Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Needed to Apply for California’s New Redistricting Commission

Deadline to Apply Is February 12, 2010

The application period for the redistricting commissioned opened Dec 15th, and already over 4,000 individuals have applied, but less than 5% of those applicants are Asian American.  People of color as a group make up less than 18% of the applicants. We encourage you to apply.

ALC will be hosting two application workshops:

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

2:00PM-4:00PM

Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center

2121 Junipero Serra Boulevard

Daly City, CA 94014-1907

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

6:00PM-8:00PM

Chinese for Affirmative Action, Community Room

The Kuo Building

17 Walter U. Lum Place

San Francisco, CA 94108

The agenda for each workshop will include:

  • Overview of Redistricting
  • Why Redistricting Matters
  • Proposition 11
  • Commission Responsibilities
  • Qualifications
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Restricted Activities
  • Application Process
  • Review Application and Supplemental Application

Every ten years, we draw new district maps for Congress, the California legislature, county boards of supervisors, and city councils.  These maps show the boundaries of each district.  When we redraw the maps every ten years, we change the boundaries so that each district contains the same number of people.  This process is called redistricting.

The next time redistricting will happen is in 2011, and because California voters passed Proposition 11 in 2008, there will be a major change in who draws the maps.

Proposition 11 creates a new commission made up of citizens.  In 2011, the commission will draw new maps for the state legislature and Board of Equalization.  Before Proposition 11, the state legislature drew these maps.

Why does this matter? In past redistrictings, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have been fragmented by district boundaries.  For example, in the 2001 redistricting, the San Jose neighborhood of Berryessa was split among four State Assembly districts, even though over half of Berryessa’s population is AAPI.

District boundaries that split AAPI communities like this weaken the political voice of AAPI communities.  When AAPI communities are fragmented, they do not make up a significant portion of any one district.  This diminishes their ability to get their elected representatives to address their needs.

The commission will play an important role in determining whether AAPI communities are again fragmented unfairly in 2011, or instead kept whole.  To make sure that the commission takes AAPI communities into account, we need the right people on the commission – individuals who are civic-minded, come from diverse backgrounds, and understand community needs.

Who will be on the commission? The commission will have 14 members who are selected from people who apply to be on the commission.

The application process is open to the public.  Anyone can apply as long as they meet the minimum requirements to be on the commission, such as being a registered voter and having voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections (November 2004, November 2006, and November 2008).  There are also some rules that exclude some people from being eligible for commission if they have a so-called conflict of interest.

What will the commission do? The commission will hold public meetings across California to listen to testimony from residents about their communities and neighborhoods.  Based on data it gathers, the commission will draw new district maps for the State Assembly, State Senate, and the Board of Equalization (a state tax agency).

The commissioners are paid $300 per day when doing commission business.  The main period of activity for the commission will be from January 2011 to September 2011.  The commissioners can expect to work between 10 to 40 hours per week.

The deadline to apply for the commission is February 12, 2010.  You can find more information about the commission and the application process at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov.

What can you do to help?  You may be the right person for the commission – or you may know someone who is.  The Asian Law Caucus can be a resource for you – we are working with a statewide network of AAPI organizations to help people learn more about the commission and how to apply.

In January 2010, the members of the network will hold a series of workshops across the state.  To see a list of workshops and learn more about the network, you can go to www.tinyurl.com/capafr2011.

Asian Law Alliance (ALA), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and East Bay Asian Voter Education Consortium (EBAVEC) will conduct application workshops in the Bay Area during January and the first part of February to provide interested individuals with information about the commission and assistance with the application process.  ALA, ALC and EBAVEC have scheduled the following workshops:


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