Today Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the California Democratic Congressiona Delegation, issued the following statement regarding the redistricting process in California:
"The redistricting process in California was conducted by a Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was mandated by two voter-approved initiatives to hold all meetings in the open and make comments publicly available. Members from California, like Members throughout the country, were interested in the redistricting process and its outcome. In California, this process was conducted by a Commission paid for by state funds, with a .gov email address and whose offices are located in a state-owned facility. Members and their staff are allowed under joint Ethics and House Administration guidance to keep current on the status of redistricting. Any political conversations or activities were conducted without using official resources and on volunteer time, in compliance with the House guidance.
"Members, as citizens of the state of California, were well within their rights to make comments and ensure that voices from communities of interest within their neighborhoods were heard by the Commission. However, what was noteworthy was that any comments made were posted online--out in the open. And equally important, the final product voted on by the Commission was entirely out of the hands of the Members. They, like any other Californian, were able to comment but had no control over the process, which was obvious when the deliberations of the Commission's meetings were observed.
"The Delegation meetings held centered on the following:
-Providing information to Members on how the Citizens Redistricting Commission would conduct its work;
-The schedule of Redistricting Commission hearings throughout the state;
-Timely updates on what transpired at the public meetings of the Commission;
-Legal questions Members raised regarding particulars on new redistricting efforts of the Commission;
-Providing broad information to Members, understanding that individual district configurations were not the focus of the Delegation;
-Providing Members with the new census data to bring them up to date on California's information; and
-Providing Members with the legal parameters on communicating with communities of interest.
"At no time did the Delegation draw up a statewide map or retain legal counsel to do so."