Skip to comments.CA: February ballot also likely to include political reforms ('Re-districting' "reform" is back)
Posted on 03/15/2007 7:05:22 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The presidential race might not be the only matter before California voters in February.
The primary ballot also could feature a package of political reforms that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to craft with Democrats in the state Legislature.
Schwarzenegger wants to take away the Legislature's power to draw California's political map and give it to an independent panel. He also wants to ban fundraising during the months when most of the state's major business is done.
It would cover the period from mid-May until the budget is passed, the final month of the legislative session and the following month when the governor decides whether to sign or veto the hundreds of bills that have passed.
In turn, Democratic leaders are hoping to gain the governor's support - or at least his neutrality - on a ballot measure to modify term limits for state lawmakers.
That measure would increase the number of years lawmakers could spend in one house, while shortening the total time they could serve in office. It would allow legislators to serve for as many as 12 years, in either the Assembly or the Senate. Currently, they are limited to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate, for a total of 14 years.
Having an early primary is key to the Democratic leaders' calculations. If voters approve the term limits modification in February, lawmakers who otherwise would have been ousted will be able to run again for their current seats in the regular June primary.
The potential beneficiaries include Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez of Los Angeles and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata of Oakland, both Democrats.
Schwarzenegger said the early primary will make Californians feel more involved in the political process and that it's an ideal opportunity to pass political reforms.
During a ceremony Thursday to sign the bill moving the primary to Feb. 5, Schwarzenegger said the fundraising ban would restore voter confidence "that politics is not about money in and favors out."
But afterward, he faced questions about a fundraiser scheduled at his Brentwood mansion in June, which is usually when budget negotiations come to a head. The dinner will be for those who contribute $100,000 or $250,000 to Schwarzenegger's main political fund, the California Recovery Team.
The Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the letter to potential donors, inviting them to the dinner as well as an April cocktail party at Schwarzenegger's house. The invitation said the biggest donors will be able to participate in private meetings with Schwarzenegger.
"Members will also be included in regular conference calls with the governor and leading and well-known Californians from the public and private sector," the invitation reads.
Asked about it Thursday, Schwarzenegger said he has fundraisers scheduled all year long and that holding one in June is fine, because "there is no law yet."
This bears watching very closely. I for one do not trust 'Independent panels' any more than the current system. Either way, it'll probably still benefit Democrats, leaving little or no hope of a Conservative turnaround.
I could not disagree more. In the 80's and 00's, with a DemonRat governor and legislature, we got extreme RatApportionment. This left the R's concentrated into few districts, with no hope of gaining many seats. In the 70's and 90's, there were fair apportionments, and the R's even briefly took control of the state assembly after 94.
Without an independent reapportionment in 2010, the DemonRats will guarantee themselves another ten years in power in CA.
That's a good point. What I'm contending is that with the current system, the Republicans have absolutely no chance, so I can't see how any other reapportionment mechanism could be any worse than letting the DemonRats handle it all by themselves.
Or worse yet, New Majority money,..the enemy within...