Breaking News

Dateline 08/16/2011

Redistricting Panel Broke Law (click here)

Commissioners Ward & Galambos-Malloy

Cal Watchdog
A member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission believes that the commission broke the law, failed to uphold an open and transparent decision-making process and used political motives in drawing California’s new state and federal legislative districts, according to an exclusive, in-depth interview with CalWatchDog.com. “This commission simply traded the partisan, backroom gerrymandering by the Legislature for partisan, backroom gerrymandering by average citizens,” Commissioner Mike Ward said in an interview with CalWatchDog.com on Sunday night.

FlashReport on Referendum (click here)

Jon Fleischman says a Senate referendum is a must.

 

Hoffenblum, senate referendum (click here)

Allan Hoffenblum of California Target Book weighs in on Senate races and the CA GOP referendum push.

 

Bruce Cain, National Implications (click here) 

Bruce Cain, Democratic redistricting expert and founder of Q2 weighs in on national implications of new lines.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maps Are Final!

Dateline Sacramento 08/15/2011

In a short morning meeting, the Commission voted to finalize their maps.  Three citizens commented, Charles Munger (R-Vice Chair Santa Clara Republican Central Committee), Trudy Schafer (League of Women Voters) and the inestimable Mr. Wright, Curmudgeon Extraordinaire.  Your blogger, rushing from Kinkos to the Capitol, made a wrong turn and missed a last licks opportunity  to speak.  So here it is in blog form.

Dear Commissioners:  It’s been a long, fascinating ride that probably isn’t over yet.  From the peanut gallery of the Governors Press Conference room 1190 in the Capitol, I’m typing my blog posting.  The room is empty, it will fill in 45 mintues with reporters, staff and The Fearless Fourteen.

Twelve of you, disciples of the CCRC cult you have established are on the same page:  you told yourself again this morning, “We’re wonderful, our maps are wonderful, our staff is wonderful… wonderful, wonderful!

But two of you, Ward and Filkins-Weber weren’t so sure.  The hegemony was broken when Ward spoke at length to muckraking journalists from CalWatchdog.org.  In a long interview, Commissioner Ward has made serious, substantial allegations that you will try to dismiss.  But you won’t be able to dismiss them.  The truth will out.

What is the truth of this commission?  It’s complex.  Most of you are honest citizen participants, but not all.  You tried hard.  But you went off the rails early and never got back on.  The founding legislation was flawed.  Who says 14 citizens can redistrict a huge state like ours in a few short months starting from zero?  There was incompetence.  There were conflicts of interest.  And in the end, the maps are not very good.

There will be a referendum.  There will be a political battle (finally) over this commission, its processes and its final product.  The Fourteen will not write the final report on this commission.  We will.

 

Petition for Ward

Petition for Ward  <<<— Click here to print

Calling All Citizen Activists!

Commissioner Michael Ward-R/Orange County is being muzzled by the Commission.

According to our sources, commission lawyers have told Ward NOT to make public his reasons for voting NO on all 4 maps, congressional, senate, assembly and Board of Equalization.

What is the commission hiding?  Why has this principled conservative commissioner been muzzled?

Print, Circulate, Scan and Email the New Petition! 

Partisans Role in Redistricting, by Eastman & Bell

 Note:  This article appeared in FlashReport on July 22, 2011

http://www.flashreport.org/blog/2011/07/22/eastman-bell-the-constitutional-role-of-partisans-in-the-redistricting-process/

 

Eastman & Bell

Publisher’s Note: One would be hard pressed to find two constitutional and election law attorneys who are more well versed and well respected on the Republican side of the aisle than the co-authors of this important guest column.  I commend you to take the time to full read this column, which is a bit longer than we normally feature in this space.  But it is important — Flash]

 

The Constitutional Role of Partisans in the Redistricting Process
By Professor John C. Eastman and Charles H. Bell, Jr.

Attorneys John Eastman and Chuck Bell

Summary:  The Citizens Redistricting Commission process has gone seriously awry, hijacked by covert Democrat and leftist partisans who have violated open meeting, public records and conflict of interest laws, playing a “shell game” with draft district maps that likely will cement Democrat 2/3ds control of the State Legislature when finalized.  Proposition 11 provided a remedy – Republican commissioners can defeat the final district maps if three Republican commissioners simply vote no.  Then, redistricting can be conducted by the State Supreme Court which did an exemplary job in 1974 and 1991 in creating truly fair and impartially drawn districts.


