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Congressman Doug LaMalfa

District Map Funny Business Finally Exposed

In a couple articles posted this afternoon, ProPublica “How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission” and one in the San Jose Mercury News and probably many others by now, the funny stuff going on behind the scenes with how Califonia’s districts were reapportioned this year comes to light. In the ideal, I still believe that Prop 11 and Prop 20, that removed the map-drawing responsibilities from the Legislature to the hands of an ideally independent commission are the right way given many decades of history in US redistricting shenanigans. As you read through the history of this years’s commission efforts in the articles and other media, one would likely realize the commission didn’t work out well either and should’ve had more of its members vote ‘no’ on the final map proposals instead of being in love with their final work product. [Stopping a corrupted process and tossing it to the courts would not be a “failure.”] Post-map testimony provided by Commissioner Dr. Michael Ward would cause one to suspect the smoke from a possible fire. Indeed, Californians ended up with commissioners who APPLIED to be part of the process, 14 were seated and then it was let the games begin. It is very disappointing to see the results, district lines that were as convoluted as before. My “favorite” Senate map is Dist. #39 [by far] followed by #14, #16, #22 and #23 with their various isthmuses, peninsulas, squiggles and loops. Thankfully, it appears headed to the ballot for voter [dis]approval as well as Congressional maps being contested in Federal court. Maybe these allegations will give more impetus for the courts to act in a way that will cause new maps that are more fair and straight forward.
We hear a lot of kvetching about “It was you Republicans that wanted the Commission, now you complain about the result.” The funny business around the commission’s [and the posing intervenors] handling of the mapping is why Republicans would complain about the bad process as well as any electoral manipulation that hurts us in elections. Why wouldn’t we? Seems to me it would be all of our responsibility to call out a foul when we see it. Now it comes out in full color in the news of today. The question is, will there be the will of the courts, the media and public opinion and ultimately the voters to do something about it? We’ll see as this story continues to unfold.
In the meantime we’ll all be watching the State Senate maps referendum signatures being counted and the Supreme Courts timely or not handling of them before the 2012 elections. As for the next decade’s new maps, the vetting of the commissioners, should this system survive, will need much refinement and watchdogging in the entire process.

2 Responses to “District Map Funny Business Finally Exposed”

  1. Tom Kaptain Says:

    The truth is that both parties at some level tried to influence the process and if you watch the testimony before the commission you can see that. Propecia (which is a Republican funded group if I am not mistaken) simply claims that Democrats did a better job. It does remind me as someone who was against creating this commission that the argument at the time was that politics would inevitably become part of the process which people on the other side of the issue said wouldn’t happen.

  2. Tom Kaptain Says:

    and I should add that there is nothing that has happened so far that would justify any judicial action (sadly in my opinion) because there are Supreme Court rulings that this type of activity to influence the outcome of political commissions decisions is legal. It has happened before with efforts by both parties in other states that had commissions in the past.