In 2008, Californians voted to create a citizens commission to redistrict the California Senate and Assembly and the Board of Equalization (those people who collect our income taxes). The Citizens Redistricting Committee is in operation, selecting the individuals who will actually do the work. The work is transparent, to the point of live-streaming interviews with the Committee candidates. The League, a vocal supporter of the measure creating the Committee, is actively monitoring the proceedings. So far, so good.
Redistricting, which happens every ten years after the national census, traditionally is a nasty business, bringing out the most partisan in the people making it happen – regardless of party. Today’s Times shows a few districts that are indicative of political creativity – they are not aberrations.
In California, before the Citizens Committee was approved, the Legislature handled the task. This is still true for the Congressional House of Representatives redistricting.
This November, before the Citizens Committee can do its voter-mandated job, we are asked to squash the effort and return redistricting to the State Legislature. State Proposition 27 will eliminate the Committee. Considering the Committee hasn’t had a chance to do anything objectionable, you might wonder why it is pre-emptively up for elimination. Prop 27 supporters claim the legislators, as elected representatives of the people, are better suited to the task. Sure. They’ve been so attentive to our needs in every other matter. The League’s overview of the Proposition is here.
At the same time, we are being asked to expand the work of the Committee, to also take on the redistricting for our Congressional House of Representative seats: Proposition 20. A vote of confidence, which presupposes the Committee will be effective! The League’s backgrounder about Prop 20 is here.
The League’s mission is to inform voters, providing neutral background and facts for all of us to consider before making a most personal decision for each of the ballot items. Rather than relying on the advertisements that jam our mailboxes, we have the League’s measured analysis of the ballot measures. (The League, rabidly nonpartisan, neither assesses nor endorses any political candidate.)
The League also has a 501(c)(4) entity whose work is advocacy. While operating separate from its education arm, the League considers ballot initiatives compared to the League’s positions. After a deliberative process, including discussion and debate during the League’s Board meetings, recommendations may be made to voters regarding ballot measures. Where there are no League positions, the League does not take any position. Where there are more than one position, and they conflict, the League would take a neutral position. Where the positions support – or oppose – the ballot measure, the League will publish a Support or Oppose recommendation. Nonetheless, voters are encouraged to read, learn, consider, and make their own decision.
The League opposes Proposition 27, to eliminate the Citizens Redistricting Committee, for all the obvious reasons. The League also opposes Proposition 20, to expand the work of the Committee. While Prop 20 is well-intentioned, the League believes the Committee should find its feet with its already robust portfolio before taking on more work. All positions for the California Statewide ballot measures may be read here. LLII.
Ps. Get ready to vote in November. Get registered. Confirm you are still registered. If you have moved since the last time you voted, you must re-register. Now more than ever, the country needs us!
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