Redistricting Maps Official. Soon, Officially Challenged.

August 15, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

KQED/John Myers

You'd be hard pressed to describe the mood of most members of California's first-ever independent redistricting effort as anything other than relieved -- relieved that a very long and complex process has come to its official end with certification of 177 newly created political districts.

But their relief didn't come without a very public airing of some internal commission disagreements, ones which we may hear more about as critics of the maps mount formal challenges in the coming weeks.
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For Some, Redistricting is Splitsville

August 14, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

Rose Institute Web Image

Even with testimony from the public and formal guidelines written into law, California's first-ever citizens redistricting effort has found no easy answers to the question, "What is a community?"

And so, in the statewide maps being certified Monday morning, some will see their communities split between political districts. Others will be lumped together with communities with which they think they have nothing in common.
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Notebook: Vacant Seats, Smaller Donations?

August 6, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Money In Politics · 1 Comment 

The dog days of summer, especially in this unusual year where the Legislature finished its work on deadline and then adjourned for a month, leave a lot of time for contemplation.

Hence, a Reporter's Notebook entry that could be called the "Summer of What If?"
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Competition, Communities Dominate Redistricting Reactions

August 1, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

Rose Institute Web Image

Perhaps Angelo Ancheta, a member of California's Citizens Redistricting Commission, didn't know he was invoking the memory of one of the state's legendary politicians last week as the panel finished its work -- a politician who took great pride as a master of the gerrymander.

"I'm looking at the screen in front of us, and I think that's a work of art," said Ancheta, a Santa Clara University law professor, in praising the commission's newly drawn congressional districts.

And yet it was hard not to flash back to a 1981 quip reportedly made by a different Bay Area map drawer, the late Rep. Phil Burton. The iconic Democrat described the congressional districts he had helped craft as "my contribution to modern art."

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And that, perhaps, helps explain some of the early reactions to the state's newly drawn political boundary lines.
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Redistricting: The Line Dancing Ends

July 29, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 3 Comments 

Rose Institute Web Image

There are two, and only two, options left at this point for the political districts in which Californians will reside for the next decade: the current maps from the state's citizens redistricting panel or as-yet-to-exist maps drawn by judges.

And that second option -- judicial intervention -- only will happen if opponents prevail in court, the voters step in, or a subset of the 14 commissioners change their vote on August 15.
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Podcast: Sue Me Summer

July 15, 2011 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

Now that the budget is wrapped and the Legislature has gone on summer vacation, things are all said and done in Sacramento, right?

Not so fast.

This week's Capital Notes Podcast examines the soon-to-come battles over the budget and its political ramifications. Yes, some of those are lawsuits; but as Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I discuss, it's also a good time to watch the 2012 election issues brewing.

We also discuss the home stretch of the independent redistricting effort... which also looks like a sure bet for legal action.

At least courtrooms have air conditioning, eh? There are worse places to be during the summer heat.

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Redistricting's Final, Controversial, Push

KQED/John Myers

As California's bold experiment with independent redistricting enters the homestretch, it's clear that drawing political boundaries is neither simple nor without controversy.

And for the 14 men and women picked to do the work, the questions will soon be: can it be done unanimously? And can the work product pass legal muster?
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Notebook: Taxes, Maps, Parallel Universes

July 9, 2011 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics, Elections, People · Comments Off 

If there's one sure way to get a reporter's attention, it's to amend a contentious piece of legislation with so many new proposals as to make it a symbolic rallying cry... and... a candidate for political squeeze play of the week.

That's how SB 116 now reads, a taxation/jobs/budget smorgasbord and one of several items worth a look in this week's Reporter's Notebook.
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Round 1 of Political Mapping Complete

June 10, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · Comments Off 

California's much anticipated transition to new and independently drawn political boundaries has cleared a big hurdle, with the citizens commission created by voters in 2008 releasing draft legislative and congressional maps.

And now, some irony. Perhaps the single biggest desire of the voters was to change the political culture of the state... and yet, political ramifications were the one thing the 14 citizen commissioners expressly did not consider.
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Orphans, Fingers, and Curls. Oh My.

June 7, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 9 Comments 

KQED/John Myers

For those who haven't been closely following the months long deliberations of California's first independently drawn political maps, and who will only tune in when the draft maps are released this Friday, prepare to be disappointed. Maybe only a little bit. Maybe a lot.

That's because, try as they might, the 14 men and women picked to oversee the redistricting process can't please everyone.
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