November 2010 Election, California, Proposition 20

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Vote Recommendation: Yes

See: November 2010 Election, California

This proposition competes with Proposition 27, which would have a very opposite effect. If both pass, then the one with the most votes wins.

It was harder to decide 20, than it was to decide 27, but once it became clear that 27 was a bad idea, it was soon afterward clear that 20 was a good idea.

The main thing I noted about 27 was that in the official analysis, it was noted that certain requirements for valid districts would be removed that seemed like rather solid requirements. These were:

  • Not favoring or discriminating against political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.
  • Developing geographically compact districts.
  • Placing two Assembly districts together within one Senate district and placing ten Senate districts together within one BOE district.

In fact, removing these requirements seemed likely to promote gerrymandering. I have a hard time imagining why else someone would want to get rid of these requirements. The purpose of proposition 27, then appears to be to promote gerrymandering. (Put the process in the hands of the politicians and loosen up the restrictions.) The arguments in favor, which appealed mostly to fear and bigotry, did nothing to convince me that I misunderstood the situation.

The fact that proposition 27 is bad, however, does not necessarily mean that 20 is good. Nevertheless, it is suggestive, and I can think of few reasons why a process that is so worth trying out for our other districts wouldn't also be worth trying out for congressional districts. I might consider that if the experiment is a flop, then there might be some benefit to not having applied it universally, but nevertheless, being already convinced that 27 is wrong, I am therefore also convinced that the experiment will not prove to be a flop and I have reason to expect a benefit from expanding the principle.

Apart from those considerations, the argument against Proposition 20 really convinced me that Proposition 20 was the way to go as the appeals to bigotry made by those who were against 20 got even more disgusting than they had been in the Proposition 27 arguments.


Redistricting of Congressional Districts.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment

Charles T. Munger, Jr. (See also: A related letter written by Munger)

Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission. Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs.

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