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The San Diego Democracy for America Meetup Group Message Board › Republicans Afraid? Some truth about redistricting!

Republicans Afraid? Some truth about redistricting!

A former member
Post #: 22
Dear Readers,

I have located the following articles from the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee to add a bit of perspective to what seems to me to be a bit of paranoia and scaremongering among the respondents to Jim Wade's thread about DFA endorsing the Schwarzenneger initiative for (re-apportionment or redistricting - as you prefer) of Assembly, State Senate, Board of Equalization and Congressional seats. I will publish one of them here, and another one in my next post, due to restriction in space for this column.

I will let you be the judge as to the wisdom of the articles, but only say that they were both done by Tony Quinn, who was on the Legislature's redistricting staff in 1981, and was an expert witness in a 2003 case challenging the current redistricting lines.

Here are the URLs if you want to read the original articles:

http://infoweb.newsba...­


http://infoweb.newsba...­


Below that is the text for each article. I will publish the actual text tomorrow for the "Costa" INITIATIVE, which is the one "supported" by Governor Schwarzennegger.

There are three BILLS before the Legislature, two of which (AXA Ex Sess. 3 - McCarthy and Runner, and SCA 3 - Lowenthal) contain the language Common Cause supports.

There could very well be a "compromise" between Governor Schwarzennegger and the Legislature before the "Costa" initiative ever gets enough signatures to justify a "special election".

Please don't mistake me for being an advocate of voting for the "special election" or for the Costa initiative's amendment to the state's constitution. My object is to INFORM, and to inform truthfully, so that each of you can make an intelligent and educated choice about what you want to vote for.

By the way, the "Costa" initiative contains a clause which bases the expense of his proposed panel of judges on 1/2 of what the 2001 re-apportionment cost (as you will see when I publish it). AND, it delegates the selection of the pool of candidates for Judges to be made by the LEGISLATURE.

Selection of candidates for Judges from that POOL are to be made by the SPEAKER of the ASSEMBLY, the MINORITY LEADER of the ASSEMBLY, the PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE of the SENATE, and the MINORITY LEADER od the SENATE. Two of these are from ONE major party, and two are from the OTHER major party.

By the way, a BILLION IS A THOUSAND MILLION, and, so far, other reliable estimates of the additional cost of a special election only put it at $70 million - a LONG way from a billion. I doubt that Conny "MacK", whose real name is Conny B. Mc Cormack, would have made that big of an error in her figures.

Let's have a little more "truth in reporting" and some closer adherence to the facts in this debate, please.


Don Hess



CALIFORNIA
Slow Down and Strike a Deal
Los Angeles Times (CA)
March 27, 2005
Author: Tony Quinn; Tony Quinn was on the Legislature's redistricting staff in 1971 and 1981 and was an expert witness in a court challenge to the districts passed in 2001. He is co-editor of the California Target Book.Editorial Pages Desk
Estimated printed pages: 3

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desire to put retired judges in charge of legislative redistricting and have them immediately redraw the lines is commendable. It can't be healthy for democracy that not a single California legislator or member of Congress lost in the 2004 elections. And who can blame Schwarzenegger for impatience, because if he's reelected, he'll be out of office in 2010, two years before the next scheduled redistricting.


Still, he should wait. Majority Democrats say they are willing to give up their gerrymandering ways if the governor abandons his initiative quest for a mid-decade redistricting. Schwarzenegger should take the deal, for two reasons.

First, he probably can't get his new political map when he wants it. His office dillydallied last fall and didn't develop a redistricting reform plan of its own, so it's stuck with one that would be on a November special-election ballot at the earliest.

That's too late to affect the June 2006 elections. For a June election, courts have made it clear that candidates and county election officials need to know the districts by the end of January. The November-January time frame is simply too short for retired judges to be appointed, new districts to be drawn, public hearings to be conducted, precinct lines to be redrawn if necessary and the final map to be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act.

The earliest elections for a redistricting initiative passed this November would be June 2008, a date that has its own problems. Map drawers would be using 8-year-old census data. They wouldn't know where the state's population gains had occurred.

It's highly probable the courts wouldn't stand for this. So as a practical matter, California may have no choice but to wait until after the 2010 census to draw new political maps.

The second reason Schwarzenegger should make a deal with Democrats is that Republicans have a lousy track record -- four losses in the last 23 years -- in persuading voters to adopt redistricting reform plans. It isn't hard to figure out why: California is overwhelmingly Democratic.

The governor's initiative probably won't break this pattern. Written by conservative political activist Ted Costa, it has no Democratic support. In turning redistricting over to retired judges, the initiative risks alienating conservative voters suspicious of the reputedly liberal judiciary. The Costa measure would not rule out retired liberal members of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the one that struck "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Not one GOP-sponsored reform plan ever got a majority vote in Republican Orange County.

Schwarzenegger is a master salesman. But in 1984, when President Reagan carried California by 1.5 million votes, a redistricting reform initiative involving retired judges went down to defeat despite its sponsorship by a popular governor, George Deukmejian. California is even more Democratic today.

If the Democrats believe that they can easily defeat Schwarzenegger's redistricting initiative, why would they offer to sacrifice their ability to gerrymander California when the next redistricting rolls around?

Because they want some give on term limits.

Democrats and many Republicans would like to see term limits changed so they can spend their entire careers in one house, something they cannot do now. According to the California Target Book, a publication that analyzes and handicaps state election races, 12 of 20 state senators and 34 of 80 Assembly members must give up their seats this year. Many of these legislators could continue in office if they could serve for 12 or 14 years in the same house.

Democrats have another consideration. In the bipartisan deal to gerrymander the state in 2001, they gave Republicans lots of safe seats, and their party has not gained any since the redesign. There are actually fewer Democrats in the Legislature today than were elected in 2000, the last year of the non-gerrymandered districts.

When former Vice President Al G
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