Aguirre not drawn in state redistricting panel lottery, but could still serve

November 26, 2010
Santa Paula News

Although Santa Paula Councilman Dr. Gabino Aguirre was not selected for the first independent commission charged to draw political district lines in California, he still could make the final cut.

Aguirre, a retired high school principal and councilman for two terms, declined to seek a third term.

Aguirre was originally in a pool of more than 30,000 people who sought becoming the first non-legislators in state history to be charged with drawing the boundaries for legislative and congressional districts. The intricate selection process started in February and Aguirre became one of only 36 finalists. Eight names were drawn lottery style last week and the new panel will select six other members from the 28 applicants remaining.

Voters created the Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2008 with the passage of Proposition 11. The goal of the initiative is to remove political considerations from the once-a-decade process of creating new political districts to reflect changes in population resulting from the U.S. Census.

Santa Paulans saw a shift in representation a decade ago when it was folded by legislators into a large east Los Angeles County district. What followed was what many area residents believed was not only a lack of representation, but also a lack of basic interest by elected state officials.

The eight panelists were selected through a bingo-style lottery conducted by state Auditor Elaine Howle. Three each were selected from pools of 12 registered Democrats and Republicans and two from a pool of 12 finalists who are registered with neither major party.

The eight initial members now must decide the final six, who must be selected from among the remaining finalists. The final selections, under the terms of Proposition 11, are to be used to balance the geographic, ethnic and gender diversity of the panel.

Among the five women and three men selected four are Asian Americans, two are white, one is African-American and one is a Latina. Three of the panelists are from the San Francisco Bay Area, two from Los Angeles County and one each from the Inland Empire, the Central Coast and northern Central Valley. Aguirre was the sole finalist from Ventura County.

Aguirre said, “My son said you have a better chance now, categorized as someone who would balance out the commission” ethnically, geographically and demographically “with the population of the state what it is. “We need somebody from this area also.”

Aguirre is hoping that as the new panel applies their criteria of providing balance for the whole state that his name “will come up... they have only 28 applications to go through and I’m sure the panel itself was provided some kind of rating of each one of us that would guide selection. “I think,” Aguirre added, “I have a pretty good chance.”

The selection deadline is December 31.

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