Local Group Repudiates What They Call an Inaccurate KUSI Report on City Redistricting
by Empower San Diego / April 19, 2011
On April 18, 2011, KUSI News aired a grossly inaccurate report (“Controversy surrounds latest redistricting effort” –here for the story at KUSI.) about Empower San Diego’s role in the City of San Diego’s redistricting process. Relying on false information, the report suggested that Empower has improper influence on two commissioners whose appointments the organization endorsed.
The report featured the San Diego County Republican Party’s chairman falsely stating that Empower was “created for the sole purpose of lobbying the [redistricting] commission,” even though the organization was incorporated in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization and has worked on a variety of community-based initiatives, including census outreach and an award-winning “get out the vote” effort.
The report also described Empower as a “union-backed group,” when in fact Empower has received less then one percent of its funding from unions. The report went on to claim that Empower influenced the appointment of the redistricting commission’s chief of staff, but the organization had no involvement in that decision.
Additionally, the report falsely suggested that Empower is a political group trying to influence the outcome of the redistricting process.
“The only effect Empower is trying to have on the process is increasing public participation. We want to see members of the public–average citizens rather than the usual political insiders–learning about the issues and making sure that their voices are heard by the commission,” explained Empower president Graham Forbes.
In this regard, the report failed to mention that Empower has encouraged the commission to take steps to increase the transparency of the redistricting process and the opportunities for public participation–all without taking any position on how district boundaries should be drawn.
The report’s inaccuracies are also troubling because Empower’s treasurer called KUSI News several days before the report aired and offered to provide information about the organization’s activities and financial resources in order to ensure that the report would be accurate. The call was not returned.
In response to the report, Empower is asking KUSI News to go on the air and immediately correct the inaccuracies.
Empower is proud of the work it does to increase public participation in government decision-making, especially on matters like redistricting. Empower looks forward to continuing its work to ensure that the commission operates transparently and that every member of the public, regardless of political affiliation, has a meaningful opportunity to participate in the redistricting process.
For more information on KUSI’s report, please contact Empower treasurer Cory Briggs (619-221-9280 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Go here for the story at KUSI.
If you’d like to see the calendar for community meetings about the County of San Diego redistricting, go here.