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Redistricting reform, Initiative reform, Constitutional Convention summit

February 20, 2009

Hi Folks,

In this edition of CVF-NEWS I have a number of items to share:

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State Auditor moves quickly to gear up for Citizens Redistricting Commission

Last November, California voters passed a redistricting reform initiative (Prop. 11) that establishes a new Citizens Redistricting Commission that will be in charge of creating the political district maps for California's state offices (legislature and board of equalization).

Although the commission's work won't begin until 2011, a lot is happening now to gear up for it. The Bureau of State Audits, for example, is charged with setting up an application process, reviewing applications and creating a pool of the most qualified sixty applicants. (From there the number is whittled down to fourteen via a combination of lawmaker and random selection.)

The application process will begin in 2010 and before then the Bureau of State Audits has a lot of details to figure out. They put out a call for public input a few weeks back and are holding hearings around the state to gather comments from citizens on various public policy issues that need to be addressed before regulations can be drafted and implemented.

This is an important reform opportunity in California, and a lot of folks I've spoken with really want to get it right. But there's a lot that could go wrong. The biggest challenge I think will be ensuring the process is not co-opted by partisan interests in the legislature. Thus, a lot can be done now to set the terms for the whole application process to make it as transparent and open as possible.

At the first Sacramento hearing on January 26, I presented comments on a number of issues, and recently submitted these comments in writing to the BOSA. CVF's letter, which covers the Applicant Review Panel, the Commission Application Process, Random Selection, Transparency in and Public Access to the Process, Funding, and Independent Voters is online at:

There's a lot of work to do to implement Prop. 11, and the stakes are high. But consider what will happen if we do have redistricting process in California where the greatest concern is representing the interests of the voters and not the politicians?

There is still time to weigh in with the BOSA. Visit the agency's Prop. 11 homepage to get their "Notice of Interested Persons Meetings", at

The remaining meetings are:

Los Angeles this Monday, January 23
San Francisco on February 27
Sacramento on March 3

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Constitutional Convention Summit in Sacramento Feb. 24

Next Tuesday, February 24 in Sacramento, an unusual event will be taking place. The Bay Area Council, along with a number of other nonpartisan organizations, is hosting a Constitutional Convention Summit, which will gather the state’s top leaders to review research, discuss the process, begin building a coalition to support a possible convention, and solicit ideas about what should be included in the convention. Visit the Council's web site,, for more details about the goals of this event. Admission is $89.

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Joint Legislative Hearing on Initiative Reform Feb. 25

Next Wednesday, February 25 I will be testifying before a joint hearing of the State Senate and Assembly elections committees, which will explore whether California needs initiative reform. The hearing is taking place at the State Capitol, Room 3191, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It may also be viewable on the California Channel's site,

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New America Foundation launches

The folks at the New America Foundation's California office have launched a new web resource to help spread greater awareness of the various budgetary and electoral reforms being discussed in California these days, covering many of the topics slated for discussion at Tuesday's Constitutional Convention Summit, online at

Have a great weekend!

-- Kim Alexander

Kim Alexander, President & Founder
California Voter Foundation

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This page was first published on February 21, 2009 | Last updated on February 25, 2009
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