Common Cause and Proposition 93 UPDATEDx2

Last Friday, Shane Goldmacher of Capitol Alert reported that Common Cause, one of the sponsors of the Voters FIRST redistricting initiative the Governor has decided to support, has announced it will support Proposition 93. (See also the California Progress Report, the California Majority Report, and Steve Lawrence’s AP report in the San Diego Union Tribune, and Postscripts, a blog). Goldmacher’s Capitol Alert blog said:

Kathay Feng, director of California Common Cause, said there is dissatisfaction among some members about Proposition 93’s benefits for incumbents, its heavy funding by special-interest groups, and by the failure of legislative leaders to place a companion measure on the ballot to alter the way political districts are drawn, a process called redistricting.”But there were a lot of people who felt a long-term policy decision like this should not be based on short-term politics,” Feng said.

None of the press reports mentioned the fact that this is an apparent reversal of Common Cause’s early thinking on Proposition 93. For instance, an article by Jim Sanders in the Sacramento Bee from September 17, 2007 said:

Kathay Feng, director of California Common Cause, said failure to put redistricting on the ballot definitely would have repercussions. “We have concerns about the term limits measure, and we’ve said that we would accept it only if it’s paired with a good redistricting plan,” she said.

Common Cause’s press release (pdf) says:

While we strongly condemn legislative leaders’ failure to adhere to their agreement to place a redistricting reform measure on the ballot along with the term limits proposition,” said California Common Cause Vice-Chair Roy Ulrich, “Common Cause has long believed that term limits arbitrarily limit the right of voters to elect their representatives from among the most qualified candidates while at the same time giving more power and influence to special interest lobbyists.”

The other major supporters of the redistricting initiative are the California Chamber of Commerce (they oppose Prop. 93), the League of Women Voters (they are neutral on Prop. 93), and the AARP (who haven’t officially said anything, to my knowledge, one way or another).

Brian Leubitz says:

Fortunately, Common Cause (they endorsed Prop 93 over the weekend) has written their initiative to only govern the reapportionment of the state Legislature. For my part, I haven’t made my mind up about it yet; it is too soon. I assume it will get on the ballot, as it has Arnold’s support. However, I will want to carefully review whether this initiative actually does the state any good. And that will go to the voters to stand or fall on its own merits.

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