Angelides Speaks Out for California Redistricting Reform, Supports Bipartisan Plan
Yesterday, Phil Angelides urged the California State Legislature to enact redistricting reform by creating an independent citizens commission to redraw districts once each decade after the U.S. Census. He was joined by Fred Keeley, a former speaker pro Tem of the California State Assembly who is working with a bipartisan group, the Voices of Reform Project of the Commonwealth Club of California, to support a change in the way that legislative and other district lines are drawn.
â€œCandidates should have to work to earn the approval of voters to win seats, rather than rely on incumbency and coast to victory,â€ said Angelides. â€œThatâ€™s why I believe the legislature should act this year to create an independent citizens commission to redraw districts once each decade after the U.S. Census.â€
Angelides stressed that any commission charged with crafting districts be required to provide fair representation to minority groups as required by the Voting Rights Act as well as equal representation. Additionally, Angelides urged the creation of a truly independent commission that represents California.
â€œSenator Alan Lowenthalâ€™s legislation, SCA 3, which would go into effect in 2011, takes the right approach,â€ Angelides added. â€œI am hopeful that both Speaker Nunez and the Latino Caucus are able to fine-tune the bill in the next few weeks, and that Senator Perata is able to marshal the votes in the Senate for passage. Where there is a will, thereâ€™s a way.â€
Former Assemblyman Keeley made his case for redistricting reform on these pages in June, and his article along with others, including those opposed, can be reviewed in the archives of the California Progress Report. Reform of the redistricting process is also supported by the California League of Women Voters, California Common Cause, and a number of other good government groups. Polls have shown strong support by the voters if the measure is crafted correctly. Keeley complimented Angedlies for his stand on reapportionment, saying it was â€œconsistent with his long history of supporting redistricting reform.â€
Later today, Angelides will unveil a comprehensive political reform package that seeks to give California families â€" not big money special interests â€" a voice in Sacramento. Last Thursday, Angelides endorsed Proposition 89, the Clean Money Initiative.
â€œThere are some who think political reform is inside baseball. But I believe that our democracy is at risk because voters are more and more turned off by the role of special interests in our government and our elections,â€ said Angelides. â€œThat only 33.6 percent of California voters showed up in the June primary is a reminder that we need to act now to restore the public trust in our political system.â€
Angelides recalled the districts that Assembly and State Senate candidates ran under in 1992 when he was Chair of the California Democratic Party. Those districts were drawn by the courts and over 20 were fully competitive in sharp contrast to the few races that are in play this November. He said â€œI donâ€™t favor Tom Delay style redistricting that favors one party or another.â€ He stressed the need for any redistricting measure to only allow changes once a decade.
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