Today, the Urban Habitat organization -- yes, the same affordable housing advocacy group that successfully sued Pleasanton to force it to build more low- to middle-income housing -- is hosting a seminar on what the redistricting moves mean "for our communities." The program will include a number of speakers, the chief executive of the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles, where many of the redistricting complaints are based, and Paul Mitchell of Redistricting Partners, a Democrat, former legislative staffer and now a consultant focusing on legislative races and independent expenditures. In his report this week, Mitchell quotes Claremont-McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney as suggesting that the lessons of the recent redistricting in California could not be understood by reading the Federalist Papers, but instead by reading or watching the movie "The Godfather." But Mitchell adds that before anyone starts downloading either the book or redistricting commentaries, they should be warned that there can be a lot of profanity "and we're, of course, talking about both redistricting and the movie."
In addition to the Urban Habitat seminar, Public CEO is also offering what it claims is the first-ever webinar discussing government redistricting. This group has assembled a team of redistricting experts, including Mitchell, to focus especially on areas where the redistricting commission's actions are especially controversial, throughout the state but extensively in Southern California. That 60-minute webinar, though, is pricey at $175 per registrant. A less expensive and perhaps more congenial forum about the redistricting process and what it means to the greater Bay Area is scheduled for noon Friday, Sept. 30, at the Bancroft Hotel in Berkeley. This free afternoon discussion is organized by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. For information, contact Jennifer Baires at (510) 642-1474.
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