ANCA-WR Helps Community Add Its Voice To California Redistricting Process

The state's redistricting effort logo

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s Elections Committee has been working with local ANCAs throughout the state to help raise awareness of the redistricting process and how it impacts the Armenian community in California.  Over the past two months, Armenian Americans have attended public hearings to educate public officials regarding the dynamics of the community.

California is home to the largest Armenian community in the United States.  On June 10th, the Community Redistricting Commission, the body responsible for drawing the new districts will release its first draft of district maps based on feedback it received through public hearings and written testimony.

“In addition to submitting proposed district maps and written testimony to the CRC describing the Armenian community dynamics in California, the ANCA-WR worked with individuals throughout the state to help ensure that their voice was heard,” said Garen Yegparian who headed up the ANCA-WR Election Committee’s Redistricting Task Force. “This is just the first round.  The ANCA-WR will continue to work with the community and the CRC as the districts boundaries are finalized.”

“The ties that bind our neighborhoods and communities are multi-dimensional.  Ensuring that a common district encompasses these neighborhoods is important and helps address core quality of life issues in our community,” he added.

Every 10 years, the State of California redraws its federal and state legislative district boundaries to more accurately reflect the state’s residents’ demographics and overall dynamics.

This year, the process is being led by a 14-member commission, the CRC, as established by the Voters FIRST Act which was voted into law by Californians in 2008. Previously, the State Legislature was responsible for redistricting.

The CRC is made up of five Republicans, five Democrats, and four not affiliated with either of those two parties but registered with another party or as decline-to-state. The CRC must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.

The CRC must hold public hearings and accept public comment. After hearing from the public and drawing the maps for the House of Representatives districts, 40 Senate districts, 80 Assembly districts, and four Board of Equalization districts, the CRC must vote on the new maps to be used for the next decade.

To approve the new maps, the maps must receive nine “yes” votes from the Commission—three “yes” votes from members registered with each of the two largest parties, and three “yes” votes from the other members.

“While this only happens once a decade, it is one of the most important forms of regular civic participation in which communities can participate,” said Yegparian. “The decisions made today will impact our community for years to come.”

For more information about the CRC, how its work impacts the Armenian community or how someone can get involved in the process, individuals can contact the ANCA-WR at redistricting2011@ancawr.org.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, locals, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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3 Comments

  1. Steve said:

    So, let me get this straight…If one whines long and hard enough, AND then floods ignorant politicians with bogus 100 year-old hate-filled and false propaganda, then they can twist the facts to suit their needs and thus pretty much get what they want (e.g. redistricting, etc.)! America…What a country!!!

    • Viken Karapetian said:

      Steve, you are mistaken about what redistricting actually is.

      There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Every 10 years, through Constitutional mandate, our Government administers the census to see how many people live in the United States and where they reside. Using those statistics, Congressional House seats are proportionally distributed to states (the stats are also used to distribute federal funds). Each state decides how to draw up their state’s district maps.

      Typically, state legislatures draw up “safe” districts, which means setting up districts with a high concentration of one party’s voters. It is in the best interests of state legislatures to draw up districts this way, to avoid competition and assure reelection.

      From 1996-2008 (7 House elections), the reelection rate in the Congress was no lower than 94%. Basically if you don’t die in office or commit a felony, you are assured reelection. I’m not joking; 7 House members died in the 110th Congress (2007-08).

      California voters decided to change this process and take the power of redistricting from Sacramento politicians and hand it over to a nonpartisan commission, guaranteeing/forcing competition.

      The result of the redistricting will likely end the 20-year Congressional career of Republican David Dreier, who represents Arcadia, Monrovia, and La Canada Flintridge.

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