Letters to the editor: Need fairer maps of districts; vote Andrews for judge

Time we had fair district maps

Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated Census information, California must redraw the boundaries of its Congressional, State Senate, State Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts, so that the districts correctly reflect the state’s population.

California voters authorized the creation of the commission when they passed the Voters First Act in 2008. It authorized the commission to draw the new district lines. In 2010, the Congressional Voters First Act added the responsibility of drawing Congressional districts to the commission.

The 14-member commission is made up of five Republicans, five Democrats, and four not affiliated with either of those two parties. The commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.

Unfortunately, not all states have an independent redistricting commission. This past redistricting cycle was the first one since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act. As a result, districts across the country have been drawn to intentionally suppress the voices of the voters, especially for communities of color.

In many states a hand full of politicians have divided us into districts serving their political interests instead of our communities’ needs — voters should be the ones picking our elected officials, not the other way around.

Because of this, we need to act. It’s time we all had an equal say in our democracy. Please write to our U.S. representatives (Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler, plus your U.S. representative) and ask them to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It’s time we all had fair maps.

Pat Butler, Ventura

Endorsement for county judge

Let me share with your readers why Edward “Ted” Andrews has earned my endorsement for Ventura County Superior Court judge.

Nearly a decade ago, Ted Andrews came to the Ventura County DA's office after specializing in complex commercial litigation cases for a civil law firm, including securities, real estate, and insurance coverage cases. While he worked long hours at the law firm, he still found time to volunteer and be of service to others, a character trait that has come to define his legal career. For example, Ted worked with leading non-profits like Bet Tzedek, where he helped Holocaust survivors to seek reparations from the German government. He also worked pro bono with PATH, providing legal assistance through one of the region's leading homeless service providers.

As a prosecutor, Ted has maintained his commitment to both the courtroom and the community, teaching civics classes to Ventura County fifth graders while trying some of the most violent and serious sex offenses. As a result of his intelligence, discipline and tenacity, some of the county's worst sex predators have been held accountable and removed from our neighborhoods. His service to others extends to law enforcement, where he helps to train officers and ensure they are aware of and educated about changes in state law.

What does all of this have to do with being a judge? A lot. Wherever he is placed in our strong but understaffed Ventura County judiciary, Ted will bring a wealth of civil, criminal and community experience. This means that whoever appears before him in the courtroom, whether plaintiff, defendant, business owner, renter, or small claims litigant, will receive the legal wisdom and life experience of a jurist committed to wise, sound and fair decision-making.

Join me in voting for Edward “Ted” Andrews for judge.

Erik Nasarenko, Ventura County District Attorney

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Letters: Need fairer maps of districts; vote Andrews for judge