Governor takes aim at district boundaries

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In races for the Legislature and Congress, “there’s no competition,” the governor lamented. He noted that in hundreds of races over three election cycles, only four of those seats changed party. “By reforming the way the districts are drawn and by taking it out of the politicians’ hands, we can ensure that our elected officials are always working hard and are competing for your vote,” Schwarzenegger said. The actor-governor has talked about the idea for years as part of his plans to upend the political status quo in Sacramento – a goal that has largely eluded him. Schwarzenegger pushed a similar proposal in 2005, which was snubbed by voters along with a slate of other initiatives to curb spending and public union power. His idea is to give an independent commission the authority to draw district boundaries. Currently, legislators slice up districts for themselves and Congress every 10 years to reflect population shifts, a practice often criticized as a blatant conflict of interest. Many California districts are heavily skewed to favor candidates from one party, turning them into fortresses of incumbency. Several attempts to take that role away from lawmakers over the years have been rejected by voters, including Schwarzenegger’s 2005 proposal. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he would try for a second time to reform rules at the heart of how California selects legislators and members of Congress – a system he says has all the fairness of loaded dice. Flanked by former Govs. Gray Davis, a Democrat, and Pete Wilson, a Republican, Schwarzenegger said he wants voters next year to consider changing the way the state carves out districts for legislators and members of Congress. He alluded to the possibility of calling a special session of the Legislature to take on the issue. He said he was prepared to make trade-offs to get what he wants in negotiations in Sacramento, and he didn’t rule out going to the ballot on his own if the Legislature doesn’t act. He wants the proposal on the Feb. 5 ballot, the same date the state holds its presidential primary. last_img

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