Governor Schwarzenegger, Term Limits, and Redistricting

Governor Schwarzenegger’s spokesman Aaron McLear responded via email to OC Register columnist Mark Landsbaum’s complaints:

Keep in mind that the governor has come out in support of the redistricting measure which will be on the November ballot, so we’re in a position now to have both term limits reform and redistricting reform done by the end of the year. You’re right—we were unable to get a legislative solution on redistricting but the fact that it and term limits will be in front of voters this year accomplishes what the Governor set out to do.

McLear makes a similar point in Tom Chorneau’s San Francisco Chronicle article:

McLear said Schwarzenegger is working separately for a ballot measure that would put an independent commission in charge of drawing legislative districts and he has not given up on new fundraising restrictions.

This defense is not working for many: see the AP report in the Mercury News:

“The shifting to the 12 years in and of itself, devoid of the grandfathering provision, and with redistricting would have been a fair start for discussion,” said Jonathan Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “But that’s not here. This is clearly a naked power grab.”
Coupal said Schwarzenegger’s abandonment of a link between term limits and redistricting reforms would prevent him from getting future redistricting concessions out of the Legislature.A spokeswoman for the governor, Julie Soderlund, said Schwarzenegger hopes voters will approve an initiative in November that would strip lawmakers of the power to draw their districts and give that duty to a citizens’ commission.

The initiative, which is backed by Schwarzenegger, Common Cause, the AARP and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, would create a 14-member commission made up five Democrats, five Republicans and four others. It would redraw legislative districts after each national census.

The proposal has not yet qualified for a ballot.

See also this Los Angeles Daily News editorial:

…his support of Proposition 93, the phony term-limit legislation on the Feb. 5 ballot, is a blatant case of flip-flopping and dishonesty on the governor’s part.Schwarzenegger said he would not support this effort by legislators to expand their hold on power unless it was accompanied by redistricting legislation.

Unfortunately, though, a redrawing of the state’s political boundaries is something that every politician in California has paid lip service to; no one will stand by it when push comes to shove.

And this Chico Enterprise Record editorial:

Schwarzenegger has stated time and time again that he supports term limits. He has stated that he would only support a change in the term-limits measure passed by voters in 1990 if it was accompanied by a measure changing how legislators draw up their own districts.The Democratic leaders in the Legislature, Fabian Nunez and Don Perata, helped kill a redistricting measure in the 2005 election and promised to introduce their own “redistricting reform.” Neither has delivered on that promise. No surprise there.

Meanwhile, Dan Walters is comparing the governor with Jerry Brown:

The most recent flip-flop came this week, when Schwarzenegger declared his support for Proposition 93, a measure to modify legislative term limits, after often declaring that he supported the current limits and would entertain a change only if legislative leaders agreed to reform legislative redistricting as well. “If (term limits) is done alone, don’t go there,” the governor said last March in one of his many declarations.Legislators said they’d do it, but they reneged after placing the term limit measure on the Feb. 5 ballot and by rights, Schwarzenegger should have either opposed it or remained neutral, but this week he endorsed it

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