Category: California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission

GOP Referendum on California State Senate Districts Qualifies for November Ballot – But Who Cares?


The Los Angeles Times has the news story which dropped last Friday.

California voters will get a chance in November to decide whether to approve new boundaries for state Senate districts drawn by a citizens panel. Republican activists qualified a referendum on the controversial maps Friday.

Elections officials determined that the group Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting turned in 511,457 valid signatures of registered voters, about 6,000 more than were needed to put the referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“FAIR will be asking voters in November to vote ‘no’ on these faulty Senate maps, so that new, fair and competitive districts can be drawn and put into place for the rest of the decade,” said Dave Gilliard, a Republican political consultant for the group. He said the districts were gerrymandered by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which used new census data to redraw the 40 Senate districts.

Scott Lay over at The Nooner has the why care part.

The long and short of it is:

The California Supreme Court has ruled that the California Citizen’s Redistricting boundary lines WILL be used for this November’s election. So, even if the referendum is approved the whole matter will revert back to the California Supreme Court who then has the power to redraw the lines anyway they wish.

Court and political pundits surmise that even though the people will throw out the Redistricting Committee’s lines via the ballot (and a big if at that), the Supreme Court’s redraw may not be that different anyway.

In the meantime, California Democrats are salivating at the prospects of taking two-thirds control of the State Senate in November.

The GOP will lose 1-4 seats in the State Senate in November, leading to a range from 26-29 members in the house in which 27 is the magic number. Democrats are anxious for 28, knowing that the party is certain to lose an Orange County seat in 2014. Of the four this year, one is a certain Dem pickup (SD17), another is likely (SD27) and two are toss-ups (SD05, SD31).

Also, since the California Republican Party is basically broke, it is doubtful that they will expend any more campaign cash to fund a speculative endeavor. So, the ballot proposition will likely fail at the polls from lack of trying to pass it.

Isn’t that what I said in the first place when the GOP decided to waste money funding the signature gathering?


California Supreme Court Rules Citizen’s Redistricting Commission State Senate Maps To Be Used in 2012


This is a definite blow to the California Republican Party which fears that Democrats using the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission’s Maps will be able to take over two-thirds of the number of California State Senate seats in November – paving the way for tax increases.

The California Supreme Court ruled today that state Senate maps drawn by a citizens commission will be used in this year’s elections, despite a pending referendum to overturn them.

The issue came before the High Court after a Republican-backed group, Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting, filed more than 711,000 signatures with county elections offices in a referendum to overturn Senate maps drawn by a 14-member citizens commission.

Californians will decide the fate of the newly drawn Senate districts in November if 504,760 of the signatures are from valid voters. Legislative candidates must file and run their campaigns before then, however, so justices needed to identify district maps to be in effect immediately.

County elections offices face a Feb. 24 deadline for certifying FAIR’s referendum signatures. Thus far, they have verified 57,761 of 80,127 signatures checked. If the percentage of valid signatures holds steady, 72 percent, the referendum would qualify for the ballot.

Twenty Senate seats are up for grabs this year – and the results carry high-stakes politically.

GOP officials contend that the new, commission drawn lines would give Democrats a strong chance of gaining two additional seats in the Senate, enough to gain the two-thirds supermajority needed to raise taxes or fees.

One has to wonder, however, whether the California GOP would have been better to invest their time and effort on electing more Republicans rather than challenging the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.

The entire California supreme Court decision is here.


Shocker: Californa Democrats Manipulated Citizen’s Redistricting Commission


California Congressional District 30

Not really a shocker and why I NEVER like Commissions – rather make the California Legislature responsible.

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.

California’s Democratic representatives got much of what they wanted from the 2010 redistricting cycle, especially in the northern part of the state. “Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to DC,” said one enthusiastic memo written as the process was winding down. “This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.”

Statewide, Democrats had been expected to gain at most a seat or two as a result of redistricting. But an internal party projection says that the Democrats will likely pick up six or seven seats in a state where the party’s voter registrations have grown only marginally.

The federal courts should throw out the entire findings of the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission and the California Supreme Court should draw the lines.

Then, California voters should repeal the law, the Commission and end this charade.


California GOP Should Concentrate on Voters Not Redistricting Lines


So, says a new op-ed in the San Diego Tribune.

California Republicans are waging war against freshly drawn state Senate district boundaries.

Is it a war of principle? Hardly.

GOP pols fear the new map will help Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the state Senate, stripping Republicans of leverage on tax legislation.

The irony is cruel. Republicans backed ballot initiatives transferring the once-every-decade redistricting duty from self-interested legislators to an independent commission composed equally of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

When Republican strategists got a load of the new maps, however, they vowed to fight the Senate and congressional boundaries in the courts and at the polls.

Unfortunately, the toxic referendum to repeal the new Senate map is gaining traction. The California Republican Party has announced a $400,000 donation to the campaign, which has collected 400,000 signatures. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the November 2012 ballot.

California, it should be noted, has a freighted redistricting history.

In both 1970 and 1990, Republican governors vetoed redistricting plans, forcing the Supreme Court to appoint “special masters” to draw the lines. In 1980, Republicans initiated a successful referendum against Democratic gerrymandering.

If the Republicans qualify the current referendum, it will be 1980 revisited. The new Senate map will be placed on hold until the November 2012 vote. In the meantime, the high court will have to decide if the 2012 Senate elections will rely on the old map (unlikely), the new map (likely) or a court-approved map (not unlikely). Obviously, Republicans are hoping for the latter dice roll.

Instead of pleading for relief from the refs, Republicans should be focusing on playing a stronger game in a state that’s getting bluer every year.

Stop crabbing about districts and run candidates who appeal to independents and Latinos.

Yeah, I agree with this and would like to see the money gathered to support the California State Senate Redistricting referendum go towards a referendum on SB 202 which changes initiative and rerferendum elections to general elections in November only.

But, this may be the strategy.

We will see.


Full-Court Press by California Republican Party for State Senate Redistricting Referendum


And, a nice $400 K donation by the California Republican Party was all that was needed.

Bolstered by a new $400,000 donation from the California Republican Party, officials of a referendum campaign to overturn the state’s newly drawn Senate districts says 400,000 voter signatures have been collected and a full-court-press has been launched for more.

“I’m confident that we’re going to do it,” political strategist David Gilliard, who is running the campaign, said of prospects for gathering the required 504,760 valid voter signatures by Nov. 14 to place the issue before voters next June.

Gilliard said that signature-gathering had slowed temporarily because campaign coffers were draining, but the California Republican Party’s six-figure contribution last week cured the problem and “we were able to unleash our people back again.”

This WILL change the landscape in Sacramento should they get the requisite amount of signatures.

But, referendum supporters will have to obtain about 100,000 signatures in each of the next three weeks.

It appears the referendum filed for the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission’s maps for Congressional Districts has stalled out and proponents are instead relying upon a federal lawsuit to overturn those maps.

Stay tuned…..