Claremont Insider: Chairman Yao Under the Radar

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chairman Yao Under the Radar

Chairman Yao

It came to our attention recently that Claremont's own Peter Yao has made the cut and has been accepted into 120-member pool for interviews and possible membership on the State of California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

This action was taken on July 19 by the Applicant Review Panel, but we haven't seen it in any of the local media--maybe with vacations and all...

from the minutes of the Review Panel meeting:

Ms. Camacho moved to interview the following 40 applicants who are affiliated with the Republican Party:

Christine Allcorn, Kathleen Beasley, Robert Gonzales, Larry Kerr, Leilani Kimmel-Dagostino, Martin Lax, Nancy Lyons, Sandor Mayuga, Davin McAndrews, Gabriel Morales, Henry Norton, Lilbert “Gil” Ontai, Roy Salume, Christine “Chris” Shipman, Gina Simas, Charles Starr, James Vidal, Evelyn Volpa, Michael Ward, Mary Werthman, Cecilia White, Ronald Wilczynski, Peter Yao, Gene Lee, Jeffrey Kwong, Peggy Huang, Jodie Filkins Webber, David Ikari, Michael Briggs, Vincent Barabba, Edward Duran, Evelyn Zneimer, Bev Perry, Alan Jorgensen, Donna Beers, Orrin Banta, Suzanne Levy, Daniel Seagondollar, Susan Miller, and Wesley Hussey. Ms. Spano seconded. There being no public comment or opposition, the motion carried.

Ms. Spano moved to eliminate from the applicant pool the remaining Republican applicants. Ms. Camacho seconded. There being no opposition, the motion carried.

Panel counsel reported receiving two written comments both of which were supplied to the panel members and available at the back of the room. [We especially like how at the State level written comments are provided the commission members after the vote is taken.]

Still, this process should get more notice than it has been getting.

It's fairly lengthy, but see councilmember Yao's supplemental application. Letters of recommendation (glowing) can be found here, including one from an attorney at the City's law firm, Best, Best, and Krieger.

These resume or personal history-type things tend to be exercises, in self glorification. Yao's application tends to be nothing much more than auto-hagiography. It doesn't stray far from that template. We list below a few quotes from Yao's application. We believe they should be compiled into a little red book we could carry around. Hey!--we could call it "The Sayings of Chairman Yao":

  • The challenge of working on a meaningful task, solving a tough problem to secure a just representation for Californians and working with a high performance team entice me to apply...
  • I treasured solving problems.
  • I have always found satisfaction in solving tough problems. Redistricting is a very tough and complex political problem.
  • I consider exposure to new knowledge and experience as the reward of commission assignment.
  • In life, one is obliged to play with the cards you are dealt.
  • I am efficient in using spreadsheet programs including the first VisiCalc in the 1960’s.
  • Diversity is California’s competitive advantage in commerce, scientific and technological research, and in securing a truly democratic society.
  • As a working engineer, I understand and employed dense and technical written material... [anyone who has read Yao's unedited writing, or heard him speak, will go along with part of this observation.]
It's worth noting several features of the 120-member applicant pool in which Yao swims. It seems to be made up disproportionately of third-tier local officials or government employees. One who made the cut but who has dropped out in the last month is retired Los Angeles County Recorder Conny B. McCormack, for a prima facie ineligibility. See here, and here.

Another, from northern California, is Nancy Lyons, who works in the Governor's office. See here.

Another, we noted in passing was a public agency lawyer.

Yao interviewed with the panel on August 24, 2010, and it's a regret of our young life that we missed that performance. Interviews were apparently streamed in the Internet.

The process from this point forward is this: by October 1, 2010, the State Auditor (responsible for winnowing the 30,000- strong initial applicant pool) must reduce the pool of 120 to a pool of 60--20 Democrats, 20 Republicans, and 20 "Other". These names go to the Majority and Minority Leaders of both the State Assembly and State Senate, and each may strike up to 2 names from each of the three sub-pools. This will be done prior to November 20, 2010.

If the legislative leadership exercises all of its "strikes", there would be 12 names in each pool for a total of 36. By November 20 the Auditor will select 8 names randomly from these 36. By December 31, 2010, those 8 will select the remaining 6 members of the commission from the remaining names in the applicant pool of 28.

Chairman Yao still has a steep hill to climb to reach the Final Fourteen, but, as he says, he thrives on tough challenges.