Cavala v. The Press

As more evidence of what I said in the previous post, Bill Cavala (who was also kind enough to leave us a comment) recently said that Sacramento Bee columnist “Dan Walters should have been a writer for PRAVDA” while Maviglio looked on approvingly. This is mostly because Walters thinks that the Democratic leadership “reneged on redistricting reform.” Given that Walters’ usual stance on certain issues are opposed to Cavala’s the accusations against him are somewhat par for the course, although one wonders if Walters ever thought when he started in journalism that he’d be called a “propagandist for the extremists who control today’s G.O.P.”

Cavala has made a few valid points about coverage of Proposition 93, but his generic accusations of media bias against the term limits reform initiative are over-the-top. Notice that while Cavala feels comfortable attacking Walters, he doesn’t mention anyone else by name. One wonders if Cavala thinks that George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times would also have been a great PRAVDA editor because Skelton says:

There are legitimate reasons to vote against Prop. 93.

One is that Prop. 93 was written by incumbent legislators to especially benefit incumbents. Many would get a sweetheart package with extra years in office.

Second, Democratic leaders reneged on their promise to deliver a companion ballot measure that would have eliminated the Legislature’s gerrymandering power to draw its own districts, a blatant conflict of interest.

Or take Skelton’s earlier column on the matter:

…the Democrats’ biggest fumble was reneging on their promise to produce a redistricting reform that surrendered the Legislature’s gerrymandering power. Democratic leaders made that pledge in 2005 when beating back a redistricting measure championed by Poizner.

The original idea this year was to pair redistricting and term-limit reforms on the Feb. 5 ballot. That bipartisan package would have been endorsed by Schwarzenegger. But Democrats failed to deliver, presumably balking at giving up redistricting without being assured of term-limits liberalization.

Refering to the rhetoric of Nunez and Perata during the battle over Proposition 77, Dan Weintraub also states the obvious: they “broke that promise.”

Pointing out such facts is not to make a partisan point: both parties break promises all the time. The real reason that people on both sides of the aisle are more upset with the Democratic leadership than the Republican leadership this time around, however, is that it so happens that the Nunez and Perata effectively ruined what was most likely the last chance for redistricting reform that could effect 2011. See Dan Mitchell’s summary of recent history here.

Chances for changing the redistricting process don’t come around often, and the simultaneous passage of term limits reform was seen by many as a fair and logical way to make redistricting reform happen. It would be one thing if redistricting reform was simply dropped, but it is clear that it is not just Republican party hacks who think that Nunez and Perata added insult to injury when in the absence of redistricting reform they proposed a term limits reform initiative that most everyone except their own staff can admit is self-serving—even if one thought 93 was fine in other respects.

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