Steve Maviglio knows neither the history nor the law on redistricting. California law as to population deviations was settled 38 years ago by the State Supreme Court in the case known as Legislature v Reinecke. There the court laid down the standard in clear English: “Population of Senate and Assembly districts should be within one percent of the ideal excerpt in unusual circumstances, and in no event should a deviation greater than two percent be permitted.” Maviglio cites several federal cases that have no bearing on our state districts, while he ignores the clear mandate of state law. To follow Maviglio’s rule, Senate districts could deviate by 46,000 people. In no way could this be constitutional.
And he should know that. He worked for the legislature when they last did the districts 10 years ago. The deviation of State Senate districts is exactly TWO PEOPLE. For Assembly districts it is LESS THAN 20 PEOPLE. Maviglio contends that passage of Propositions 11 and 20 (that set up the Commission) changed all this. I worked on those initiatives and there is nothing at all in the measures nor their history that suggests anyone intended to change the district population standards. It is amusing that someone who opposed both measures suddenly finds meanings in them no one intended.
Finally, let’s look at the example he cites for population deviation, Long Beach. The city is 41 percent Latino and 13 percent African American, but the populations are not uniform throughout the city. It is currently divided for Assembly, Senate and Congress in such a way that its minority populations are combined with other minority populations, and that has allowed the election of minority legislators and members of Congress in this part of Los Angeles. Combine all of Long Beach into one district and you probably dilute these minority opportunities, and that would be a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Of course, since Maviglio has never worked on state wide redistricting, I would not expect him to know about or comprehend these complex legal issues.