“We Draw The Lines,” the much ballyhooed California Redistricting Commission has been held up as the standard for citizen-led redistricting, because it supposedly places the power of drawing districts in the hands of the voters, rather than partisan legislators. The commission’s work was hampered by talk of double-dealing, and other management issues before it even began. RedState in May reported on accusations of a lack transparency and close-door meetings within this committee.
This chatter was confirmed by the Dhillon Law Group for California Globe.
A recent California Public Records Act request by Attorneys Harmeet Dhillon, Michael Columbo and Mark Meuser (on behalf of California Globe editor Katy Grimes), produced evidence that members of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) have been holding secret meetings. The public records request was based on concerns raised in a letter from Charles T. Munger to the California Redistricting Commission dated May 7, 2021, as well as an op-ed authored by two former CRC commissioners, Cynthia Dai and Jodie P. Filkins, dated July 14, 2021.
Attorney Columbo told the Globe the CPRA request yielded significant information not made public by the California Redistricting Commission – pages of handwritten notes and discussions, which were not part of regular, noticed redistricting commission meetings.
The redistricting commission provided the documents to the attorneys starting on October 22 and continuing through November 22, producing numerous pages of hand-written redistricting commissioners’ notes regarding redistricting meetings and communications with outside parties that were held in secret, and not during the noticed public CRC meetings documented on the CRC’s website.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission held a committee meeting about a year ago, concerning Voting Rights Act (VRA) compliance. Some members of the meeting were concerned that the analyses by the committee were too race-based. It was also feared that some members would use this analysis in order to decide how the voting lines will be drawn.
That’s not what the purpose of the VRA is for, but based on the notes and CPRA documents uncovered, it shows a strategy and pattern of hiding this analysis from the public.
The Dhillon Law Firm filed an Emergency Petition with the California Supreme Court Tuesday.
They petition the court for:
The commission be directed to cease holding non-public meetings and to make all discussions and meetings public.
Share any analyses and other information with the public.
They are asking for the court’s permission to hire an independent law firm. However, the law firm currently representing Democrats is only for politicians, legislators, and candidates.
The mid-November map drafts showed some of these shenanigans. Maps showed that districts made up of minority communities were being torn apart. There was also a tendency toward tearing down Asian strongholds, particularly in San Gabriel Valley and Orange County. Los Angeles is now the focus of all attention, despite the fact that one Congress district was lost to the California Adios. Sara Sadhwani (Political Professor, Commission Member) told San Francisco Gate:
“We need to make changes in Los Angeles County, and even though most members believe the basic architecture in LA is looking good, as soon as we make a refinement, it impacts everything,” she said.”If you add one city in, you have to take another out, which has an impact on all of the districts surrounding the one you modified, and also has an impact on the area and entire state. It will have an impact on San Diego County and Orange County because there are so many refinements in LA. We have our work cut out for us.”
No, sh*t, Sherlock. Now that we know that certain people have tried to evade the VRA, it’s possible that the commission might finally unite and complete the tasks that Californians asked them.