Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Congressional supporters of backroom redistricting have nothing to say about their plan's defeat

While most of the U.S. was turning itself over to the tender mercies of the newly-resurgent Republican Party last Tuesday, Californians returned arch-liberal Senator Barbara Boxer to office and re-elected “insider’s knowledge, outsider’s mind” Jerry Brown governor. Also, while pundits were noting the advantage that Republican-controlled state legislatures will now have in terms of being able to gerrymander Congressional districts in states where they are in power, California voters voted, by passing Proposition 20, to expand the writ of the Citizens Redistricting Commission they set up in 2008 to set State Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization districts to include the very Congressional districts that will, in other states, be apportioned on the basis of partisan self-interest.

They also rejected Proposition 27, a blatant power-grab, funded predominantly by Democratic incumbent Congressmembers, to disband the Citizens Redistricting Commission entirely, and give authority to draw legislative districts, both state and federal, back to the hacks (State Assemblymen and Senators) who have done an almost-perfect job (with the help of highly-paid Democratic consultant Michael Berman) of ensuring that no incumbent Democrat or Republican elected will be defeated before his or her time, or that any general election race for these offices in California will be truly competitive.

This state of affairs contributes mightily to the now-endemic cynicism and hostility to politics and politicians that are doing so much to keep the state (and country) from seriously addressing the myriad problems it faces. Surprisingly, Californians voted for Proposition 20 and against Proposition 27 by margins of around 60-40, a decisive statement about how strongly they feel about having politicians pick their voters instead of letting the voters pick their electeds.

A table here shows that several incumbent Democratic California Congressmembers made contributions of $10,000 or more to the campaign to pass Proposition 27 and defeat Proposition 20. These include Congressmembers Lois Capps, Anna Eshoo, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Judy Chu.

Etopia News tried to contact each of these Representatives, as well as California State Senator Alex Padilla, who contributed several times to the Yes on 27/No on 20 campaign, to get their views on why their side lost and what the implications were of California voters decision to expand the power of, rather than disband, the Citizens Redistricting Commission established by Proposition 11 in 2008.

“Ashley,” in the press office of Rep. Lois Capps said she’d get a statement for this article, but hasn’t yet. Ben Bradford, in Rep. Eshoo’s office sent an e-mail saying:

“Thanks for the e-mail. I won’t be able to get anything from Rep. Eshoo until tomorrow at the earliest, and even then, I’m not sure she’ll be able to participate, but I’ll see what I can do and get back to you tomorrow.”

No word from him yet, nor from the offices of Pelosi, Schiff, Chu, or Padilla.

Professor Daniel Lowenstein, who was the official proponent of Proposition 27, didn’t return an e-mail asking for comment.

Nor, as of now, have statements been forthcoming from the Office of Representatives Eshoo or Capps.

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