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California Citizens Redistricting Commission

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Revision as of 07:06, 23 December 2011 by Polycal (Talk | contribs)

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See also: Redistricting in California
We Draw The Lines
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) is a state agency created by the passage of California Proposition 11 (2008). It will draw the boundary lines for California state legislative districts and Board of Equalization districts after each decennial census.[1] The successful passage of Proposition 20 on November 2, 2010 means that the CCRC is also be in charge of re-drawing district lines for California's U.S. Congressional delegation.

After a complex selection process, the Commission includes fourteen members.[2]

Nine members of the Commission were chosen by an Applicant Review Panel. The ABR was required to choose 3 members from California's "largest party" as calculated by voter registration, 3 members of the second largest party, and 3 members who did not indicate an affiliation with either of those parties on their voter registration.

With the advent of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, California joins eleven other states as states where commissions are used to draw the boundaries of state legislative districts. According to Douglas Johnson, a redistricting scholar at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, California's new commission goes the furthest of all the state redistricting commissions in terms of how much power it gives to a panel of members largely chosen at random.[2]

An attempt on the November 2, 2010 ballot to do away with the CCRC by repealing Proposition 11 (2008) through Proposition 27 (2010) was unsuccessful, with 59.5% of voters in favor of keeping the CCRC.

Names of the 14 members

The 14 people ultimately chosen to serve on the CCRC are:[3]

Democrats

  • Cynthia Dai (chosen in a lottery-style drawing on November 18, 2010)
  • Elaine Kuo (chosen in November 18 drawing, she later resigned and was replaced by Angelo Ancheta)[4][5]
  • Jeanne Raya (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Gabino Aguirre (chosen by first 8 members) Ventura County
  • Maria Blanco (chosen by first 8 members) Los Angeles County

Republicans

  • Vincent Barabba (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Jodie Filkins Webber (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Peter Yao (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Gil Ontai (chosen on December 15 by first 8 members) San Diego County
  • Michael Ward (chosen on December 15 by first 8 members) Orange County

Unaffiliated/"Other Party"

  • Stanley Forbes (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Connie Galambos Malloy (chosen in November 18 drawing)
  • Michelle DiGuilio-Matz (chosen on December 15 by first 8 members) San Joaquin County[6]
  • M. Andre Parvenu (chosen on December 15 by first 8 members) Los Angeles County

Applicant Review Panel

The first step in choosing the nine members of the CCRC was the creation of an "Applicant Review Panel." The ABR was chosen by drawing "the names of three qualified independent auditors from a pool consisting of all auditors employed by the state and licensed by the California Board of Accountancy at the time of the drawing. The State Auditor shall draw until the names of three auditors have been drawn including one who is registered with the largest political party in California based on party registration, one who is registered with the second largest political party in California based on party registration, and one who is not registered with either of the two largest political parties in California."

The randomly-selected list of the three members of the ABR was announced on November 16, 2009. They are:[7]

  • Nasir Ahmadi. Ahmadi has been an independent auditor with the California State Auditor’s Office for fifteen years. He is the member of the ABR who is a registered Republican. He currently serves as a Senior Auditor Evaluator II. He participates in the California State Auditor’s recruiting program, and has a B.S. in Accounting from California State University-San Diego.
  • Mary Camacho. Camacho is a Senior Auditor Evaluator II with the California State Auditor's Office. Her voter registration indicates her party affliation as "decline-to-state." Before joining the staff of the California State Auditor, she worked for ten years at the Department of Finance, conductng independent audits of state government entities. Camacho earned a B.S. in Accounting at California State University-Sacramento and is an active Certified Public Accountant.
  • Kerri Spano. Spano has worked for the California State Auditor’s Office since 2007. She is the member of the ABR who is a registered Democrat. In her position at the auditor's office, she investigates improper activities by state employees. She worked with the Department of Justice for six years, and the Department of Finance for three years prior to joining the state auditor's office. Camacho earned a B.S. in Accounting at California State University-Sacramento and is an active Certified Public Accountant.

Pace of applications

Applications for membership on the commission began to flow in on December 15, the day set for the start of the application process. 1,761 people applied in the first two days.[8] The initial application process concluded on February 12, 2010 with about 31,000 applications. 26,000 of these applications were judged to have met the basic, formal requirements for an application.[9]

Shaun Bowler, a professor of political science at the University of California-Riverside, said that the number of applicants is "a sign of just how engaged or enraged people are by the political process."[10]

Timeline

  • December 15, 2009-February 12, 2010: Online application period
  • February 16-April 2, 2010: Supplemental application filing period for most qualified applicants
  • April 7-July 19, 2010: ABR reviewed applicant qualifications and narrowed down the field to 120 candidates
  • July 20-September 13, 2010: ABR interviewed 120 candidates
  • September 14-30, 2010: ABR narrowed the field of applicants down to 60.
  • October 1-November 15, 2010: Legislature strikes 24 names from the list of 60 names, narrowing the list down to 36.
  • November 15-November 20, 2010: The California State Auditor randomly selected 8 names from the remaining 36 candidates.
  • The eight candidates who have been chosen for the CRC are then given the list of the 28 other candidates on the list. They select six names from this list to serve on the final 14-person commission.

Criticisms

Ethnic diversity

42% of California's population is classifed as "non-Hispanic white", whereas 74% of the 7,681 registered voters who had applied for membership on the CCRC by mid-January 2010 are non-Hispanic white. Daniel Lowenstein, who sponsored a ballot initiative that would have eliminatd the CCRC, says, "Nothing is in there to make the commission representative of California, or more importantly, accountable to anyone. People don't like the Legislature, but one advantage is that you get to vote on them every two years."[11]

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, says, "Unfortunately,it seems like our fears are coming true in terms of ending up with a commission not representative of California."[12]

The state has awarded a $1.3-million contract for minority recruitment to Ogilvy Public Relations. The advertising agency is charged with "barbershop and beauty salon outreach", among other outreach techniques. Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who opposed Proposition 11 said that the barbershop and beauty salon language is "ludicrous and laughable" and shows "no sensitivity to the African American community."[12]

Manipulated by Democratic Party

Pro Publica, a national investigative journalism organization, released a story on December 21, 2011 that alleged that the CCRC had been manipulated by the California Democratic Party:

"The citizens’ commission had pledged to create districts based on testimony from the communities themselves, not from parties or statewide political players. To get around that, Democrats surreptitiously enlisted local voters, elected officials, labor unions and community groups to testify in support of configurations that coincided with the party’s interests.
When they appeared before the commission, those groups identified themselves as ordinary Californians and did not disclose their ties to the party. One woman who purported to represent the Asian community of the San Gabriel Valley was actually a lobbyist who grew up in rural Idaho, and lives in Sacramento.
In one instance, party operatives invented a local group to advocate for the Democrats’ map."[13]

and:

"As part of a national look at redistricting, ProPublica reconstructed the Democrats’ stealth success in California, drawing on internal memos, emails, interviews with participants and map analysis. What emerges is a portrait of skilled political professionals armed with modern mapping software and detailed voter information who managed to replicate the results of the smoked-filled rooms of old.
The losers in this once-a-decade reshaping of the electoral map, experts say, were the state’s voters. The intent of the citizens’ commission was to directly link a lawmaker’s political fate to the will of his or her constituents. But as ProPublica’s review makes clear, Democratic incumbents are once again insulated from the will of the electorate."[13]

External links

References