A.    The Balance of Power Genius of Proposition 11

Proposition 11 – the Voters First Act – vested authority to draw the lines for Congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalization districts in a new peoples’ commission, but it also sought to achieve a broad popular consensus of Democrats, Republicans and other commissioners for approving final district maps.  To adopt maps, Proposition 11 requires supermajority approval consisting of majorities of each of these groups – Democrat, Republican and unaffiliated commissioners.  Thus, any plan must attain the affirmative votes of three of the five Republican commissioners, even if it has the unanimous approval of Democrat and unaffiliated commissioners. On the flip side, these standards also permit party-affiliated commissioners to block district maps that are overtly- or covertly-partisan or ideological.

The people built this supermajority requirement into the State Constitution’s redistricting process based on the wisdom embodied in other constitutional supermajority requirements embedded in the California

Constitution (for example, the requirement of a 2/3ds vote of both Legislative houses to raise taxes and fees and a 55% supermajority vote of the people to adopt local bond measures).  Proposition 11 thus built into its very structure an important balance of power. If a proposed redistricting plan is overtly-partisan or ideologically tainted, a majority of non-partisan commissioners can veto it.  If a proposed redistricting plan is “covertly-partisan,” likewise a majority of the Republican or Democrat commissioners can veto it if they believe it favors one major party or the other.  Equally important, behind Proposition 11’s built-in veto authority is the measure’s “default” authority in the event the commissioners are unable or unwilling to approve final district maps. Proposition 11 provides that in the event of deadlock, the authority to draw district lines falls upon the State Supreme Court.

B.    State Supreme Court Fallback If Commission Deadlocks

The authors of Proposition 11 understood that if the people’s mechanism of a Redistricting Commission could not successfully complete its task, the best hope for fair districting in the future could safely depend on the State Supreme Court.  The Court had performed that task well twice in the last four decades, in 1974 and 1991 when legislative impasses required the court to take up the redistricting job.  In fact, the Supreme Court performed that task in 1974 and 1991 much more fairly than the Legislature had done in its last two efforts – the 1981 and 2001 redistricting which are commonly acknowledged to have been egregious, partisan (and in 2001 bi-partisan) gerrymanders.  The results of these partisan gerrymanders was telling – virtually no gerrymandered district changed partisan hands in the two decades, a nearly 98% reelection rate for incumbents of both major political parties.

So, if the Redistricting Commission deadlocks, that would not necessarily be a sign of failure.  Rather, it would be an acknowledgement that the gravitational pull of partisanship and leftwing ideology in the Redistricting Commission process can be resisted by partisan Commissioners voting to deadlock the Commission’s attempt to draw overtly- or covertly-partisan or ideological district plans, allowing the Supreme Court to perform its designated constitutional role.

By August 15, 2011, the Commission either must adopt district plans agreeable to supermajorities of Democrat, Republican and other commissioners or it goes out of business and the responsibility for redistricting defaults to the State Supreme Court.

However, deadlock doesn’t just “happen,” its useful role must be fully understood.

C.    Commission Process Was Hijacked by the Left & the Commission Violated Open Meeting, Public Records and Conflict of Interest Laws

The Redistricting Commission process itself bears examination even before the Commission has completed its tasks as the August 15th deadline approaches. Despite Proposition 11’s design to avoid overt and covert partisanship, the Commission’s composition process was badly executed, the Commissioners blithely disregarded conflict of interest and public disclosure laws, and the Commission’s preliminary decisions to release maps that violated the constitution and to cancel an important map release deadline, combined with draft maps that have tilted progressively toward favoring Democrats suggest that this process has been hijacked and is headed for failure.

The Commission’s selection process favored educated elites, mostly with left-wing backgrounds.  When the initial commissioner applicant pool was narrowed from over 30,000 to 60, this winnowing process performed by state bureaucrats favored applicants with advanced educational backgrounds and local government experience.  The legislative strike process that reduced the applicant pool from 60 to 36 further refined the applicant pool to an even more concentrated group of the educational elite. The initial random selection process resulted in the selection of the first eight commissioners and that group’s composition did not reflect the state’s population.

The final selection process vested in the initial eight commissioners the choice of the last six commissioners.  That final process resulted in the inclusion of a hyper-partisan Democrat who was a MALDEF attorney in the 2001 redistricting litigation and the selection of a Santa Paula educator whom the media recently disclosed had failed to reveal his political contributions to Democrats and had also failed to disclose membership in an organization whose redistricting plans he is advocating.  The first eight commissioners also excluded from the Commission a retired law professor who served as special master expert for the highly-lauded 1974 and 1991 State Supreme Courts’ redistricting plans.

