Skip to comments.CA: Redistricting proponents break with governor, form own campaign (pro - Prop 77)
Posted on 09/13/2005 9:16:19 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SACRAMENTO (AP) - A key supporter of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's redistricting measure announced plans Tuesday to form an independent, nonpartisan campaign supporting Proposition 77 - largely over fears the measure will fail if tied directly to Schwarzenegger's other Republican-backed ballot initiatives.
Bill Mundell, a Southern California businessman who donated more than $300,000 to help qualify the redistricting measure for the ballot, said his new group would operate separately from the governor's California Recovery Team in support of the initiative.
The move comes on the same day the California Recovery Team announced that Steve Poizner, a Silicon Valley billionaire and Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner next year, will head up the Schwarzenegger-backed committee also pushing Proposition 77.
The proposition, one of three "year of reform" initiatives that Schwarzenegger helped put on the ballot for a special election Nov. 8, would strip lawmakers of their power to draw Congressional and state legislative boundaries, handing the job to a panel of retired judges.
Schwarzenegger is also backing initiatives that would establish a state spending cap and extend from two years to five years the probationary period for teachers to get tenure. Together, the measures have produced angry opposition from Democrats and labor leaders, who have spent millions on television ads to discredit them.
Lawmakers of both parties, meanwhile, have expressed reservations about the redistricting initiative, which could jeopardize the safe seats of many incumbents. Two U.S. House members - Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, and Howard Berman, D-North Hollywood - won a ruling from the Federal Election Commission allowing members of Congress to spend unlimited sums to oppose Proposition 77.
Supporters of the initiative say the state's current political boundaries are unfair and disenfranchise many residents because they are drawn specifically to favor only Democrats or Republicans.
California voters have resisted similar redistricting initiatives in the past, voting down four since 1980.
Mundell, a Republican likely to challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 2006, said Prop. 77 will only succeed if voters believe it is a nonpartisan effort to restore fairness to the political system.
"We don't want to be lumped into an overall opposition attack on the special election," he said. "We feel Prop 77 is the most fundamental of all the reform initiatives, and our biggest fear is that it gets swept into a neat box of partisanship."
But Pat Caddell, a longtime Democratic consultant who serves on the board of Californians for Fair Redistricting, was more blunt, saying Schwarzenegger's largely Republican group of advisers had hijacked the measure and undercut its goals.
"I think Schwarzenegger does care about democracy, and there are Democrats who would support a legitimate redistricting initiative that would put the people first," Caddell said. "But his people have undercut this thing from day one, and the way they are going, they will certainly sink it."
Mundell's group also plans to link up with Democrats and labor groups from Ohio who are engaged in putting a similar redistricting measure before voters there. The idea, he said, is for nonpartisan supporters of the redistricting plan to campaign together in both states.
Poizner, who spent $6 million of his own money in an unsuccessful bid for the state Assembly last fall, withdrew himself from an appointment by Schwarzenegger in April to the Public Utilities Commission after being unable to arrange his financial holdings in regulated companies to avoid conflict-of-interest issues.
Poizner is the second high-profile politician to be named in the last week to the governor's campaign, raising speculation about how visible Schwarzenegger intends to be. Last week, the state's finance director, Tom Campbell, stepped down from the post to become a lead spokesman for the governor's spending cap measure, Proposition 76.
Schwarzenegger's aides, however, said the governor still plans to play a starring role in the upcoming campaign.
"This is an all hands on deck struggle for reform," said Todd Harris, spokesman for the Recovery Team. "We need every reform minded-supporter pounding the pavement."
Schwarzenegger also announced that his chief of staff Pat Clarey will take a leave from her state post to join the Recovery Team as campaign manager. His communications director, Rob Stutzman, has also moved over to the campaign team.
The governor named Peter Siggins as interim chief of staff. Siggins has been the governor's legal affairs secretary since Schwarzenegger took office in 2003.
Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy in San Francisco contributed to this report.
On the Net
California Recovery Team: http://www.joinarnold.com
"The move comes on the same day the California Recovery Team announced that Steve Poizner, a Silicon Valley billionaire and Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner next year, will head up the Schwarzenegger-backed committee also pushing Proposition 77.
The proposition, one of three "year of reform" initiatives that Schwarzenegger helped put on the ballot for a special election Nov. 8, would strip lawmakers of their power to draw Congressional and state legislative boundaries, handing the job to a panel of retired judges."
This is huge. Not just for CA. For the US. Partisan redistricting is strangling democracy in the US. A national movement of this sort is needed (and I suppose, exists, but I am unaware of it. Please inform me. Thanks.)
That has a familiar ring to it, if I recall correctly.
In addition to the hijackings, I think we've seen some sabotage as well.
sabotage and the recall... things just happen, yeah, that's it!~]
Can't wait for the judge he appoints to the CA supreme court... probably Moonbeam, or better yet, Linda Ronstadt... lol
heck, make it Lockyer, that would be one way to reduce the damage he personally has done to this state for years.