Redistricting: Ballot Measure #11

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A long November ballot for California voters just got longer, as Secretary of State Debra Bowen has certified a proposal to strip legislators of the power to draw their own political districts.

The redistricting proposal was penned by representatives of California Common Cause, AARP, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce; but it was undoubtedly carried across the goal line by the fundraising prowess of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign operation.

If voters approve the measure, a bipartisan citizens commission would draw legislative districts after the 2010 census, while the Legislature would retain the power to draw congressional districts.

Redistricting reform is a cause celebre among government reform advocates, but has been summarily rejected by California voters several times -- most recently in 2005 as Schwarzenegger's doomed Proposition 77.

As noted here before, this may not be the end of the November 4 ballot. Although it's doubtful any more initiatives will be certified in time, the governor and legislators are toying with the idea of two budget-related measures (budget reform and lottery revenue borrowing) and a measure to sell bonds to help stabilize California's ailing water supply.

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About John Myers

John Myers is Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED Public Radio and "The California Report," heard daily on 23 public radio stations across the Golden State.

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