The Merced Sun-Star and the Mercury News both recently ran editorials supporting the Voters First Initiative. The Mercury News editorial mentions the potential influence of new interest group in the matter:
But the group that could really make a difference is the potential big kid on the political block, California Forward.
Funded by Hewlett, Packard, Irvine and other foundations, the new civic organization (www.caforward.org) is charged with promoting governance reforms, like responsible budgeting, and taking on those who’ve been obstructing them. Its co-chairs are former Democratic Congressman Leon Panetta and Thomas McKernan, a noted Southern California Republican and business executive.
California Forward’s somewhat nebulous mission “to transform our state government through citizen-driven solutions” doesn’t indicate how the group would stand on redistricting reform, but the group has decided to back the Voters First Initiative.
Its high-profile leadership council has endorsed Proposition 11. But as a non-profit eligible for tax-deductible donations, California Forward can’t get directly involved in political campaigning. It needs a separate non-exempt affiliate, which it’s now establishing, to match California Forward’s enthusiasm for Proposition 11 with cash. We hope it happens in time.
The editorial in the Merced Sun-Star comes down harshly on Senator Perata’s opposition to the proposed reforms:
Perata has begun a campaign against the measure that suggests he’s for good government in his opposition to Proposition 11. As has been amply demonstrated during his legislative career, he isn’t.
In fact, Perata, and others of his ilk are the reasons that there’s so much cynicism about the political process.
Perata and his special- interest pals have established a campaign committee against Proposition 11 called “Citizens for Accountability — No on the Power Grab.” This committee is the exact opposite of its name, but telling the truth is not in Perata’s political playbook.
Update: The San Diego Union Tribune editorializes in support of Voters First. More notably the paper scathingly criticizes Senator Don Perata’s effort to derail Proposition 11:
Fixing the present system â€“ in which gerrymandered seats make incumbents practically invincible â€“ is the most crucial reform of all, because only if lawmakers can be held accountable by voters will they have any incentive to take up other reforms. Even Perata himself has noted the problems with the present system, going so far as vowing in November 2005 to work with then-Assembly Speaker Fabian NÃšÃ±ez to come up with a redistricting plan.
But as his exit from office nears, Perata is no longer bothering to pretend to support reform. Instead, he’s working to kill reform â€“ just as he always has, on issue after issue, year after year.