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Jon Fleischman

Preperations Underway For Potential Referendum Commission’s New Districts

With each passing day, it is becoming more and more clear that the California Redistricting Commission, despite being given strict criteria under Propositions 11 and 20, by which to draw new BOE, House, State Senate and State Assembly lines, is pursuing its own agenda.  We have all watched with gross fascination as a few strong liberal members of the Commission have become the dominating factor in virtually every decision, from the critical early decisions such as choosing a consultant to draw maps — to decisions now about the details on the maps themselves.

Draft BOE Seat Stretching From Oregon To Mexico

So it comes as no surprise to learn of the formation of a new group called FAIR, which stands for Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting.  This group, with significant ties to both Washington, D.C., and to some major political donors, has been filed to begin the preparations for a referendum campaign on the Commission’s final new districts.  This group is an umbrella organization that is looking at all four sets of maps being drawn — the way the initiatives were crafted, it is separate process to referend each set of maps.

From the final date the maps are approved, August 15, FAIR will have 90 days to gather signatures.

Draft BOE Seat Stretching Down Hundreds of Miles Of The Coast

They will need 504,760 valid signatures for each of the (up to) four types of petition — so they will need to collect around  700,000 raw signatures for each of the petitions to have a safe cushion.  Once these signatures are verified, the maps drawn by this commission are on hold until after the June, 2012 election.  The State Supreme Court would have to retain special masters to quickly draw lines for 2012.  It will then be up to the voters to decide whether they prefer the commission lines, or those approved by the judges.  Depending on how the vote goes, that will say which set of lines are used from 2014 through the rest of the decade.

Well placed and well respected Republican political consultant Dave Gilliard, who involved with the FAIR effort, told me, “We will be ready to launch a referendum campaign the day the maps are adopted should this commission produce a partisan, gerrymandered plan that ignores the criteria of Propositions 11 and 20.”

The bottom line here — is that this is very real, and a very potential outcome due to the outrageous way that the Redistricting Commission is handling its job, and inserting their own criteria for drawing maps rather than using the priorities set out in the ballot measures that created the commission.

On a closing note, as an example to all of the kind of crazy gerrymandering that is taking place, I have placed to either side of this posting two of the four Board of Equalization draft visualizations.  These are for real — they have taken a state which is already geographically vertical, and drawn vertical districts on top of that.  I will let you conclude for yourself what common “community of interest” joins Californians along the Oregon border, and those along our border with Mexico, who are unbelievably drawn into the same BOE seat…

5 Responses to “Preperations Underway For Potential Referendum Commission’s New Districts”

  1. Allen J. Wilson Says:

    I don’t get it and bit confused. We, GOP, took NO position on Prop 11, then grump about the maps. Nothing makes us happy?

    Funny, the Democrats OPPOSED Prop 11.

    Does it makes many people wonder why there is a surge in DTS registration as people opt out of the two party system in California?

    Just sayin’!

  2. james sills Says:

    There is still time for the Commission to do the job right.
    Several Commissioners have shown a sincere desire to hear
    the public and to approve fair maps.

    I hope those Commissioners prevail, but if not, it is
    reassuring to know that star “Closer” Dave Gilliard is
    now warming up in the Bullpen.

    Anyone wondering whether Mr. Gilliard can orchestrate a
    successful statewide Petition campaign might ask former
    Gov. Gray Davis about what happened in the 2003 recall!

    That 2003 petition needed 897,158 valid signatures. The
    “Rescue California” effort guided by Dave Gilliard and
    Scott Taylor for Rep. Darrell Issa gathered 1.6 MILLION
    names, and their validity rate proved to be an amazing 85%.
    The story of that remarkable petition campaign should not
    be forgotten.

    [I remember this stuff because I also worked for Rescue
    California that year].

  3. Tom Kaptain Says:

    I remember poor Darrell spent all that money and then everyone dumped him as a gubernatorial candidate after the recall qualified. A couple of days ago I posted an opinion on another site that was legally incorrect, so I should be careful here and just say that it is my understanding that if a referendum qualified, there would be two options. One to keep the maps through the first election (which happened once before I believe with the Sebastiani measure) or to run in the same lines that are currently in place for one election only which is what also happened when that measure passed. Perhaps Jim Lacey could chime in, but I don’t see how the court could possibly supersede the judgement of a commission fairly chosen under the law which has held not just their official meetings, but also one and two member meetings throughout the state to get information. Certainly there is no way to replicate that knowledge and even if you don’t like the commissions work, I think you would have to admit that if you were on the other side you would be outraged if something legal could be stopped just by qualifying (not passing) a referendum. Remember if that is the correct interpretation of the law, either side could qualify a measure to throw out the new plan and force the process to start again.

  4. james sills Says:

    Hi Tom !

    The Sebastiani Initiative never got to the Voters, victim of a
    Rose Bird-led State Supreme court ruling on September 16, 1983
    removing it from the ballot on a technicality. The Washington
    Post reported all 6 Democrat-appointed state Justices voted for
    the action. Imagine.

    Also, unlike the current situation, the Sebastiani measure pro-
    posed its own set of Congressional and state legislative lines.
    The conventional decade remap had ALREADY happened in 1981 when
    Governor-for-Life Jerry Brown signed a famous Democratic-drawn

    …. Don’t feel too sorry for Darrell Issa. He is doing just fine
    in the U.S. House of Representatives, and rendering signal service

  5. Tom Kaptain Says:

    I was talking about the first measure Don was responsible for which threw out the existing reapportionment plan. You may remember the voters threw it out and then he tried to put a plan into place through the ballot box which the State Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional. After that measure was removed from the ballot, the court ruled that existing lines would stay in place for one election and that the legislature needed to draw lines before the following election.