Redistricting Roundup: Post Prop. 93

From Tony Quinn’s op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune on the Governor and the failure of Proposition 93:

With term-limits reform off the table, Schwarzenegger also can concentrate on redistricting reform. He has endorsed an initiative that would give the mapmaking job to a 14-member commission, which would redraw the state’s legislative districts according to a strict set of criteria after each national census. The plan has not yet qualified for the November ballot.

If it does, Schwarzenegger would enjoy a key advantage in getting the redistricting initiative passed. Legislators termed out because of Proposition 93’s defeat will have no personal stake in how their districts will be redrawn after the 2010 census, and therefore will be more likely to not oppose the reform.

Below the fold: Nunez tries to sting the Bee, Bill Bradley and Steve Maviglio argue with Chris Reed, and editorial boards continue to say “I told you so.”

Also in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chris Reed of America’s Finest Blog says:

The truth is Democrats are gearing up for a post-2010 census gerrymander that will brutalize state Republicans to a historic extreme. Behind the scenes, Dem operatives already are gleefully anticipating a redrawing of political districts that gives them three-quarters of congressional and state Senate seats and more than two-thirds of Assembly seats — a redrawing that would both help Dems control the House of Representatives and give Sacramento Dems a veto-proof majority.

In other words, the real story isn’t redistricting reform. It’s plans for radical redistricting abuse. Wake up, Sacramento media! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

If you don’t believe me, start asking around. It’s not just experts like Tony Quinn. Last month, I asked one of California’s most respected political insiders which was more likely: redistricting reform or a 2011 gerrymander that would make Tom Delay’s and Texas Republicans’ look like pattycake. He laughed and found it hard to believe it was a serious question.

Bill Bradley and Steve Maviglio take issue with Reed in the comments sections beneath the post. Reed and Rose Institute consultant Douglas Johnson went back and forth concerning how many seats Democrats stood to gain from a 2011 gerrymander in the past: maybe he agrees with Johnson now?

Fabian Nunez scolds the Sacramento Bee and Steve Wiegand (because of this column) in a letter to the paper:

As the author of two serious redistricting proposals, which I advanced despite opposition in my caucus and in Congress – and which Steve Wiegand’s Feb. 7 column unfairly overlooked (“Voters got a whiff and said, ‘No’ “) – I continue to believe we need to end the system in which elected officials pick their voters instead of the other way around.
California needs redistricting reform. California needs term limits reform. And California needs newspapers to hold themselves to a higher standard than campaign commercials and provide thoughtful and unbiased perspective on issues.

If he didn’t like that column, I doubt he’ll like Fresno Bee editor Jim Boren’s latest:

There soon will be new Democratic leaders elected in the Assembly and the Senate. Maybe they will have learned the lessons of this election.Now Nunez, Perata and the other lame ducks have a chance to show they can rise above their political pettiness by putting a balanced redistricting reform measure on the ballot before their terms end.

We will learn how serious lawmakers are about winning the public’s trust by the seriousness they show in offering a plan that would have an independent commission draw legislative and congressional district lines.

If they start making excuses for not fixing redistricting, it will be clear that they are the same old tired politicians who have been running the Legislature for a generation.

Or Bill McEwen’s piece in the Fresno Bee:

The hype: California legislators will get serious about equitable redistricting after voters shot down Proposition 93, which would’ve reformed term limits.

The reality: Because they control the Assembly and the Senate, Democrats will never support redistricting that puts their dominance at risk.

Instead they’ll invest in trying to knock out the few Republicans elected in districts gerrymandered to favor Democrats.

Right now, state Senate leader Don Perata — a lame duck by virtue of Prop. 93’s defeat — is orchestrating the attempted recall of Sen. Jeff Denham, an Atwater Republican. Denham has been a thorn in Perata’s side, blocking passage of a Perata bill targeting the subprime mortgage crisis.

But Denham’s biggest sin, politically speaking, was narrowly defeating Rusty Areias in 2002 to win the seat of a crazy-quilt district stitched together from five counties — Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito and Stanislaus.

The “I told you so” and other lecturing editorials about Prop. 93 and redistricting continue: see the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Vacaville Reporter.

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