Commentary: Redistricting is the focus again

We usually do not venture far outside of Yolo County and local Assembly and Senate races here, but this is an issue that will affect us all. The Governor has once again placed his own redistricting proposal before the voters. Back in 2005, his plan failed along with his other packages. Now he will try again.

The proposal is designed to change redistricting of state legislative districts (not congressional ones probably for constitutional reasons) from the Legislature to a 14-member commission.

The governor has already raised $2.4 million for the initiative.

Last weekend, the measure was opposed by the CA State Democratic Party but supported and in fact written by California Common Cause.

Maybe the change is a good idea, maybe not. We start by looking at motivations. California has had strong majorities of Democrats in both houses during the Governor’s tenure. Does anyone think that the Governor would have been so eager for reform if the tables were reversed? I would guess not.

Second point. Democrats actually built those large majorities in the 1990s. The 1990s legislative boundaries were drawn by the court who took over the process during political disputes. So even if an impartial body (and by all accounts this would be somewhat impartial five Dems, five Reps, and four independents (whatever that means), redrew the boundaries, it seems likely that Democrats would retain control.

What is interesting is the role of Common Cause in all of this. I understand people think they want more competitive districts. But we saw what a competitive race in the Assembly brought–massive amounts of money and independent expenditures by the special interests. This fall we will see the same in the 5th Senate District. It will be the battle of big money.

How will this advance the cause of reform groups like Common Cause to have more big money raises again? Does that process tend to lead to more competitive elections and thus more moderate politicians? Not necessarily. It does increase the power of the special interests. So it is kind of a “pick your poison” moment for Common Cause.

I remember when politicians in the 1990s thought term limits would solve their problems. Now I suspect that most at least who are familiar with Sacramento are opposed to term limits. However, the recent term limit reform was more of a power grab more than anything else . Now they think that redistricting is the answer.

The problem for state Republicans is that California is a state that since the early 1990s has leaned heavily Democratic. If you take out the aberrant 1994 which was the most heavily anti-Democratic year in memory, since 1992, the only Republican to win a major statewide race is Arnold who let’s just say, had things going for him that were quite unusual. Since 1994, Democrats have won the Presidential vote three times, they have handily won the Senate vote, and they have won most of the major constitutional offices. They have obtained, increased, and maintained large legislative majorities starting in 1996 when they surprised many by retaking the Assembly.

Somehow Republicans keep expecting that if they just change the rules enough, such as by having term limits, or now by neutralizing legislative role in redistricting, that they can regain the advantage.

The bottom line here is that this measure may or may not pass. I will likely oppose it. But it probably will not have the positive impact that its backers believe.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Elections

68 comments

  1. The lack of competitive districts in California has been a detriment to democracy in California. It is one of the reasons that it is impossible to get anything done through the legilature.

    Since the 2000 census only one congressional seat has changed parties and that occured during 2006 when Pombo lost in an election that saw a 30 seat gain for Democrats nationwide.

    If a more competitive map was drawn Republicans would actually lose seats. This fact,along with the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget, is why the Republicans agreed to the safe redistricting map that was passed in 2001 giving them an effective budget veto in Sacramento.

    When you do redistricting the minority party can get a known number of safe seats or risk getting fewer seats through competitive races. Its just how the math works.

    If the Governor and the people of California were really interested in making state government work they would do two things at the same time. They would change redistricting to add competition to the electoral process but they would couple that with reducing the number of votes needed to pass a budget to 50% plus one. This would move legislators to the center while at the same time making them responsible for the budgets and taxes they pass. As it is a minority of safe legislators can block any kind of sensible budget fixes creating the type of impasse we have in Sacramento today. Doing them at the same time would demonstrate that the Governor is taking a non-partisan approach.

    It could be the Governor is trying to move the legislature to the center through the creation of competitive districts in order to address and moderate the extreme no new taxes position the Republicans have taken in the legislature. It could be that he knows that trying to change the two-thirds requirement at the same time would be taking on too much for the Republicans to stomach.

  2. The lack of competitive districts in California has been a detriment to democracy in California. It is one of the reasons that it is impossible to get anything done through the legilature.

    Since the 2000 census only one congressional seat has changed parties and that occured during 2006 when Pombo lost in an election that saw a 30 seat gain for Democrats nationwide.

