Talk:Props 2010/20/

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From Michael Rubin:

Props 20 and 27 -- Redistricting -- (No on 20, Yes on 27):

When Prop.11 was on the Nov, ballot in 2008, we wrote “ Creating a redistricting process with unelected, unknown, faceless people chosen by a Kafka-esque process is moving away from accountability”. Unfortunately Prop 11 passed and now 2 years later, do you know the status of this alternative redistricting process? If you do, you’re ahead of us. In other words, our worst fears have been realized.

The Nov. 2010 ballot offers a clear choice as we consider the fiasco of Prop.11. Prop 20 extends Prop. 11 to the redistricting of the California congressional districts. Prop. 11 dealt only with Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization districts. On the other hand, Prop 27 eliminates the State Redistricting Commission set up by Prop. 11 and gives redistricting of Assembly, State Senate and Board of Equalization seats back to the legislature In addition, it limits the amount of money the legislature can spend on redistricting. It provides that voters can subject any redistricting plan of the legislature to the referendum process. It requires that all districts for the same office have the same number of voters. It mandates that the legislature make its own redistricting process more transparent; most notably by requiring 14 day advance public notice for each meeting dealing with redistricting.

The Green Party recommends a “no” vote on Prop. 20 and a “yes” vote on Prop. 27. We do note that the provisions of Prop, 27 are relatively modest considering the language in the finding and purpose section of Prop. 27. We also note an antagonism towards districts that have a majority of people of color. We do not agree with it and will be watching what happens if Prop. 27 passes. The Green Party continues to favor proportional representation as a real method for more choices and more participation.



Response to Mike Rubin's comments

(Jim Stauffer)

Prop 11 was passed by the voters in 2008. It's now 2010 and we must consider the propositions to modify Prop 11 in their own right. And it's an opportunity for the Green Party to reconsider it's previous position.

The 2008 county poll contained two write-ups on Prop 11. The one quoted by Mike is highly critical of establishing a Citizens Redistricting Commission (calling its member selection process "Kafka-esque") and argues to retain redistricting by the Legislature because it is a more open process. I find these highly debatable points. And the general tone of the write-up is very negative and cynical.

The other write-up has a more pragmatic argument: Establishing an independent commission, and criteria by which it operates, are "major improvements." The NO recommendation comes from leaving congressional redistricting in the Legislature; no equal representation of minor parties on the commission; and it's not proportional representation.

The meeting minutes from the Aug. 2008 General Assembly shows Prop 11 was opposed by a large majority, but they do not provide much info as to why.


I believe the Green Party needs to consider broader things than its own self-interest when we're trying to persuade voters on state-wide issues. I believe Props 11, 20 & 27 provide 'teaching moments' that we should exploit for our political agenda, but our recommendation should consider what is good for all of California within the context of the realities in which we live.

My write-up on Props 20 & 27 begins with an introduction on how redrawing boundaries for single-member districts is an exercise in futility from a representational standpoint, and that proportional representation is a far superior solution. Tim Smith's write-up provides a detailed accounting of the disgustingly self-serving job the Legislature has done with redistricting.

The conclusion I draw is that Props 11 and 20 will be an incremental improvement in an antiquated and inadequate electoral system. It will solve some problems, but the inherent deficiencies can be addressed only by a fundamental change to the system (i.e. proportional representation). I recommend YES on 20 because it will likely improve the current reality. And I hope the GP can use this moment to educate the public on real solutions.

One sub-topic worth mentioning is representation of minority/ethnic groups in California. This is a very diverse state. My county (Santa Clara) is one of those that does not have a majority 'race.' Whites dropped below 50% some years ago. I attended local redistricting hearings in 2002 and representatives from some of our ethnic communities came to complain about political boundaries cutting their communities in half. This is a common complaint, and it contributes to the political under-representation of these groups.

This is a very "California" issue, as we're one of the most diverse states in the nation. Prop 20 gives these groups the best chance they've had at equal representation. But then, after they see that it has only a modest affect, they will be receptive to the need for the fundamental changes we propose.


I don't agree with the philosophy that we should vote NO on everything that doesn't meet our utopian standards. We need to evaluate these issues on whether or not they will do harm, do good, or have no affect on real life. If the proposal does no harm, we can give a qualified YES recommendation and leverage the opportunity to present Green perspectives. If we're going to be the party that recommends NO on everything, then we're going to be dismissed as fringe malcontents.