These decisions best reveal the dirty little secret of the Redistricting Commission’s covert leftist and activist Democrat majority. The Commission’s four “non-partisan” commissioners are with one exception to the left of center and probably to the left of the five Democrat commissioners.  The Commission hired as its experts Q2 Data & Research, a company of Berkeley line drawing expert Karin Macdonald, who has a leftist background and is a business partner and academic paper co-author with Democrat redistricting expert Professor Bruce Cain, and Ana Henderson, an adjunct law professor and former Justice Department attorney advisor with a decidedly leftist background.  The Commission rejected line drawing advisors and lawyers with impeccable redistricting expertise but past Republican connections.

As late as June, the Commission hired as its “racially-polarized voting” consultant a liberal professor who had submitted an analysis of “racially-polarized voting” for one of the advocacy groups appearing before the Commission, an obvious conflict of interest under California common law.  The Commission was about to hire a Washington, DC – based Democrat law professor who had co-authored four academic papers with Ms. Macdonald as “in line reviewer” of Macdonald’s work until a public outroar ensued.

D.    Commission’s Maps Are Unfair, Covertly-Partisan Gerrymanders

Were the objections to the Commission’s activities limited to process only, there would be an insufficient basis to urge Republican commissioners to take what may seem a drastic step – to block the Commission’s maps.  However, the Commission’s likely product, the maps, appears to be unfair and partisan.  Even Democrat redistricting effort Paul Mitchell has concluded that the Commission’s districting plans are likely to secure 2/3ds Democrat majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly.  Republican redistricting expert Dr. Tony Quinn agrees. The analysis that accompanied the Commission’s June 10th release of draft maps suggested that the commissioners had drawn districts likely to offer some competitive districts and no clear partisan tilt.  This promise has faded as the commissioners have continued to tinker with the draft maps, with each draft veering more in favor of Democrats.

Although the citizens’ commission reform was intended to reduce gerrymandering, the Redistricting Commission’s current “visualizations” hardly banish this odorous practice.  For example, the Commission’s proposed LASGF State Senate district stretches from Claremont in the east San Gabriel Valley to Burbank in the San Fernando Valley, a district without a “community of interest.” The proposed WMONT State Senate district stretches from agricultural Santa Maria some 200 miles to the outskirts of San Jose.  Sacramento County is split into six State Senate districts that run from Sandy Valley (less than 30 miles from the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada) to Hilt on the Oregon border. One draft Board of Equalization district spans from Yreka on the Oregon border to El Centro on the Mexican border, a driving distance of more than 730 miles.  You cannot travel between these two cities and stay within the proposed district by any highway or other mode of transportation!

Other examples of unexplainable splitting of cities and counties abound in the draft “visualizations” that may soon be final Commission district maps.   In short, the Commission’s maps to be released next week are likely to be unfair, Democrat-favoring and gerrymandered.

E.    Will Republican Commissioners Recognize and Exercise Their Constitutional Duty?

Of the five Republican commissioners, some appear to understand their role and the importance of using their constitutional supermajority power to block bad Commission decisions and ultimately, to block overtly or covertly partisan redistricting plans.  Other Republican commissioners appear to be more influenced by other concerns and the understandable motivation to “complete” the Commission’s assigned task to draw districting plans.

Will these commissioners accede to the leftist-oriented perspectives and preferences of the Commission’s Democrat and unaffiliated majority?

Will they have the fortitude to say no to Redistricting Commission maps that are the product of a process hijacked by the left, tainted by violations of state opening meeting laws, public records laws and conflicts of interest and by the undisclosed partisan and ideological affiliations of commissioners?

Will they say no to ratifying the “shell game” process by which first draft maps were made public that contained blatant violations of equal population and other constitutional requirements, the release of second draft maps was cancelled on short notice, and the final maps will be released without effective opportunity for public comment or change?

Will these three commissioners understand that “going along, just to get along” to the August 15 finish line and check the box, “mission accomplished,” even if that means adopting overtly- or covertly-partisan redistricting plans, would fail to live up to their constitutional responsibilities?

Only time will tell.  Thus far, Republican commissioners seem not to fully appreciate the genius of the Proposition 11 design.  If they fail to understand it and utilize their power, they could be responsible not only for abrogating their constitutional power and responsibility but also for thwarting the people’s goal in adopting Proposition 11 to ensure fair redistricting.