    If a more competitive map was drawn Republicans would actually lose seats. This fact,along with the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget, is why the Republicans agreed to the safe redistricting map that was passed in 2001 giving them an effective budget veto in Sacramento.

    When you do redistricting the minority party can get a known number of safe seats or risk getting fewer seats through competitive races. Its just how the math works.

    If the Governor and the people of California were really interested in making state government work they would do two things at the same time. They would change redistricting to add competition to the electoral process but they would couple that with reducing the number of votes needed to pass a budget to 50% plus one. This would move legislators to the center while at the same time making them responsible for the budgets and taxes they pass. As it is a minority of safe legislators can block any kind of sensible budget fixes creating the type of impasse we have in Sacramento today. Doing them at the same time would demonstrate that the Governor is taking a non-partisan approach.

    It could be the Governor is trying to move the legislature to the center through the creation of competitive districts in order to address and moderate the extreme no new taxes position the Republicans have taken in the legislature. It could be that he knows that trying to change the two-thirds requirement at the same time would be taking on too much for the Republicans to stomach.

  3. The lack of competitive districts in California has been a detriment to democracy in California. It is one of the reasons that it is impossible to get anything done through the legilature.

    Since the 2000 census only one congressional seat has changed parties and that occured during 2006 when Pombo lost in an election that saw a 30 seat gain for Democrats nationwide.

    If a more competitive map was drawn Republicans would actually lose seats. This fact,along with the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget, is why the Republicans agreed to the safe redistricting map that was passed in 2001 giving them an effective budget veto in Sacramento.

    When you do redistricting the minority party can get a known number of safe seats or risk getting fewer seats through competitive races. Its just how the math works.

    If the Governor and the people of California were really interested in making state government work they would do two things at the same time. They would change redistricting to add competition to the electoral process but they would couple that with reducing the number of votes needed to pass a budget to 50% plus one. This would move legislators to the center while at the same time making them responsible for the budgets and taxes they pass. As it is a minority of safe legislators can block any kind of sensible budget fixes creating the type of impasse we have in Sacramento today. Doing them at the same time would demonstrate that the Governor is taking a non-partisan approach.

    It could be the Governor is trying to move the legislature to the center through the creation of competitive districts in order to address and moderate the extreme no new taxes position the Republicans have taken in the legislature. It could be that he knows that trying to change the two-thirds requirement at the same time would be taking on too much for the Republicans to stomach.

  4. The lack of competitive districts in California has been a detriment to democracy in California. It is one of the reasons that it is impossible to get anything done through the legilature.

    Since the 2000 census only one congressional seat has changed parties and that occured during 2006 when Pombo lost in an election that saw a 30 seat gain for Democrats nationwide.

    If a more competitive map was drawn Republicans would actually lose seats. This fact,along with the two-thirds requirement to pass a budget, is why the Republicans agreed to the safe redistricting map that was passed in 2001 giving them an effective budget veto in Sacramento.

    When you do redistricting the minority party can get a known number of safe seats or risk getting fewer seats through competitive races. Its just how the math works.

    If the Governor and the people of California were really interested in making state government work they would do two things at the same time. They would change redistricting to add competition to the electoral process but they would couple that with reducing the number of votes needed to pass a budget to 50% plus one. This would move legislators to the center while at the same time making them responsible for the budgets and taxes they pass. As it is a minority of safe legislators can block any kind of sensible budget fixes creating the type of impasse we have in Sacramento today. Doing them at the same time would demonstrate that the Governor is taking a non-partisan approach.

    It could be the Governor is trying to move the legislature to the center through the creation of competitive districts in order to address and moderate the extreme no new taxes position the Republicans have taken in the legislature. It could be that he knows that trying to change the two-thirds requirement at the same time would be taking on too much for the Republicans to stomach.

  5. Partisan Democrats oppose redistricting reform because their analysis shows they could lose seats:
    Bill Cavala, in California Progress Report:
    Schwarzenegger Redistricting Plan Could Cost Democrats Six Assembly Seats and Two in the Senate

    But here is a dissenting voice from the same site:
    “Call it a sound bite if you like, but it’s true: lawmakers drawing their own districts is a conflict of interest. Among the people defending this broken system most aggressively are those who benefit most from the status quo: key political staff. Consultants who encourage support of the current system are protecting their clients and elected bosses, which allows them to protect their jobs. It is, after all, how they make their living. We shouldn’t expect anything different, but please let’s not look to these very talented people to guide our judgment on an issue in which they have a direct, personal financial interest.

