Citizens Redistricting Commission begins work this week

150 150 Armando Botello II

On Wednesday, a new era of redistricting in California begins with the first meeting of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

The meeting, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, represents the first time the entire commission meets to begin their work revamping California’s districts for Congress, the State Legislature, and the Board of Equalization.

If you would like to attend any of the commission’s meetings, they are at the Secretary of State Auditorium, 1500 11th Street in Sacramento. The meetings will continue every weekday, until Monday, Jan. 31.

Items listed on Wednesday’s agenda include the swearing in of the final six commissioners, selection of the Chair and Vice Chair, an update and decision of the Secretary of State’s support efforts, and a discussion regarding redistricting matters. Click here for the full meeting notice and agenda.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission was seated in December. It was created thanks to the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008. Citizen redistricting was reaffirmed by voters in Nov. 2011, with the passage of Proposition 20, which added Congressional redistricting. The commission includes five Republicans, five Democrats, and four independent, minority party, or decline-to-state voters.  It must complete its work by Aug. 15, 2011.

The commissioners are:

  • Vincent Barabba
  • Cynthia Dai
  • Jodie Filkins Webber
  • Stanley Forbes
  • Connie Galambos Malloy
  • Elaine Kuo
  • Jeanne Raya
  • Peter Yao
  • Gambino Aguirre
  • Maria Blanco
  • Lilbert “Gil” R. Ontai
  • Michael Ward
  • Michelle R. DiGuilio-Matz
  • M. Andre Parvenu

California Forward advocated for the commission’s existence and worked to educate voters on the importance of redistricting to a fair and functioning system.

For more news and views on the upcoming Citizens Redistricting Commission meeting, please browse the links below or let us know your thoughts in the comments section:

  • Rockford Register Star – Bob Edgar: Democracy the loser in national redistricting (1/8) “Thirteen states have established nonpartisan or bipartisan commissions to take the lead in redistricting. At Common Cause, where I serve as president, we’re particularly proud of our support of such panels, which generally are bitterly opposed by political party organizations. During 2010, we were successful in expanding the authority of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, a 14-member panel of five Democrats, five Republicans and four independents. …We’ve found that independent redistricting commissions help to foster healthy two-party competition and uphold one of America’s fundamental principles: Voters should be represented by people of their own choosing. Unfortunately, in most states the current redistricting process does exactly the opposite. It puts partisan legislators in charge, allowing them to choose which voters they’ll represent.”
  • Los Angeles Wave – Questions & Answers: M. Andre Parvenu (1/5) “Our first meeting as a full body of 14 is scheduled for Jan. 12. This is when we will lay down the ground rules and put a work plan together, as well as a community outreach plan. We will also strategically go over some of the logistics involved with how we are going to approach this. I have not met with the other commissioners yet, nor have I spoken to any of them but I have reviewed their information, combed through their interviews and have read up on them. I am familiar with their backgrounds.”
  • Politico – Seismic change for California? (1/5) “California, which has more House members than any other state, yet typically sees almost no turnover of seats, is facing the prospect of a huge change in its congressional delegation. With little fanfare, voters in November yanked control of the map-making process from the highly partisan Legislature in Sacramento and handed it to an entirely new — and unpredictable — Citizens Redistricting Commission. The uncertainty of the final product is already causing major indigestion within the Golden State’s powerful 53-member House delegation — led by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi — which recently had as many as five committee chairmen and will still have three chairmen after Republicans take charge.”
  • San Jose Mercury News – Local redistricting commission member gets to work, lays out goals (1/3) “Next week Capitola resident Vince Barabba is headed to Sacramento to redraw California’s legislative districts. One of 14 members on the new state Citizens Redistricting Commission, Barabba comes from an area that knows all too well the problems of poorly-drawn districts and, as much as anyone, he understands the task of redesigning districts more equitably.”

Armando Botello II is a communications associate at California Forward.


Armando Botello II

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