Redistricting Update

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Thursday, July 21, 2011 | The nearly finished versions of new Orange County congressional, state Senate and Assembly district maps are posted on the California Citizens Redistricting Commission website.

The commission is discussing changes to the lines today and Friday, and the discussions can be viewed live on the commission’s website.

On the county level, aides to the Board of Supervisors will hold a public meeting at 9 a.m. Friday to discuss possible changes that could add more Vietnamese voters to Janet Nguyen’s 1st Supervisorial District.

The meeting will be in the planning commission hearing room at the County Hall of Administration. If the aides recommend changes to the draft maps under consideration, supervisors will discuss them at their Aug. 23 meeting.

If you want to know about the realities of Sacramento no matter who draws the lines, check out Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton’s take on a new report that labels state legislators’ term limits a failure.

The report by the Center for Governmental Studies says instead of creating “citizen legislators,” term limits have created a class of professional politicians always focused on running for their next elective office.

As Skelton reported:

“California’s term limits have not created an environment in which citizen legislators temporarily serve in the state Capitol and then return to the private sector,” the report says. Rather, “professional legislators … continue to seek careers in other government positions — a form of political musical chairs for governmental office.”

“Indeed,” the report continues, “politicians are now moving faster and faster to the music.”

And, mixing metaphors, it adds, “Most termed-out legislators do not beat their political spears into plowshares and return to the civilian sector. … Term limits … have converted the state Legislature into a ‘farm team’ of potential candidates for other public offices.”

The governmental studies center compared legislators before and after term limits. It found:

“A growing portion of newcomers to the Legislature are not citizen legislators at all, but rather politicians who have served in local government.”

In 1990 — as voters were approving term limits — 28 percent of those elected to the Assembly came from local government. By 2010, the number had risen to 68 percent. For the Senate, the number rose during that period from 35 percent to 70 percent.



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