Packing Asians

This is the third part in a series of posts examining how to create super-packed districts of one race. The other posts in this series pack blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and whites.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Packing Asians

The previous post created two extremely Hispanic districts: a 93.2% Hispanic district in the heart of Miami, and a 96.5% Hispanic district in South Texas.

It is nowhere near possible to do anything similar regarding Asians. Asians compose only 4.8% of America’s population, while Hispanics are 16.3%.

The vast majority of Asians live in communities that are majority non-Asian. There do exist areas with high Asian populations; New York City is one example, as is Middlesex County in New Jersey.

Hawaii is the state with the highest percentage of Asians. However, Hawaii only holds enough population for two congressional districts, and the state’s population is too integrated to effectively pack Asians.

The real action is in California. Millions of Asians live in Southern California, especially the San Gabriel Valley.

But the density of Asians is greatest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Indeed, one’s strategy for packing Asians is somewhat similar to one’s strategy for packing blacks. There is only one place in America you look at when trying to create the blackest district possible, and that place is Chicago. The same holds true for Asians. One unquestionably must go to the Bay Area to create the most Asian district possible; there is no alternative.

Here is the district.

This is a 64.6% Asian district. It reaches throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to take in the most Asian areas, disregarding all manner of compactness and communities of interest.

The trick to this district is the way it utilizes the water in the middle of the bay. This effectively enables the district to unite the Asian parts of San Francisco with the Asian parts of the South Bay. These areas are very far apart, but by crossing water one can put them together without taking in any non-Asians.

Obviously, it’s hard to get a clear look at the district from the above image alone. Below are some detailed views.

Here is San Francisco.

The left part is Chinatown. The right part is an Asian region of Oakland.

Here is South San Francisco.

Here is Fremont.

The outer reaches of Fremont are the most Asian; the inner parts of much less so.

Finally, here is San Jose.

Politically speaking, this district is quite liberal, located as it is in the Bay Area. It gave President Barack Obama around 73% of the vote in 2008, and Governor Jerry Brown 66 to 67% of the vote in 2010.

The northern parts – in San Francisco – are most Democratic, voting around 80% for Mr. Obama. Then as the district moves south, it gets steadily less so; the San Jose parts vote around 60 to 75% for Mr. Obama. There might have been five or so precincts in total that actually voted for Senator John McCain.

Packing Whites

The previous post, about packing Hispanics, actually stated that the next post would be about packing whites. As you may have noticed, this post was not about that subject. There are so many extremely white areas in the United States that creating the whitest district possible is a very time-consuming endeavor. Nevertheless, the next post will – hopefully – create the whitest district of them all.

 --Inoljt

 

A Proposal to Redistrict California: the Bay Area

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

This is part of a proposal outlining one possible way to redistrict California.

This post will concentrate on the Bay Area.

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The North Bay

CA-6 (Teal):

Population – 68.4% white, 1.9% black, 21.4% Hispanic, 4.7% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 3.1% other

California’s sixth congressional district is barely changed from its previous incarnation. As in the past, it consists of a Marin County-based district which then stretches north into Sonoma County. It is also surprisingly Hispanic. The wealthy, somewhat rural communities here have a distinctive nature: if one is on a quest for hipster companionship, California’s 6th congressional district is probably the place to go.

CA-7 (Dark Gray):

Population – 43.3% white, 11.2% black, 26.5% Hispanic, 14.0% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 4.6% other

Majority-Minority District

This is an ugly district. It basically puts together all the leftovers that weren’t placed in other Bay Area and Central Valley districts. The core of the population is in Solano County. Substantial population also comes from the northern parts of Contra Costa County. The district finally reaches an arm into Central Valley, between Stockton and Sacramento, to scoop up left-over population from CA-3 and CA-11. The communities do have some things in common, but not much.

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San Francisco and the East Bay

CA-8 (Slate Blue):

Population – 46.3% white, 5.9% black, 13.4% Hispanic, 30.4% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 3.7% other

Majority-Minority District

San Francisco. Enough said.

CA-9 (Cyan):

Population – 36.3% white, 16.5% black, 21.2% Hispanic, 21.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 4.6% other

Majority-Minority District

This is another one of California’s great melting-pot congressional districts. It’s composed of a core of inner East Bay Area cities: Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond. Generally these cities are considered the “poorer” parts of the Bay Area, although in reality they are richer than the national median. Indeed, there are pockets of great wealth here. Finally, these communities are famous (or infamous) for their liberalism, second only to San Francisco.

