When I was a kid I played Babe Ruth baseball at Clark Field in Woodland, I once had a situation that reminds me of the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.
I was up to bat with two outs and the bases loaded, when I sent an outside pitch sharply down the first base line. As a right handed hitter the placement of the hit was perfect, the ball rolled all the way to the right field foul pole about as far as you can get the ball from an outfielder without hitting a homerun. I didn’t hit for power, so this was a dream situation, dreams of a three RBI triple were dancing in my head.
However, as I headed toward first base my plans for an amazing headfirst slide into third were interrupted by, horror of horrors, the sight of my teammate who had been on first base slipping on the infield mud made wet by a recent rain. He had forgotten his cleats that day and lost his footing and was now face down in the mud.
He only made it ten feet from first base before slipping, and in his haste he continued to slip and fall. On the opposite side of the diamond the second and third base runners had rounded third and made their way to home plate.
Needless to say the runs never counted as my un-cleated teammate was forced out at second base. No runs, no hit, no RBIs, no triple, and definitely no sweet head-first slide into third – just a long “fielders choice” in the scorebook.
I barely restrained myself from tossing my helmet when I reached the dugout. Clearly I was less than pleased. My coach, however, encouraged me by pointing out that you can do everything right and sometimes things do not work out.
Did I do the right thing? Yes. Would I do the same things again? Yes, of course. You do the right thing and sometimes it does not work out.
With the Citizens Redistricting Commission we have the right set up, the right idea, just not the right implementation.
Lack of transparency, poor understanding of the Voting Rights Act, delays in releasing maps, maps being produced outside of public view behind closed doors, and a lack of decision-making have led to a huge disappointment in the process this year. They tried hard, but the final product and process has been similar to that baseball I hit 25 years ago.
It was the right thing to do but the result is not what was expected, and certainly not what we all had hoped for with Proposition 11 and Proposition 20. But, it was still the right thing to do.
In the coming years let’s hope the commission brings their cleats.
Matt Rexroad is Yolo County’s District 3 Supervisor.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog by our guest columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of California Forward or our Leadership Council.