Californians have voted to take the politics out of drawing district boundaries for the Legislature, Congress and the Board of Equalization. All a new citizens commission has to do is make elections competitive and representative of racial, ethnic, geographic and gender diversity. If that sounds impossible, it just might be, considering the force of the pressure likely to be applied by interest groups of all kinds. We talk with the new commission’s first chairman and others. Also, the suicide of a possible suspect in the killing of Ronni Chasen. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the Pentagon today asked the Senate to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and ran into Senator John McCain.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a personal appeal to the Senate Armed Services Committee today to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Last night there was a suicide of a possible suspect in the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen. The man, known as Harold, reportedly shot himself to death in the lobby of an apartment building on Santa Monica Boulevard. Beverly Hills police reportedly were approaching him to serve a search warrant. Sharon Waxman is CEO and founder of the Wrap.com, which is following the story.
Elections are supposed to be competitive between political parties, but consider this. In the past 10 years in California, just one out of 53 congressional seats has changed hands, only six of 80 Assembly seats and no seats in the State Senate. That's because the state legislature drew district boundaries to preserve the status quo. Voters decided they'd had enough, and created a citizens commission to draw new lines using the data from this year's census. Eight of 14 commission members have been chosen by a complex process administered by the State Auditor — four Asian Americans, two whites, one Latino and one African American.
Peter Yao, Interim Chair, California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Kathay Feng, Executive Director, California Common Cause
Douglas Johnson, Fellow, Claremont McKenna College's Rose Institute