Getting along, and just getting the job done, simply to check the box “mission accomplished,” will not be true to the spirit and design of Proposition 11. Whether that result would lead to litigation or referendum of the Commission’s districting plans, it could mark the Proposition 11 experiment in 2011 as a spectacular failure.
_____________________________________________________________

Dr. John Eastman is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service and former Dean at Chapman University School of Law. Charles H. Bell, Jr. is the senior partner of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP, Sacramento, California and is a leading election law and litigation practitioner.

 

They Call It Gerrymandering for a Reason, by Senator Ray Haynes

It was supposed to be our salvation. In 1792, the first redistricting process in the United States, Eldridge Gerry figured out how to draw lines to favor his political party. One of his opponents said the districts looked like a salamander. Another said “that is not a salamander, it’s a Gerrymander. And a great political tradition in the United States was born.

The solution? A citizen commission, free from bias, drawing the lines, no politics, no partisanship. It didn’t work out that way here in California. What went wrong?

I supported the idea in the 1990′s, thinking it could work. Then I went through a redistricting process. Redistricting is the most political process there is. Jobs, careers, and power are at stake. I watched as Democrats in the Legislature erased and drew lines in their districts on their desks during session. They were intensely interested in the outcome. David Dreier and Ed Royce lived in Sacramento for a time while the lines were being drawn. Mike Briggs sold his vote on a tax increase for the Congressional seat that he thought would be his, and turned out to belong to Devin Nunez. Republicans in Congress cut a deal with Democrats in the Legislature for a status quo redistricting which was intended to shaft Republicans in the Legislature and Democrats in Congress. It did, a little bit, but in the end, not much changed. People whined about how political process was, and it was just politicians drawing lines for politicians.

But, in the scope of things, politicians are accountable to voters, commissioners are not. Politicians do politics full time, commissioners do not. After having gone through the process, I came to the conclusion that a commission would be the worst idea, and it would destroy Republicans. It would allow the politicians to draw partisan lines, without accountability. It would allow the staff of the commission, which would be appointed by either a Democrat Secretary of State or a Democrat Governor, to control the process. The commissioners would have no idea what was going on.

The other problem is that when Democrats step in to these sorts of “nonpartisan” positions, they become intensely partisan, and prove it by screwing Republicans. Republicans who step these sorts of positions become intensely nonpartisan, and prove it by screwing Republicans. Compare Bill Jones to Kevin Shelley as Secretary of State. Bill Jones, when faced with true accusations of the voter fraud that was used to defeat Bob Dornan, and elect Loretta Sanchez, went out of his way to discount Dornan’s claims of fraud, saying there was no proof. Three years later, the person who committed the fraud was convicted of felonies related to the fraudulent voter registration drive in Dornan’s district. By that time, it was too late. Shelley, when given “Help America Vote Act” money by Republicans in Congress to make voting more fair, gave the money to Democrat political operatives to shaft Republicans in California. Shelley lost his job over his illegal behavior. In both cases, Republicans got the short end of the “nonpartisan” stick.

Just as they are with the Redistricting Commission. I said this would happen in 2006, when the idea was proposed. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about. This would be the only thing that would save Republicans in California. I contended then (and contend now) that the only thing that will save Republicans in California is hard work, but I was told by party leaders to sit down and shut up. I should have been more insistent, but I had no dog in that hunt. If that was what they wanted, I would not oppose them. I made a mistake, and now we are reaping the results of that foolishness. I knew better, having been through a redistricting. I saw how personal it was, how intensely interested the politicians were in the outcomes. They would be just as interested in a commission’s work, only then they would be behind the scenes with the Commissioners as their puppets, and the Republicans on the Commission would never know what hit them. They would be so interested in “doing their job” that they would never see the train coming at Republican officeholders in the state, put on the track by Democrats behind the scenes.

And now it has happened, and we are now left on the sidelines to whine about the outcome of a process we created. The Democrats will, quite rightly, say this was what the Republicans wanted. Why are the Republican so upset, Democrats will say? Republicans on the Commission voted for this, so what is the problem? Republican party leaders will try to make excuses about why it went bad, but it was in the cards. The commission was a bad idea, and any one who had actually watched 240 years of American history could have foreseen it. Oh well, those guys are smarter than me, what can I say?