    In safe districts, primary elections are dominated by candidates with the most severe partisan behavior and beliefs. This means that legislators selected in the general election are not representative of the overwhelming majority of Californians – who are neither fiercely conservative, nor liberal – but instead by the marginal voters who are interested in strictly partisan rhetoric.

    Since our legislature drew their own districts in 2001, there have been a total of 495 elections for Assembly, State Senate, and Congress. In those elections, only 4 districts were won by the opposing party. We’ve all seen the real result: a Legislature so broken by partisan gridlock and contention that they have failed miserably to reach middle ground for fear of alienating their base of hard-core partisan voters.

    If more legislative elections are competitive, rather than a foregone conclusion, and the election system puts voters first by placing them in districts that were not designed to protect partisans or incumbents, we will see different campaigns and different decisions. In turn, the skills of campaign consultants would be better aligned with the public interest if they were helping candidates appeal to everyone in their districts rather than only one side or the other.

    I, for one, want to get past the partisan rancor and hope to find in civic life and state politics a respectful discussion focused on how we can improve the governance of California. We don’t get anywhere by publicly and personally tearing down our best public leaders.

    We need to figure out how to fix the system so it brings out the best candidates and brings out the best in those who are elected. We need to start by modeling the kind of discourse we would like hear among our elected officials.

    John A. Smith currently serves as Director of Region 16 for the California Democratic Party. His region includes Assembly Districts 60-61-62-63-72. Mr. Smith has been active in grassroots politics for about 12 years. He received a BS in Business from the University of Redlands.
    —————————————-

    The net effect of redistricting would be more moderate legislators.

  6. Partisan Democrats oppose redistricting reform because their analysis shows they could lose seats:
    Bill Cavala, in California Progress Report:
    Schwarzenegger Redistricting Plan Could Cost Democrats Six Assembly Seats and Two in the Senate

    But here is a dissenting voice from the same site:
    “Call it a sound bite if you like, but it’s true: lawmakers drawing their own districts is a conflict of interest. Among the people defending this broken system most aggressively are those who benefit most from the status quo: key political staff. Consultants who encourage support of the current system are protecting their clients and elected bosses, which allows them to protect their jobs. It is, after all, how they make their living. We shouldn’t expect anything different, but please let’s not look to these very talented people to guide our judgment on an issue in which they have a direct, personal financial interest.

    In safe districts, primary elections are dominated by candidates with the most severe partisan behavior and beliefs. This means that legislators selected in the general election are not representative of the overwhelming majority of Californians – who are neither fiercely conservative, nor liberal – but instead by the marginal voters who are interested in strictly partisan rhetoric.

    Since our legislature drew their own districts in 2001, there have been a total of 495 elections for Assembly, State Senate, and Congress. In those elections, only 4 districts were won by the opposing party. We’ve all seen the real result: a Legislature so broken by partisan gridlock and contention that they have failed miserably to reach middle ground for fear of alienating their base of hard-core partisan voters.

    If more legislative elections are competitive, rather than a foregone conclusion, and the election system puts voters first by placing them in districts that were not designed to protect partisans or incumbents, we will see different campaigns and different decisions. In turn, the skills of campaign consultants would be better aligned with the public interest if they were helping candidates appeal to everyone in their districts rather than only one side or the other.

    I, for one, want to get past the partisan rancor and hope to find in civic life and state politics a respectful discussion focused on how we can improve the governance of California. We don’t get anywhere by publicly and personally tearing down our best public leaders.

    We need to figure out how to fix the system so it brings out the best candidates and brings out the best in those who are elected. We need to start by modeling the kind of discourse we would like hear among our elected officials.

    John A. Smith currently serves as Director of Region 16 for the California Democratic Party. His region includes Assembly Districts 60-61-62-63-72. Mr. Smith has been active in grassroots politics for about 12 years. He received a BS in Business from the University of Redlands.
    —————————————-

    The net effect of redistricting would be more moderate legislators.

