City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

July 28, 2011
Should City Hall follow state's lead on redistricting?

All this drama over City Council redistricting got me thinking: Would the council consider taking itself completely out of the redistricting game and hand over the reigns to an independent commission?

I posed that question this week to Councilman Steve Cohn, the elder statesman of the council and a guy who is working through his second redistricting on the council dais. I asked him if he'd be open to a commission similar to the one being used at the state level, given the fact he's seen how the sausage has been made twice in the city (the 2001 and 2011 redistricting efforts).

"I'm open to that, but I'd wait to make that judgment until I see what sausage (the state commission) comes up with," Cohn said, adding that the 2001 redistricting was even nastier than this year's increasingly contentious process.

The City Council appointed its own citizens redistricting panel this spring, assembling a committee of well-connected individuals, community activists and political operatives.

But it's becoming clearer that the council is going to brush aside that committee's recommendations and settle on its own map. That's the council's prerogative, of course, given the city charter places the final redistricting decision in the hands of the politicians.

Both Cohn and Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy have submitted their own maps, and some council members have told me privately they expect the final version to be a hybrid of those similar proposals.

What do you think of an independent commission that would have final say over district boundaries?

Below is a link to Cohn's map. I'll post Sheedy's map when I have it in a PDF.


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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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