Category: California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission

CA-30: Howard Berman Vs. Brad Sherman – Two Jews, One District


California Congressional District 30

This epic Clash of the Titans now has its own blog over at the Jewish Journal.

Now, that the Republican sponsored Congressional District referendum appears to be DEAD, this race should either heat up or Rep. Brad Sherman starts doing events in CA-24 (for a possible race against Rep. Elton Gallegly).


FAIR Files Lawsuit to Overturn the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission’s State Senate Districts


FAIR (Fairness and Accountability In Redistricting) has already filed a referendum on the matter and are in the process of collecting signatures. But, now FAIR is going to court as well.

Aruging that California’s newly drawn Senate districts are unconstitutional, a Republican Party-backed group says it is filing a lawsuit today asking the California Supreme Court to kill the new maps.

“We believe there are serious constitutional flaws in the maps produced by the redistricting commission, and these are matters that the Supreme Court should look at immediately,” spokesman David Gilliard said.

Gilliard’s group, Fairness and Accountability In Redistricting (FAIR), also is collecting signatures in a referendum drive aimed at asking voters to reject the newly drawn Senate districts in a statewide election next June.

California’s 40 state Senate, 80 Assembly and 53 congressional districts were drawn for the first time this year by a 14-member independent panel, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, rather than by the Legislature.

Gilliard’s group has raised nearly $500,000 thus far for its two-pronged effort to kill the Senate maps, including $188,000 from the California Republican Party and a cumulative $200,000 from current or past GOP state senators.

Many political analysts have said the new districts 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.

The lawsuit alleges:

  • Eleven of the districts do not adequately consider compactness, contiguity, communities of interest, and existing county boundary lines.
  • Two major counties, Sacramento and San Bernardino, are unnecessarily split into six different districts.
  • The maps violate federal law by reducing the voting power of Latinos in Monterey, Santa Clara and the San Fernando portion of Los Angeles County.

The lawsuit also asks the California Supreme Court to ask special appointed court masters to draw interim state senate boundaries, if FAIR qualifies the referendum for the ballot.

Stay tuned…..


CA-30: Clash of the Titans – Howard Berman Vs. Brad Sherman


California Congressional District 30

This will be a monstrous battle between veteran and long time Democratic Congressman Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, providing one does not blink and move to a neighboring district, like the one in Ventura County CA-26.

Here is the demographic breakdown for CA-26.

Rep. Brad Sherman has represented Thousand oaks in the past and the demographics which are not as blatantly gerrymandered in Democratic registration is competitive for him. But, the incumbent in this district who now lives just outside CA-26 is Rep. Elton Gallegly and he has NOT announced his intentions – either to run in CA-26, run against GOP Rep. Buck McKeon in his new home district (Simi Valley) or retire.

Plus, there is a referendum petition circulating since Friday and this could throw all of the new California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission Congressional Districts out. What a headache, if you are an incumbent POL.

In any case, Scott Lay has this excellent analysis of this Berman Vs. Sherman top two battle in CA-30, if the election were to be held tomorrow.

Currently, CD30 is a three-way race with Berman, Sherman and actor-businessman Mark Reed. Now, with full respect to Mark Reed, the voter performance in this district would require an October surprise against a Dem to win. In this world, however, anything is possible (such as a Republican winning NY-9 next Tuesday). The goal is to survive and have a chance to be on the ballot in November.

Now, for Berman and Sherman, their goal should be to keep Reed in the race and to knock the other off in June.  After setting aside Mark Reed’s nearly guaranteed 29%, there is 71% up for grabs.  It’s probably more like 67%, as John McCain received 33% in CD30 in 2008. Therefore, if Berman and Sherman are equally popular, we probably have a pie divided up three ways. 

If I am Berman or Sherman, I would be focused on making nice with Reed, and going for the jugular of the other -erman. While it’s hard to see the candidates doing this overtly, it certainly could draw the attention of a SuperPAC looking to curry favor with a certain member of Congress. Again, we’re talking about the difference between French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean, but individuals do matter in the ranking committee system of Congress.

For Berman, it’s the recording industry–a huge player in the district, in Washington, and specifically in House Judiciary (where Berman is the #2 Dem). For Sherman, the interests are less identifiable as his committees are not juice. However there is a growing push for intellectual property reform from wealthy leaders in Silicon Valley, who might be persuaded Berman is too close to Hollywood and who could write some big checks.

Here is the demographic map for CA-30:

My bet is that Rep. Brad Sherman moves to CA-26 when Rep. Gallegly decides to retire – at the last minute. Then, the race may be between Republican California State Senator Tony Strickland, Republican Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks and Democrat Rep. Sherman.

In a three way race, Sherman could finish third there too.

Stay tuned…..


Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 12, 2011


Hearst Caste, San Simeon, California

The California Legislature is not in session (left Sacramento on Saturday), but Governor Jerry Brown is considering a number of bills to either sign, veto or allow become law.

On to today’s headlines.

Congressional redistricting referendum cleared for signature-gathering

Opponents of new congressional district maps recently drawn by a citizens commission may begin a petition drive for a referendum effort to overturn the maps, the secretary of state’s office announced Friday.

Proponents of the referendum, led by Republicans who feel the maps unfairly put their party at a disadvantage in coming elections, now have less than 90 days in which to collect the 504,760 registered voter signatures required to put the matter on the June 2012 ballot.

Earlier, another group of Republicans began collecting signatures for a referendum to overturn the California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s set of state Senate maps.

