Common Cause Criticizes State Senate President Pro Tem; Pitney on Redistricting

This one’s a two-for-one deal: The Contra Costa Times has an article about Common Cause criticizing State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata for organizing opposition to the Voters First Initiative. Professor Pitney is also quoted in the article.

Perata, who will leave the state Senate because of term-limit rules at the end of the year, has scheduled a meeting for Friday near the Capitol to strategize a campaign against the measure, which he and other Democrats say is a Republican power grab. The state Democratic Party’s executive board voted recently to oppose the measure.

Kathay Feng of Common Cause wrote this in a letter to Don Perata, quoted in the article:

“Given your public commitment to redistricting reform and your discussions with us in past years,” Feng wrote, “we are surprised to learn that you have decided to oppose our initiative without first talking with us and giving us the opportunity to address any of your concerns.”

Professor Pitney had this to say on the issue:

The letter appears to be an effort to drive home the point that politicians are trying to preserve the status quo rather than a serious attempt to change Perata’s mind, political observers said. It’s also a way for the groups to use their good-government credentials while employing hardball politics to embarrass Perata — a political weapon dressed in reformist garb, said Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont McKenna College.

“If you want to get ahead in a political fight, you have to use political tactics,” Pitney said. “It’s a fine line. Every group like Common Cause has to weigh the balance between idealism and tough politics.”

The Full Text of Kathay Feng’s letter can be found here.

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