The drafters of Proposition 11, the initiative that created the state's independent redistricting process, were no fans of how politicians typically operate. But they thought there was one thing about partisan elected legislators they could count on -- their ability to conduct thorough opposition research and exploit the information they found.
That's why they included a clever twist in the selection process for members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. The plan called for 60 finalists to be selected through a painstakingly sterile, transparent process that including written essays, formal letters of recommendation and interviews with auditors that were webcast for the world to see. Then those 60 names were sent to the Legislature, where the partisan leaders of each house could each strike six names from the list, for a total of 24, or 40 percent of the finalists.
The reasoning, recalls Trudy Schafer of the California League of Women Voters, went like this: "Who better than than politicians to do some research and set aside anyone they suspected of having a bias?"
The legislators used all 24 of their strikes and explained their reasoning for none.
Yet now some Republicans are complaining that Gabino Aguirre of Santa Paula is too much of an activist and doesn't belong on the panel (see my story today in The Star).
They might lodge that grievance with the GOP legislative leadership, which had the chance to bounce any of the current commissioners late last year.