Memo to the Commish, RE BOE and Section 5

California Conservative Action Group
P. O. Box 9404, Albany, CA 94706
 
MEMO
To: Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: David Salaverry, CCAG
RE: BOE and Section 5
Date:  July 24, 2011
 

 I said weeks ago that Section 5 is the tale wagging the redistricting dog in California.  In Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, our center of the universe,  will probably not get the congressional district we wanted because, in the commissioners words, Section 5 in Monterey County makes that impossible.

All around the state the ripple effects of Section 5 have distorted the maps.  You are bound by the ranked criteria of Propositions 11 and 20 and concerned about DOJ preclearance.  However I ask you to vote down your own maps for the BOE districts so at least in this one narrow and limited area the Special Masters can interpret the law with greater clarity and Californian citizens can litigate.

Merced is suing to get out.  Monterey may like the outsized influence Section 5 gives it and lack the political will to sue.  Yolo and Kings are tiny counties without the resources to sue.  But like Merced, all the affected counties are stigmatized and have significant costs for compliance.

It’s clear from public comments that many believe you are confused and have made bad calls on the BOE maps.   Senior and distinguished black political figures spoke against your BOE maps.  Business interests weighed in forcefully against them.  If the strange bedfellows of politics are any indication, maybe you got this one wrong.

You have lacked the moral and political courage to draw any maps that challenge Section 5.  That’s understandable, you are citizens and newcomers to mapping trying hard to stay within the lines even when the result is disenfranchisement and the functional absurdity of many of your maps.

So, have the courage to admit you may have gotten the BOE wrong.  Vote it down, send it to the Special Masters and give us an opportunity to litigate cleanly.

Regards,

 
 David Salaverry
CCAG, California Conservative Action Group
www.fairthelines.org

Memo to the Commish, RE Mission Accomplished

California Conservative Action Group
P. O. Box 9404, Albany, CA 94706
 
MEMO
To: Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: David Salaverry, CCAG
RE: Mission Accomplished
Date:  July 23, 2011

 

Your litigation attorney candidates spoke this morning of the historical significance of this commission.   They are right… but the question remains, what does this commission signify?  Yes, you are a noble experiment, but has the experiment on the whole succeeded or failed?  The jury is still out.  The real story of this commission remains to be written.

This morning, Attorney McRae was passionate and articulate as to the ideal of the commission.  But let’s be clear, he is selling his firm by recycling to you your own vison of yourself.  He invites you to conclude, before the maps are finished, and before Californians have looked at them closely and weighed in that:

“You have respected and adhered to the process… produced maps that serve and reflect California… been deliberative and impartial and… [and] adhered to the spirit and letter of the Propositions.”

This is basic salesmanship.  Project onto the screen of the prospect’s consciousness a glowing self image… an voila, he buys the product, in this case his law firm as your litigator.  Most of you were motivated by idealism.  But be increasingly wary of self deception as you move forward.

If you allow prospective attorneys to claim, “Mission Accomplished,” or worse, if you make this claim yourself, there may be a George-Bush-on-the-aircraft-carrier video playing on an endless loop in your collective future.  To avoid this, wait till everyone has weighed in, listen to your critics and take the praise with plenty of salt.

Neither your lawyers, your supporters and much less yourselves can capably and fairly judge your work.  Your  maps will be judged over the next decade through the aggregate voices of all Californians.

Regards,
 
David Salaverry
CCAG, California Conservative Action Group
www.fairthelines.org

Memo to the Commish, RE MoFo and Gibson as litigators

California Conservative Action Group
P. O. Box 9404, Albany, CA 94706
 
MEMO
To: Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: David Salaverry, CCAG
RE: Selection of Litigation Counsel
Date:  July 17, 2011
 

 Morrison & Forstner is a poor choice of litigation attorneys.  The firm has a reputation for partisanship and is not politically balanced.

If you check contributions by staff and partners, you will find a high percentage of donations to Democrats.  One prominent MoFo attorney, Mr. Tony West was active as a fundraiser for Barack Obama and was earlier connected to Ron Dellums.  He then moved to the Department of Justice to head 750 Civil Division lawyers, and is married to the sister of Kamela Harris according to newspaper reports.  Brosnahan, the lead attorney who would represernt the commission testified he was the Secretary Treasurer of MALDEF.  He is also a major Obama fundraiser.

Two attorney options is not enough, nor is a two commissioner team tasked to cull the firms and make a strong recommendation that twelve of you rely upon.  In the course of the public hearings and line drawing process, it has become obvious that Gibson, Dunn and Mr. Brown was not a good choice.  A letter from the AARC, African American Redistricting Coalition cited chapter and verse as to Mr. Brown’s incompetence.  Others have weighed in similarly.

