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Fallout from Republicans, Latinos over state redistricting maps

One day after a citizens’ commission released California’s new redistricting maps, two groups say they’re ready to knock out one of those maps. The critics claim plenty of reasons to feel upset.

State lawmakers used to draw the new district lines every 10 years. Actually, the party in charge of the legislature did the drawing, and senators and assembly members just rubber-stamped them. That was great for incumbents, but California voters didn’t think so. They created the Citizens Redistricting Commission in November 2008, and that commission has now released its district maps.

Republican leaders say they aren’t happy with the results. State GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro criticized the process during an interview with AirTalk.

“Some of the participants in this clearly were biased," Del Beccaro said. "They were driving the commission. They failed to disclose their contacts and affiliations and when it came to the Senate lines, the worst of all of that came out.”

Del Becarro says panel members used inconsistent criteria to draw the lines which they say gives Democrats an unfair edge. GOP leaders plan to collect signatures for a referendum so voters can toss out the new Senate map. Some Latino groups don’t like that one, either.

Rosalind Gold is with the National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials. She also spoke on AirTalk.

“Unfortunately, we’re particularly concerned about the Senate map,” Gold said. "The Senate map weakens the voice of the Latino community in a couple of key areas in the state, particularly the San Fernando Valley and in Orange County.”

Gold says her group and others will look closer at the maps and consider legal challenges.

Not everyone is in sync with Republican and Latino activists on this issue. Some African-American leaders say they’re happy with the commission’s efforts.

State Senator Curren Price represents the 26th District, which includes South L.A.

“The African-American seats that we currently have — that’s four in the Assembly, three in the Congress and two in the State Senate — those seats have been maintained. And it’s possible we may even have an opportunity to pick up another seat or two,” said Price.

Price says he doubts redistricting plan opponents will succeed in getting the referendum before voters. To do so, organizers need to gather more than half a million signatures over 90 days.