Redistricting wrangle, redux

Sep 30, 2011

Yet another legal challenge to the poltical boundaries written by a voter-approved, independent commission, this one from Republican George Radonovich and several other Republicans. The suit, filed directly with the state Supreme Court, says several districts were crafted specifically to protect incumbents.


From Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee: "The legal challenge comes nearly a month after opponents of the congressional maps announced a referendum drive aimed at letting voters decide the fate of the new maps. That drive apparently has stalled."


"California's congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts were drawn for the first time this year by an independent citizens commission, rather than by the Legislature, under terms of ballot initiatives passed in 2008 and 2010."


The new districts in 2012 have sparked hot contests across the state, but none more closely watched than the Howard Berman-Brad Sherman showdown in L.A., where the battle between two congressional powers now is being complicated by, of all things, Republicans.


From the LAT's Jean Merl: "Politics-watchers deem it pretty unlikely that a Republican could win in this strongly Democratic district but acknowledge that some big changes -- including the recent redrawing of districts and the state’s new "top two" primary system -- will add unpredictable wrinkles in 2012."


"The November runoff will be between the top two vote getters in the June primary, even if they are from the same party.  Most expect that will be Berman and Sherman, but one of those seasoned congressmen will be locked out of the fall contest if a Republican manages to come in second in June."


Immigrant-rights activists are demanding that the  "John and Ken" radio talk show be taken off the Southern California air waves, saying the ultra-conservative shock jocks gave out the cell-phone number of an activist, prompting hate-filled calls.


From Paloma Esquivel in the LAT: "In the days after the KFI-AM (640) radio hosts read Cabrera's cellphone and office numbers on the air and told listeners opposed to state tuition assistance for illegal immigrants to call him, Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, got more than 400 calls, many of them filled with hateful language and calls for violence."

"It's never been as cutting, as humiliating as these calls were," Cabrera said. "These calls were intent to diminish me as a person."


Meanwhile, the shift of state power to the locals in California's correctional system is getting plenty of attention. Gov. Brown hails the "realignment," the locals are dubious and law enforcement officials see major problems coming.


First, from Vauhini Vara and Bobby White in the Wall Street Journal: "Starting Saturday, California counties no longer will send many of their nonviolent felons to state prisons, instead keeping thousands in local jails or even in home detention. The move aims to ease prison overcrowding that resulted in a stinging U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May."

But Gov. Jerry Brown is facing unrest among some local law-enforcement chiefs, who worry the state won't adequately compensate them for the added costs."


"Everything the governor wants to do is underfunded," said Scott Jones, sheriff of Sacramento County, who met with Mr. Brown to try to persuade him to delay the plan."


Then, from Christina Villacorte in the L.A. Daily News: "Probation officials shifted caseloads on Thursday while the sheriff's department finalized security plans as Los Angeles County braced for this weekend's overhaul of California's correctional system."


"The so-called "prison realignment" beginning Saturday will transfer the state's responsibility for lower-level drug offenders, thieves and other convicts to county jurisdictions.

An estimated 9,000 parolees will be added to the caseloads of the Probation Department, whose workers already oversee inmates released from county jails."


And from the Mercury-News' Steve Harmon: "Surrounded by a phalanx of law enforcement and county officials, Brown vigorously defended the controversial new system, which beginning on Saturday will place low-level offenders in county jails and under county supervision for probation, drug treatment and other services."


"It's not trouble free -- there will be bumps along the road, but (from) everything I can tell, this is a viable plan that will not only ensure public safety but ... will fix a prison system that's been profoundly dysfunctional for decades," the governor said."


Finally, from our "Even I Know Where Colorado Is"  file comes the tale of our the White House, which confused the home of the Broncos with Wyoming. 


"Press credentials given to members of the media travelling with President Obama across the West Coast this week had a glaring mistake. A map incorrectly identified Wyoming as Colorado in an embarrassing error that will leave someone at the White House with a very red face"


"The mistake was probably made because the two states are next to each other and are both a similar size and shape, reported CNN."

"Colorado is seen as an important state for President Obama's re-election chances, reported Yahoo News. He spoke in Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday about his proposed jobs bill in an attempt to garner public support and media coverage in the state."


Not important enough to know where it's located, though....




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