SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The independent commission set up to redraw the boundaries of California’s legislative, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, is putting the finishing touches on those new maps.

Now comes word out of Sacramento that the California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s work could give Democrats a two-thirds majority in both the state Assembly and the Senate. As you might expect, Republican leaders are not pleased, and are considering challenging at least some of the maps.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said that one of the things the new maps have done is put a few incumbent politicians into the same district so there is the threat that two members of the same party who have been elected in the past will be going up against each other.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

”This is going to be one of the biggest shifts in power that we’ve seen in decades here in California,” said Matier. “That’s because California is a Democratic state that consistently votes blue, and these maps were not drawn up by the lawmakers themselves, but instead by a collection of appointed Democrats, Republicans and Independents. That means its going to favor Democrats.”

Matier said that while the vote is going to swing in the Democrats’ favor, he’s not sure that they will end up with the rumored two-thirds percent.

”The system we have now is a Democrat and Republican split that was cooked up by the legislative leaders years ago that basically made sure that everybody had a safe seat,” said Matier.

He said that means the Republicans got what they wanted, which was a guaranteed amount of seats, even though it wasn’t the majority, and the Democrats got what they wanted, which was the majority, but couldn’t reach a super-majority.

”The result of this has been that we have gridlock up in Sacramento because nobody has to go after the more moderate, conservative or liberal votes to try to grab people in and win by a clear majority. So the idea is that by taking it out of the hands of the lawmakers, although they may scream, it might actually free up some of the logjam because you might have to talk to people who aren’t in your own party in order to get elected.”

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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