Proposition 11 is the most common-sense issue Arnold Schwarzenegger has supported for years. The act finally wrests control of the district lines from the cadre of politicians who have gerrymandered this state into a bureaucratic monolith.
The proposition will create a panel of 14 members (five Republicans, five Democrats, four independents) to redraw district lines every 10 years. The district lines are currently set out by legislators, meaning that politicians can lay claim to areas that will get them re-elected, thus retaining power indefinitely.
While it is not a perfect plan since elected officials in the state senate and assembly can still limit the pool of candidates for the panel, it does create accountability for politicians of every party. Staunchly partisan areas like San Francisco and Orange County will have to answer to the opposition, opening the way to a more democratic process.
The central argument against the plan is that it’s “complicated” and that “bureaucrats are too involved,” as if they weren’t involved enough as it is by having sole discretion. We should just make it simple and let the politicians keep creating invincible seats with their voting blocks, right?
The fact is that the plan is as simple as can be. Voters finally have a say in district lines. Sixty registered voters are selected from applicants. Eight from that group are randomly selected via lottery to head a commission. That commission then selects six more members for its body, thus making it a panel of 14. It’s that simple—any registered voter can join the panel and have a say in drawing district lines.
Opponents claim that the act limits representation. They say that it’s impossible for all of California’s 58 counties to be represented in a panel of 14. Of course, any single politician who wants to cement his or her seat can do so. I guess that’s fair, right?
Those were the oppositions’ strong points. Citizens for Accountability, No On Prop 11 argues, “It’s a power grab – somebody wants something – but their agenda is never clear.”
Yeah, the voter lottery is a power grab but the idea of parties drawing their own district lines is not. What’s really unclear is the oppositions’ grounds for dissent.
Oh, but it is very clear with only a little bit of digging. The opponents, like the California Democratic Party, have a vested interest in keeping career politicians in power to maintain the money flowing to all their lobbyists and failed social programs.
Because politicians have absolutely no accountability (effectively re-electing themselves), they can spend money on absolutely anything. Aren’t you just plain sick of this, no matter your party affiliation?
It really shouldn’t be surprising that they are bankrupting the state. Every time a politician panders to his constituents, tax payers foot the bill. When their programs and initiatives go awry, they throw even more money at the problem. It’s an easy way to keep their constituencies on their side, particularly when they can draw out any dissenters via redistricting every 10 years.
If you want a simple, fair system that won’t let politicians hold power indefinitely, vote yes on Proposition 11.
Patrick Ross is a fifth-year English and history double-major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.