Citizen redistricting hearings set for Southern California
Community is urged to take part in shaping districts
This year, California will redraw its state and congressional district lines. For the first time in California’s history, the new voter-approved Citizens Redistricting Commission will be charged with the task of redrawing those lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal populations that will provide fair representation for all Californians.
How the lines are drawn will determine whether communities have a fair opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice in legislative, Board of Equalization and congressional elections. The commission is comprised of five Democrat, five Republican and four Independent commissioners.
The commission is holding seven public input hearings—in Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties—April 27-May 6. The hearings will take place in Los Angeles April 28, San Gabriel April 29, San Fernando April 30, Lancaster May 1, Norco May 5, and Santa Ana May 6.
The panel concluded its first round of hearings in Northern and Central California on April 16. The hearings in Redding, Marysville, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Hanford and Merced attracted hundreds of people who shared their thoughts with the commission. The body was created by California voters to draw congressional, Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts.
The public is being encouraged to present testimony about the community they live in, describing the kind of people who live there, important issues, community centers and community history.
Giving the people the opportunity to speak up about their communities is critical to ensuring that district lines are drawn to keep neighborhoods whole and grouped with nearby communities with similar interests. This also ensures that the community’s voice is heard concerning such decisions as to the quality of schools and tax rates.
Along with census data, publicly submitted comments will be used to assist the commission when it begins drawing district boundaries.
“Ten years ago we weren’t involved in this process. There is a lot at stake economically and geopolitically and a great deal depends on our ability to participate in this process,” said commission member M. Andre Parvenu. “It’s important for us to prevent district lines from being arbitrarily drawn by city and state officials, and it is important that people have a sense of space and place and are connected with others.”
“Many minorities have an affinity for their communities. They’ve established Neighborhood Watch groups and various other organizations for their protection. Its imperative that we ensure the preservation of these.
“African Americans have been apathetic politically,” said Parvenue. “When [President] Obama was first elected, we experienced overwhelming turnouts at our hearings. It hasn’t been at all the same. We have to get involved and vote. The demographics may have shifted, and our vote may not be as strong as it used to be. But if we don’t vote, it won’t matter at all if we don’t participate.
Having a community that is silent is not of interest to our commission. The people need to come out and speak for themselves so their voices can be heard loud and clear.”
The Commission is taking testimony before drawing its first round of draft maps, which will be released June 10. Final district maps must be approved by the commission by Aug. 15.
Anyone wishing to speak at the meetings should note that comments may be limited to 3-5 minutes, depending on the number of speakers.
Visit www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov for more info.
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.
The election night results brought forth a much expected outcome, a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and some “slippage” in Democrat seats held in the Senate. The reasons were several for the outcome, but it is not the end of the world. The Democrats (and everybody else) need to stop their snivelin’.
Wipe your nose and move on with the outcome. What happened is a combination of historical politics, race realities, fear-mongering and voter suppression.
Although some of us may still be smarting that our Age of Aquarius proposal did not get approved (Prop. 19) this time, there were two really important political issues decided on last Tuesday’s ballot that will have major impacts on the future of Black political participation in California.
So the small number of California Black farmers (300 out of 94, 000) will not see any significant increase because of a newly legalized and profitable crop in 2010.
Proposition 20 is a ballot measure that if passed, will remove elected representatives of the state legislature from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfer that authority to a recently-authorized 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party, and requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party.
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.