California political analyst Tony Quinn has been following redistricting matters long enough to remember when the Earl Warren court handed down its "one person, one vote" ruling half a century ago.
That ruling set population, not geography, as the standard for drawing political districts. But as minority and immigrant populations grew and settled mainly in large, urban areas, political leaders -- and the courts -- began making exceptions to drawing districts using population as the sole factor.
"There have been arguments for more than 30 years about how to draw minority districts," said Quinn, who consulted with California Republicans on redistricting matters in the 1970s and 1980s.
The goal was to avoid diluting minority voting power and “the Supreme Court has always sort of edged around the whole gerrymandered district issues” when it came to ensuring a minority candidate had a fair shot at winning an election in the face of racially polarized voting practices, Quinn said.
The U.S. Supreme Court's agreement Tuesday to hear a case that could potentially overhaul how political districts are drawn has sparked waves of speculation among political and legal wonks -- including questions as to how a ruling could affect California's clout in Congress.
The case, which the court will hear this fall and rule on next year, centers on the "one person, one vote" principle that has long guided how political districts are drawn. Currently, districts are drawn to be of roughly equal size based on total population. But a Texas conservative group wants those lines to be drawn based on citizens who can vote.
Although the case pertains to state and local districts, experts say the justices could issue a ruling broad enough to also affect congressional lines, as well as the number of representatives each state sends to the House of Representatives.
Congressional seats are apportioned every 10 years, based on the census. States with large noncitizen populations -- such as California...Read more
Amid outrage over a proposed initiative that calls for the execution of gays and lesbians, the California Assembly on Tuesday approved legislation that would increase the filing fee for a ballot measure from $200 to $8,000.
The proposed increase would discourage outlandish ballot initiatives, proponents say, though others opposed the legislation as an attack on California’s system of direct democracy, in which citizens can petition for law changes if their lawmakers refuse.
Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), a co-author of the bill, said the current fee paid to the attorney general to prepare the title and summary of initiatives has failed to keep pace with the actual cost, which he said averages $8,251.
“The $200 fee was first set 72 years ago,” Low told his colleagues. “This reform is overdue, but more importantly it will also deter frivolous proposals from being submitted."
Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said the higher fee would make it difficult for individuals and nonprofit...Read more
Celebrity Kim Kardashian’s 2011 wedding to Kris Humphries not only produced headlines over their quick divorce, but now is also responsible for legislation that would significantly increase fines against hosts of unpermitted big events that tie up traffic and public resources.
The California Assembly on Friday approved a bill that would boost fines after Santa Barbara County could levy only a $100 fine against the Montecito homeowner who hosted the Kardashian-Humphries nuptials, even though it generated a flood of neighbors’ complaints over traffic and other problems. The event was held at the home of venture capitalist Frank Caufield.
FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this post said that the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries wedding was held at the home of Google Executive Chairman Eric E. Schmidt. It was held at the home of venture capitalist Frank Caufield.
Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) said the Kardashian wedding cost public agencies thousands...Read more
California lawmakers acted Friday on a measure that would require workers in day care centers to get vaccinated as part of an effort to protect children from preventable diseases, including measles, for which there have been recent outbreaks in the state.
The vaccine bill applies to workers in commercial day care centers and family day care centers operated out of homes and is partly in response to a measles outbreak that involved visitors to Disneyland, according to state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
While the outbreak linked to Disneyland did not result in any fatalities, children have died in the country from other diseases that can be prevented by vaccines, he said.
“One child’s death is one too many, especially when it may be preventable,” Mendoza said Friday. “We must do everything in our power to protect California’s children who spend time in day care.”
The state Senate voted 34-3 to approve SB 792 and send it to the Assembly. Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) voted against the...Read more
California Assemblyman Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa, brought an unusual accessory to Friday's floor session: a kitchen broom, a not-so-subtle nod to the three-shutout series sweep inflicted on the Dodgers by the San Francisco Giants this week.
The Giants-Dodgers acrimony has been one of California's most enduring sports rivalries -- one that often creeps into life at the Capitol, from Twitter banter between members to office decor.
With the Giants winning three World Series championships since 2010, the Northern California partisans have recently held the upper hand in the rivalry. When the Giants were honored for their latest World Series win in January, Bay Area lawmakers roped in Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) to pose with them in a photo with the championship trophies. He wore a Dodgers hat.
Gomez, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, has emerged as the most ardent defender of Dodger Blue in the Capitol.
"There's an obvious Giants bias in Sacramento," Gomez said. "We...Read more