Why the decision to not publish these interim maps?
We thought we would be in a position for the second draft, where we'd be fairly comfortable that we’d have it exactly as it should end up. As it ended up, we weren't comfortable with the lines we were lokng at and the kind of issues that were being surfaced. A lot of this is caused by four counties we have that fall into the Voting Rights Act.
Which counties are those?
Monterey, Merced, Yolo, and Kings.
Why are those more complicated?
There' an example in Santa Cruz County. A county that is in the voting rights act, cannot have any minority population retrogressed. In the case of the district that we drew that included Monetrrey and Santa Cruz county, the Latino population went from 46 to almost 44.5 percent. Our counsel suggested to us that if we did that, it would be refused by the justice dept because we retrogressed the Latino population.
In other words by making them a smaller percentage of the voting population in that districft, you are retrogressing them, and that's not acceptable under the U.S. Voting Rights Act.
Correct. You step back and you ask yourself what's the chances of Latinos' ability to affect an election, between 46 and and 44.5 percent, you have to wonder how you'd go about calculating that. But the law's the law and we'll follow the law.
That caused us to split the city of Santa Cruz, and move over into Santa Clara county and pick up the city of Gilroy. Becauise Gilroy had a larger Latino population than that portion of Santa Cruz. You can only imagine how the people in the city of Santa Cruz feel. Why would you split us, when there's no reason to? Other than the fact that we needed to get the to get the population characteristics correct. That's the complexity that gets into this process.
One reason that the Citizens Redistricting Commission was created by voters was to avoid the kind of gerrymandering that politicians did in order to improve their chances of re-election, and also to build up the power of their own parties. That often created some odd looking districts. But you're having just as much difficulty as the politicans have...
Gerrymandering came out of the ability of a former New Hampshrire official who drew a very inetresting looking district. But that was for pure political purposes. If you look at the constitution that were' operating under given passage of Propositions 11 and 20, the first priority is that we'll meet the constitutional mandate of equal population, the second is that we'll meet the Voting Rights Act requirements, and then down the list is communities of interest.
We're not gerrymandering to the preference of a political party or individual. We're following what the law says is required. We don't go out of our way for a particular ethnic group unless it's a community of interest because they get together and they have events and they're socially engaged. And in the case of a Voting Rights Act county, we don't have a choice, we're following the law. I don't think that falls into the same category as some of these districts that were drawn for truly partisan purposes.