2.07.2005

Schwarzenegger bullshit watch (10)

Guest watcher today is Dan Walters of the SacBee

Is it true redistricting reform, or is it just a GOP power grab? - sacbee.com:

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he wants to change how California draws legislative and congressional districts to 'make California elections democratic once again.'

'The current system is rigged to benefit the interests of those in office,' Schwarzenegger added, 'not the interests of those who put them there. And we must reform it.'

... If, however, his goal is moderate, bipartisan reform of a terribly flawed political system, he'll have to do better than the constitutional amendment introduced, apparently with his blessing, by Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

...The McCarthy measure (ACA3x) does provide for the selection of an independent panel of judges, as Schwarzenegger promised, but when it spells out the criteria under which the judges are to function, the measure moves away from the simple, even-handed standards used by the special masters in 1991 and attempts to affect outcomes - another potential gerrymander in the guise of reform.

The devil, as they say, is in the details - a passage that seeks 'a level of competitiveness that would result in a difference of no more than 7 percentage points between the number of voters in each district who are registered with the two largest political parties in the state.'

Huh? As the Supreme Court's action in 1991 indicated, drawing compact districts that fairly represent California's disparate communities naturally creates a high level of competitiveness. In fact, partisan control of the Assembly changed hands twice in the 1990s. But by making partisan competitiveness a goal unto itself and defining it as a seven-point differential, the McCarthy measure would appear to enhance prospects for Republicans to win legislative majorities.

Democrats are already attacking redistricting reform as a smoke screen for a Republican power grab. The McCarthy measure gives them ammunition."

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