- Submitter Name: Lisa Garcia Bedolla
- How Submitter Knows Applicant: She was my colleague at UC Berkeley
- Submitted on: 12/08/2010
My name is Lisa Garc’a Bedolla and I am an Associate Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. I am also Chair of Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research. I am writing to strongly recommend Maria Blanco for the Citizens Redistricting Commission. Maria Blanco was my colleague on campus when she was Executive Director UC Berkeley Law School’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity. In that capacity, I know her to be a thoughtful dedicated person with a rare ability to bring together people who hold different opinions on issues. She is fair, reasonable, and always willing to consider the views of others. Those abilities make her an ideal candidate for the Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The Citizens Redistricting Commission is now at an important stage where the remaining 6 commissioners must be chosen to balance the racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity and relevant skills of the first 8 Commissioners. I believe Maria Blanco is an excellent addition to the Commission because she brings a unique expertise in civil rights and voting rights law, and adds to the overall diversity of the Commission as a Latina living in the City of Los Angeles. She also brings a unique level of non-partisanship to the commission, reflected in her taking part in a 2001 MALDEF suit against California’s redistricting plan. One of the new districts targeted in the suit was Howard Berman’s, one of the most powerful Democratic members of Congress. The redistricting plan had removed many of the Latino voters that had previously been in his district. MALDEF was concerned that splitting these voters between two districts diluted the Latino vote. For Ms. Blanco, ensuring that the Latino vote was not diluted was what was critical, rather than partisanship. Having strong representation on the commission for the Latino community, the state’s largest minority group and fastest-growing voting block, and from southern California, are key to ensuring that the commission’s outcomes are equitable for all Californians.
Ms. Blanco’s vast experience, intellect, and unbiased temperament make her an ideal addition to the redistricting commission. I strongly urge you to choose her as a commissioner. She has my strongest support, with no reservations whatsoever.