  7. Partisan Democrats oppose redistricting reform because their analysis shows they could lose seats:
    Bill Cavala, in California Progress Report:
    Schwarzenegger Redistricting Plan Could Cost Democrats Six Assembly Seats and Two in the Senate

    But here is a dissenting voice from the same site:
    “Call it a sound bite if you like, but it’s true: lawmakers drawing their own districts is a conflict of interest. Among the people defending this broken system most aggressively are those who benefit most from the status quo: key political staff. Consultants who encourage support of the current system are protecting their clients and elected bosses, which allows them to protect their jobs. It is, after all, how they make their living. We shouldn’t expect anything different, but please let’s not look to these very talented people to guide our judgment on an issue in which they have a direct, personal financial interest.

    In safe districts, primary elections are dominated by candidates with the most severe partisan behavior and beliefs. This means that legislators selected in the general election are not representative of the overwhelming majority of Californians – who are neither fiercely conservative, nor liberal – but instead by the marginal voters who are interested in strictly partisan rhetoric.

    Since our legislature drew their own districts in 2001, there have been a total of 495 elections for Assembly, State Senate, and Congress. In those elections, only 4 districts were won by the opposing party. We’ve all seen the real result: a Legislature so broken by partisan gridlock and contention that they have failed miserably to reach middle ground for fear of alienating their base of hard-core partisan voters.

    If more legislative elections are competitive, rather than a foregone conclusion, and the election system puts voters first by placing them in districts that were not designed to protect partisans or incumbents, we will see different campaigns and different decisions. In turn, the skills of campaign consultants would be better aligned with the public interest if they were helping candidates appeal to everyone in their districts rather than only one side or the other.

    I, for one, want to get past the partisan rancor and hope to find in civic life and state politics a respectful discussion focused on how we can improve the governance of California. We don’t get anywhere by publicly and personally tearing down our best public leaders.

    We need to figure out how to fix the system so it brings out the best candidates and brings out the best in those who are elected. We need to start by modeling the kind of discourse we would like hear among our elected officials.

    John A. Smith currently serves as Director of Region 16 for the California Democratic Party. His region includes Assembly Districts 60-61-62-63-72. Mr. Smith has been active in grassroots politics for about 12 years. He received a BS in Business from the University of Redlands.
    —————————————-

    The net effect of redistricting would be more moderate legislators.

  8. Partisan Democrats oppose redistricting reform because their analysis shows they could lose seats:
    Bill Cavala, in California Progress Report:
    Schwarzenegger Redistricting Plan Could Cost Democrats Six Assembly Seats and Two in the Senate

    But here is a dissenting voice from the same site:
    “Call it a sound bite if you like, but it’s true: lawmakers drawing their own districts is a conflict of interest. Among the people defending this broken system most aggressively are those who benefit most from the status quo: key political staff. Consultants who encourage support of the current system are protecting their clients and elected bosses, which allows them to protect their jobs. It is, after all, how they make their living. We shouldn’t expect anything different, but please let’s not look to these very talented people to guide our judgment on an issue in which they have a direct, personal financial interest.

    In safe districts, primary elections are dominated by candidates with the most severe partisan behavior and beliefs. This means that legislators selected in the general election are not representative of the overwhelming majority of Californians – who are neither fiercely conservative, nor liberal – but instead by the marginal voters who are interested in strictly partisan rhetoric.

    Since our legislature drew their own districts in 2001, there have been a total of 495 elections for Assembly, State Senate, and Congress. In those elections, only 4 districts were won by the opposing party. We’ve all seen the real result: a Legislature so broken by partisan gridlock and contention that they have failed miserably to reach middle ground for fear of alienating their base of hard-core partisan voters.

    If more legislative elections are competitive, rather than a foregone conclusion, and the election system puts voters first by placing them in districts that were not designed to protect partisans or incumbents, we will see different campaigns and different decisions. In turn, the skills of campaign consultants would be better aligned with the public interest if they were helping candidates appeal to everyone in their districts rather than only one side or the other.

    I, for one, want to get past the partisan rancor and hope to find in civic life and state politics a respectful discussion focused on how we can improve the governance of California. We don’t get anywhere by publicly and personally tearing down our best public leaders.

    We need to figure out how to fix the system so it brings out the best candidates and brings out the best in those who are elected. We need to start by modeling the kind of discourse we would like hear among our elected officials.

