Redistricting Roundup

Redistricting and Prop. 93 come up in Kai Stinchcombe’s op-ed in The Stanford Daily:

Once elected, honest people become corrupted by whispering lobbyists and the thrill of power, and arrogantly cease to care about those who selected them. There is ample evidence for this view: consider the districts our legislators gerrymandered for themselves — not only is it harder to lose a legislative election in California than in any of the other 49 states, but our politicians are also less likely to be voted out than Soviet Party delegates at the height of Stalinism. They have made themselves impossible to remove. According to this view, term limits are one of the few remaining checks on the power of these problematic politicians.

But there is no reason to choose. We can have the best of both worlds — experienced legislators who are also accountable to their constituents. Thus the standard compromise floated by good government advocates and newspaper editorial boards: relax the term limits and make the legislative districts fairer at the same time. There is no reason to throw everyone out, but it is equally problematic to keep everyone in. Make the districts competitive and let the people choose.
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Whether or not Proposition 93 passes, Californians should take a serious look at broader reform. Every year there are promises to fix the gerrymandered districts and every time the legislative leadership finds an excuse to stall. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan last year was narrowly defeated, and soon afterward the Democratic legislators’ alternative was abandoned.

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