Proposition 11 Will “Take the Politics Out of Redistricting”

Dick Spotswood of the Marin Independent Journal believes that Voters First Initiative is “a referendum on the effectiveness of our legislature.”

If voters conclude that the Legislature is doing a fine job preparing the state for 21st century problems, then Proposition 11 is counterproductive. For those believing that our state’s government is incapable of addressing the critical issues that Californians face, then passage of Proposition 11 is essential.

The present scheme of drawing legislative boundaries is an example of political corruption. After the 2000 census, Democratic and Republican leaders cynically devised a scheme benefiting incumbents of both parties. Democrats were guaranteed a 10-year California legislative majority and Republican incumbents were immunized them from electoral challenge.

The method used to accomplish this dubious goal was that each legislative district was effectively assigned in advance to one of the two major parties. Then all that matters in each district is the majority party’s primary election.

The lack of competitive general elections yields fiercer primary battles, says Spotswood. As a result, the extreme ends of each party carry more influence in the election process, ultimately creating a polarized legislature.  In spite of its flaws, he believes that Proposition 11 is the best solution voters will get in the near future:

The bottom line is that Proposition 11, backed by the League of Women Voters, AARP and Common Cause, is as good as California is ever going to get. It’s far better than a status quo that’s made Sacramento a synonym for dysfunction.

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