    John A. Smith currently serves as Director of Region 16 for the California Democratic Party. His region includes Assembly Districts 60-61-62-63-72. Mr. Smith has been active in grassroots politics for about 12 years. He received a BS in Business from the University of Redlands.
    —————————————-

    The net effect of redistricting would be more moderate legislators.

  9. We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative. For decades we have had a significantly Democrat-controlled state legislature. California’s finances are a mess precisely because the lack of fiscal conservatism.

    The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state; with Republicans being under-represented since the late 80s. This alone is reason for considering redistricting decisions from an impartial panel. Voters of all stripes deserve to be fairly represented in our representative democracy as designed and codified in our constitution.

    We will have another election and a new governor, and it might be a Democrat. Given the significant left-tilt of the state judiciary, the Democrat’s overwhelming control of the state legislature, a “tax and spend” ideologue in the governor’s mansion will surely morally and fiscally bankrupt this state once and for all.

  10. We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative. For decades we have had a significantly Democrat-controlled state legislature. California’s finances are a mess precisely because the lack of fiscal conservatism.

    The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state; with Republicans being under-represented since the late 80s. This alone is reason for considering redistricting decisions from an impartial panel. Voters of all stripes deserve to be fairly represented in our representative democracy as designed and codified in our constitution.

    We will have another election and a new governor, and it might be a Democrat. Given the significant left-tilt of the state judiciary, the Democrat’s overwhelming control of the state legislature, a “tax and spend” ideologue in the governor’s mansion will surely morally and fiscally bankrupt this state once and for all.

  11. We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative. For decades we have had a significantly Democrat-controlled state legislature. California’s finances are a mess precisely because the lack of fiscal conservatism.

    The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state; with Republicans being under-represented since the late 80s. This alone is reason for considering redistricting decisions from an impartial panel. Voters of all stripes deserve to be fairly represented in our representative democracy as designed and codified in our constitution.

    We will have another election and a new governor, and it might be a Democrat. Given the significant left-tilt of the state judiciary, the Democrat’s overwhelming control of the state legislature, a “tax and spend” ideologue in the governor’s mansion will surely morally and fiscally bankrupt this state once and for all.

  12. We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative. For decades we have had a significantly Democrat-controlled state legislature. California’s finances are a mess precisely because the lack of fiscal conservatism.

    The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state; with Republicans being under-represented since the late 80s. This alone is reason for considering redistricting decisions from an impartial panel. Voters of all stripes deserve to be fairly represented in our representative democracy as designed and codified in our constitution.

    We will have another election and a new governor, and it might be a Democrat. Given the significant left-tilt of the state judiciary, the Democrat’s overwhelming control of the state legislature, a “tax and spend” ideologue in the governor’s mansion will surely morally and fiscally bankrupt this state once and for all.

  13. “The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state”

    Maybe but it is interesting that it is pretty close to the margin of error when you look at actual statewide voting (eliminating Arnold from the mix).

    When they redistricted, they decided to make safe districts rather than more democratic districts. If you have more moderates elected, it is more likely that there will be more moderate democrats than more republicans. Safe districts take the extra democrats and put them in one district, more competitive districts take the extra democrats and disperse them.

  14. “The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state”

    Maybe but it is interesting that it is pretty close to the margin of error when you look at actual statewide voting (eliminating Arnold from the mix).

    When they redistricted, they decided to make safe districts rather than more democratic districts. If you have more moderates elected, it is more likely that there will be more moderate democrats than more republicans. Safe districts take the extra democrats and put them in one district, more competitive districts take the extra democrats and disperse them.

  15. “The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state”

    Maybe but it is interesting that it is pretty close to the margin of error when you look at actual statewide voting (eliminating Arnold from the mix).

    When they redistricted, they decided to make safe districts rather than more democratic districts. If you have more moderates elected, it is more likely that there will be more moderate democrats than more republicans. Safe districts take the extra democrats and put them in one district, more competitive districts take the extra democrats and disperse them.

  16. “The percent of Democrats controlling the state legislature is not representative of the mix of Republicans to Democrats within the state”

    Maybe but it is interesting that it is pretty close to the margin of error when you look at actual statewide voting (eliminating Arnold from the mix).

