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Group seeks to toss out electoral maps

Posted: October 13, 2011 9:31 p.m.
Updated: October 13, 2011 9:31 p.m.
 


Local advocates who spent a good part of their summer calling on redistricting commissioners to keep Santa Clarita Valley whole are getting help from petition-writing groups seeking to toss out the revised electoral maps.

A group called Fairness & Accountability In Redistricting — with the help of the California Republican Party — has until Nov. 13 to submit a petition that would essentially rip up maps drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and order them replaced with alternate court-drafted ones.

The groups need 504,760 signatures in the next 30 days to make the plan work.

As of Sept. 21, they had amassed more than 200,000 signatures.

“We’re continuing with this process,” said state GOP spokesman Mark Standriff from Sacramento on Thursday.

“And that process allows for citizens to say, ‘We’re not crazy about the maps.’ And in our minds, the people got it right,” Standriff said.

Initial maps

The commission is charged with redrawing boundaries for the state’s Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts, as well as U.S. congressional districts, based on 2010 U.S. Census data.

From the outset, its proposed designs for the state’s 40 Senate districts met with heated opposition.

The proposed Senate plan released in early June lumped the Santa Clarita Valley with Malibu, encompassing a territory from the Kern County border in the north to the Pacific Ocean.

Over the summer, several Santa Clarita Valley residents traveled to Lancaster, San Fernando and Culver City to get in front of the 14-member commission and ask that Santa Clarita Valley be kept whole to unify its voice.

On Aug. 15, when commissioners unveiled their final maps, the groups got what they had asked for — except for the map of redesigned Senate districts.

Since the 2000 Census boundary adjustments, the Santa Clarita Valley has been split into two Senate districts, currently represented by Sens. Sharon Runner and Tony Strickland.

The commission’s revised map for 2010 census numbers also splits the Santa Clarita Valley following a jagged line roughly north to south along The Old Road, across Magic Mountain Parkway to McBean, down Orchard Village Road to Main Street all the way to Sierra Highway.

Petitions and battles

On Aug. 16, Fairness & Accountability In Redistricting presented its petition to the state attorney general to rip up the proposed maps.

Two weeks ago, it announced online that its signature drive was ahead of schedule and that the drive would wrap up early.

Other groups are waging similar court battles.

“There are two legal challenges that have been filed with the state Supreme Court and two referendums that are currently gathering signatures,” Rob Wilcox, spokesman for the Citizens Redistricting Commission, said Thursday.

On Sept. 29, former Congressman George Radanovich and four other people filed a petition with the California Supreme Court alleging in part that the commission violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act because of the way commissioners drew congressional redistricting lines.

That petition asks the Supreme Court to appoint a “special master” to draw new lines for those congressional districts alleged to be in violation.

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