California Republicans say -- loudly -- that they are going to challenge the political boundaries drawn up by the independent redistricting commission, although so far there have been no specific objections. The Press-Enterprise's Jim Miller has the story.
"Politics has never been far below the surface in the
current process, however. In recent days, Republicans have stepped up their criticism of the
"Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican
Party, said Monday that the party will consider challenging one or more of the
commission's plans through a voter referendum.
"If they're willing to split up Santa Cruz and Sacramento County five different
ways, who knows what they'll do (in the Inland area)," Del Beccero said.
"We're going to be prepared in case our worst fears come true. But maybe
they'll pull it out of the hat and do the right thing."
"The commission is scheduled to ratify the plans Aug. 15.
Opponents then would have until Nov. 15 to collect 504,760 valid voter
signatures for any plan -- Assembly, Senate, Congress or Board of Equalization
-- they want to overturn."
Democrats aren't complaining either and for good reason: There's a good chance Democrats will finally get the Holy Grail of California politics -- two-thirds majorities in both houses.
From the Bee's Dan Walters: "Analysts on both sides of the political aisle have
plumbed the new maps for their political content – a factor the commission is
not supposed to be considering – and agree they would give Democrats a very
strong opportunity to win 27 Senate seats and 54 in the Assembly, two-thirds majorities in both houses."
"All 80 Assembly seats will
be up in 2012, plus half of the 40 Senate seats, with the remainder on the ballot in 2014."
"Paul Mitchell, a Democratic political
consultant who runs Redistricting Partners, is one of several
analysts who have tracked day-to-day changes in the maps being drawn by the
14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. He
concludes that the Democrats' 27/54 goal is within fairly easy grasp, with
several additional seats in both houses considered "swing" or
winnable by either party."
"Tony Quinn, a
Republican redistricting expert, last week sharply criticized the commission
for, as he alleged, allowing partisan considerations to enter the process, and
the state Republican Party is threatening to
challenge the maps via referendum."
California's redevelopment agencies -- joined by cities including San Jose and Uniion City -- have gone to the state Supreme Court to challenge Gov. Brown's move to abolish the agencies and take their money.
From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "The legal challenge, in the works even before the Gov.
signed the new laws last month, was filed directly with the state Supreme Court
in what the agencies – creatures of the cities and counties – hope will lead to
a speedier decision than if they went through the lower and appellate courts
first. The agencies’ basic contention: The new law violates Proposition 22,
which voters approved by in a near-landslide in November, that forbids the
state from tapping redevelopment agencies’ money, local transportation money
and other funding sources in order to balance its books."
“California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22
just eight months ago to stop state raids, shifts and diversions of local
redevelopment funds,” Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of
California Cities, said in a written statement. “The governor and legislature
have blatantly ignored the voters and violated the State Constitution. We must
now go to the Supreme Court to uphold the voters’ will and the Constitution by
overturning this unconstitutional legislation. We are confident the Courts will
uphold the will of the voters.”
"The challenge was brought by the California Redevelopment
Association and two cities, San Jose and Union City. San Jose the new law
"could result in the forced termination of its redevelopment agency and
kill hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of vital redevelopment
projects," according to a statement released by the Redevelopment
The California courts, already clogged and delay-prone, are going to get a lot worse because of budget cuts, especially in San Francisco. The Chronicle's Bob Egelko has the story.
"Two hundred Superior Court employees, more than 40 percent of the staff,
are about to be notified that they will be laid off Sept. 30 because of
devastating losses of state funding.
"The civil justice system in
San Francisco is collapsing," Katherine Feinstein, the court's presiding
judge, said Monday."
"Effects of the newly approved,
bare-bones state budget are already being felt in
programs ranging from child care to university tuition and access. But leaders
of California's judicial system, the largest in the nation, say courts up and
down the state will be hit hard as well, with cuts of $350 million in
operations and $310 million in a courthouse construction fund that once could
be tapped for emergencies."
"Feinstein said it will be worse in
San Francisco, where courts have coped with money shortages since 2008 by
ordering unpaid staff furloughs, reducing services and draining a $10 million
reserve fund to avoid laying off employees."
Hey, here's a surprise: Some voters are swayed by looks alone. From Emily Schulteis in Politico.
"A new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that so-called
“low-information voters” — those who watch a lot of TV but who aren’t
up-to-date on policy issues — are most likely vote for a candidate based on
"For every 10-point increase a candidate gets because of
his or her appearance, about half of that increase comes from the voters with
the least amount of political knowledge and the most time spent in front of the
"The study analyzed data from two surveys conducted during
the 2006 midterm elections: the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which
surveyed voters on their candidate preferences and television-watching habits;
and a study headed by Princeton University professor Alex Todorov, which asked
participants to rate ’06 Senate and gubernatorial candidates based solely on