17 Dec 2009

Particpiate in re-drawing CA's political boundaries

via DW
For Californians willing to invest big hours for a shot at making history and creating a more competitive Legislature, today marks your chance.

Cost to apply? Nothing.

Expected to be watched closely nationwide, California will begin implementing a power-to-the-people initiative, Proposition 11, passed by voters last year.

State Auditor Elaine Howle will begin accepting applications today for a 14-member citizens commission that will draw state legislative and Board of Equalization districts, but not those of Congress, in 2011.
This is indeed a very important opportunity, and I am going to sign up!

Until Prop 11 passed, politicians drew their own boundaries, creating gerrymandered districts that created safe seats, making it difficult to beat the incumbent in an election. The result, as always when there is less competition, was worse service -- to voters.

The other result was a polarization in the Assembly, as safe republicans and safe democrats felt no need to compromise on issues, leading to deadlocks and toothless policies (e.g., the water bills).

Note that Congressional districts are NOT being re-drawn. According to one story I heard, it was because Nancy Pelosi told them they'd better not dare. And that item was struck from the agenda. Unfortunately, that means that our Congressional representatives are going to stay safe, polarized (and perhaps incompetent). That's the situation I am considering if I run in 2012.

Bottom Line Citizens need good representatives if they are to be served, and the best representatives will be elected when their voters come from the center of the political spectrum, not the edges that hate each other.

Addendum: "Your application has been received. Your responses to the questions on the application indicate that you either do not satisfy the eligibility requirements for serving as a member of the Citizens Redistricting Commission or you have a disqualifying conflict of interest that prohibits you from serving on the commission. As a result, you will not be included in the pool of applicants from which the commission will be selected. Specifically, you have been excluded from the applicant pool because: Your party registration has not remained the same since November 20, 2005." So much for the independents!


  1. I don't agree with the "center" of the political spectrum being even a factually existent place.

    I also don't think redrawing district lines will so change the system as to see a new, dynamic and responsive democracy emerge in California. That'd be great, though.

    This change needs to come with a greater ability to both choose and empower respresentatives: Instant run-off elections coupled with majority budget and tax votes and a toughening of the initiative process, and an end to term limits (or as I like to call them, an infringement on my right to speech and assembly).

    Just my two cents.

  2. @Josh -- see above. I'll guess that you do NOT think that redistricting is a bad idea? Your ideas are nice, but they require MORE work...

  3. Oh, no, I think it's a good idea; I just don't think it'll be as Earth-shattering as it's made out, especially in light of term-limits &etc.

    I hope it is though; I sincerely hope it is transformative.

  4. Requiring that voters not change party affiliation for 5 years unnecessarily discriminates against people who choose not to affiliate with a party. Most of us change parties with abandon to vote for the person we like the best. I know I have. This is particularly true with the stranglehold the two parties have on state politics and rules intended to keep independents from voting in their primaries. I think a lawsuit is in order.


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