By Hillel Aron
The editorial boards of California newspapers agree: Proposition 27, which would overturn a voter-approved 2008 reform that prevents Sacramento legislators from gerrymandering voting districts to keep their jobs, is an ugly piece of work.
Contra Costa Times: “It is telling that there is no coherent argument in the voter's guide in support of Proposition 27; that's because there is none to be made.”
Los Angeles Daily News: Taking that power away from politicians “is one of the last best hopes for the fixing the state's broken political process.”
No newspaper favors Proposition 27, written by and for incumbents. Then there's Proposition 20, real reform and the opposite of Proposition 27.
Right now, incredibly, Congress's good pals in the California state legislature are allowed to draw up the lines that define California's Congressional voting districts.
They do so with great gusto, making sure each and every Congressional incumbent is protected, but voters get screwed.
Do you have trouble remembering who your Congressman or Congresswoman is? Could be because Congressional district lines slash through mountain ranges, cut cities in half and ignore communities of interest.
All to make sure incumbents get reelected.
That's why we have one Congressional district on the coast that stretches more than 200 miles from the outskirts of Camarillo to the Monterey County line, narrows to 100 yards, and is said to “disappear at high tide.”
It was drawn solely to get somebody into office and keep them there. It has.
That's why only one newspaper has come out against Proposition 20. Prop. 20 would yank the power to draw up these wildly-shaped Congressional voting districts away from the Sacramento legislature.
(And the California State Legislature is so hated that voters now give them a new historic low approval rating of 10 percent, according to the hot new poll from Public Policy Institute of California. Ever seen anything like that?)
So Prop. 20 gives the power to that citizen panel California voters created in 2008 to begin drawing up the 120 state legislative districts. Those duties would now be extended to fashion the Congressional districts, too.
The legislature would be entirely cut out of it.
The lonely newspaper saying No to this additional reform is the Sacramento Bee.
The Bee opposed Proposition 20 on the bizarre logic that when it comes to ending the gerrymandering of Congressional districts, all 50 states should embrace this reform at the same time — California should not lead the way.
What a cop out! That's so Sacramento.
Like when state politicians refuse to say what they would do about illegal immigration because it's the federal government that should step in.
It's a bit hilarious that the most powerful people fighting to preserve gerrymandering are from California's Democratic Party establishment.
Fighting against Prop. 20 are pols like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Berman (Berman's custom-designed Congressional district, drawn just right so that he can't ever be voted out, is shaped like a Man in Scarf and Pilgrim Hat) and their labor union contributors like the AFL-CIO and the IBEW. Not to mention money men like Haim Saban and George Soros.
Everyone else, if they're paying attention, knows it's long past time to end gerrymandering.