Democrats unsatisfied with new lines
nCould mean a disadvantage for ethnic minorities
PALMDALE, Calif.—Redistricting has stirred up controversy among party members on both sides statewide. But the deadline for comments on the final drawing of new congressional, state assembly and senate as well as board of equalization district lines are due Monday, and the unhappiness may not change.
However, in the Antelope Valley, Republicans seem content, while the other side does not see the benefit of the new lines.
Democratic leader and chairman of the California African American Caucus, Darren Parker warns that the new lines diminish the opportunity for diversity in various political positions.
He explained that with the new lines there will be a disproportion in regards to representation.
“We ended up with the short end of the stick,” he said, explaining that everything from votes to equal representation-Democrat versus Republican voter-is being impacted because of the new lines.
Parker explained that before the redistricting talks began, the Democratic party state-wide, which contains a large number of minority voters, was well matched in political battles against Republicans. But with the possible new lines, in the AV, the number of Republican majority districts seems to outnumber the Democratic voters.
“The only race that would be close to a viable race would be the senate race, where the (voter registration) difference is four percentage points. It was two points before the redraw. But the congressional race is an eight-point difference and seems almost like an unwinnable race.”
Further, the political leader pointed out that the original intent of the new lines was to produce better representation. However, he believes the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is responsible for the new lines, missed the point.
The commission was mandated to draw district lines to preserve communities of interest, absent of political affiliations or interest, but Parker believes the new lines violate that rule.
“The original intent and mission was in fact to draw the lines along communities of interest. What we have seen in the final product is that the lines are drawn by political (interests),” Parker said.
The African American community and communities of color in general now face greater political challenges, according to the Democrat’s analysis. He explained that new lines could make electing a candidate of interest more difficult.
The overall Black population in the Antelope Valley has steadily increased over the past 10 years, invoking a need for more diverse representation. On the local level, diversity has begun to be seen among officials on school boards and other citywide positions.
However, state and county representation is starting to look a lot less like the communities they represent, he said.
According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance, Whites make up 59.29 percent of the AV population while all ethnic minorities make up 40.71 percent.
On the other side of the fence, Republicans are pretty happy with the direction the map is taking.
Lew Stults, member of the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly, said the outcome is favorable for Republicans.
“Speaking for the Antelope Valley , I think it turned out fine. What we wanted to do was keep related cities together. We have similar cities and share economic [positions],” he said, explaining the new lines group assembly and senate districts, also compacting the congressional district for better management. “We all seem to work well together as a team.”
Stults also said Republicans are already elected to the district seats on the assembly, senate, and congressional levels. So things are looking up, he said. Consequently, it will be much tougher to unseat incumbents.
In November 2008, voters approved Proposition 11, which authorized the formation of a 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. The group is responsible for drawing district lines for the State Assembly, Senate, and State Board of Equalization. The commission was selected by the state auditor’s office and includes five Democrats, five Republicans, and four others who are either independent or belong to minority parties.
In the past, politicians have drawn the lines, leaving no room for voter input.
The commission has been mandated to draw lines by population, geography, ethnicity and economic interests.
For more information, visit wedrawthelines.ca.gov.
As the nation slowly emerges from the Great Recession, the economic numbers for the Antelope Valley show a much higher rate of sustained unemployment and devalued housing prices in both Lancaster and Palmdale.
The five-year economic downturn saw much of the area’s the job losses come from the construction industry and retail sales. At the beginning of the year, Lancaster had an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent while Palmdale fared better at 11.1 percent. In 2008 the two cities lost a little fewer than 1,000 jobs combined, according to a 2009 report.
PALMDALE, Calif.—Redistricting stirred up controversy among party members on both sides statewide. And when the deadline for comments on the final drawing of new congressional, state assembly and senate as well as board of equalization district lines came due, the controversy did not change.
However, in the Antelope Valley, Republicans seemed content, while the other side does not see the benefit of the new lines.
After months of meetings, public hearings and sometimes heated back and forth, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission on (CCRC) submitted its final redrawing of lines for state and congressional districts to the Secretary of State on Monday, and while African Americans are basically satisfied with the results, others do not feel the same way and have vowed to fight the new lines.
The process of redrawing the political lines for congressional, as well as the state assembly, senate and Board of Equalization districts is winding down, and the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) now awaits comments from the public on the final preliminary maps.
CRC will vote on the maps Aug. 15.
The African American Redistricting Collaborative will hold a meeting this evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the West Angeles Villas to discuss the maps, answer questions and provide direction on what comments residents should forward to the commission.
The community is analyzing and evaluating redistricting maps on Saturday June 11 from 2- 4 p.m. in a community conversation held at West Los Angeles Villas, 6030 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles.
Together the residents of the community are going to review the first draft of state senate, assembly, congressional and Board of Equalization maps that the Citizens Redistricting Commission has proposed, to ensure that the districts are split in a way that allows proper representation in Sacramento and Washington D.C.