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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

California redistricting may mean gains for Democrats in U.S. House - latimes.com

There are some rumblings that the new districts violate the Voting Rights Act. If you count increase in Latino population, and you assume that a predominantly Latino community should be able to elect a Latino representative, and you also have to assume that a Latino can't be elected if non Latinos outnumber Latinos in a given district. Those are all assumptions. There have been Latinos elected to the State Legislature that were not in predominantly Latino districts. Bob Pacheco, Rob Pacheco, and Abel Maldonado come to mind. They also all happened to be Republican.

Are the districts more competitive?

"Matt Rexroad, a Sacramento-based Republican consultant, cautioned that the maps are subject to change. But if the lines hold, he said, "There are three to five Republican members of Congress who don't return."

"We will see more competitive races without a doubt," Rexroad said. "Once these seats are a little bit more exposed to the waves that go across the country … you will start seeing some changes."

But the maps, while putting more House seats in play, could reduce the state's influence on Capitol Hill.

Dreier, at risk of losing his seat after 30 years in the House, is chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Howard L. Berman, a 28-year House veteran and the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, faces a tough race in a proposed new San Fernando Valley district against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman — who, in anticipation of the redistricting, has amassed more than $3 million in his campaign treasury."--Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database


Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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