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There is one important thing that Californians are completely ignoring.

Sacramento – In a windowless room, in a boxy state office building a block from the capital, 14 people are busy mapping out California’s political future.

Selected from more than 30,000 applicants, their ranks include a seminary professor, a civil engineer and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigator. The youngest, 30, was in high school when California voters created her job on the Citizen Redistricting Commission.

The panel and its work are the legacy of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who denied proposal 11 the opportunity to shake up Sacramento and make the election in California more competitive by allowing lawmakers to pull their own political districts, as his Has been around for decades.

Handing over the process to private citizens has made Democrats no less dominant in the state. The breakup near the Republican Party has seen it. But it has definitely made the line drawing more transparent.

There is no room full of smoke. The state-of-the-art rehabilitation work at the Bone Bones work site is not only smoke-free, but has been posted live and on the Internet for the world to see.

This is a very important task that very few people care about.

The decisions made in this borrowed meeting room over the next several months will not only help shape the destiny of hundreds of political candidates over the next decade, but will also represent the lives of millions of Californians.

An update: Every 10 years, the state’s political boundaries change according to population changes reflected in the US Census. The big news this time around is that for the first time in history, California lost one of its 53 congressional seats.

But as Commission spokesman Freddie Seja put it, “It’s not as easy as just wiping out one district and saying we’re done.”

In total, the commissioners will prepare 176 maps, drawing district boundaries for the current 52 members of Congress, 120 state legislators and four members of the Equality Board, who oversee tax collection. The deadline is December 27.

The commission is made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and four non-party members. They were selected in a complete process طویل long and detailed questionnaires, multiple articles, face-to-face interviews غیر supervised by a non-partisan state auditor.

The standard for making political maps was set in the 2008 ballot measurement. Of these, districts should have: uniform population; Geographically compact – sorry, Picasso will not draw. Comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that the power of minority groups is not weakened. And respect cities, neighborhoods and such boundaries as much as possible.

Meetings, which usually last about eight hours, are a catnap for political fanatics and cartographers – “it seems like there’s a small part of Garden Grove where 5 cuts 405” – but a more general view. For those who are almost super, a tragic attention is needed.

Working remotely, the commission received considerable input during the start of the line drawing this month: more than 3,200 emails, letters and public comments via Zoom. (There is still time to weigh through the commission’s website.)

The people of San Fernando Valley do not want their political lines to slip in Ventura County. Long Beach residents, who are part of Los Angeles County, do not want to associate with neighboring Orange County. And is it possible to include Stanton in a district that includes Garden Guru?

For at least one commissioner, the experience has been eye-opening, exciting and tiring. (When commission-related work is done, members are paid 37 378 per day, but they are not paid. For many, that means working two jobs.

Isra Ahmed, the youngest member of the panel, is a Santa Clara County researcher who applied because she “wants to contribute to the community at large.”

It has learned a lot about political divisions and partisan polarization, though not among the members of the commission, who have improved despite their different inclinations. It’s impossible to please everyone, she realized, so “trying to make things as fair as possible” is what she aims to do.

Working from home, Ahmed kept a copy of his oath as commissioner – “among other things,” a promise of true faith and loyalty to the Constitution of the United States and the State of California “- his remote Reminder of your duty and inspiration during a long time in the office.

Ahmed recently went back with his parents to pay a lot of rent. There is no home office, so the oath is now hanging on the wall of her bedroom.

Mark Z. Barbeck is a Los Angeles Times columnist. 21 2021 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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