February 15, 2011
I Thought It Was Republicans (along with Good Government Types) Who Supported the Prop. 11 Redistricting Plan in California
Now Tony Quinn predicts Republicans "will be screwed" by the new maps. If I'm remembering the arcana of the citizen commission, I believe any plan would have to be approved by a majority of Republicans (and a majority of Democrats, and a majority of DTS commission members). Why does that not prevent what Quinn fears?
I wanted to show in this article how Republicans could be screwed using the Phil Burton VRA standard -- combine all minority neighborhood no matter how distant into districts in the name of the VRA to increase Democratic registration . I’ve seen how that works, and of course it elects white Democrats. Did this happen in 2001 -- you bet. I was the expert witness in a superior court case against the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander (the one that resulted in less turnover over the past decade than the old Supreme Soviet). I was told that all the screwy districts I challenged were drawn to "enhance the Voting Rights Act." Of course, they were drawn to favor incumbents, mostly anglo Democrats, and to get minorities out of Republican districts. Whenever both parties are happy about a districting plan, you know the people's well being is at risk.
I also wanted to expose what has been happening to the Commission, and sadly the Commissioners seem unaware of it. When the Secretary of State took over staffing the Commission in January they held a secret process to select the staff. No transparency, you could not even get the names of staffers they were considering hiring, let alone their partisan biases. They hired a Democratic registered executive director, and the first thing he did was try to convince the commissioners top hire, via a no bid single source contract, a firm headed by Karin MacDonald (who already had one no bid contract with them) and my old friend from redistricting days past, Professor Bruce Cain. Bruce and Karin have a private business, which is fine, but he was my counterpart as the Democratic consultant in the 1981 redistricting when I was the GOP consultant. Now they are not about to hire me as a counter weight to Bruce (not that want to get back into line drawing, been there done that). They should not be hiring Bruce and Karin on a sole source contract.
Yes, there is plenty to paranoia in the redistricting business, but sometimes even the paranoid can make a good case for it.
Feel free to post this if you'd like.
Posted by Rick Hasen at February 15, 2011 07:58 PM