Journalism in the Public Interest

Statement from California Citizens Redistricting Commission Responding to Our Story

A statement from Commissioner Stan Forbes, current Chair of the Citizens Redistricting Commission:

"Of course partisan political interests tried to influence the Commission's independent process, but that goes with the territory, and the Commission had its eyes wide open and was very aware of that possibility. The important point is that the Commissioners were not unduly influenced by that. We drew district maps that were fair and representative. In fact the California Supreme Court unanimously, by a 7-0 vote, dismissed litigation against the maps finding that the Commission followed the Constitution, Federal Voting Rights Act and the Voters First Act.

If the Democrats successfully gamed the system then why are there two Congressional districts in the Los Angeles area where Democratic incumbents are having to run against each other? One of the match-ups includes two of the most influential and powerful Democratic Congressmen in the nation, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. In Central California, Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps, who was in the infamous "Ribbon of Shame" Gerrymandered district, is in a more competitive district and faces a strong Republican challenge. ProPublica neglected to point out those facts.

ProPublica was just dead wrong when it stated that the Commission shut down its public input process and decided to hold remaining meetings in Sacramento. This was following an unprecedented 34 public input hearings. When the Commission held remaining meetings in Sacramento it was in order to work with mapping consultants to draw the lines. Every one of those meetings was streamed live, archived on the Commission's website along with transcriptions. The Commission received thousands of comments in writing from the public during this time. In fact many Commissioners referred to the comments as they came in real-time during the meetings.

I believe that ProPublica was in error when it suggested that the Commission could have, referenced political party registration data during our process. The Commission was barred from drawing districts in consideration of incumbents, candidates or political parties. To reference political party registration numbers would have looked highly suspicious to the public. It also begs the question: If the Commission is barred from drawing partisan maps, why reference the registration data?

There has never been a more transparent or open redistricting process in California history. The Commission drew districts that were based on the totality of the wide and varied testimony, not just listening to one group or maybe the last person we heard."

Hmmmm, Lois Capps,

So why is she now in (half) a District that lost it’s R incumbent when his former district was destroyed? So the D could run as the only incumbent & the Rs who have nothing in common with the southern half of the new district(that was Capps district) will have no representation…

The district may have been “strongly” Republican BEFORE the redistricting, but now the northern part of the district will be out-numbered by the southern, more populated, and decidedly Democratic part.

Take it to the Supreme Court California Republicans. Show some spine!


They could take it to the Supreme Court, but they’ll lose.  Anybody with even a rudimentary understanding of California and California politics knows that and can see that the redistricting process was actually pretty fair.

Where were all the Republican complaints in the Texas redistricting that squeezed out Democratic?

@CM On what grounds for jurisdiction from a federal court?

I find what the commission has done requires further investigation and justification. 

I am considering running for State Assembly in the newly formed District 10. What I find interesting is that the commission is knowingly carving up local cities and communities to fill some quote. People for example in Rohnert park citizens are in uproar to find that the commission has removed them from one district and placed them in another adjacent district separate by Mountains. The new district offers “zero” social-economic benefit for the citizens of this city.

It is a disgrace. We are operating in an environment where Politicians are influencing/deciding who you are allowed to vote for to serve their interests.

Its time for change - real change.

robert von bargen

Jan. 5, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

PJ complains that “politicians are influencing/deciding whou you are allowed to vote for…”  Apparently, he wasthis issue was asleep for the past 100 years when that WAS the way districts were created.The commission was created specifically to stop that pernicious process and take it out of the politicians hands, PJ.  There may be a few fingerprints of politicians on the final plan, but at least they couldn’t get their mitts on it completely.

robert von bargen

Jan. 5, 2012, 2:33 p.m.

Due to some last minute editing, this came out partially garbled.  I’m re-posting it here with corrections:

PJ complains that “politicians are influencing/deciding who you are allowed to vote for…”  Apparently, he was asleep for the past 100 years when that WAS the way districts were created.The commission was created specifically to stop that pernicious process and take it out of the politicians hands, PJ.  There may be a few fingerprints of politicians on the final plan, but at least they couldn’t get their mitts on it and control it completely. The best compromise leaves everybody a little dissatisfied.

How about I was surprised/frustrated like the majority of my county that the citizen redistricting resulted in the same messed up crazy partitons as when we had Politicians doing it.  No difference.

The commission needs to redistrict every 4 years not 10 years and more importantly they need to get the Section 5 areas thrown out.

robert von bargen

Jan. 6, 2012, 1:56 a.m.

That’s different than your original complaint, though, PJ.  You’re just dissatisfied with the result and you want to blame the process and the people who implemented it.  Everybody in the state probably would have their own idea about what the ideal districts would look like and every one would be different. One man’s “crazy partition” makes perfect sense to his neighbor!

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

Redistricting: How Powerful Interests Are Drawing You Out of a Vote

How secret money and power interests are drawing you out of a vote.

The Story So Far

Redistricting should be a way of ensuring your vote counts. If all districts have roughly the same number of people in them and are drawn to respect natural communities—neighborhoods where people share a heritage, work in the same industry, or just generally feel tied to their neighbors—voters have a chance to be represented by politicians who represent their areas’ collective interests.

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