Final district maps receive heavy criticism

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 19, 2011 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This week, the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) voted and finalized the newly drawn district boundary maps for all 80 Assembly, 40 Senate, 53 Congressional, and four Board of Equalization (BOE) districts.

Of the Commission’s 14 members, 13 approved the Senate, Assembly and BOE maps with one Republican Commissioner, Michael Ward, voting in disapproval.  Ward also voted against the Congressional district maps alongside fellow Republican Commissioner Jodie Filkins Weber.  According to Ward, the newly finalized maps are "fundamentally flawed as the result of a tainted political process" since boundary decisions were "based on political motives."  Ward also claims Commissioners ignored provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act.  In response to these claims, Republican Commission Chair Vincent Barabba defended the finalized maps stating the Commission strictly followed the laws of the Constitution and produced maps that balanced the interests of all Californians.

Following the final release, Latino activist organizations lambasted the new district lines stating Commissioners failed to adequately account for and reflect the growing Latino population.  According to a statement by the National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials, the organization will partner with other Latino groups in order to review the maps and determine if legal action is necessary.  The organization was especially disappointed and expressed their disapproval for the new Central Valley Assembly and Congressional districts stating the Commission failed to ensure that Latino voters received fair representation in those particular districts.

In addition to criticisms from Latino groups, the California Republican Party (CRP) is backing a recently filed referendum aimed at overturning the newly drawn Senate districts.  According to CRP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, the maps are unconstitutional and unfairly benefit Democrats.  Should the referendum effort gather the required signatures, almost 505,000, in the next three months, the newly drawn Senate districts will be suspended and the California Supreme Court will be given final authority over the district lines in the 2012 election.

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