This is the third 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.
With the commission in place and member alliances created, the most important decisions affecting reapportionment could now be made. Because the commission had no staff and no operating precedent, all of the key support positions had to be hired, and decisions regarding committee procedure had to be made. The Proposition had decreed that the final maps needed to be approved by a supermajority, which meant that within each of the three groups (Republicans, Democrats and Decline-to-States); a majority (3 of each) had to support the final plan. Despite these noble intentions, the single event that turned the entire commission into a racially manipulative process was to have all operational decisions made by majority vote.
From that moment on, each step in the process could be dominated by a closely-knit liberal faction comprised of the three far-left Decline-to-States along with the five Democrats. This produced a structural 8-6 majority which effectively resulted in control of the panel and, of course, a predetermined outcome. Smart manipulators who could foresee the impact of key decisions could paint the other participants into a corner, and this was indeed the role played by Cynthia Dai and Maria Blanco. The three key decisions were:
1) Hiring a staff along with someone to manage it. An “impartial” organization might look for someone with a history of independence, but that clearly wasn’t the objective when they hired Dan Claypool from the State Auditor’s office. Mr. Claypool, a career government employee and a self-described “progressive Democrat” and supporter of Barack Obama, should never have been considered, but he was voted in by the left-wing majority.