According to the San Diego Charter, members of the Independent Redistricting Commission have to demonstrate that they can operate in a nonpartisan fashion in drawing the lines. So of course you’d think that the judges who selected the commissioners would ask about previous partisan affiliation. Nope. Not at all. Not one question in the public written forms or the oral question and answer period addressed the issue of past or present partisan affiliation.
Today I read in SD CityBeat that the “impartial” redistricting staffer (who in fact has some pretty serious Democrat affiliations herself) blocked a question at a public forum from a interested citizen about the past or previous partisan affiliations of the commissioners. Here is the pull from the CityBeat article:
“Were you or are you now an activist for a union or political organization? A simple yes or no,” he asked.
(Midori) Wong, a former regional planner for SANDAG who at 24 has had her age and experience questioned by the Krvaric crowd, given the importance of her responsibilities, stood her ground and defended the commissioners.
“Sir, I believe that everyone in this group here tonight is here because they believe in a fair and impartial process that’s run by citizens,” she said firmly. “I’m not going to ask the commission to respond to that question, but we appreciate your input.”
So the question I raise: How is it possible to know if commission members can act in a nonpartisan fashion if the public has no idea about their partisan backgrounds?
So let me get this straight: from the tone of the City Beat article they think it hunky dory that the city charter is ignored as long as its their team ignoring it. Typical liberals.
Please quote from the section of the Charter that was ignored.
A) I think City Beat DOES nail the fact that our conservative folks SEEM to have dropped the ball on this one. Though to be fair there are only so many hours in the day. The part of the charter that Alger notes is SOOOO vague and impercise as to be laughable. It would be a nightmare to try to litigate that. But if you think it illegal, sue. As a citizen of San Diego you have standing.
B) CB ignores that Potter thinks Wong’s resume was lite. Said so in open session. Someday we might understand what happened in that closed session when they picked her.
C) I do think we are being a bit counterproductive. Can’t we be arguing SUBSTANCE? Where is a map that conservatives like? I also find it funny that they are attacking Mitz’s map when the brain trust doensn’t get the registration edge it results in. Berg’s map is likely worse because of how it totally packs in GOP votes into the redrawn 5.
“The appointees shall include individuals with a demonstrated capacity to serve with impartiality in a nonpartisan role.”
Obviously there is no way to know an individual’s capacity to serve in a nonpartisan role unless you are aware of their partisan affiliations.
Many aspects of the Charter on redistricting have subjective aspects to them. However, just because something is subjective doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the ‘reasonable man’ standard.
I believe that you could make a good argument that the absolute failure of the judges to inquire at all into the partisan activities of applicants, would to a reasonable man to not prove that applicants had a “demonstrated capacity” to serve with impartiality in a nonpartisan role.
Leave it to a lawyer to end something with a clause even a reasonable man can’t read.
Then sue. I think the (retired) judges did a horrible job. It was a joke. But I don’t think, on the surface, that the members of the commission have “demonstrated (lack of) capacity to serve with impartiality in a nonpartisan role.”
Indeed, from the perspective of THE CITY I am not sure what partisanship means since we have non-partisan elections. Someone would argue that it reflects interest group politics – making membership in the Chamber or the Sierra Club leadership a lot more of a black mark than what the candidates currently do.