Likewise, Morrison & Forster has little voting rights or election law experience.  The firm’s excitement about representing the Commission is not a compelling reason for the hire.  It may be due in part to approval of maps which Time Magazine said favor Democrats, rather than idealistic support of citizen redistricting.  The firm, like Gibson, is expensive, charging $800 to $1,000 hourly for partners.

Given your discussion of the six million dollar cost to Arizona to defend 40 maps in a state with a population  of seven million, can the taxpayers of California expect a final bill in multiples of that cost?

Would a multi-million dollar fee to MoFo be appropriate given our budget crisis?  And would a huge fee to Gibson Dunn, whose errors you will need to defensibly litigate, and whose lead counsel may be both a witness and your litigator be appropriate?

 Regards,
 David Salaverry
CCAG, California Conservative Action Group
www.fairthelines.org

Memo to the Commish, RE Two Extra Weeks

California Conservative Action Group
P. O. Box 9404, Albany, CA 94706
 
MEMO
To: Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: David Salaverry, CCAG
RE: An Extra Two Weeks, Response to Criticism
Date:  July 17, 2011
 

 At the end of the July 16, 2011 hearing, Commissioner Galambos-Malloy made reference to a letter from Eugene Lee of CAPAFR.  If I understand the discussion correctly, Mr. Lee said in effect, “The Commission got the law wrong.  You have two extra weeks.”

After an hour-long search of your website, I have not found the letter from CAPAFR or Mr. Lee.  I did find a letter from Mr. Jim Wright dated July 8, 2011 which makes the same point ascribed to Mr. Lee; that neither Props 11 & 20 nor Bagley-Keene require a 14 day dead zone from August 1 to August 15.

If Mr. Lee and Mr. Wright are correct… wow!  Serious charges of incompetence have been made against your VRA counsel by the AARC and others.  Similar charges are bound to follow against  Staff Attorney Miller’s team if they got this wrong.  Time pressure lead to the cancelation of second draft maps and citizen input.  The abrupt, chaotic changes were criticized by citizens, organized groups and the press.  An extra two weeks would have allowed the process to move forward as planned.

The Commission must get to the bottom of this immediately.  It must resist the impulse to trivialize or bury bad news.   With respect to criticism, the Commission has become a self-protecting and self-aggrandizing Politburo to an extent that is very troubling.

On the sixteenth, three commissioners were “outraged” that a citizen complained about  staff, as if the Commission and its staff are above reproach because you work hard and are under pressure.  We’re all working hard to draw fair lines.  Our work in the citizen activist community is no less intense than of in the “alphabet group” community, the pundit community,  the vendor community, etc.

Your effort is appreciated but irrelevant.  You will be judged by results.  Let’s hope Miller was right.

 Regards,
 David Salaverry
CCAG, California Conservative Action Group
www.fairthelines.org

Memo to the Commish, RE Citizen Complaint About Staff

California Conservative Action Group
P. O. Box 9404, Albany, CA 94706
 
MEMO
To: Citizens Redistricting Commission
From: David Salaverry, CCAG
RE: Citizen Complaint Against Staff
Date:  July 16, 2011
 

It is not surprising that the Commission has closed ranks and tried to move on quickly past the allegation made on July 15 by a citizen against a staffer.   Whatever the facts of the matter are, it is unfortunate that the commission has inadvertently tarnished the reputation of the citizen by dismissing the allegation as not worth considering.

The citizen said in testimony, “I saw a staffer pull up a site on his laptop that directly refuted my testimony, seconds after I had spoken.”  Has the commission discovered that in fact this did NOT happen?   In that case, the citizen should be censured.  However, if in fact the staffer did surf to  the site and the citizen did inadvertently see it on the staffer’s laptop, there is the question of intent.

Is this staffer merely intellectually curious?  Does he have such a vital interest in redistricting that he is constantly surfing to learn more? Were these just random internet wanderings to alleviate boredom? Or is there a more complex and potentially troubling background here?

Whatever the case, by dismissing the event as inconsequential without saying publicly whether or not the citizen saw what she said she saw, the Commission has protected its institutional credibility at the expense of the credibility of the citizen.

While I fully understand the time pressures the Commission is working under, this matter was not handled well.  And it must not be allowed to weigh against the citizen or the citizen’s input and COI.  If that happens, it will drastically compound the problem and impact credibility to an even larger extent.

 Regards,
 
David Salaverry
CCAG, California Conservative Action Group
www.fairthelines.org