The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

September 7, 2011
Johnson, Cohn agree on redistricting, sort of

When it comes to redistricting, Mayor Kevin Johnson and City Councilman Steve Cohn don't agree on much.

They were on opposite sides of Tuesday night's vote adopting new election maps mostly drawn by Cohn. They exchanged some rather piercing barbs during the endless debates.

But now, they apparently are both behind an entirely different way to draw Sacramento's council districts the next time, in 2021.

Cohn let it be known Tuesday night that "after what I've seen this year," he would be fine with a ballot measure to change the City Charter to give the task to an independent citizens committee, along the lines of the one that just finished drawing state legislative and congressional lines.

"Let me say, that won't the take the politics out of it," he warned.

Johnson has been out there by himself calling for such a panel. There was no time to create one for this year's redistricting, so he pushed the council to appoint a citizens advisory committee, though the council kept the final say.

The citizens panel did help significantly increase public input, but it also ended up being at the center of the battle. The committee recommended four plans, but instead of working from those, the council chose to use a map submitted by Cohn.

That was when the redistricting process went awry, the mayor said again Tuesday night. What the council majority has done, particularly by splitting Oak Park and the UC Davis Medical Center, he said, is "gross negligence."

"I certainly can't match your eloquence in speaking for your point of view," Cohn responded acidly, "but that doesn't make what I said or any of the rest of the council what they said any less true....That doesn't negate my view or what I think is right."

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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