    When they redistricted, they decided to make safe districts rather than more democratic districts. If you have more moderates elected, it is more likely that there will be more moderate democrats than more republicans. Safe districts take the extra democrats and put them in one district, more competitive districts take the extra democrats and disperse them.

  17. I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1. You can spin it any way you like, but these numbers support consideration for redistricting.

    Also, in these days of ultra-partisanship, I’m not a believer in the term “moderate Democrat” meaning anything when it comes to state policy making… especially fiscal policy. The liberals are in control. When is the last time any number of so called “moderate” Dems sided with Republicans on any significant issue?

  18. I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1. You can spin it any way you like, but these numbers support consideration for redistricting.

    Also, in these days of ultra-partisanship, I’m not a believer in the term “moderate Democrat” meaning anything when it comes to state policy making… especially fiscal policy. The liberals are in control. When is the last time any number of so called “moderate” Dems sided with Republicans on any significant issue?

  19. I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1. You can spin it any way you like, but these numbers support consideration for redistricting.

    Also, in these days of ultra-partisanship, I’m not a believer in the term “moderate Democrat” meaning anything when it comes to state policy making… especially fiscal policy. The liberals are in control. When is the last time any number of so called “moderate” Dems sided with Republicans on any significant issue?

  20. I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1. You can spin it any way you like, but these numbers support consideration for redistricting.

    Also, in these days of ultra-partisanship, I’m not a believer in the term “moderate Democrat” meaning anything when it comes to state policy making… especially fiscal policy. The liberals are in control. When is the last time any number of so called “moderate” Dems sided with Republicans on any significant issue?

  21. “I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1.”

    First of all, that’s barely beyond the statistical chance and chance alone standard by itself.

    Now tell us what the ratio of Democratic to Republican votes in the major statewide election is? It’s more important to determine how people vote than how people are registered. I submit that when you throw out the Arnold anomaly that since 1996, it looks very similar to that 1.55 to 1 ratio you just cited.

    Further, as I suggest previously, if you remove redistricting and make more competitive districts, you may actually produce more and not fewer Democrats.

  22. “I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1.”

    First of all, that’s barely beyond the statistical chance and chance alone standard by itself.

    Now tell us what the ratio of Democratic to Republican votes in the major statewide election is? It’s more important to determine how people vote than how people are registered. I submit that when you throw out the Arnold anomaly that since 1996, it looks very similar to that 1.55 to 1 ratio you just cited.

    Further, as I suggest previously, if you remove redistricting and make more competitive districts, you may actually produce more and not fewer Democrats.

  23. “I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1.”

    First of all, that’s barely beyond the statistical chance and chance alone standard by itself.

    Now tell us what the ratio of Democratic to Republican votes in the major statewide election is? It’s more important to determine how people vote than how people are registered. I submit that when you throw out the Arnold anomaly that since 1996, it looks very similar to that 1.55 to 1 ratio you just cited.

    Further, as I suggest previously, if you remove redistricting and make more competitive districts, you may actually produce more and not fewer Democrats.

  24. “I don’t believe I have a math issue here. The state ratio of Democrat to Republican voters is about 1.24:1. The ratio of Democrat legislators to Republican legislators is 1.55:1.”

    First of all, that’s barely beyond the statistical chance and chance alone standard by itself.

    Now tell us what the ratio of Democratic to Republican votes in the major statewide election is? It’s more important to determine how people vote than how people are registered. I submit that when you throw out the Arnold anomaly that since 1996, it looks very similar to that 1.55 to 1 ratio you just cited.

    Further, as I suggest previously, if you remove redistricting and make more competitive districts, you may actually produce more and not fewer Democrats.

  25. “We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative.”

    Calling Arnold a “fiscal conservative” is a huge joke. There is nothing conservative at all in his fiscal record as governor. California has the highest income tax rates of any state in the nation — something he inherited — and Arnold has never cut taxes. When faced with huge deficits early in his first term, he didn’t cut spending. He didn’t get rid of waste. He asked for — and got the voters approval of — a huge, fiscally unconservative (and irresponsible) bond measure to pass the buck on the spending problem. And now, when again the state’s fiscal house is out of order, Arnold is again trying to borrow his way out of the problem, rather than cracking down on the overspending.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong. You have typecast the governor as a “fiscal conservative.” Please show me where his actual record meets that label.

