Update, 11:50 p.m.: With 39 percent of California precincts reporting, Prop. 27 is heading for a huge loss — 60 percent of voters oppose the ballot measure and 40 percent support it.

California voters approved Proposition 20 and shot down Proposition 27, according to the Los Angeles Times, ending a shady political practice called “gerrymandering.”

A citizens' commission will now create the boundaries for both state legislature and congressional districts.

Democratic Congressional members such as Nancy Pelosi and Howard Berman, West Hollywood City Council members John Heilman and Abbe Land, and L.A. billionaire Haim Saban supported Proposition 27, which would have eliminated the citizens' commission.

For years, California politicians have drawn up their own state legislature and Congressional districts in a way that creates a “safe seat” and essentially rigs an election before the voters go to the polls. This practice is known as “gerrymandering.”

California voters have now ended that era of backroom politicking with the passage of Proposition 20.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned to get Prop. 20 approved. It will be one of his last major political victories before he leaves office next year.

Congressman Howard Berman, on the other hand, came out a loser. He and his political consultant brother, Michael Berman, worked behind the scenes to get Prop. 27 passed. That effort obviously failed.

The Bermans also had the financial support of L.A. billionaire Haim Saban, who loaned $2 million to the “Yes on 27” campaign. That cash wasn't enough, with Saban's reputation as a politically savvy businessman also taking a hit.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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