent but special interests and others that contribute to the perpetuation of ‘business as usual’ with absolute no regard to do the right thing!

      Prop 11 is a step in the right direction, but ‘we the people’ need to insure the pure intent of neutralism in redistricting is upheld and not corrupted by those many in power that have let down the common voter too many times!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. willie says:

    ApathyWillKillYou

    It initally looked good, don’t tell me its another one of those apples disguised by serpent politicians again to stealth pass us.

    I don’t put anything pass them.

    Thank you for informing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • ApathyWillKillYou says:

      The ‘proof will be in the pudding’ as to the many to come interpretaions of the redistricting final outcome.

      But you can be sure there is tremendous pressure on those commisioners from politicians and special interests!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. willie says:

    Wow
    I hope it goes through.
    We in the Central Coast can have better control of our area.
    The only thing we have to watch out for is some slick politician begiling his/her way into office in our area!

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  5. ApathyWillKillYou says:

    Redistricting of geographical voting by area is required every 10 years based on the US Census.

    Unfortunately this redistricting process has been corrupted for decades by a process known as:

    GERRYMANDERING

    Put simply districts are redrawn based on past voting history. On a map sometimes these districts take on bizzare shapes sometimes even going for miles only 10′ wide to pick up only one consistent party line voter!

    These districts in the past have been divided up, behind closed doors, by the very same politicians who benefit from the calculated outcome of an election.

    GERRYMANDERING has been the main reason unpopular elected officials or at least highly favor one party over the other, get relected term after term.

    GERRYMANDERING at is best (actually worst) is by far the largest contributor to misrepresenting the voters and even allows for some politicians to get elected with hardly any campaining at all.

    The fuss in California is that recently the voters took away redistricting powers from the elected politicians and placed it in the hands of appointed commisioners whose motives will always be in question.

    I urge each and every voter to GOOGLE GERRYMANDERING and learn all you can about this process that has allowed the fox to live in the hen house for years!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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