This is the second of a three-part series on the redistricting process that was dictated by a Proposition voted by the residents of California to take the politics out of the process.
Republicans believe that they were hoodwinked by the Democrats in the new redistricting process in California – principally because the Republicans played by the rules specified in the initiative. What they obviously didn’t understand was that the process itself – specifically, how the commission’s members were selected – undermined the Republicans from the outset.
The first problem facing the Republicans was finding people willing to sit on the commission, whose work would require an extensive amount of time. One Republican, attorney Jodie Filkins Webber, stated that during one three-month period she was working eighteen-hour days – a full day on commission activities followed by another full day at her legal practice. Ultimately, this meant that the people willing to work on the commission would closely resemble people sitting on a jury – the unemployed, government workers, retirees, or people who work for large corporations or foundations.
The second obstacle stemmed from the process by which the pool of applicants was filtered down to the final 60 people, a task that the Proposition clearly assigned to the state auditor’s office. Most political observers would think that putting three career government employees in charge of selecting the final pool of applicants might slant matters against Republicans. But somehow Daniel Kolkey, the principal author of Proposition 11 and a registered Republican (who will reappear later in this drama), did not foresee that the state auditors would approach this task with a partisan agenda.
Legislative leaders were then given the ability to remove up to 24 of the remaining 60 applicants. There were lots of complaints about the 36 candidates selected, but the Republicans involved in the process mollified their concerned supporters by claiming that if anyone thought the finalists were bad, the ones who were vetoed were even worse.