Mapping the new California order
There’s a new map of California, created by the people and for the people. It’s fallen under the somewhat unwieldy title of “redistricting,” but its purpose is clear: to make political boundaries that really represent California’s diverse communities. Fourteen civilian commissioners – not politicians – listened to testimony from more than 2,000 people before hammering out a new map. They released it last week, and its purpose is to meet federal law to protect so-called “communities of interest.” That means every demographic – black, white, Asian, Latino, Native, gay, straight, male, female – is supposed to have a fair chance to elect someone who represents them. Did the commission succeed? Depends on whom you ask. JENNIFER WAGGONER: The League of Women Voters of California applauds the work of both the commissioners and the public. Unlike redistricting in the past, this process has been open, transparent, and participatory – a true citizen-driven process. We’re confident that this first ever commission will be a model for the entire nation. Jennifer Waggoner is the president of the League of Women Voters of California, and she makes a pretty compelling argument. But California Republican Party chair Tom Del Becarro wrote in a recent column, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The process intended to provide fair redistricting has been overtaken by partisanship and incompetence. Becarro concluded that it is “time for Californians to consider saving themselves from the Commission they created, even if that means by referendum.” To help sort out the debate, KALW’s Ben Trefny sat down with San Francisco Chronicle political reporter Joe Garafoli and asked him who wins and who loses in the new California order.
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August 1, 2011
JOE GARAFOLI: There will be big gains for Democrats, or potential big gains for Democrats. They will have six new Congressional districts – they will have the majority of the registered voters in that area.
Latinos are going to gain more than they had 10 years ago. These maps have been in place, remember, for 10 years. There are three million more Latinos in California today than there were 10 years ago, so they will stand to gain from this.
The African American community is going to be – they’re not going to be losing as much as they thought they would because their community is shrinking. It’s not gaining as fast as the Latino community, plus it’s dispersing all over the state so there aren’t the concentrations of African Americans in particular districts that would give them voting power in those districts, so they can be heard.
The people who are going to be disenfranchised … well...
Read the full transcript