Dual Profiles for Redistricting Chief Midori Wong

James Behan James Behan 28 Comments


KUSI’s story about the liberal partisans on the “independent” Redistricting Commission has reverberated throughout San Diego. KUSI sat down with Redistricting Commission Chief of Staff Midori Wong. The Redistricting Commission website’s profile of Wong does not mention her being a 2010 fellow of the liberal New Leaders Council. It also omitted her campaigning for Democrat Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, her mother, who mentions her daughter’s new position on her website. But who wouldn’t campaign for mom? That’s not even my favorite redaction from Wong’s biography on the Redistricting Commission website. Rather, it is her internship with the “charity arm” of left wing crusaders Amnesty International. You can read about all of these things on her progressive New Leaders Council profile.

Wong was spotted at SD Rostra/Two Cathedrals/San Diego City Beat tweet-summit at the Red Fox Steak House on March 3. It appears she only mingled with the Two Cathedrals and City Beat people. Regardless, she should mingle with some SD Rostra folks next time. We are as friendly and as non-partisan as she appears to be.

Understandably, you might find it too confusing to bounce between Wong’s non-partisan profile and her “progressive” profile. Perhaps meeting her in person would provide clarity.  She will be the guest speaker at the May 5 Rancho Penasquitos Town Council meeting. Here are the details as found on the Town Council’s website:

The next Rancho Penasquitos Town Council meeting will be at 7 pm on Thursday, May 5 at the Doubletree Hotel. The guest speaker will be Midori Wong, Chief of Staff to the City of San Diego’s Redistricting Commission. If you’re at all interested in the city’s redistricting plans, this is the night to come.


Comments 28

  1. “We are as friendly and as non-partisan as she appears to be.”


    Good work, KUSI!

    But let’s not stop there. Let’s see bios listing the political ties and “non-partisan” activities of ALL the Redistricting Commission members — and compare it to the airbrushed bios.

  2. D7Voter: The Commissioners hired her.

    I’d also like to extend an invitation to voters to meet her tomorrow at City Hall during the Commission’s hearing at 4pm tomorrow.

  3. She is 24 years old, and making $80,000-a-year in salary and benefits from San Diego taxpayers, despite not having a degree or training related to statistical analysis.

    She’s there because her Mommy (Mariko Yamada) is a state legislator in northern Calfornia (Davis) and redistricting commissioner Carlos Marquez knew her from the New Leaders Council of San Diego, a training program for liberal activists. Marquez is her local Godfather.

    Marquez has taken a job in Los Angeles (starting last week) but insists he WON’T resign the SD Redistricting job!

    These out-of-town leeches are a disgrace. They should both be bounced out of their current positions.

  4. “Wong was spotted at SD Rostra/Two Cathedrals/San Diego City Beat tweet-summit at the Red Fox Steak House on March 3. It appears she only mingled with the Two Cathedrals and City Beat people.”

    Really? I’ve never met Midori and neither have my colleagues at CityBeat. (I’ve never met this James Behan dude, either.) But Midori seems like a perfectly nice person: a young woman who’s civically engaged and who cares about the future of her city.

    Midori’s the chief of staff, not a member of the commission. And, out of seven members of the redistricting commission, KUSI could find only two people to label “partisan.” Get over it. Move on.

    Kelly Davis
    Associate Editor
    San Diego CityBeat

  5. My concerns about Wong aside (which have to do with placing a 24-year-old of any political persuasion in such a critically important and prickly executive staff role), the observation about who someone does or doesn’t hang with at a cocktail party smacks of high school. I hated that clique-y nonsense then and I still do.

    James, if you only “spotted” Wong at the tweet-up, how do you know who she talked to in the course of several hours or not? If you did know, it would be because you were watching her all night and that’s plain stalker creepy.

    Readers of other blogs might let sloppy details pass unnoticed. Not on Rostra.

  6. I’m not clear about the relevance of one person’s perception of Wong’s apparent “co-minglers” at a social event. For the record, I met her for the first time that evening and mingled with her for a short time.

