California Common Cause Hails Transparency For Redistricting Commission

Media Contact:

November 18, 2010

Katie Fleming (916) 443-1792

California Common Cause Hails Transparency for Redistricting Commission

Sacramento – California Common Cause was pleased to watch the first eight commissioners on the Citizens Redistricting Commission randomly chosen this morning out of a bingo cage. Elaine Howle, the California State Auditor, stood on stage and literally drew bingo balls marked with numbers to determine the names of three Democrats, three Republicans and two people not associated with a major party.

“The redistricting process has never been so transparent. We could watch this process online or attend the drawing. Californians can have faith that their communities will not be cut up during the redistricting process for political gain. When a community steps up and says they want to be kept together, their voices will be heard,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause.

The first eight commissioners are Cynthia Dai (D-San Francisco Teacher), Elaine Kuo (D-Mountain View Caregiver/Researcher), Jeanne Raya (D-San Gabriel Insurance Broker), Vincent Barabba (R-Capitola Former Director of U.S. Census Bureau), Jodie Filkins Webber (R-Norco Attorney), Peter Yao (R-Claremont Engineer), Stanley Forbes (DTS-Esparto Family Farm Owner) and Connie Galambos Malloy (DTS-Oakland Urban Planner).

The racial composition of the first eight is 12.5% Latino, 50% Asian, 12.5% Black, and 25% White. 62.5% are women and 37.5% are men.

The law that voters approved in 2008 requires the final six applicants be chosen by these first eight to “ensure the commission reflects this State’s diversity, including, but not limited, racial, ethnic, geographic, and gender diversity.. Applicants shall also be chosen based on relevant analytical skills and ability to be impartial.”

“The task at hand for these first eight commissioners will be to pick a diverse and talented group of people that balances the diversity. This may mean selecting more applicants from the Southern Coastal region and the Southern Central Valley and Mountain region, and persons of Latino, American Indian or White backgrounds,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause.

The last six commissioners will be chosen by December 31, 2010. Census data for California will be released from the U.S. Census Bureau by March 31, 2011 and the commission will have until August 15, 2011 to draw district lines for the State Legislature, Board of Equalization and U.S. Congress in California.

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.