CA Redistricting Commission loses 3 applicants

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission Applicant Review Panel’s job is becoming a little easier. The ARP is almost halfway through its interviews of the 40 Democratic, 40 Republican, and 40 “Other” finalists for California’s first-ever Citizens Redistricting Commission. But, according to the staff for the State Auditor, who provides legal and staff support for the Panel, three of the applicants have withdrawn.

The three are evenly divided among the pools, with one Republican, one Democrat, and one “Other” (a registered Peace and Freedom party voter). The Auditor’s staff have posted official notices with the online profiles for two of the three. The withdrawn Democratic candidate is Janith Norman, a current City Councilwoman from Rio Vista. For those tracking the diversity of the pool, Ms. Norman is an African American in the $125,000 to $250,000 income range who received a BA degree from St. Mary’s and a Masters from California State University at Hayward. A former Court Reporter, Ms. Norman currently is an adjunct professor at the Contra Costa Community College District. According to the note posted by the Auditor’s staff to Ms. Norman’s profile, she sent an email stating “I regret to inform you that I am unable to proceed with the Citizens Redistricting Commission application process. I will continue to serve the people of the City of Rio Vista in the elected position of City Councilmember.” [Anyone selected to serve on the Commission is barred from running for office, so if selected she would not have been able to run for re-election to the City Council.]

The second withdrawn candidate is Edward Duran, a Latino Republican from San Clemente.  His application does not say where he earned his Bachelor’s degree, but he holds a law degree from Loyola, an MBA from USC, and a BSME in Engineering from California State University at Los Angeles. In 2004, he retired from his post as Orange County Counsel. Like Ms. Norman, Mr. Duran is in the $125,000 to $250,000 income range. The staff report states Mr. Duran told the Auditor’s staff “that his reason for withdrawing is very personal and he does not want to share it. . . . He congratulated staff on all of its hard work and stated that he was impressed with the process. He will continue to follow the process and feels it is important and necessary to seat the Commission. Mr. Duran was very sad and disappointed not to be able to continue.”

The third withdrawn candidate is Stockton resident Peggy Lopez. While no notification of withdrawal is posted to her profile, BSA staff informed the Rose Institute that she has withdrawn (and we appreciate the sharing of that information). Her voter registration is with the Peace and Freedom Party, which places her in the “Other” pool. For ethnicity she marked “Other” and wrote in “multicultural.” Ms. Lopez graduated from California State University at Hayward with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. In 2004 she earned her law degree from the Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law. Her income is “below $35,000.” According to her application, she currently is Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, “a statewide advocacy program for mental health clients/consumers.”

The Rose Institute has encouraged the Auditor’s staff to make the public notification of withdrawals easier to follow, for example by posting the staff notes concerning withdrawn candidates to the ARP’s “agenda and staff reports” page. So far no decisions have been made.

Anyone interested can watch the interviews each weekday and continue to follow this blog and the Rose Institute’s twitter feed (@RoseInstitute) for continuing information on California’s historic Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Irvine Foundation- funded “Redistricting California” coalition, of which the Rose Institute is a partner and which is led by Common Cause, also is posting updates to its twitter feed, @RedistrictingCA.

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