California Redistricting – Commissioner Selection Process Underway

California’s Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts will be redrawn to reflect the 2010 census by the new fourteen member Citizens Redistricting Commission. The first phase of selecting the Commissioners is underway, with initial applications, completed online, due no later than February 12, 2010. Your immediate questions are answered in these FAQs.

Successful applicants must have voted in the last three elections, have belonged to the same party or no party during the past five years (that is, no party jumping for purposes of becoming a Commissioner), and withstand a fairly rigorous conflict of interest inquiry. In contrast to the prior, Legislative-driven redistricting system, impartiality counts in this position.

Commissioners will be paid a $300/day honorarium when conducting Commission work, as well as expenses. Appointment is for a ten-year term; however, the work will be time-consuming primarily during most of 2011. If you are fortunate enough to be employed, your employer cannot discharge you or otherwise discriminate against you for conducting Commission business once you are appointed. Of course, you will want to work out something to amicably accommodate the Commission position and your relationship with your employer.

Successful applicants will be good essay writers, in order to survive phase two of the selection process where you will explain in writing why you really ought to be selected. This phase follows the February 12 deadline, but check out the questions in advance for insight into what the selection group will be looking for, and a reality check regarding your appointment chances. The third phase involves in-person interviews. By then, you will have solidified in your own mind why you are driven to respond to the higher calling of a redistricting Commissioner’s responsibilities, and will be able to articulate that passion.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission, permitting redistricting relatively untainted by partisan politics or money, is just one reform that will help make other reforms possible. Is this something you want to do, and can do? Or, do you know someone you would trust with our future, who could serve? Act now. The initial application doesn’t take much time to complete, but it must be submitted by February 12 – not so long from today.

More useful information may be found at www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov, a website whose url rightly manifests the confidence we should all feel for this new Commission. LLII.

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