Citizens panel gives initial approval to new political districts [Updated]
A citizens panel on Friday gave tentative approval to new political boundaries in California despite complaints from Republican and African American activists that the maps are not fair.
Republican Michael Ward, a chiropractor from Anaheim, was the only member of the 14-person Citizens Redistricting Commission to vote against the draft maps for state Legislature and Board of Equalization districts. He was joined by Republican attorney Jodie Filkins Webber from Norco in voting against maps for California's congressional districts.
Ward said the commission failed to "take politics and special interests" out of the decision-making.
The process, which now moves to two weeks of public comment before a final vote, was open and fair, said Helen Hutchison, vice president of the League of Women Voters of California.
Most members of the commission said they were satisfied that they had balanced the demands of the state's many ethnic, social and cultural groups in drafting the maps.
"I think this is a fantastic set of maps," said Commissioner Peter Yao, a Republican who is the former mayor of Claremont. "We made every attempt to satisfy as many people as we could. I think across the board most people will feel satisfied with the maps. No doubt about it, these maps are fair."
Even so, commissioners have taken action, including retaining legal advisors, to prepare for lawsuits.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
[Update 1:40 p.m.: The maps above are from the first draft of the redistricting process. The Times plans to make the newest maps available as soon as possible.] Districts were assigned names for the first draft of the maps. The customary numbers normally used to identify districts will not be assigned until the the second set of maps is released. (Allan James Vestal, Thomas Suh Lauder, Sandra Poindexter and Ben Welsh)
Photo: Carson Mayor Jim Dear, seen with a redistricting map behind him, comments at a hearing last month. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times