It’s back. Redistricting. Prop 11 CA Voters FIRST Act

In the Nov 8, 2005 election California voters rejected  Prop 77, an attempt to approve a redistricting reform by a vote of 59.8 percent opposed and 40.2 percent in favor.

What exactly is redistricting anyway? Valid question.

Redistricting is the redrawing of boundaries for legislative districts to reflect changes in population. The California Constitution entrusts the state legislature with adjusting Senatorial, Assembly, Congressional, and Board of Equalization districts every 10 years following the national census (California Constitution, Article XXI). The governor has the authority to approve or veto proposed districts.

I Just received an email from the “Join Arnold” Team  Prop 11  Redistricting

The Governor has been fighting for redistricting reform since he took office in 2003 because the people of California want to bring competition and centrist leadership back to our state. He believes strongly that we need a system where voters choose the politicians not where politicians choose the voters. The Governor has endorsed the California Voters FIRST Act, which if passed by voters in November 2008, will return power to the people.

The California Voters FIRST Act will create a 14-person independent citizens commission comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and four individuals not registered as a member of either major party to draw district boundaries for the Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization. The measure creates a more open and transparent redistricting process, takes the power to draw district lines out of the hands of lawmakers and puts into place a non-partisan process that requires respecting existing city boundaries, county boundaries and communities. ”

From the Contra Costa Times let me provide an opposing statement:

“‘Voters First’ puts minority voters last,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of tge National Association Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. “The (initiative) is a flawed strategy for achieving open and accountable redistricting in California. It fails to guarantee diversity, expertise or accountability within the commission it creates, and represents a step backwards for the political progress of California’s minorities.”

Gilbert comments. It is true that currently we have “elected officials selecting us” instead of us picking them simply by the way the current boundaries are crafted. And “crafted” is the appropriate word to use. Campaign strategist Michael Berman, brother of U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) is a key power broker in the current system.

And from Politico you can read the following. It’s not difficult to see why many incumbents are concerned about setting any objective standards that would apply to drawing legislative and congressional districts. Members would prefer to keep redistricting an inside game among professional politicians. During the post-2000 redistricting, California Democrats and Republicans agreed to a map that locked incumbents into friendly turf.

From I found the following remarks that are right on point.

The redistricting process, for example, is a national disgrace. Thanks to computer-aided demographic research, politicians can now draw politically homogeneous districts that guarantee reelection for incumbents year after year.

While there are many voters in this state that are upset with Arnold, what odds are you giving that his latest effort will have a better outcome than Prop 77?



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