Seven Democrats suddenly are in the running to become members of California's first-ever redistricting panel following Friday's surprise resignation of Commissioner Elaine Kuo.
Contenders are Victoria Aguayo Schupbach and Maria Harris of Los Angeles County, Tangerine Brigham and Brightstar Ohlson of Alameda County, Angelo Ancheta of San Francisco County, Lillian Judd of San Luis Obispo County, and Ann Marie (Amber) Machamer of Santa Clara County.
The seven represent the remaining Democratic finalists from what once was a 12-person pool of party applicants who survived a screening process by a panel of state auditors and a limited number of cuts by legislative leaders. Kuo and four others previously had been selected to the commission.
By law, the redistricting panel must consist of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four independent or minor-party voters to draw boundary lines for legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization districts after the federal census every 10 years.
Kuo, a Mountain View resident, cited time constraints for resigning Friday during a board meeting in which the nascent commission picked an executive director, Daniel Claypool, from a field of 29 applicants. The panel is required to complete its map-drawing by Aug. 15.
Proposition 11, passed by voters in 2008, provides the following directions for filling a commission vacancy:
"Any vacancy, whether created by removal, resignation or absence, in the 14 commission positions shall be filled within the 30 days after the vacancy occurs, from the pool of applicants of the same voter registration category as the vacating nominee that was remaining as of November 20 in the year in which that pool was established.
"If none of those remaining applicants are available for service, the state auditor shall fill the vacancy from a new pool created for the same voter registration category."
Kuo's resignation leaves four Democrats remaining as commissioners: Cynthia Dai of San Francisco County, Jeanne Raya of Los Angeles County, Gabino Aguirre of Ventura County; and Maria Blanco, who recently moved from Contra Costa to Los Angeles County.