Press Release, 4/1/2011
Announcing the formation of CCRC, the California Conservative Redistricting Coalition. In March, the new Prop 11 Citizens Redistricting Commission selected Voting Rights Act (VRA) attorneys Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher over Nielsen, Merksamer and tech-consultant (line drawer) Q2 (connected to the UC Berkeley Statewide Database) over The Rose Institute (connected to Claremont McKenna).
There was a good deal of controversy over these early commission selections. Conservatives noted that Q2’s part owner, Bruce Cain was originally a line drawer for CA Dems, some say responsible for gerrymandering that lead to Dem advantage over Repubs. The commission agreed to hire Q2 only if a) Cain was “firewalled” and kept from influencing the process and b) an “in-line review” were conducted. However, the exact wording of the “firewall” is an ongoing controversy and the details of the “in-line” or peer review are not settled.
Controversy surrounding Gibson Dunn became a potential scandal last week when commission Staff Attorney Miller learned on the internet Gibson had undisclosed lobbying interests and had made undisclosed contributions to CA congressional candidates. The full commission meets April 7 to sort this out, but for the time being, Gibson is on board with a temporary 2 week - $5K contract.
Today on KQED's Forum (10am-11am show) two commission members, Vince Barabas and Connie Galambos-Malloy fielded questions from callers. CCRC founder Salaverry called in to ask questions about the growing public awareness of the Gibson Dunn scandal. Salaverry also asked on-air about the last minute change to bid documents that allowed Q2, with ties to Democrat redistricting in past cycles, to bid for the contract.
Commissioner Galambos-Malloy answered Salaverry, saying the bid docs were changed because as originally drafted they did not allow any of the tech consultants to bid. To our knowledge, this was the first public response from the commission to both oral and written questions by conservatives on this important issue.
At today's Common Cause lead seminar, an ethnic media breakout group discussed how to get the redistricting news to left activists and community organizers. One discussion participant noted that organizers who had worked the 2010 census “under count issue” were out in full force working their communities to bring people to the upcoming “Community of Interest” (COI, pronounced koi) input hearings before the commission.
During the Common Cause lead seminar, Salaverry spoke privately to both Commissioner Galambos-Malloy and Commissioner Barabas who joined the Burlingame seminar after their on air KQED interview in San Francisco. Also at the seminar, KQED radio reporter S Service interviewed Salaverry for KQED radio local news.
Salaverry asked both commissioners, “What happens if the public hearings become a battle of the COIs?” Galambos-Malloy said she was waiting for Gibson Dunn to weigh in on the legal issues. Barabas said he hoped that the most persuasive argument would prevail, not the loudest nor the largest COI.
The most important part of the citizen redistricting process has begun! The commission has released a full schedule of statewide public input meetings, starting April 9 in Region 9 to allow Californians to draw proposed maps, create their own COI and testify before the commission. See the attached PDF for the official calendar, annotated by CCRC.
Bay Area commission Pre-Map input hearings are scheduled for the majority of Bay Area counties in Region 8 in Santa Rosa May 20 and Oakland May 21. Post-Map hearings for the Bay Area are June 26 in San Francisco.
However, Santa Clara County in Region 7 has a different schedule. Pre-map hearings for Santa Clara are in Salinas May 22 and San Jose May 23 for a regional wrap up.
San Joaquin County in Region 9 inputs on April 9 in Redding and April 10 in Yuba City. Bay Area conservatives interested in the redistricting of CD11 need to attend, with a fully developed map and a persuasive written and oral argument why their conservative COI should be adopted.
There is a VERY IMPORTANT Northern California statewide organized groups meeting on May 24 (location TBD) and a counterpart Southern California meeting May 26. Other critical public hearing dates are May 27 and June 1, 2 and 7 when the full commission will give instructions to the line drawing firm Q2.
At today's Common Cause lead seminar, pre-map hearings were discussed as being the MOST important, because they influence the shape of the first draft of the map. One Common Cause speaker noted, “The next four and a half months equal ten years of maps!” Concerned conservatives should attend pre-map hearings and follow through to the post-map hearings as well.
Conservatives had a great showing at today's seminar: Eight concerned citizens from the East Bay and over a dozen from San Mateo area, San Francisco and other areas participated. According to Chris Furlong, a conservative participant, "The key take-away from today's workshop is that conservative participation is imperative!"