CA-10 (Deep Pink):

Population – 57.2% white, 5.4% black, 19.7% Hispanic, 13.4% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% other

This district is composed of East Bay suburbs, including the Tri-Valley. This region, one of the richest in America, has long been carved up, for political purposes, into separate congressional districts. Here, for the first time, they will be in one compact district.

CA-13 (Dark Salmon):

Population – 33.0% white, 13.7% black, 29.8% Hispanic, 19.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 3.7% other

Majority-Minority District

This district is somewhat of a hybrid between the two districts above. Part of it is composed of the inner East Bay: Hayward, San Leandro, and part of Oakland. The other part is composed of East Bay suburbs: Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore.

To be honest, the East Bay suburbs and the the inner East Bay cities should be in separate districts. Unfortunately, trying to actually put those communities where they belong creates some very awkward-looking districts.

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The South Bay

CA-12 (Cornflower Blue):

Population – 39.6% white, 2.3% black, 21.5% Hispanic, 32.8% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 3.7% other

Majority-Minority District

This district is somewhat difficult to see, since it’s not fully in the picture. It goes from South San Francisco into San Mateo County, which is the core of the district. Silicon Valley is the main word associated with this district.

CA-14 (Olive):

Population – 42.7% white, 2.6% black, 20.5% Hispanic, 30.4% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 3.6% other

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Minority

Like CA-12, this district is the center of Silicon Valley. Its extremely wealthy San Jose suburbs are home to many of the technology industry’s most famous companies.

CA-15 (Dark Orange):

Population – 23.1% white, 3.2% black, 18.8% Hispanic, 50.9% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 3.8% other

Majority-Minority District; New Majority-Asian

Here we encounter the first district in which whites do not compose the largest racial group. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the largest population of Asian-Americans in the United States, and this district is intentionally drawn to be majority Asian under the VRA. Over 99% of the population lives in the western half of the district; the eastern half is simply mountains whose purpose is to make the district look more compact.

One ought to note that although Asians are the majority of the district’s population, the actual electorate will almost certainly be majority-white (given low Asian voter participation, registration, and citizenship rates). However, because Asians are very spread out in the Bay Area, it is impossible to increase the Asian percentage much further without very obvious gerrymandering.

CA-16 (Lime):

Population – 33.7% white, 2.8% black, 38.4% Hispanic, 21.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.9% other

Over-18 Population – 37.2% White, 34.2% Hispanic

Majority-Minority District

The second district in which whites are not the largest ethnicity, CA-16 is plurality Hispanic (and there are many more districts like it to come). Like CA-15, this district intentionally draws Hispanics together. However, the over-18 population is still plurality white; there are just not enough Hispanics in the South Bay to effectively create a compact, Hispanic-controlled district. The district itself is essentially composed of downtown San Jose.

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Here is a picture of the overall Bay Area:

Link to Picture of the Overall Bay Area

The next post will take a look at California’s Central Valley.

--Inoljt

 

 

Re-enactment of Chinese immigrant exclusion and recent quelling of protests show a future without diversity and freedom

From the Restore Fairness blog-

"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."
- Eleanor Holmes Norton, civil rights activist and Democrat Delegate to Congress representing the District of Columbia.

The freedom to disagree forms the bedrock of a thriving democratic society. Today, as we witness numerous incidents of suppressed protests and dissent around the world, the call for this freedom becomes even more pertinent. It also reminds us of America's fortunate position as a society where considerable disagreement is allowed to foster healthy debates on issues. This freedom of speech and debate is inextricably linked to our nation's fabric as a confluence of immigrants. This week, Breakthrough's ongoing Facebook game America 2049 addresses the issue of quelling dissent in the future, reminding us that the freedoms we have today can easily be restricted for the sake of supposed national security. On Saturday, April 30, Breakthrough is also partnering with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) in San Francisco to host the Interrogation Reenactment Event,* an opportunity for visitors to witness a historical scenario and learn about its repercussions today. From the event organizers-

...actors in period costumes will reenact an actual interrogation of Chinese immigrants attempting to overcome the Chinese Exclusion Acts [of 1882], the first American legislation to exclude a specific race or nationality from immigration to this country. We will see what these intended immigrants went through at the island’s Administration Building, and the outcome of their ordeal. Following that, well-known professors Judy Yung, professor emerita at UC Santa Cruz, and Bill Ong Hing, law professor at the University of San Francisco, and a recent immigrant who is a college student will participate in a panel discussion relating the Angel Island experience to what immigrants face today.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 provided a 10-year absolute moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. It was then extended in the form of the Geary Act, which added further restrictions on Chinese immigrants already in the United States. Chinese immigration was stringently regulated until 1943, when all these exclusionary acts were repealed in favor of more rational quotas on immigration for each nationality. The targeting of specific immigrant groups (based on their ethnic background) in the U.S. exists in other forms even today with some states passing stringent immigration acts that tend to affect the Latino communities primarily.

