Redistricting Panel Down to 60!

Anthony Pignataro:

And now, for a bit of good news for our embattled Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose poll numbers are currently at the same level enjoyed by Gray Davis shortly because his 2003 recall election. The California State Auditor’s Applicant Review Panel (CSAARP, I guess) has finally whittled down Redistricting Commissioner applications to 60.

Redistricting! Everyone cares about Redistricting! Right?

“The final pool of 60 also represents all regions of the state and California’s rich diversity: 51 percent are male and 48 percent are female and nearly 33 percent white, 28 percent Latino, 17 percent Asian, 13 percent Black, 7 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native and 2 percent Pacific Islanders,” states this Sept. 24 Redistricting Commission press release. “Twenty of the applicants are Democrats, 20 are Republicans, and 20 either Decline-to-State or belong to another party.”

Woohoo! Let the Elimination Rounds begin!

The review panel began begin with an astonishing 31,000 applications. Guess the chance to sit on a panel of 14 and draw all the state’s Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts is the in thing these days. Democrats began crying foul when it was revealed that most where white males, but by the time prospective applicant pool had been shaved down to 120, the ethnic make-up was more to the left’s liking and Democrats promptly dropped the matter.

Redistricting has long been one of Schwarzenegger’s big issues. In December 2008, shortly after Proposition 11 passed, creating a new citizens redistricting commission, Arnold stood among the trains at the California Railroad Museum here in Sacramento and gloated.

“When I stood in this great museum five years ago and called for redistricting reform, I knew how hard the job would be,” he said. “There have been several attempts over the past two decades to get redistricting reform that have all failed. But we never gave up, we kept fighting and we have achieved our goal of once again letting the people choose their elected officials.”

Of course, the next step is for our esteemed elected officials in the Legislature — the same people no longer trusted with drawing new districts — to go over the 60 semi-finalists. Lawmakers have until Nov. 15 to strike out eight from each of the three partisan groups (don’t you love how the state equates “Decline-to-State” with members of the Green, Libertarian and other minor parties?).

That will leave 36 applicants left. The state Auditor will then choose eight at random. Those eight will select a further six panelists, rounding out the panel at 14 (at the end, five will be Dems, five Reeps and the last four will be Decline-to-State/minor party-affiliated).

And then all our problems will be solved! Right?

SEPT. 27, 2010

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