The San Diego Democracy for America Meetup Group Message Board › DFA should support Schwarzenegger's Redistricting plan

DFA should support Schwarzenegger's Redistricting plan

A former member
Post #: 12
One of the most pro-Dean bloggers around, MyDD.com, has posted an excellent discussion thread on Gov.Schwarzenegger's redistricting plan. He discusses why, with a few clarifications and modifications, this plan is something that we ought to be supporting and promoting:

http://www.mydd.com/s...­

I would also add that the Governator's plan is very similar to that used in Iowa, which produces its fair shair of Democrats (and relatively moderate Republicans), and makes every Republican district competitive. It is also worth noting that 3 out of the last 4 re-districtings in CA have been decided by judges, so his plan shouldn't be considered something scary or radical. It's happened before, and produced results that were fair to Democrats--a view that is also shared by a number of our elected representatives.

The best part of the Schwarzenegger plan is that it would eliminate the current lopsided population distributions, and make most districts competitive. The Democratic party would be compelled to stop writing off large swaths of the state, and to hone a strong, forceful message that defends basic Democratic principles, and frames issues according to our strengths. Right now, the party seems only too happy to maintain the majority it has, without making an effort to get out and PERSUADE new voters to come over to our side. On the national level, we have seen the sorry results of this approach: it has brought us stagnation and decline, and an inability to express our ideas and policies in broadly appealing ways...because we don't even try. Indeed, this criticism is the driving motivation behind Dean's run for DNC chair, and is shared by many of the other candidates as well. We need to be fighting for every AD, congressional district, and every voter in them: never concede any jurisdiction or voter.
A former member
Post #: 5
I want to thank Jim Wade for originating the redistricting thread on this message board. It is one of the more intriguing ballot initiatives that is a part of the Governor's reform agenda. I saw Don Hess' posting first, since his was the more recent, however, my response looks like it is even more appropriate here.

Lately, I have received a spate of e-mails from friends who have passed on to me information about Common Cause's efforts to champion redistricting in CA. I would like to explain why I do not agree with Common Cause's alliance with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on this matter.

I have been involved with issues having to do with legislative redistricting since I spent a semester doing just that in graduate school at the University of Nebraska in 1968 under the direction of Professor Richard Rodgers who, simultaneously, happened to behe Legislative Counsel to Nebraska's Unicameral Legislature. We had an interesting time planning how
to redistrict that state's congressional seats.

In the studies that I have seen related to the badly gerrymandered California Districts, very little change seems possible in this state unless we go to multi-member districts, the histrionics of certain democratic leaders, notwithstanding. The demographics of the state are the reason why. The groups of people who are mainly supportive of the Democratic Party are clustered around our major metropolitan statistical areas, and they predominantly determine the largest number of seats going to the Democrats.

Furthermore, redistricting, on a socalled nonpartisan basis, has taken place in AZ, IA, and GA, in recent years, and no appreciable change has taken place in the distribution of legislative seats between the parties in those states from the pattern that exzisted prior to the enactment of the new redistricting program.

To really redistrict CA on a fair, nonpartisan basis, which would provide a practical way for Republicans to gain many more seats than the single-member district system allows them in these urban areas now, we would have to go to multi-member districts. This would give Republicans a much greater opportunity to win at least a minimum number of seats in those areas. Of course, the converse is true, too. Going to multi-member districts would, also, afford Democrats a much greater opportunity to win more seats than they now do in the rural areas of the state.

If redistricting, technically, cannot take place in time to affect the 2006 election, and most informed persons will tell you that it cannot, and if very few seats might change hands even if it were used then, why would Gov. Schwarzenegger, and his wealthy backers, choose to spend so much time, energy and money in getting the requisitie number of signatures to put his Redistricting Initiative, which Common Cause has chosen to support, on the ballot for 11/05?

It is my strong belief that this socalled "nonpartisan" initiative has been chanmpioned for very partisan reasons. The Governor has introduced this cluster of initiatives as a "reform" package, and has advanced and supported it in well paid for advertising in that way through so-called citizens groups like Fair Districts Now, the front group for Peoples Advocates, Inc.

The Redistricting Initiative, particularly with support from a well established group like Common Cause, provides a strong cover of nonpartisan reform for all of the other initiatives he is championing. This comes across to me as a very well thought out ploy to confuse the public about the real nature of these initiatives.

