October 14, 2005

Editorial:

BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS

Proposition 77: Redistricting.

Should the California Constitution be amended to change the process of redistricting California’s State Senate, State Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, transferring the implementation of redistricting from the Legislature to a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders?

A YES vote on this measure means:

Boundaries for political districts would be drawn by retired judges and approved by voters at statewide elections. A redistricting plan would be developed for use following the measure’s approval and then following each future federal census.

A NO vote on this measure means:

Boundaries for political districts would continue to be drawn by the Legislature and approved by the Governor. A redistricting plan would be developed following each future federal census.

In analyzing Proposition 77 we see a much bigger issue here than just bringing common sense to districts that today look more like a Picasso painting than a geographical common electoral district. When you peel back the layers of this proposition it is more about control than a common sense redistricting plan.

Every 10 years California must adjust the boundaries of the Districts used to elect public officials to the State Legislature (Assembly and Senate), the Board of Equalization and the U.S. House of Representatives.

This measure would take the job of redistrict out of the hands of the Legislature and entrust it to a panel of three retired judges. The intent is to create more geographically logical and competitive districts. Then the newly redesigned districts must go before the voters for approval, and if not approved then they must repeat the whole process until it does get voter approval possibly.

But let us get at the root of the problem; this Proposition has little to do with REDISTRICTING! It has more to do with bringing into check the political growth and power of the Hispanic community. We find it strange that now, finally, that Hispanic representation has grown to such a state that they will have a significant say in how the districts will be redrawn, that the power structure wants to take this opportunity away from the legislative body. The process of redistricting has been a legislative provocative for decades with the consent of both parties and now, led by our Republican Governor they want to take this power away from the legislatures at a time when the Hispanic Caucus in Sacramento can have a major say in the process.

In effect Prop 77 is intended to dilute the power of the Hispanic voters, who in the main are Democrats, thereby assuring that control of the State will remain in the hands of the good old boys thereby limiting the opportunities for Hispanics, Democrats, and of the working Class citizens in the State!

As an example this is reminiscent of the San Diego’s District only elections. For years Hispanics clamored for District only elections. But as long as the majority party and power brokers held control over the city they squashed any attempt at enact this legislation. Once the power brokers saw that they were losing that grip on their power and that there may come a time when they would have take into account the Hispanic community they changed gears and pushed for district only elections. Today we have our one district where we get our one Hispanic representative on the San Diego city council and in the meantime the power brokers hold sway over the other six council seats and control of the city. Proposition 77 will have the same affect.

As a wise old Chicano politico once told me, he who makes the rules controls the game. Well we have played this political game all our lives and now that we are on the verge approaching the 50 yard line they are changing the rules to push us back once again.

La Prensa San Diego urges you to

Vote NO on Proposition 77

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