Harsh immigration laws affect our country to this day. The diversity of opinion that comes with healthy immigration forms the unique social, cultural and political fabric of our country. Today, as the people of several Arab nations are rising to claim their rights for equality and fair governance, some of their own governments are actively halting their protests. While the future of the 'Arab Spring' remains to be seen, this moment in history points to the greater issue of freedom of speech. Americans are fortunate to have much greater freedoms in protesting and dissent, but we must remain aware of this and not take it for granted.

In America 2049 this week, players are confronted with a situation where the authorities have sanctioned the use of a chemical agent in the water supply, SerennAide, that would pre-emptively quell any dissenting activity, making the population completely passive. Whether fictitious, as shown in Joss Whedon's 2005 space western film Serenity (in which a chemical agent was added to the air processors of a planet to calm the population), or the very real new "calming" drink 'Just Chill' from a California-based company, a SerennAide-like scenario is not too far from reality. Most importantly, SerennAide is also a symbol for institutional measures that have sought to prevent dissent or difference of opinion for the sake of national good throughout our history. In the bleak future of America 2049, the situation is at an extreme, raising awareness for the value of diversity of opinion.

A society that is so heavily based on immigration and diversity, such as the United States, must remain aware of its uniqueness and strengths. We must learn from our past, from decisions we made then to actively prohibit specific groups of immigrants, and understand how such practices today or in the future will only damage our social framework.

Watch a message from 'M,' the masked leader of Divided We Fall, the presumed terrorist group in America 2049. 'M' speaks about the the importance of dissent and difference of opinion to nurture a healthy democracy, especially as authorities in 2049 sanction the use of SerennAide.

*Be sure to check out the ferry schedule to allow for more time to arrive to the Immigration Station. For more information on ferry, tickets and schedule, visit AIISF's event page.

--

Click here to "Like" the America 2049 Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk

 

 

 

Weekly Mulch: Kicking Our Addiction to AC—Why DC Needs to Step Up

by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger

This summer, Americans are cranking up their air conditioning. At the same time, Senators are letting climate legislation cool its heels in Washington. Ultimately, both of these summer trends are contributing to climate change. Air conditioning dumps greenhouse gases into the environment, and without climate legislation that caps the country’s carbon emissions, America’s share of global carbon levels will only continue to grow.

But if it’s hard for individuals to give up air conditioning on some of the hottest days in decades, it’s even harder for the country to give up fossil fuels altogether. Just yesterday, BP finally capped the well that has been spewing oil into the Gulf—it took the company almost three months. Yet even in Louisiana, the state hardest hit by the BP oil spill, workers are supporting the oil industry and pushing back against the Obama administration’s temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling.

How can the country give up the controlled climate it has become accustomed to? We depend on fossil fuels to keep us cool and to keep our economy pumping. In both cases, the answer is not to go cold turkey, but to come up with an innovative solution.

Brrr, it’s cold in here!

Americans are as addicted to A/C as they are to oil. “Just since the mid-1990s, as the U.S. population was growing by less than 15 percent, consumption of electricity to cool the residential, retail and automotive sectors doubled,” writes Stan Cox at AlterNet. That cool breeze creates greenhouse gas pollution—the equivalent of 400 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Cox talks to several admirable people who live without air conditioning. They offer advice like consuming pitchers of ice water, opening your windows at strategic times, and canny use of fans.

At Care2, however, GinaMarie Cheeseman rebels. “My response to the…premise that we just have to learn to live without air conditioning is a definite, ‘Hell, no!’” she writes. Her solution? Not to give up a modern technology that improves many days, but to turn to an atmosphere-friendly product—a new-fangled A/C unit called DEVap, which is “50 to 90 percent more energy efficient than traditional air conditions,” she reports.

