LA Times Analyzes Pros and Cons of Prop 11

The Los Angeles times recently had an article taking a look at the potential arguments for and against Proposition 11. Some of the arguments in favor:

At its simplest, Proposition 11 would remove the Legislature’s conflict of interest in drawing its districts after the 2010 census and each decade thereafter.

But proponents — who include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the League of Women Voters — promise more. They argue that independent redistricting will help make the Legislature more capable of solving healthcare, water supply, budget and other intractable troubles.

They reason that when districts are drawn with an overwhelming number of Democratic or Republican voters, as they tend to be when legislators do the job, the general election winner is practically predetermined. In safely drawn districts, competition comes only in primary elections.

To protect themselves from attacks by fellow Democrats or Republicans in the primary campaigns, incumbents tend to follow party dogma, the proponents say. The result is a Legislature with few centrist politicians and frequent partisan gridlock.

And some of the arguments against:

Fighting the measure are the California Democratic Party and some allies, including unions for teachers and government workers. Under current rules, Democrats would control the next redistricting if they maintain their dominance of the Legislature.

Some foes call Proposition 11 a Republican power grab.

Jay Hansen, lobbyist for the State Building & Construction Trades Council, which donated $25,000 against Proposition 11, noted that major donors to the “yes” campaign include Republican oilman T. Boone Pickens and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“People are willing to give big money because they think it’s going to increase the number of Republicans in the Legislature,” said Hansen.

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