CLAREMONT - Wanting to put in long hours and work on the weekend - yes, really - California's Citizens Redistricting Commission had to get out of a state office and find a new place to meet.

So it went to Claremont.

The commission on Tuesday held its first meeting outside of Sacramento, convening at the Honnold/Mudd Library.

"What drove us out of Sacramento was the state budget," said Peter Yao, a redistricting commissioner and a former Claremont city councilman.

The redistricting commission - a group of 14 Californians who are responsible for drawing new boundaries for the state's Assembly, Senate and congressional districts - had been meeting last month at the Secretary of State's office in Sacramento. But Yao said a tight budget made it hard to keep state offices open after hours and on weekends for the commission's use.

"They wouldn't allow us to work on weekends," Yao said, because that would require security staff and others to be on hand. "That's when we decided to go off site. ... The driving factor is to be able to work longer hours."

Thursday's meeting started at 9 a.m. and was scheduled to last until 6:30 p.m. Day-long meetings are also scheduled today and Saturday. The commission might opt for a public outreach meeting Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.

The Secretary of State's office, like most state offices, is closed on the weekend, said Secretary of State spokeswoman Shannan Velayas. To open buildings on the weekend, she said the commission would have had to get an exception from an executive order that halted overtime for some state workers.

Yao said the Claremont University Consortium was the first private entity to offer its resources to the commission.

"This is somewhat an experiment," Yao said. "If it works out, we're going to do more of it."

Eventually, the commission or possibly individual commission members will hold public meetings throughout the state to ask voters for input on how district lines should be drawn.

But the commission is nowhere near that stage yet. In fact, during Thursday's meeting, a commission subcommittee discussed the types and number of public meetings the commission should hold during the next several months.

Nevertheless, a few San Bernardino and Riverside county residents saw the meeting as their first opportunity to weigh in on the redistricting process.

"We have nine Assembly districts in San Bernardino county, and all but two of them cross county lines," said Ron Wall, chairman of the San Bernardino County Democratic party. "We're hoping you won't cross that wall ... and that you'll give us representation within our county."

Ruthee Goldkorn, a disability rights advocate from Moreno Valley, also advocated for districts that don't cross county lines.

"Crossing the county wall is a major issue of representation," she said.

Goldkorn also chided the commission, saying the Honnold/Mudd Library was not fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and that future meeting sites should be fully ADA compliant.

Commissioners could decide to hold a public outreach meeting - one specifically designed to get local input on the redistricting process - on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.

All meetings will be held in the Founders Room of the Honnold/Mudd Library at 800 N. Dartmouth Ave. in Claremont.

james.koren@inlandnewspapers.com

909-386-3826