June 22, 2021- J. Ray Kennedy, Commissioner, CA Citizens Redistricting Commission- via Zoom

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Virtual Meeting via ZOOM


Present: Mega Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Michelle Decker, Louis Goodwin, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, P.T. McEwen, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Brian Nestande, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Paul Shimoff, Sol Teh, Eric Ustation, Reggie Webb, Ray Wolfe, and Marisa Yeager.

Guests: Bill Blankenship, LaDonna DiCamillo, Peggi Hazlett, Boris Medzhibovsky, Arnold San Miguel, and Todd Warden.

Announcements:  1) The federal government has awarded San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) an additional $26.1M for their West Valley Connector Rapid Transit Bus Line between Ontario, Montclair, and Rancho Cucamonga.  This federal stimulus money to offset the local impact and cost the project requires.  Previously they received $187M in grant money from the federal government.  The SBCTA is pleased to report that this recent award is one of two issued to California and is the second highest dollar amount issued to any state.  Additionally, the SBCTA has successfully reset their TIFIA Loan which has reduced their interest from $170M down to $117M (a savings of $53M).   2) Meeting attendees were reminded that an audio recording of the question-and-answer portion of today’s meeting will be recorded and sent to the CA Redistricting Commission as they require.

Lowell King, Chair, presiding.

Motion by T. Rice/Second by K. Coate/Passed: Minutes from June 15, 2021.

Molina Healthcare has requested that Brian Nestande serve as their Alternate representative.
Motion by T. Rice/Second by D. Robert/Passed:  Brian Nestande will serve as the Alternate representative for Molina Healthcare.

John Mirau introduced J. Ray Kennedy, Commissioner, California Redistricting Commission.

Ray Kennedy discussed the basics of California redistricting and reminded those attending the meeting that no public input would be taken today, per California Government Code Section 8253(a)(3), as this is an educational presentation.  To provide public input, please visit the Commission’s web site at https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/

Every ten years, after the federal census, California must re-establish the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization districts to reflect new population.  District maps are redrawn as communities change.   They grow and shrink as people are born, die, move and areas that were once roughly the same number of people become unequal. Your voice is important, and all residents ideally should be involved as redistricting has been used at times to exclude communities from political power. By fully participating in and monitoring the upcoming redistricting process, more communities may have a better opportunity to elect candidates of their choice who will voice their needs and interests.

The U.S. census data is used to draw new maps to account for population shifts across the states and districts.  To ensure seats are held by the states in proportion to the size of their population, there is a federal reallocation of House seats among the states.  Redistricting draws new boundaries that determine which voters are represented by each electoral district.

The Commission members were selected from over 20,000 applicants.  After applicants are interviewed and screened, a pool of 60 are sent to the legislature which is allowed 12 strikes from each party.  From the remaining group, a lottery system is used to select the 14 members who make up the Commission.  The commission is diverse in political ideology (5 democrats, 5 republicans and 4 independents), age, ethnicity, background, and expertise.

The Commission must follow in order 6 criteria when drawing district maps:

  1. Equal Population-Districts must be of equal population to comply with the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Voting Rights Act-Districts must comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
  3. Contiguity-Districts must be drawn so that all parts of the district are connected to each other.
  4. Communities of Interest-Districts must minimize the division of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and communities of interest to the extent possible.
  5. Geographically Compact-Districts should be geographically compact such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for more distant populations. This requirement refers to density, not shape.
  6. Nesting Districts-Where practicable, each Senate District should be comprised of two complete and adjacent Assembly Districts and Board of Equalization districts shall be composed of ten complete and adjacent State Senate Districts.

In addition, the place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate may not be considered in the creation of a map, and districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.

Prior to 2010—Legislators drew lines, or if the legislature failed to carry out this duty properly, the court did.   In 2008 Californians voted to enact Proposition 11, which amended the CA Constitution making a Citizens Redistricting Commission responsible for drawing the lines for State Senate, State Assembly, and Board of Equalization.  In 2010, voters passed Proposition 20 which extended the Citizen Redistricting Commission’s power to draw electoral boundaries to include U.S. House seats as well.  Other States with Independent Commissions include Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana and Washington.

Communities of Interest (COI) are comprised of a concentrated population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation.  Examples include culture, areas in which the people share similar living standards, have similar work opportunities, use the same transportation facilities, or have access to the same media. People can belong to multiple COI.  COI are not the same as districts but are key building blocks of districts.

In order to defining your COI, maps can be created along with narrative profiles and providing community stories.  Oral and writted testimony can be submitted as personal stories are powerful.  Additionally, communities often get involved in redistricting because they feel their issues have not been adequately addressed by their elected representatives.  Creating and submitting boundary maps of your neighborhood or area are welcome.

The California Supreme Court ruled on July 17, 2020, that the Commission should have until December 15, 2021, to submit its maps to the California Secretary of State due to the delay in release of census results. If census results are received by the state after July 31, 2021, the Commission’s deadline will be adjusted accordingly.

The Commission members look forward to hearing from as many residents and COI as possible to assist this important process.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:01 a.m.