  26. “We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative.”

    Calling Arnold a “fiscal conservative” is a huge joke. There is nothing conservative at all in his fiscal record as governor. California has the highest income tax rates of any state in the nation — something he inherited — and Arnold has never cut taxes. When faced with huge deficits early in his first term, he didn’t cut spending. He didn’t get rid of waste. He asked for — and got the voters approval of — a huge, fiscally unconservative (and irresponsible) bond measure to pass the buck on the spending problem. And now, when again the state’s fiscal house is out of order, Arnold is again trying to borrow his way out of the problem, rather than cracking down on the overspending.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong. You have typecast the governor as a “fiscal conservative.” Please show me where his actual record meets that label.

  27. “We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative.”

    Calling Arnold a “fiscal conservative” is a huge joke. There is nothing conservative at all in his fiscal record as governor. California has the highest income tax rates of any state in the nation — something he inherited — and Arnold has never cut taxes. When faced with huge deficits early in his first term, he didn’t cut spending. He didn’t get rid of waste. He asked for — and got the voters approval of — a huge, fiscally unconservative (and irresponsible) bond measure to pass the buck on the spending problem. And now, when again the state’s fiscal house is out of order, Arnold is again trying to borrow his way out of the problem, rather than cracking down on the overspending.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong. You have typecast the governor as a “fiscal conservative.” Please show me where his actual record meets that label.

  28. “We should consider that the Governor is not a social conservative; he is a fiscal conservative.”

    Calling Arnold a “fiscal conservative” is a huge joke. There is nothing conservative at all in his fiscal record as governor. California has the highest income tax rates of any state in the nation — something he inherited — and Arnold has never cut taxes. When faced with huge deficits early in his first term, he didn’t cut spending. He didn’t get rid of waste. He asked for — and got the voters approval of — a huge, fiscally unconservative (and irresponsible) bond measure to pass the buck on the spending problem. And now, when again the state’s fiscal house is out of order, Arnold is again trying to borrow his way out of the problem, rather than cracking down on the overspending.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong. You have typecast the governor as a “fiscal conservative.” Please show me where his actual record meets that label.

  29. if the CA GOP wanted to be competitive, they need to stop pretending it’s because of the district lines, and look in the mirror. they keep running candidates that are out of touch with the majority of californians. if they went back to running liberal republicans in liberal districts, stopped with the demonization of blacks and mexicans (coded under “gangs” “crime” and “illegals,” but we all hear the dog whistles), and stopped holding the budget process hostage every summer when a supermajority of californians care deeply about funding schools and basic services, they wouldn’t be holding onto a third of both houses by their fingernails.

    republicans abandoned liberals and moderates, in their own party and outside of it. they abandoned huge swaths of the state. they have noone to blame for their marginalization other than themselves.

  30. if the CA GOP wanted to be competitive, they need to stop pretending it’s because of the district lines, and look in the mirror. they keep running candidates that are out of touch with the majority of californians. if they went back to running liberal republicans in liberal districts, stopped with the demonization of blacks and mexicans (coded under “gangs” “crime” and “illegals,” but we all hear the dog whistles), and stopped holding the budget process hostage every summer when a supermajority of californians care deeply about funding schools and basic services, they wouldn’t be holding onto a third of both houses by their fingernails.

    republicans abandoned liberals and moderates, in their own party and outside of it. they abandoned huge swaths of the state. they have noone to blame for their marginalization other than themselves.

  31. if the CA GOP wanted to be competitive, they need to stop pretending it’s because of the district lines, and look in the mirror. they keep running candidates that are out of touch with the majority of californians. if they went back to running liberal republicans in liberal districts, stopped with the demonization of blacks and mexicans (coded under “gangs” “crime” and “illegals,” but we all hear the dog whistles), and stopped holding the budget process hostage every summer when a supermajority of californians care deeply about funding schools and basic services, they wouldn’t be holding onto a third of both houses by their fingernails.

    republicans abandoned liberals and moderates, in their own party and outside of it. they abandoned huge swaths of the state. they have noone to blame for their marginalization other than themselves.

