July 15, 2011
The historic redrawing of California's congressional, state senate, and state assembly district lines is unfolding this summer on the McGeorge campus.
The 14-member independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission has used Classroom C as its headquarters, thanks to the generosity and civic mindedness of the law school administration, which has made the facility available free of charge.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Sargis, '82, whose wife Janeece is the commission liaison, told Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker that commission was looking for a large, high-tech amphitheater room in Sacramento to conduct its important work.
"We are proud of McGeorge's strong ties to state government through our Capital Center for Law & Policy and the hundreds of alumni involved in government service," Dean Parker said." I knew our law school would be the perfect venue for the commission's activities."
The commission has been holding its daily business meetings on campus since the first day of June 2011. Commission members took a break that month to criss-cross the state for a series of 11 public hearings getting feedback to the initial redistricting draft maps.
"It is a memorable sight to watch the members re-drawing huge maps as their work is broadcast live — a modern version of the Continental Congress and certainly history in the making," Dean Parker said.
This is the first time California's congressional and legislative lines have been drawn by an independent commission. Previously, the California Legislature was responsible for setting political districts. A public backlash against gerrymandering that protected incumbents of both parties propelled the passage of Proposition 11 in 2008, creating the new commission.
Final district maps must be certified by the commission and presented to the Secretary of State by Aug. 15, 2011. With so many voters, elected officials and special-interest groups wanting a say in the commission's final decisions, on-campus meetings are likely to continue through right up to that date.