Our Voice: Proof positive that citizens do it better
by Press Editorial Board
Aug 19, 2011 | 3717 views | 16 16 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Earlier this week, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission put its official stamp on new boundaries for Congress, state Senate and Assembly districts. While they aren’t technically set in stone — legal challenges inevitably await — the maps let us know who our new political neighbors will be in 2012.

From where we stand, the lines look pretty good, indeed.

For the Assembly, Tracy, Mountain House and Stockton share a district that also encompasses a wide swath of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The state Senate district is virtually all of San Joaquin County — as logical a boundary as you can find when it comes to politics — with Modesto and Galt thrown into the mix.

And when it comes to Congress, the local gerrymander that was the 11th District has officially been slain.

Sure, they aren’t perfect. We can find fault with pretty much any of the maps, especially the congressional one that has Mountain House and Tracy in separate districts, lumping Tracy in with Stanislaus County.

But we can safely say that the CCRC’s work — and the process that led to it — is light years better than the hack job politicians perpetrated on the citizenry when it was their job to draw the boundaries back in 2001.

That travesty led Tracy’s congressional district to include not only Lodi and Manteca, but Danville, San Ramon and Morgan Hill. It also led to San Joaquin County not having a single state or federal elected official live within its boundaries.

It was all in the name of protecting incumbents and their political fiefdoms.

So, imperfections aside, the new boundaries are a triumph for voters and a clear sign that electors, not the elected, should be in charge of redistricting.

Too bad our county supervisors couldn’t have learned the same lesson months ago.

Instead of entrusting citizens to draw supervisorial boundaries, San Joaquin County’s elected officials drew their own maps and, over the past few months, shifted boundaries to include this region or exclude that planned development from certain districts.

The result is a set of districts that seem more about protecting political power than best serving the electorate.

Thankfully, Tracy-area Supervisor Leroy Ornellas is putting together a ballot initiative that would demand the county’s supervisorial districts be redrawn by a citizen commission.

We’re in favor of it. Because, time and time again, elected officials have shown they can’t be trusted to decide who votes for them. Even if they profess the best intentions.
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AugustMarch
|
August 24, 2011
TomB,

Even if your time didn't expire. I don't think it had merit.

theviscioussheep,

Thanks! I was thinking the same thing and wondered why the TracyPress didn't write the entire story instead of focusing on half they remember.

That's why I asked who wrote this article. I don't think Sam would have suspected an article to only half of our history.

Oh well, I guess we are left to guess who writes in place of the "Tracy Press Staff".
TomBenigno
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August 21, 2011
Deigner:

I didn't waste my time appealing it in 2008, when it was unjust,why would I worry about it now. Now his new scheme, I might oppose that one.
dcose
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August 20, 2011
SJ County Counsel. Should you desire to appeal the decision it may prove difficult as time has expired.

I wouldn't deign to block you.
TomBenigno
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August 20, 2011
Signed ContriBUER:

Already ruled legal, by who's consent?
tommybahama
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August 20, 2011
I couldn't agree more Ornley.

dcose
|
August 20, 2011
Readers:

Just some additional information. Already ruled legal.

Beware of the agenda driven rabid bat.

ILLOGIC IS NO SUBSTITUTION FOR REALITY.

TomBenigno, good morning

Signed, Contribuer
TomBenigno
|
August 20, 2011
Readers:

Just some information.

The ballot initiative that supervisor Ornellas is presenting is to have a citizens committee to redraw the districts is another game playing divice. As in after the fact, where was his suggestion on the citizens committee on this last go around.

As was the extention of his third term for another 4 years. If that went before the voters in 2008 he wouldn't have been supervisor for these last three years. THAT'S LOCAL CONTROL FOR YOU.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
August 20, 2011
tommybahama

See, we can agree on some thangs. Didn't thank it was possible.

Now I will say that ya participate an get involved in local politics not primarily by bashin thangs an complain about thangs over an over again in these comment sections.

Ya can be very effective in writin about such thangs PROVIDIN ya have substanciated facts ta back up yer comments. That's whair th process of voter education comes inta play.

Next, ya gotta take it ta thair faces. Note: I am not sayin ya don't so please don't be offended. I AM sayin however that most people don't. They simply carp, offer no suggestions ta solve th problem thair carpin about an expect someone else or some mysterious thang ta fix th problem fer em.

An I do agree, local politics has more effect on our daily lives than Fed politics does. An both have more effect on our daily lives than who's winnin th Super Bowl, who's winnin th World Series or what's happenin on America's Got Talent or some inconsequential "Reality TV" show.

We waste our time on such thangs. When it comes ta gettin involved with runnin our local government we use th excuse, "It takes too much time an besides, I can't fix it so what's th use?"
tommybahama
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August 20, 2011
Sorry, I should finish my thought.

People should get involved in local politics as they have more effect on daily life than Federal politics.
tommybahama
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August 20, 2011
You make a good point Ornley. If more people would take the initiative to vote in major, and minor, elections we would have a better representation of the will of the people.

Due to the changes in the economy I think people are becoming more in tune with how much their vote really does matter.

Regarding AugustMarch's question; I agree with theviscioussheep; I think the district was realligned in 2001 to maintain RP's position in congress. The funny part is, people don't realize "All politics are local", to quote the late Tip O'Neill.

TomBenigno
|
August 19, 2011
Readers:

Usually the parties and the committee's within decide who they want to represent them.
thevicioussheep
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August 19, 2011
but it looks like this article talks about the current Supervisor districts being drawn to protect politicians, not the Congress districts ... two very different things
thevicioussheep
|
August 19, 2011
August,

when it was drawn by politicians in 2001, i think the congress district was drawn to protect Richard Pombo, the Republican from Tracy ... at the time, there were more GOP voters in the district than liberals

but the demographics of the district changed, part of how Democrat Jerry McNerney ended up winning the district from him
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
August 19, 2011
I do agree th citizens could do it better. An they had thair chance if ya really sit down ta thank about it. Who elects all them commissioners? Who elects congressmen an senators?

These people don't elect themselves th citizens do. Unfortunately these people know that most citizens don't participate an th support they have do. So what happens is by simple default th majority of th citizens, those who don't participate in th process, are controlled by th politicians an few politically motivated citizens who do.

Carpin about people that don't represent th philosophies of th majority when that majority is th one that elects em is not very smart in my opinion.

AugustMarch

Ya do ask a very good question, "Did it protect anybody's political career?" Fer yer answer look at history, hasn't th majority of the Gerrymanderin throughout th history of our nation largely been done ta protect someone's "political career?"

I do believe that ya can probably come away frum that question with th answer as an emphatic yes.
AugustMarch
|
August 19, 2011
South San Joaquin County Congressional District.

AugustMarch
|
August 19, 2011
Can anyone guess who wrote this?

The article complains that the south San Jouquin County was DESIGNED to protect somebody. I honestly don't know. So, I will ask. Did it protect anybody's political career?

Thanks in advance!


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