The powerful financial interests who have been behind Arnold Schwarzenegger from the start have reasons for passing this cluster of initiatives, since they each cut at the base of the strength of the Democratic Party and some of its strongest interest group supporters in this state--the teachers, the nurses, the public employees, etc.

I believe that this is all part of a well-orchestrated series of steps, which began with the Recall of former Gov. Gray Davis, and included the extraordinary effort to oust former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, that are all intended to help win this state back from the Democrats. After all, the Democratic Party, until last year had been in control of all of the major executive offices of the state, and they are, currently, in firm control of both houses of the state legislature. For some time they have also won a huge majority of California's seats in the U.S. Congress.

When Gore and Kerry can take this state for granted, in presidential campaigns, and do most of their campaigning elsewhere, you know it will take a considerable upheaval to change that around, and that, my friends,is exactly, what the Republicans are attempting to do. Make no mistake about it!!

Yours for a more positive future, John Falchi
A former member
Post #: 2
Let me get this straight. Deaniacs are supposed to support the plan of a dyed in the whool Republican who attended the Republican Convention with his Democratic wife but who did not attend the Democratic Convention with this same wife; who has essentially done nothing for California since his election but travel around the country and the world at taxpayers expense; who uses State of California workers' time to build his "scenery" and doesn't "get" that this is unethical for state workers who are paid by us, not him; who has more "spokespeople" than any Governor in the history of California but still can't figure out how to run California.

M-m-m, shall I go on? And this is the same guy who you say has a viable idea that we should consider? And to get this idea in place "WE" should pay $70 million for a special election when $70 million could be used to help California?

No! No! No!

Arnold is a Republican. Just for the record, for those who haven't followed elections for the past 40 years, the same people continue to get elected BECAUSE VOTERS VOTE FOR THEM. Not because of any redistricting ploy. Again, voters VOTE them back into office, again and again and again. Redistricting is not going to change voting habits!

Do not support this!
A former member
Post #: 2
I'm very open to redistricting; districts should make some kind of geographic sense and not be the exotic-shaped puzzle pieces they are today, made to benefit incumbents. It's a topic that DFA members should be engaged in.

However, I am opposed to the current redistricting plan principally because it requires an expensive special election that we do not need. That is not in keeping with the fiscally responsible criteria that Gov. Dean made an important part of our movement--to seize the issue of fiscal care and run on it against Republicans who have so clearly demonstrated they have abandoned any allegiance to principles like balancing budgets, etc.

Furthermore, I distrust Schwarzenegger's pushing of this issue for a special election at this time. Let's go for it another day when we have OUR say in the process and it can be scheduled for a regular election.
A former member
Post #: 87
First of all ,some clarity regarding this subject(for chrissakes, I feel like I'm watching/hearing mass media on this thread).
Common Cause IS NOT supporting Scharzeneggers paln EXCEPT inasmuch as Common Causes support Of ASM.Lowenthal's bill also calls for an independent commission,eg. "Assemblyman John Benoit, a Palm Desert Republican who supports both the Schwarzenegger and Lowenthal plans",etc.
Secondly, redistricting is but one piece of the puzzle,e.g.,"There just aren't enough Republicans in the Bay Area or Democrats in the Central Valley to make more districts competitive."
My take is this; Schwarzenegger is a snake in wolf's clothing; DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING HE SAYS and if he does something,watch your back!!!
But codifying redistricting as something the Legislature does NOT do IS important. And I can't get too worked up over 'special elections' when so much tax money is wasted in other ways AND no one wants to admit to the faulure of the Jarvis initiative in creating the budget woes. (Remeber Warren Buffett being 'part' of the Schwarzenegger team and his suggestions?)
The ONLY 'real' answer in order to get representatives of the pople and not corporations is to minimize the importance of money in the elective process, to wit:
http://www.commoncaus...­

angry
A former member
Post #: 6
Dear Friends-
I am glad to see all of this interest in the redistricting initiative that Governor Schwarzenegger is spending so much time, energy, and money to get in front of the voters just before the electoral law changes go into effect requiring a paper trail for all electronic voting machines and well before the millions he is spending on it would have to be counted as part of his fundraising for another go around as Governor.

