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Old 12-28-2009, 06:53 PM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Default It's almost time to start redrawing lines

It's almost time to start redrawing lines

The Bakersfield Californian

Editorial on redistricting

Dec 19 2009

Quote:
The promise of Proposition 11 -- a Legislature that better reflects the geographic, political and cultural diversity of the state -- may yet come to pass. The Citizen's Redistricting Commission, established to remake the California political map in a way that favors reality over politicians' preferences, has hung out a "help wanted" sign.

For the last nine years, the redrawing of the district lines has been the Legislature's job. Naturally, the task became a partisan exercise in which incumbents from both parties joined forces to guarantee that their seats remain as safe as possible. If the redistricting commission works the way it's supposed to work, however, that old way will be no more.

All the commission needs now is 14 members. Whittling down the field of applicants will take some doing: During the first two days of the application process, 1,761 people -- nearly two-thirds of them white males -- signed up to be considered. Based on the early returns, almost half the applicants come from three counties: Sacramento County (26 percent), neighboring Placer County (8.5 percent) and Los Angeles County (12 percent).

None of those skewed numbers will be reflected in the final makeup of the commission. It can't: The ballot measure requires that the panel reflect the diversity of the state in terms of region, ethnic origin and political orientation. Five members must be Democrats, five must be Republicans and the other four must be neither. Applicants must be registered voters who have been registered for at least five straight years and have voted in two of the last three general elections.

The field will eventually to narrowed down to 120 candidates, and the final panel of 14 will be selected from that group by Dec. 31, 2010. Using data from the 2010 census, the commission will then begin its work, operating from guidelines delineated in the November 2008 ballot measure.

Applications to join the commission, which will take on the job of redrawing California's Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts in time for the 2012 elections, are due this coming Feb. 12. One can only hope that date -- Abraham Lincoln's 201st birthday -- portends all the right things about the future of representative government in California.

Once they are empaneled, commissioners will begin the arduous process of holding hearings up and down the state. Pay is $300 per day.

It's far too early to know if the objective of Proposition 11 -- bringing fairness and competition to legislative elections -- can be achieved this way. But considering all the machinations behind past efforts, we can't go wrong.

Here's hoping this commission -- which will be chosen under the auspices of the state auditor -- will eliminate partisan political considerations and political self-preservation from the boundary-drawing process. Here's hoping California voters get the Legislature they deserves.

Now, if only a commission could be established to redraw Congressional district lines.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:05 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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How do I apply for the job? I need one.
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