Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Next up... Prop 20

This one takes redistricting for the U.S. Congressional districts away from the Legislature and gives it to a redistricting commission that's already in existence for redistricting state legislative districts (2008's Prop 11). It sounds like a good idea, but I'm voting against it for these reasons:

  1. It's not necessary. California U.S. House districts are sometimes weird, but the California U.S. House delegation in my opinion fairly represents the wide range of constituencies in California -- the process has not resulted in a dysfunctional delegation, unlike with the state legislative districting process. Prop 11 was necessary because the state legislature drawing its own districts was always a conflict of interest and resulted in a dysfunctional body. But the U.S. House of Representatives isn't drawing its own districts, the state legislature is -- the same state legislature that, in the future, is going to be elected via Prop 11 districts. If Prop 11 works, in other words, Prop 20 isn't necessary.
  2. To extend the above, the Prop 11 committee could hardly make the California legislature more dysfunctional. But if the Prop 11 process ends up not improving the dysfunctional California legislature, it's just as likely to make the California Congressional delegation dysfunctional where it isn't now. In short, the "fix" for an imaginary problem could be worse than the imaginary problem.
  3. It's unilateral disarmament. States dominated by Republicans, like Florida and Texas, deliberately draw their districts to make it hard for Democrats to win. Taking that power to redistrict in favor of their party away from the Democratic-dominated California legislature is like giving a loaded handgun to the mugger who's holding you up at knifepoint.
So in my opinion, Prop 20 fixes a problem that isn't really a problem and could make things worse. I voted for Prop 11 because it's hard to make the California legislature more dysfunctional than it already is and something -- anything -- is necessary to break up the logjam in Sacramento. But the California U.S. Congressional delegation has, in my opinion, done a much better job of representing their various constituencies, meaning that it's just as likely that the Prop 11 committee could make things worse. So: I'm voting "No" to this supposed "good-government" proposition.

-- Badtux the Contrarian Penguin


  1. Would you vote differently on Prop 20 if we had a strongly republican legislature?

  2. From this day forward I'm voting for any woman running for office, being as this system is going to fail anyway we can blame it all on them.


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