    Besides Kelly Davis, others at CityBeat have contacted Rostra since yesterday saying, basically, Huh?, we don’t remember meeting her that night and had never even heard of her until the news of the last couple of days.

    I do remember meeting her, but didn’t remember her name until the KUSI story.

    The appointments to the Redistricting Commission and Wong’s connections are relevant. All is fair in politics, mostly. Who someone was “seen” talking to in a social situation is not typically one of the “mostlies” in my mind.

  7. I know we have at least one reporter who reads the comments. Perhaps the question should/could be asked

    1) How many applicants did they have
    2) How many did they interview
    3) Without divulging names (because they will claim confidentialty in the hiring process) did any of the finalists have experience in GIS, demographics, statistical analysis or, even better, political redistricting.
    4) Did any have experience with the City of San Diego.

    They are going to try to hide behind confidentiallity but it kinda staggers the mind that a 24 year old, with a pretty thin resume, is the best they had to chose from for a job that a) requires making sure the kittens are hearded and b) oversight of the technical staff doing the map drawing.

    On that subject, let me guess…did they hire a firm with strong democratic leanings to help prepare drafts?

  8. Speaking of partisans on the Commission, way to go Ani Mdivani Morrow. The entire press corps now has pictures of her at random GOP campaign events because she has them all over her Facebook page. *shakes head* Nobody thought that might be important to address before KUSI ran their story about partisanship?


  9. @Jefferson:

    Morrow is a participant, not an organizer.

    That can not be said for Quiros or Marquez.

  10. You think it matters? I’m more interested in knowing why we weren’t able to get more commissioners. Who were the three judges who appointed?

  11. This lively discussion prompted me to check out the redistricting website. Info on the appointment process, the commissioners and Wong can be found here: http://www.sandiego.gov/redistricting/about/index.shtml

    It seems this ship is already sailing. Overtly political, in my opinion.

    Erik, my guess is they’ll point to her land use planning at Sandag to justify her mapping expertise.

    Kelly Davis, I don’t think you finished your comment. You ended it with “Move On.” Don’t you mean “Move On.org?” (Sorry, couldn’t resist…just an attempt at a little Thu afternoon partisan humor.)

  12. What do you know? Once again Republicans showed up with statistics and Democrats showed up with a well planned and actuated grab for power. Most of your questions will be answered by going to the New Leaders Council site http://www.newleaderscouncil.org. Look at the network such as Honorary Chairs Sen. Christine Kehoe and Asy. Speaker Pro Tem Fiona Ma. Look at Local Directors Colin Parent a left wing lawyer/greenie, Carlos Marquez LGBT/SEIU Local 221 and Evan McLaughlin San Diego/Imperial Counties Labor Council. These are young people receiving excellent training on how to gain control along with excellent financial benefits.The Orwellian NLC says “The mission of NLC is to train and support the next generation of progressive political entrepreneurs…” So Midori Wong got an $80,000 a year job with the “independent” Redistricting Commission after a brief resume building stint with SANDAG. Like to see her Personnel Record references? Who at SANDAG said,’Hire her.” Anymore in the pipeline. Ask SANDAG CEO Gary Gallegos. Or maybe Rostrafarian Jerome Stocks, SANDAG Chairman. NLC political “entrepreneurs” (translate bureaucrats) intend to use your tax dollars to live the power loving dacha high life. As bureaucrats they don’t even have to get elected and their political lives continue after the pols are long gone. Others getting under way are Stephen Heverly and Jesse Mays, both listed by NLC as Representatives in the office of Councilmember Sherri Lightner. There is a need to defund the left and reducing the size of government is the place to start. Even local government.

  13. I just read this article on the County’s redistricting efforts:

    A question for those of you in the know, how much is the County spending on its redistricting program? Did they hire a Chief of Staff or are they doing it with existing resources?

    Regarding the City’s efforts, wouldn’t giving someone the title “Chief of Staff” suggest there is a staff? In my mind it raises a couple questions (again, for those of you in the know), is this program temporary or permanent; and if it is expected to last for the long term, does the title “Chief of Staff” imply that a bureacracy will grow here?

