Yes on 20, No on 27

Don’t be confused by these very different redistricting measures

Only 10 percent of Californians think their state legislators are doing a good job, according to a recent poll. For a good example of why that is, look no further than Democratic lawmakers’ activities on behalf of Proposition 27 on the Nov. 2 ballot.

That measure would overturn Proposition 11, which voters approved in 2008. Proposition 11 ended one of the smelliest, most conflict-ridden functions of the Legislature: drawing its own members’ district boundaries every 10 years. They were picking their own voters, in other words. Republicans and Democrats alike twisted their districts into knots to make them safe, with the result that some of them looked like bizarre images from a Rorschach test.

Proposition 27 is one of two initiatives on the ballot dealing with redistricting. Democrats put it there to confuse voters about the other one, Proposition 20, which would go even further in depoliticizing the redistricting process than Proposition 11 did. It would take congressional redistricting as well from the Legislature and give it to the commission.

If both 20 and 27 pass, the one receiving the higher vote count will prevail.

What’s discouraging is that Democratic legislators are contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Proposition 27 campaign. Why? To maintain majority control of the Legislature and keep congressional districts safe.

Proposition 20 is good for democracy. It may change the political landscape slightly—nobody can predict how it will shake out—but it will end the blatant conflict that currently exists and, ultimately, foster more competitive races.

Don’t be confused: Yes on 20, No on 27.