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