  14. Others may be able to weigh in on the county’s costs. When the work of the various commissions is done, they are disbanded.

  15. I think it is interesting there is this attention on the city redistricting, which by law the council is not involved, but rather two judges (who were appointed by a GOP Governor) selected the commissioners. Anyone could have applied almost a year ago and the Republican County Party could have objected. Someone at that party office should be in trouble for failing to watch the store and instead taking a break between election cycles.

    This city process was voted on by the people of San Diego in 1992. They wanted it this way and we’ve had almost 20 years to change it, including several city charter amendments for strong mayor pushed by the GOP establishment. Why did they let this system stand?

    The chief of staff is a temp job and ends this year, unless I assume someone fights the final map and pushes the commission into next year. The commission staff member isn’t beholden to the council or the mayor’s direction.

    Maybe the city is not the best process, but far better then the county.

    The county has county paid staff that answers to the CAO running the commission. The commissioners are each hand picked by a supervisor and there is no public hearings to interview them. After the commissioners submit their map, then the supervisors can redraw the map to their own desire, as Sup Horn did last time.

    GOP representatives are asking for the hearings to last through December. Is the same request happening to the county, which has a much larger map to draw and is doing less hearings and using basically the same time line? Maybe now they will to make it seem to others they are “fair and balanced” on this issue.

    Hmmm, is anyone complaining about this county process that has politicians picking their own partisan commissioners and redrawing maps if they don’t like it? Nope. Maybe not, because this site is of course for conservatives bloggers seeking a partisan take to the right side of the aisle and this county commission does just that.

    The state and the city commission are being denounced by the GOP, which had both been approved by the voters. Shouldn’t we let the voters decide? The only redistricting process the GOP like is the one that has the 5 GOP supervisors drawing their own districts.

    Lets just be honest you want to have people with your own political philosophy (conservative) draw elected districts and that isn’t the way the City of San Diego’s system is turning out for you all.

    Lastly, for the reporters that read this blog – interested on your take why the news doesn’t outline issues others have raised about the county process.

  16. Kelly Davis’s comments reflect a lack of understanding of how boards and commissions work – a commission is comprised of ordinary citizens who volunteer a little time, but must rely heavily upon staff. I served as chairman of a board and the most important thing we did was appoint the new executive officer. We picked the most qualified individual who is more important than every member of the board combined. This is an absolute catastrophe for San Diego’s democratic process.

  17. Good points, Mr. King. Thank you for the insights. A 3-member sub committee of this commission led the search for a Chief of Staff and then presented findings to the full group. Wong’s mentor at the liberal activist New Leaders Council (Carlos Marquez) just happened to be 1 of the 3 commissioners on that key sub-group! That’s another reason a 24-year-old, inexperienced Wong got the Job. The Insider, back-scratching, favor-exchanging, fool the public and collect a Big Salary ($80K with benefits) mentality on display here is everything that is wrong with government. Meanwhile Carlos Marquez publicly announces he started his new dream job in Los Angeles two weeks ago but insists he won’t resign from the San Diego Redistricting Commission. The arrogance, and entitlement attitude of these folks is something to see.

  18. We will say it again. Select a pseudonym or handle and stick with it. Don’t use a different handle every time you post. “How Wong got the Job” does make a point, but that’s not a handle, especially when you have used dozens of different ones, including your last choice, “Question for Gore.” You have used “Reagan’s Ghost” or something similar more than once. May we suggest that as your permanent name of choice?

  19. I suspect Kelly Davis would howl bloody murder and condemn the entire process if tea party activists were on the commission. Her rags bias is its downfall when it comes to their covering political issues.

    Maybe 100 people read CityBeat for its politics stories. Mostly, its about the local music scene, neighborhoods places to go, and advertisements for a multitude of pot shops. That does explain their position on medical marijuana…financial self interest.

    There’s a free market reality even leftist City Beat can’t deny.

  20. I wish we had more collective ads, to tell you the truth.

    Man, I can probably name 100 conservatives who read CityBeat….starting with every meatball in East County thanks to Barry Jantz.

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