  32. if the CA GOP wanted to be competitive, they need to stop pretending it’s because of the district lines, and look in the mirror. they keep running candidates that are out of touch with the majority of californians. if they went back to running liberal republicans in liberal districts, stopped with the demonization of blacks and mexicans (coded under “gangs” “crime” and “illegals,” but we all hear the dog whistles), and stopped holding the budget process hostage every summer when a supermajority of californians care deeply about funding schools and basic services, they wouldn’t be holding onto a third of both houses by their fingernails.

    republicans abandoned liberals and moderates, in their own party and outside of it. they abandoned huge swaths of the state. they have noone to blame for their marginalization other than themselves.

  33. I think the last fiscally conservative governor we had was Pete Wilson. Faced with a budget deficit, he split the difference with the Democrats: cut spending, raised taxes, raised fees. Nobody was happy, but it got the job done.

    It doesn’t really matter what the outcome of independent reapportionment would be. If Democrats were in the minority, they’d favor it. After the fiasco of the 1991 redistricting, it has been clear that elected representatives can’t be trusted to control the process directly. That year, even the Republican party members went along with a plan that locked in their minority status, in order to retain their safe seats. The interests of the public weren’t even a consideration, apparently. I remember when we, in Dixon, shared a state senator with Eureka. In Texas, reapportionment was controlled by the Republicans (Tom DeLay) and the results were even worse. It is a simple, clear conflict of interest.

  34. I think the last fiscally conservative governor we had was Pete Wilson. Faced with a budget deficit, he split the difference with the Democrats: cut spending, raised taxes, raised fees. Nobody was happy, but it got the job done.

    It doesn’t really matter what the outcome of independent reapportionment would be. If Democrats were in the minority, they’d favor it. After the fiasco of the 1991 redistricting, it has been clear that elected representatives can’t be trusted to control the process directly. That year, even the Republican party members went along with a plan that locked in their minority status, in order to retain their safe seats. The interests of the public weren’t even a consideration, apparently. I remember when we, in Dixon, shared a state senator with Eureka. In Texas, reapportionment was controlled by the Republicans (Tom DeLay) and the results were even worse. It is a simple, clear conflict of interest.

  35. I think the last fiscally conservative governor we had was Pete Wilson. Faced with a budget deficit, he split the difference with the Democrats: cut spending, raised taxes, raised fees. Nobody was happy, but it got the job done.

    It doesn’t really matter what the outcome of independent reapportionment would be. If Democrats were in the minority, they’d favor it. After the fiasco of the 1991 redistricting, it has been clear that elected representatives can’t be trusted to control the process directly. That year, even the Republican party members went along with a plan that locked in their minority status, in order to retain their safe seats. The interests of the public weren’t even a consideration, apparently. I remember when we, in Dixon, shared a state senator with Eureka. In Texas, reapportionment was controlled by the Republicans (Tom DeLay) and the results were even worse. It is a simple, clear conflict of interest.

  36. I think the last fiscally conservative governor we had was Pete Wilson. Faced with a budget deficit, he split the difference with the Democrats: cut spending, raised taxes, raised fees. Nobody was happy, but it got the job done.

    It doesn’t really matter what the outcome of independent reapportionment would be. If Democrats were in the minority, they’d favor it. After the fiasco of the 1991 redistricting, it has been clear that elected representatives can’t be trusted to control the process directly. That year, even the Republican party members went along with a plan that locked in their minority status, in order to retain their safe seats. The interests of the public weren’t even a consideration, apparently. I remember when we, in Dixon, shared a state senator with Eureka. In Texas, reapportionment was controlled by the Republicans (Tom DeLay) and the results were even worse. It is a simple, clear conflict of interest.

  37. it’s not entirely unreasonable for dixon to share a rep with eureka, or for davis to, for that matter. the population along the north coast is pretty light, and aligned predominantly along 101. while mixing it with, say, more of sonoma might be ideal, it’s not totally unreasonable to draw a bit from more populated parts of the sac valley.

    unpopulated areas are going to have big districts. same’s going to be true for the 2nd and 4th until the northern part of the sac valley gets more people. this is also why lois capps’ long skinny district along the central coast isn’t as gerrymandered as it seems; that’s where the people are.

    public financing, mandated televised debates with all candidates on the ballot and guaranteed media access would make the races a lot more competitive than redrawing them to create a few more districts friendly to conservative democrats (which is what the authors of this initiative are aiming for).