New California redistricting commission starts its work
By Kyle Maichle
The main purpose of the conference is to release estimated population figures and discuss the commission's redistricting procedures to the public. Also, six additional members to the commission will be named during the conference. This will be done by the eight-member board that currently serves on the commission. When done, 5 Republican, 5 Democratic, and 4 unaffiliated voters will round out the Commission. The initial eight members appointed to the Commission were selected from a pool of 30,000 applicants.
As the Commission moves along, many questions have to be answered on how the public, legislators, and political observers view the new procedure. California Democratic Party State Chairman John Burton has vocally expressed reservations about the process. Burton said: "whoever these people are, they will be run by whoever the staff is, because they will not have a clue about anything."
The newly appointed commissioners will undergo multiple days of additional meetings on state and federal laws governing the process of redistricting. Also, commissioners will be briefed on the state's open meetings law in addition to all redistricting procedures. Commissioners will be planning to conduct an extensive series of public hearings in 2011. The hearings will shape the political landscape of the State of California for the next decade.