California's Citizen Redistricting Commission is coming into focus. The first eight commissioners were chosen at random from a final pool today. And before the end of the year, they will go on to pick six more colleagues from the remaining 28 finalists.
Who have we got so far? A former director of the U.S. Census Bureau who was appointed twice... by President Nixon and President Carter. The owner of a pair of independent bookstores. A couple of lawyers, a statistical analyst, an urban planner. A few have experience in local government. The group is balanced between Democrats, Republicans and those with a different party affiliation -- or none.
One thing that sets our new commissioners apart from most Californians? All but one of the folks selected by random drawing have a household income of more than $75,000. The state median is about $60,000.
You can find out more about the folks who were selected, and the remaining finalists, at the website of We Draw the Lines, the California State Auditor's page explaining the the process of creating the commission. If you look under "applicant pool," (lower right on the page) you can even read their applications. Those finalists were chosen from 31,000 applicants.
Earlier this month, voters saved the commission from being abolished before it had a chance to start work. They also expanded the commission's mandate to drawing congressional district boundaries as well as those for the state legislature and board of equalization.
The group of eight will be working through the holidays to choose their remaining colleagues by the end of the year. Then the commission will have until mid August to draw up new political maps for California.