Sharrock, Justine


How California Tea Partiers Hijacked Redistricting Reform

By Justine Sharrock
New America Media

SAN FRANCISCO—Few ordinary Californians have been more intensely interested in the state’s new Citizens Redistricting Commission than Berkeley-based Tea Party activist David Salaverry.

Back in March, he realized that the fledgling panel, with its 14 citizen members drawing political districts instead of politicians and its commitment to openness and transparency instead of behind-the-scenes deal-making, offered a golden opportunity for conservative Californians to influence the redistricting process at a time when their political clout was waning in other ways.

The cabinet-maker and building contractor sent email blasts to “patriot” groups around the Bay Area, encouraging them to attend meetings and to write and call the commissioners. He ran small training sessions for local Tea Partiers explaining the redistricting process and outlining main talking points—especially the idea that the commission should be “colorblind” in drawing political maps.

Across CA, Jails Not Ready to Relieve Prison Overcrowding

By Justine Sharrock
New America Media

As sending inmates to county jail the solution to state prison overcrowding? In Los Angeles and much of the rest of California, the answer is no.

As part of a reduction of California’s prison population ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, counties are likely to be asked to accept thousands of new inmates. Los Angeles, where one-third of the state’s prisoners originate, could have to take up to 10,000 inmates.

But L.A.’s largest jail has a long history of overcrowding, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and inadequate medical care for inmates. Many of the same criminal justice advocates who supported the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling are now warning that Los Angeles and other local jurisdictions are unprepared to deal with the aftermath of this landmark legal victory.