George Skelton’s column in the Los Angeles Times downplays talk of the governor’s support for term limits in exchange for support for healthcare. Says Skelton:
Democratic leaders reneged on a promise to pass a companion ballot measure that would have surrendered the gerrymandering power to draw their own districts, a blatant conflict of interest.And that brings us back to Schwarzenegger and his acrobatics. The governor long had vowed he wouldn’t endorse a change in term limits unless Democrats kept their promise on redistricting. For term limits “just to be out there by itself, I don’t support that,” he said. “The two must come as a package.”
So Schwarzenegger is catching heavy flak.
The pirouette was “a horrible mistake because it goes to his credibility,” says Tony Quinn, a former Republican redistricting strategist and current co-editor of the California Target Book, which chronicles political races. “He’s telling us that his words don’t have meaning. You can punch him in the nose and he’ll take it.”
What NuÃ±ez and Perata should do now — quickly, before voters decide on Prop. 93 — is to endorse a redistricting measure being pushed by Schwarzenegger and reform groups for the November ballot. That could calm the anger over their reneging and provide the governor some political points for their endorsements.
“The governor is very heavily lobbying the speaker to get behind redistricting,” Mendelsohn says.
But that’s not likely to happen, I’m told by NuÃ±ez insiders. It could spark a revolt within the Democratic caucus.
Meanwhile, a San Francisco Chronicle editorial adds the paper’s voice to the chorus of opinion pages against Proposition 93:
Also, the loosening of term limits should have been accompanied by a measure to allow an independent commission – rather than the legislators themselves – to draw the boundaries for Assembly and Senate districts. The two ideas, if paired and written in a fair way, would have advanced the same goal: Giving voters, rather than Sacramento power brokers, more say in who represents them.Both NÃºÃ±ez and Perata had promised to move a redistricting reform bill to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a leading advocate of the concept. But the redistricting measure stalled at the end of last year’s session. Once again, NÃºÃ±ez and Perata delivered only excuses. The two leaders were either insincere or ineffective. Either way, they lost their chance to put together a solid package of reforms to advance democratic values.
A Marin Independent Journal editorial agrees:
Perata, the East Bay power broker who should be retired, would be able to run for another four-year Senate term. Nunez would get six more years in the Assembly. Both men are more interested in exercising power for their own purposes – remember, they failed to push through promised redistricting reform – than in improving California.
Most legislators would benefit from more time in the Assembly – perhaps 10 years instead of the current six – and three terms in the Senate. Such reform should be coupled with redistricting changes that prevent legislators from drawing their own districts by putting that authority in the hands of as independent a panel as possible.
So does the Appeal Democrat‘s editorial:
We would have liked Prop. 93 more had current legislators been exempted from its provisions, and if it had been tied to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed redistricting reform, which the Legislature chose not to include on the ballot. The current system of gerrymandering suffers itself from self-serving protectionism, shielding incumbents in safe districts from challenges by opposition party candidates.
The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog says:
Senate President Pro Temp Don Perata asked the LAO to analyze the impact ABX1-1 was likely to have on the stateâ€™s finances back in December when he felt passage of health care reform legislation before Sacramento addresses the stateâ€™s budget crisis was â€œimprudent and impolitic.â€ Heâ€™s since managed to overcome his reluctance, much as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to have overcome his concerns about changing the stateâ€™s term limit laws without redistricting reforms. Coincidence? Nahhhh.
The Bayne of Blog’s says:
A year ago, Schwarzenegger was pushing hard for redistricting changes and said he would not support a change in term limits unless they were tied to the redrawing of legislative districts. Suddenly, weeks before voters cast their votes on the matter, he has decided Proposition 93 is okay without changes to redistricting.
What changed? Probably more than just the Governor’s mind.