Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger loves California’s initiative process even though voters haven’t always gone along with his ideas. But he’s at it again, this time with another stab at redistricting reform.
In this photo, he’s stumping for signatures in a Sacramento restaurant for his California Voters First Act.
The act would strip state legislators of the power to draw their own political boundaries. It would create a 14-person independent citizens commission comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and four individuals not registered as a member of either major party to draw district boundaries for the Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization.
The Legislature would continue to draw congressional district boundaries in an apparent effort to avert a political fight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that “first we wanted to take care of what’s going on here in California with the legislative seats.”
Every decade following the Census, states redraw their political boundaries to reflect population shifts. Election reform advocates have long called for an end to putting that job in the hands of the same lawmakers who benefit from the outcome, a system that allows political parties to carve out safe seats and preserve party numbers.
Schwarzenegger in 2005 endorsed an initiative that would have turned over redistricting to a panel of judges but voters were suspicious of giving the power to judges and handily rejected it. The governor and state political leaders later vowed to link to term limit and redistricting reform but neither side fulfilled their promise. Instead, Democrats promoted an unsuccessful term limit modification measure in February.
Now, Schwarzenegger has teamed up with Democrat and former California Controller Steve Westly, the AARP, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, California Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters of California to put the California Voters First Act on the ballot in November.
For more information on the proposed ballot measure, check out www.cavotersfirst.org.
Photo provided by governor’s campaign: Governor Schwarzenegger and Former Controller Steve Westly greet diners at a Sacramento restaurant and ask them to join them in supporting the California Voters FIRST Act which would reform California’s redistricting process. Photo Credit: John Decker