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Vladimir Kogan, the co-author of Paradise Plundered and now on his way to The Ohio State University as an associate professor in political science, sent me these three observations of last night’s election results:

I. If you look at the raw vote totals for the City Council races, the Democrats actually did better (5,000 vote lead overall if you pool across the districts, and even bigger if you include the minor candidates).

The problem is that the Democratic voters are spread out inefficiently – they’re packed in heavily Democratic District 9, District 4, District 8 and District 3, leaving too few for other places. So the Redistricting Commission, that Republicans so hated, played a pivotal role in drawing the maps that now bring the council majority within their reach.

For “progressives,” trying to keep the peace between the gay, black, and Latino communities, giving each constituency its own districts, may now also cause these groups, collectively, to be in the minority on the council.

A clearly predictable (indeed, I made this point in an earlier piece) result. Note that these districts were probably not required by Voting Rights Act because some of the conditions that trigger majority-minority districts under VRA (such as racially polarized voting) were not present.

II. Will labor rally behind City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner in District 1 now that the council majority is on the line? It would be incredibly foolish for them not too.

III. If Ray Ellis wins District 1 (improbable but still possible), all five districts north of Interstate 8 will be Republican while all four south of I8 will be Democratic. So the partisan divide on the council will overlap with the most salient divide in our community. This is going to have huge implications (not the least of which will be prioritization of projects on the likely 2014 bond measure that the business community is pushing).

What do you think? You can log your thoughts here or contact me.

I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

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Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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