For Californians willing to invest big hours for a shot at making history and creating a more competitive Legislature, today marks your chance.This is indeed a very important opportunity, and I am going to sign up!
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.
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!