Think the battle over the state's legislative lines is so 2011? Think again.
As readers of my column know, California voters passed two ballot initiatives which took the power to draw legislative lines out of the hands of the legislators and put that power into the hands of a 14-member independent redistricting commission. The commission was comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters who are registered as Decline to State.
Last year the commission completed its charge of drawing new lines based on 2010 census data for the board of equalization, state assembly, state senate and House of Representatives. The commission had the responsibility of drawing lines, which complied with a number of criteria, including demographic shifts, drawing districts of equal (or nearly equal) population and complying with the voting rights act.
The commission heard public testimony, created draft maps, and heard even more public testimony. The process was not perfect, nothing can be, but it was far more open and transparent than the process that takes place when legislators draw their own lines.