Highway to ‘Hell, no!’

Across the country, the response to an offshore drilling moratorium has echoed Cheeseman: “Hell, no!” After a federal judge (with a financial interest in the oil industry, of course) shut down the initial ban, the administration came back this week with a new version that “is based more on specific safety concerns and less on the simple depth of the well,” as Public News Service reports.

In The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard talked to Louisianans who disapproved of the ban altogether.

“When a airplane crashes, do you ground every plane in the country? No. You find out what caused the problem and fix it. You don’t punish the entire industry,” one fisherman told him. Hertsgaard came away with a surprising conclusion:

“It may be shocking to read in The Nation, but a blanket moratorium on new deepwater drilling may not be the best policy to pursue in the wake of the BP disaster. No state in the union is more addicted to oil than Louisiana; the oil and gas industry is responsible for roughly 25 percent of the state’s economic activity. If you abruptly cut off a hardened heroin addict, you can kill him; there is a reason physicians prescribe methadone rather than cold turkey.”

At GritTV, Hertsgaard and I discussed the problem of how to move forward, if a ban on oil drilling won’t fly.  The country needs to adopt new solutions—like Cheeseman’s A/C unit—before throwing out the old. Hertsgaard learned, for instance, that Louisiana has the strongest program for solar energy in the country.

“Louisiana has by far the strongest solar tax credit—50% off of your solar installation,” Hertsgaard said. “And if you add onto that the 30% credit that Obama administration passed earlier in his presidency, Louisiana homeowners can go solar for 80% off.”

PACE-ing ourselves

Why doesn’t every state have such a strong solar program, though? Even a disaster like the BP oil spill could not budge federal leaders to move the country towards a safer, cleaner energy future via strong policies. The version of energy legislation that now looks most likely to come to a vote in the Senate drops a carbon cap altogether. It could require renewable electricity standards which mandate that a certain amount of electricity production comes from renewable energy sources, but many states already have similar, if not better standards.

One way to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels is to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses. There are huge gains to be made here. Better efficiency across the economy could reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030, according to the Center for American Progress. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans encouraged homeowners to build houses that met federal efficiency standards. But a decision last week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency essentially killed this type of assistance.

“Cities can continue to offer PACE, but then Fannie and Freddie must impose stricter lending standards on all local borrowers—even those who never intend to take out PACE loans,” Alyssa Katz explains at The American Prospect. “In effect, the new guidelines force mayors and city councils to choose between promoting energy efficiency and improving the health of their already battered real-estate markets.”

Two cities that were using the loans—San Francisco and Boulder—have stopped issuing them, Katz reports. Yesterday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) did introduced the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2010, which requires the FHFA to support PACE, but there’s no guarantee that legislation will pass through Congress, Grist reports.

Policy trumps innovation

That chilling effect is exactly the opposite of the sort of policies the country needs from Washington. As Christian Parenti writes in The Nation, fancy devices (like Cheeseman’s DEVap) cannot fix the climate crisis on their own:

“An overemphasis on breakthrough inventions can obscure the fact that most of the energy technologies we need already exist. You know what they are: wind farms, concentrated solar power plants, geothermal and tidal power, all feeding an efficient smart grid that, in turn, powers electric vehicles and radically more energy-efficient buildings.”

“According to clean-tech experts, innovation is now less important than rapid large-scale implementation,” Parenti explains. “In other words, developing a clean-energy economy is not about new gadgets but rather about new policies.”

It would be nice if those new policies pushed the country to decrease energy use, instead of mimicking programs states already have in place, or worse, undoing good work that’s going forward on the local level.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Crime Labs Need Independence and Robust Oversight to Ensure Justice

San Francisco’s top public defender, Jeff Adachi, recently called for the city’s crime lab to become independent of the police department. This announcement comes on the heels of a series of scandals in the San Francisco Police Department’s forensic laboratory initiated by the discovery that a criminalist was stealing cocaine from evidence storage facilities. What initially seemed to be a problem with one unethical employee has led to the unearthing of myriad problems within the lab, including two cases of tainted DNA samples. Moreover, a troubling audit was released showing an improper maintenance of chain of custody of evidence, inadequate record keeping, and a lack of cleanliness in the overall facility. Multiple legal challenges raised in the aftermath of the scandal, including a murder case, have pointed to the possibility that police and prosecutors withheld vital information about the drug thefts from defendants' attorneys.

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