Catch-Up: Recent Redistricting Press UPDATED

A recent Mercury News editorial says:

Proponents of Proposition 93 will have to collect some big bucks quickly if they’re going to compete with a suddenly massive campaign to defeat it.

Yes on 93 has collected about $4 million, but it spent about two-thirds getting the initiative on the ballot…. No on 93 has collected about $3.2 million, nearly all from $1.5 million contributions from Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner…Poizner is ticked off by the Legislature’s backtracking on redistricting.

And another Mercury News editorial says:

Expanding term limits without adopting redistricting reform will throw a system that favors incumbents further out of balance, and it will make redistricting reform all but impossible to achieve. It would be like building an airplane with one wing. The initiative deserves to crash and burn.
Term limits should be tweaked to make legislating more effective, but not before ending legislators’ practice of gerrymandering their own district boundaries.

Passing Proposition 93 after lawmakers went back on their word on redistricting would reward double-dealing. Voters need to say no and hold out for real reform.

A recent Los Angeles Times editorial says:

…the Legislature is a mess, and legislators are unmotivated to fix it. Lawmakers blew a chance to change the way their districts are drawn, leaving the Democratic majority with power to block Republican bills and the Republican minority with just enough clout to block a budget. The job of improving the system falls to the voters, which means action — perhaps a redistricting plan — in the form of an initiative.

Or take another editorial in the Modesto Bee:

…Democrats Núñez and Perata have no one but themselves to blame for the turn of events. If they had passed a less self-serving modification to term limits, and coupled it with redistricting reform, they might have avoided the pickle that now plagues their party and limits their effectiveness as legislators.

For some reason, I missed Steve Poizner’s recent op-ed in the Orange County Register:

poizner.jpgTo add insult to injury, the legislative leaders behind Prop. 93 promised they would pass meaningful redistricting reform and promote reform of term limits and California’s redistricting process as a package to gain support for their effort to stay in office longer. But they didn’t. If Prop. 93 passes it would remove a check on powerful politicians. It’s also likely to permanently kill any hopes for really reforming the way the state’s legislative districts are drawn every 10 years. If politicians and special interests get what they want by extending their terms and staying in office there will be no incentive in Sacramento to ever reform redistricting. They’ll be even more powerful than they are now and better positioned to defeat any citizen-sponsored initiative to make our legislative districts fair.

These legislative leaders have prioritized extending their terms in office over improving California’s water policy, improving health care or reforming redistricting.

His myspace page is still pretty sparse. Not a lot of emoticons, even.

A Fresno Bee editorial says:

Núñez and Perata originally promised to couple Proposition 93 with changes in the way legislative district boundaries are drawn in California. That might have been an acceptable trade-off. But as they’ve done before, they reneged on those promises — this time without even bothering to offer the mealy-mouthed excuses they’ve come up with in the past.
If it is passed, Núñez, Perata and many other incumbents could run for re-election in the June primary. Many of them would still be around when the time comes, after the 2010 census, to draw the legislative boundaries again. That’s a recipe for preserving the gerrymandering that currently makes a mockery of state elections.

That system makes seats safe for incumbents in all but the most extraordinary cases, and guarantees that seats won’t often change party hands even when an incumbent is not running.

Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature alike bear the blame for this system. They conspired to keep themselves in office with a system that rewards those on the extreme of the state’s political spectrum and keeps moderates out.

The result is a state government that is rigidly partisan and increasingly ineffective.

And Núñez, Perata and the other incumbents want us to reward them for that.

So far as Proposition 93 goes, see also John Marelius’ informative article in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

California voters soon can expect to be subjected to a befuddling campaign in which they will be told by one side that Proposition 93 shortens legislative term limits and by the other side that it lengthens them.

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