Monday, June 20, 2011
The political boundaries are redrawn every 10 years to reflect changing census data. This year is the first time a citizens’ commission is redrawing the maps for state, senate and assembly and for congressional voting districts.
Commission spokesman, Rob Wilcox, said the new maps will change the political landscape.
“In the past the politicians have drawn the lines,” he said, “and they have protected incumbents. Now the commission is not even considering incumbents or political parties or where political candidates live and they have a whole other set of non-partisan criteria: following the Voting Rights Act, keeping the districts contiguous and compact and honoring communities of interest.”
Where your district is has a lot to do with who you are able to elect to positions of power in Sacramento and Washington, DC, Wilcox said.
“And they make the decisions that affect your everyday life, from the taxes that you pay, to transportation issues, to the quality of your child’s school -- so it’s very important.“
But Mateo Camarillo, chair of the Latino Redistricting Committee in San Diego, said the maps proposed by the State Redistricting Commission divide communities of interest.
“They’re required, as one of their top priorities, not to diminish and dilute the voting strength of racial and ethnic groups,” Camarillo said, “which they did around Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, Barrio Logan. That’s totally wrong.”
Mateo said the Latino community has alternative maps for state assembly and senate districts, plus the 51st congressional district currently held by Congressman Bob Filner.
The Citizens' Commission will draw up revised maps July 12th.
Final maps are due by mid-August.