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Redistricting panel member says decisions tainted by politics

August 15, 2011 |  1:15 pm

California Citizens Redistricting Commission members

Redistricting Commissioner Michael Ward was the only member of the panel to vote against all the new legislative maps Monday and hours later he accused his colleagues of violating their legal requirements by making some decisions based on political considerations.

"This commission broke the law," said Ward, a Republican chiropractor from Anaheim, at a Capitol news conference attended by the other 13 members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Interactive map: Has your district changed?

He alleged that other commissioners, who he did not name, held secret meetings to draw district boundaries for partisan reasons.

"This commission simply traded the partisan, backroom gerrymandering by the Legislature for partisan, backroom gerrymandering by average citizens," Ward said. "This commission became the citizens' smoke-filled room, where average citizen commissioners engaged in dinner-table deals and partisan gerrymandering -- the very problems that this commission was supposed to prevent."

Ward would not elaborate on the charge, which was disputed by Commission Chairman Vincent Barabba, a Republican businessman from Santa Cruz County. He said decisions were made in open meetings and there is "no basis" to the accusation that they were based on political considerations

"The sense I get is that Commissioner Ward attended different meetings than I did," Barabba said.

RELATED:

California redistricting may face court, initiative challenges

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Citizens Redistricting Commission member Michelle DiGuilio of Stockton is joined by sons Jared DiGuilio-Matz, 8, and Mason DiGuilio-Matz, 6, as she and fellow panel member M. Andre Parvenu of Culver City sign resolutions certifying the new legislative and congressional maps. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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