Los Angeles County remap fight fuels angst

The political angst that has followed an independent commission’s redrawing of 177 legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization districts is being duplicated on a smaller scale in hundreds of local governments.

Cities, counties, school districts and other local agencies that elect boards from districts must also reconfigure them to equalize populations as reported in the 2010 census, while following federal Voting Rights Act guidelines to protect non-white communities’ political standing.

The state’s most traumatic local redistricting battle is in Los Angeles County, whose nearly 10 million residents are divvied up among just five supervisorial districts.

When the board consisted of five white men a generation ago, they were dubbed “the five little kings.” It even had a Republican majority during the 1980s, thanks to a political misstep by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in filling a board vacancy.

As the county’s ethnic makeup changed dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s, however, the board also evolved, albeit reluctantly.

It took a court decision to create a Latino seat that’s been occupied for the past two decades by Gloria Molina. There’s also one black man, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and three white men, one of whom, Zev Yaroslavsky, is Jewish, and two of whom are Republicans, Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich.

Calif. bill would protect unlicensed drivers from arrest

A bill loaded with immigration politics and potential implications for highway safety has landed on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The legislation by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, would change police procedures at drunken-driving checkpoints, prohibiting officers from arresting drivers and immediately impounding their cars if their only offense is not having a license.

Supporters say the bill, AB353, would impose a consistent policy statewide – some agencies confiscate unlicensed drivers’ cars now, and some do not – while keeping DUI checkpoints from being turned into traps for otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants who cannot obtain licenses.

“In most parts of California, you basically have to have a car,” said Mark Silverman, director of immigration policy at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “You have to be able to drive to survive, to get anywhere. Because of that, the truth is, immigrant drivers without licenses will be driving anyway because of the necessity. The towing of cars will not stop people from driving.”

But for families who have lost loved ones because of unlicensed drivers, the bill would endanger everyone who uses the roads.

Job-creation plan largely ignores housing woes

President Obama’s new jobs-creation plan all but ignores what many economists see as the single biggest problem in the stalling economy: the continuing depression in the housing market.

Home sales, prices and construction have been bad and have been getting worse for so long that Washington and many Americans have grown numb to the problem.

But dig below the surface and housing turns out to be a root cause of many of the other problems that are getting more attention — including the high level of unemployment that Obama focused on in his speech Thursday to Congress.

“That’s probably the biggest missing ingredient here,” economist Mark Zandi said after reviewing Obama’s proposed $447-billion package of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

More than four years after the sector’s initial collapse, housing has become the economy’s silent killer.

With about one-fourth of all houses in the United States in foreclosure or still underwater — their mortgagesexceeding their market price — millions of Americans face such severe financial problems that they cannot begin to resume their normal roles as consumers, move to new jobs or finance their small businesses.

Many have little prospect of regaining their lost financial security. The housing bust wiped out more than half the $13.5 trillion that homeowners had in equity in early 2006, according to Federal Reserve data.

In addition, the near-halt to construction of new housing has left several million once well-paid workers — many of them with advanced skills and years of experience — either unemployed or just getting by with lower-wage part-time work.

Like the troubled homeowners, most of these workers face long odds against recovering their old middle-class lives unless the industry revives.As for financial institutions, billions of dollars in bad mortgages have become an albatross that undermines lenders’ basic soundness and discourages new lending for almost any purpose. Weighed down by steep losses in its home-lending unit, Bank of America is preparing to cut 40,000 or more jobs nationwide.

Enjoy your day!


Craig Huey: California Redistricting Is the Same Old Bias


South Bay businessman Craig Huey

Craig Huey is not the only one who is dissatisfied with the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. But, here are his thoughts.

Broken promises. Politics as usual.

This best describes the final district boundaries drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

And these flawed, politically biased districts will last 10 years.

The result: uncompetitive races, incumbents who never lose, districts that divide cities and boundaries that make no sense, especially from the viewpoint of the “communities of interest” criteria specified by voters.

For example, Torrance, in the new congressional district boundaries, is now divided in two, diminishing its importance to politicians. And El Segundo is no longer with the other Beach Cities in Assembly representation, a plan that will ignore the city’s unique interests.

At every turn since the release of new maps for congressional, Assembly, state Senate and Board of Equalization districts, the process has been shrouded in secrecy and double-dealing. Input from South Bay residents was simply ignored.

Voters had decided the corrupt policy of legislators drawing their own boundaries, which created gerrymandered districts designed to be safe for the party in power, had to go. They hoped an “independent” commission would provide change for the better. But that didn’t happen.

Consider what the commission has done to what was the South Bay’s 36th Congressional District: Torrance is carved in two. The cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula are in, as they should be. But Lomita is now in a new district – with zero connection to the rest of the South Bay. San Pedro, Harbor City and Wilmington got yanked out, too, as if they’re not part of the South Bay at all.

Yet while the new gerrymandered district leaves out South Bay cities, it marches up into Los Angeles, all the way to the Ventura County line. Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills and Agoura – in the San Fernando Valley – are added! We have Hollywood, too.

The commission used Dockweiler Beach – where no one lives – to make the new district contiguous. That is the epitome of gerrymandering.

The same politically based travesties divided up the South Bay’s Assembly and state Senate districts, too.

Well, Craig the new maps are not set in stone as referendum signature petitions are being circulated and if successful, the California Supreme Court will end up drawing the district boundaries.

There may yet be a “FAIR” district where you can challenge Rep. Janice Hahn in 2012.