redistricting

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Turning ‘Purple’ — The Inland Empire’s Shifting Voter Demographics

By Steven Cuevas, KPCC Radio

Mark Takano (D), newly elected representative from the 41st Congressional District in the Inland Empire. (MarkTakano.com)

Mark Takano (D), newly elected representative from the 41st Congressional District in the Inland Empire. (MarkTakano.com)

California’s Congressional delegation will include about a dozen new faces next year. Redistricting and the state’s “Top Two” primary system led to an unusual number of competitive races, as well as a few upsets — and Democrats are the beneficiaries.

Of the state’s 53 Congressional districts, 34 are currently represented by Democrats. With Tuesday’s voting, at least one more seat will turn blue, while three other races still appear too close to call.

For starters, parts of the Inland Empire are looking a lot more purple — with areas once seen as Republican strongholds giving way to a wave of Democratic newcomers.

Early on election night, Mark Takano wasn’t yet ready to claim victory as returns showed him ahead of his Republican opponent in the newly drawn 41st Congressional District. “So let’s be patient,” he said, “luxuriate in the feeling we have now and be hopeful that change has come to Riverside.” Continue reading

Meet California’s First Majority Asian-American District

by Alice Walton

Before Assembly District 49 in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley was redrawn, a majority Asian-American state legislative district in California had never existed

Ed Chau (Alice Walton/KPCC)

Now, it’s a busy election season in the 49th, which is just east of Los Angeles and includes the cities of Alhambra, San Gabriel and Monterey Park, sometimes referred to as “the first suburban Chinatown.” In these communities, more than half of the residents were born outside of the United States, and three-quarters speak a language other than English.

Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause, says the Asian-American community has a long history in the region. “The area has become a gateway for a lot of Asian-American immigrants, and it has been that way for 30, 40 years now, to successive waves….” Continue reading

Prop. 40: Candidate for Strangest Ballot Measure Ever

(California Secretary of State)

(California Secretary of State)

There’s a lot to be confused about on this November’s ballot — opaque fundraising, complicated language, unclear outcomes. In a crowded field of confusion, Proposition 40 is one of the leaders in this election, because you have to think twice about voting for the outcome that you want. Tuesday morning on The California Report, host Rachael Myrow spoke with John Myers, political editor for Sacramento’s KXTV, to better understand the proposition.

To start off, Myrow pointed out that Prop. 40 is a referendum, which is different from an initiative.

Here’s the edited transcript of their discussion:

John Myers: A referendum is a different question for the voters, unlike an initiative, which asks the voters to create a law. A referendum asks, “Do you want to overturn an existing law? Do you support an existing law?” So, if you vote “yes” on Prop. 40, you are saying, “Yes, I support the existing law of political districts for the California State Senate.” We may remember that these were drawn by a citizens panel in 2011. A “yes” vote says, “Yes, I like the maps that the independent citizens group drew.” A “no” vote says, “No, I do not like them. I want them redrawn.” So this is a chance for people to weigh in on those maps that were drawn for the State Senate, one of the maps that they drew last year.

Rachael Myrow: It’s good that you mention that, because I think a lot of people think, “Wait a minute, didn’t the Citizens Redistricting Commission have to do with more than just State Senate maps?” But that’s specifically what Proposition 40 is talking about. Continue reading

District 3 Debate: Garamendi v. Vann

No question: redistricting has shaken up the political landscape in California. The newly-drawn District 3 stretches from Rio Vista and Fairfield in the south to Colusa and Willows in the north. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) is running for re-election, but was displaced from his incumbency in District 10 when the new district lines were drawn.

Both Garamendi and his challenger, Republican Kim Vann were guests Friday on KQED’s Forum.

Vann, a former Colusa County supervisor, focused her comments almost exclusively on supporting businesses through the entire discussion. When asked how she would create jobs, she pointed to her record.

“I’ll do it the very same way I’ve done it as a county supervisor,” she told Forum host Dave Iverson, “get government out of the way, make sure that the businesses understand what the rules are, not constantly changing the game and changing rules through over-reaching regulations. Making sure we have a good, solid tax code that people can understand.” Continue reading

Democrats Pin Hopes on Calif. to Gain New Seats

By Amy Isackson

For the last decade, California’s races for the United States House of Representatives have held few surprises. Just one seat has changed parties in the last decade. This election, newly drawn district lines have put California in play and emboldened the Democrats, who are depending on the state, help regain the House majority. However, two races in the Inland Empire shows it will be a tough fight.

Democratic candidate Mark Takano has run his campaign for the House of Representatives out of his two-bedroom condo.

He’s a candidate in a newly formed district in Riverside. The Democratic Party hopes he’ll be able to pick up one of the 25 seats they need nationally to take back the House.

“My living room is a mess,” said Takano.

Volunteers and campaign workers who camp out on the couches have left a trail of stains

“We’ve been saving some money by running everything out of a condo. But I think it is a testament to American democracy that in a humble space such as this, we’re going to change the world,” said Takano. Continue reading

The Home Stretch to California’s Surpisingly Hot June Primary

United States Capitol

Tyche Hendricks/KQED

The June 5 primary may look drama free. After all… The presidential contest? Settled. The U.S. Senate race? Not too exciting.

But thanks to retirements, redistricting and California’s new top-two primary, the conventional wisdom about incumbents having safe seats is being turned on it’s head.

Host Scott Shafer moderated the conversation on Forum Friday, zooming in on several hotly-contested Congressional races and analyzing two political reforms that have completely re-shuffled the deck.

He’s joined by:

  • Carla Marinucci, political writer for The San Francisco Chronicle
  • Eric McGhee, research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and author of “Open Primaries,” a report prepared for PPIC about the possible impacts of Proposition 14
  • Matt Rexroad, Yolo County supervisor, Republican political consultant and founding partner at Meridian Pacific
  • Robert Stern, former president of the Center for Governmental Studies

Take a listen: