Thursday, June 01, 2006

Politics in California

Last year, Gov. Girlymen sponsored a citizen's referendum (Prop. 77) that would have created an independent non-partisan (or at least bipartisan) panel to redistrict California's state legislative districts. At the time, Schwarzegger's popularity was at 40%, and the measure went down in flames, largely because Democrats such as Curly Fries Pelosi decided to run ads against it (and the Governor).

Which was too bad, because the idea is a great one. Essentially, both parties have made elections and electoral politics completely polarized and/or uninteresting, by creating "safe" districts where Republicans and Democrats are guaranteed reelection. This leads to voter apathy and extremist politicians -- a volatile and unfortunate combination.

What a difference a year makes. Recently, the Commonwealth Club of California announced its bipartisan "Voices of Reform" coaliting project, supporting -- wait for it -- redistricting reform. the coalition includes:

Former Congressman Leon Panetta; Former State Senate Republican Leader James Brulte; Former State Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg; League of Women Voters President Jackie Jacobberger; Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher; Former State Treasurer Matt Fong; Former State Attorney General John Van de Kamp; California Common Cause Executive Director Kathay Feng; former Chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce George Kieffer; and People’s Advocate CEO Ted Costa. Leading the coalition are Democrat Fred Keeley, former Speaker pro Tem of the State Assembly, and Republican Dan Schnur, former Communications Director for Governor Wilson.

Bipartisan! Distinguished! And completely silent when Prop. 77 was on the ballot and the Governator's ratings sucked! That's impressive political courage, no?

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