I am in agreement with Bruce Sims' call for support of the Clean Election Law that just passed its Assembly Committee as Campaign Finance Reform is something direly needed in this state, as well as in the nation as a whole. I am sure that most of us are aware of the support that Common Cause has given to Campaign Finance Reform since it began, and I am pleased that this fine organization continues to do that here. They are successfully using a variant of the Clean Election Law in AZ and ME. It would be well for us to learn from their example.

I do believe, though, that my colleague, Bruce, is badly mistaken when he declares:

<Common Cause IS NOT supporting Scharzeneggers paln EXCEPT inasmuch as Common Causes support Of ASM.Lowenthal's bill also calls for an independent commission>

If I were you, Bruce I would contact Common Cause, yourself, to ascertain the truth of this matter.

I was party to a conference call, on 03/19/05, with Common Cause members throughout the state who were interested in redistricting that was hosted by Kathy Feng, the new State Director for Common Cause. She spent the entire initial part of the call explaining away the reasons why Common Cause was supporting Schwarzenegger's (Ted Costa's really) Initiative.

Of course, Ms. Feng made it clear that Common Cause hopes that Arnold will be won over to many aspects of redistricting that her organization has been championing for some time, e.g., that redistricting must coincide with the decenial census. Unfortunately, Arnold, instead, seems to have won Common Cause's support for doing it in 2006, as the Initiative that they are jointly supporting requires. It is one thing that his handlers have been telling Common Cause, and others, is not negotiable.

By the way I, too, agree with Bruce that the demographics of many areas, like the Bay area, the Central Valley, etc. preclude single member districts from being competitive. I, also, believe that we must continue to be suspicious of the motives of the powerful people behind Arnold Schwarzenegger and the socalled reform agenda that they are pushing.

Yours for an improved election system, John Falchi
A former member
Post #: 14
I was a bit to surprised to see activity resume on this discussion thread, since I posted it in January, and it received no comment at the time. Much has changed since I posted this originally.

First, we have actually had some good Democrats introduce re-districting bills in the legislature, and I now support one of those. I'm not sure which is best, so I've asked Simon Mayeski and his legislative watch committee to give a report on the subject at the May meetup. I have always felt that re-districting is a historic DEMOCRATIC issue, and that we should take the issue away from the Gov. Now that some Dems have done that (albeit belatedly), we need not support the Governor's initiative or the special election. I hope this addresses the points raised by Mary and Richard.

I have also introduced a resolution to the state Dem party (referred to its legislative committee during the convention) which supports a Democratic re-districting bill, and I was quite surprised to find that this generated a lot of support from delegates across the state.

Principled objections have been raised to mid-term re-districtings as a bad consitutional idea. I happen to agree in principle, but the problem is this: lower courts have allowed the mid-term re-districtings to occur, and the supremes seem to be dragging their feet on judicial review, so the practice now stands. [for the record, I hope they overturn it] The Democrats should thus use mid-term redistricting to their advantage, when the opportunity occurs, and not unilaterally disarm.

Many people think that mid-term re-districting will somehow benefit the republicans, that Arnold is doing this as a cheap trick to take away our majorities, etc. I refuse to assume that his political calculations are automatically smart, and am appalled that so many Dems seem to have been whipped into believing this. I think that not only is it in the Democratic party's interests to get this done fairly, but to do so at the earliest possible time. In fact, I think Arnold may well be doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons. [Even a stopped clock is right twice every day.]

Here's the urgency: almost every growing area in CA is a Republican area. Almost all of these are in rural or "exurban" areas, that the Democrats have completely written off under the current sweetheart deal they made to protect Republican incumbents. We don't have a few extra years to abandon these folks to the Republicans, and piss off a core group of loyal Dems by starving them of funds and good candidates. We need to support them NOW in building the party in these areas, before the R's sink their teeth into them, and they get seduced by new megachurches. This demographic timebomb is well recognized by the party--and the deputy chair, Rick Jacobs (Dean's former campaign manager), has researched it well, and spoken extensively of it. But if the Dem leadership REALLY wants to do something about this, it's time they stop defending their unholy sweetheart deal with Repubs, and start acting like a representative party again. The wonderful post by Don Hess illustrated how one state party leader says one thing to the DFA meetups about re-districting, and says something else when he has to go on the record publicly to a journalist. This isn't good enough.
A former member
Post #: 7
NO, NO, NO, AND HELL NO!!!

