Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
Lawsuits, Petition Drive Aim to Block New District Maps
The California Republican Party has embarked on its campaign to undo the work of the independent commission charged with redrawing the state’s congressional districts. The commission was created as a result of voter approval of Prop 11 in 2008, which took over the redistricting job from the state legislature. Republicans argue that although they’d prefer an independent body drawing district lines rather than the Democrat-dominated government, “the process as it stands now, has been contaminated with partisanship and secrecy, and is far from the independent and fair process Californians expected,” according to the party’s website.
Letters are going out to a million Californians, along with petitions — the group needs to collect 504,760 signatures by November 14 to bring the district maps to a public vote in the June primary. "Your signature on the enclosed petition will stop liberal Democrats in Sacramento from tripling the car tax and dismantling Proposition 13,” they read. “If allowed to go into effect, this redistricting scheme will give liberal Democrats a two-thirds majority and the one-party rule they have dreamed of for years.”
FAIR, or Fairness & Accountability in Redistricting, the group charged with orchestrating the petition drive, has also filed a challenge to the maps with the California Supreme Court. Aside from arguing that the new boundaries don’t adequately reflect similar population clusters, the suit also expresses concern over Latino disenfranchisement by splitting communities that have traditionally elected Latinos.
“It is very important that these legal questions go before the court now, so they can examine the full scope of constitutional issues and be prepared to draw new maps once we finish gathering signatures on the referendum,” said FAIR consultant Dave Gilliard.