Think Tank Says Prop 11 Will Not Hurt Minorities

According to a recent press release, the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles has recently concluded that Proposition 11 will not hurt minority representation in California, and may in fact help it. Additionally they point to other postiive like increase transparency, and a multi-party rather than single party method of redistricting. The center had this to say in their press release:

Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) today released Redistricting Reform in California: Proposition 11 on the November 2008 California Ballot, which makes five key findings. First, the independent commission is likely to be more ethnically diverse than the legislature’s redistricting committees. Second, the independent commission will be more balanced between Republicans, Democrats and members of neither major party. Third, the independent commission will be more open to public input than legislative committees. Fourth, the districts created by the independent commission will almost certainly be more competitive than districts created by the legislature. Finally, the independent commission will almost certainly produce maps through a process that has improved transparency and public access.

George Skelton, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, also picked up on this in a recent column:

Civil rights groups contend, however, that minority communities could get the short end.

“There’s no mechanism to guarantee that the commission will reflect California’s diversity,” says Nancy Ramirez, western regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “And just because the legislative committees haven’t been diverse in the past doesn’t mean it’s OK.”

Kathay Feng, state president of Common Cause, disputes that. She points to Prop. 11 language that requires the state auditor to select “voters in a manner that promotes a diverse and qualified applicant pool.” The final selectees must be “chosen to ensure the commission reflects this state’s diversity, including . . . racial, ethnic, geographic and gender.”

“Short of quotas, which are illegal, we couldn’t put in stronger requirements,” Feng says.

The think tank report agrees that the ballot measure contains “criteria to ensure that the independent redistricting commission reflects the state’s diversity.”

Minority communities wouldn’t be any worse off than they have been with their Democratic pals drawing the lines. They’d probably be better off. Everybody would, except those politicians currently allowed to abuse the power.

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