I SAID THIS BEFORE; NEVER TRUST A REPUBLICAN!!!

LET US DEVOTE OUR TIME TO MAKING SURE WE HAVE RELIABLE VOTING MACHINES AND A RELIABLE COUNT;

THIS IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY AND THERE CAN BE NO OTHER. IT WILL NOT MATTER A WHIT IF WE DO NOT WIN THIS NO 1 PRIORITY.

DO NOT GET OFF ON A TANGENT LIKE RE-DISTRICTING!!

WE ARE IN A BATTLE FOR THE SURVIVAL OF OUR FREEDOMS AND WE ARE UNDERSEIGE WITH SWORN ENEMIES OF FREEDOM.

RE-DISTRICTING IS LIKE WORRYING ABOUT A HANG NAIL.

PLEASE DROP THIS MATTER AND MAN THE GUNPORTS. ARNOLD WILL SAY ANYTHING TO GET US OFF THE REAL ISSUE; NAMELY, CAN WE ELECT THE LEADERS WE WANT IN FAIR ELECTIONS.

RE-DISTRICTING PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE ONLY TRUE ISSUE THAT SHOULD CONCERN US. WAKE UP!!
A former member
Post #: 3
It appears for the moment I should keep an open mind about redistricting. Redistricting in and of itself doesn't have to be bad. What is bad is "how" the redistricting is laid out. And . . . just for the record, I have a hard time trusting anyone who says "never trust a Republican" or "never trust a Democrat." I don't believe anyone is automatically bad or has bad ideas just because they are associated with a "group", a "religion", "no religion", a particular "sex". You get the idea. I have always heard that "the Devil in is in details." If we are always looking at the "big picture" and don't look at the details, we WILL lose the battle. That's why we are a grassroots organization, we are designed to get good politics started at the lowest level. If we put the right people in down at the bottom, they will work their way to the top and we will have good politics, good laws, good government.
My opinion - Donna
A former member
Post #: 89
Dear Friends-
I am glad to see all of this interest in the redistricting initiative that Governor Schwarzenegger is spending so much time, energy, and money to get in front of the voters just before the electoral law changes go into effect requiring a paper trail for all electronic voting machines and well before the millions he is spending on it would have to be counted as part of his fundraising for another go around as Governor.

I am in agreement with Bruce Sims' call for support of the Clean Election Law that just passed its Assembly Committee as Campaign Finance Reform is something direly needed in this state, as well as in the nation as a whole. I am sure that most of us are aware of the support that Common Cause has given to Campaign Finance Reform since it began, and I am pleased that this fine organization continues to do that here. They are successfully using a variant of the Clean Election Law in AZ and ME. It would be well for us to learn from their example.

I do believe, though, that my colleague, Bruce, is badly mistaken when he declares:

<Common Cause IS NOT supporting Scharzeneggers paln EXCEPT inasmuch as Common Causes support Of ASM.Lowenthal's bill also calls for an independent commission>

If I were you, Bruce I would contact Common Cause, yourself, to ascertain the truth of this matter.

I was party to a conference call, on 03/19/05, with Common Cause members throughout the state who were interested in redistricting that was hosted by Kathy Feng, the new State Director for Common Cause. She spent the entire initial part of the call explaining away the reasons why Common Cause was supporting Schwarzenegger's (Ted Costa's really) Initiative.

Of course, Ms. Feng made it clear that Common Cause hopes that Arnold will be won over to many aspects of redistricting that her organization has been championing for some time, e.g., that redistricting must coincide with the decenial census. Unfortunately, Arnold, instead, seems to have won Common Cause's support for doing it in 2006, as the Initiative that they are jointly supporting requires. It is one thing that his handlers have been telling Common Cause, and others, is not negotiable.

By the way I, too, agree with Bruce that the demographics of many areas, like the Bay area, the Central Valley, etc. preclude single member districts from being competitive. I, also, believe that we must continue to be suspicious of the motives of the powerful people behind Arnold Schwarzenegger and the socalled reform agenda that they are pushing.

Yours for an improved election system, John Falchi
Well, I wasn't in on the caall but I don't think I was mistaken at all; please peruse:
http://www.commonblog...­
biggrin
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