Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NO on Proposition 77

Here in California, our Governor and his Republican cult followers called a special election in the hopes of advancing their "agenda" with a number of ballot measures. Since the legislature and judiciary have been standing in the Governor's way (damn checks and balances), he decided to cut out the middle man in hopes that the majority of Californians will agree with him.

I don't normally get hyped or even moderately interested in ballot initiatives, but the reasoning behind Proposition 77 is troubling. In the hopes of getting more Republicans in office in this pschizophrenic blue (with a red governor) state, Proposition 77 would strip the legislature of its power to redistrict California's Senate, Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, placing the process in the hands of a three-member panel of retired judges selected by legislative leaders. From what I can gather, the Republicans support this measure because they believe that members of the legislature draw districts in a way to ensure their re-election, thus depriving Republicans of possible seats.

As if anyone needed further evidence of how result-oriented and unprincipled the Republicans really are, this measure sums it up. The same party that invented the hollow cliche of "judicial activism" now proposes to take powers from the legislature and give it to unaccountable judges. Remarkable since the Republicans made Proposition 73 (parental notification for abortions) an amendment to the Constitution, rather than a legal statute, precisely to avoid judges who struck down the measure in the past. Rather than leave the power of re-districting with legislators who answer to their constituents every time they stand for re-election, Republicans want to remove that power from the transparent democratic process and hide it with unaccountable judges.

This result-oriented attempt to consolidate power should not be permitted. Vote NO on Proposition 77.

Democracy consists of choosing your dictators
after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
Alan Corenk

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall
be governed no better than we deserve.
George Bernard Shaw


At 10:39 AM, October 25, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

The Cal legislature is as dysfunctional as you can get. I'm not a big supporter of the legislature, Democrats or Republican, because they face no competition and are easily controlled by a few special interests. I'd like to see more competition, but I don't want to see Republican judges drawing the districts. I think the legislature should go part-time.

At 7:10 PM, October 25, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

It has much more checks and balances than you might expect. The Dems must select 24 Republican Judges and the Republicans must select 24 Democratic Judges. Then a mix of Dems and Repubs pick the panel from the pool. Also the voter records of the boundries must not be used to determine the boundries. There are strict guidelines set by the legislature that govern the drawing of the boundries.

The premise is the the Gerrymandering is and has been a bad idea since it was created by Mr. Gerry is that Whole geographical areas that should have representation because of their common area are split up into red and blue votes.

This means that if a Dam is important to an area, the area should be considered as an area instead of pulling out some who might vote a certain way.

It is well thought out and the Judges are used because having the Legislature draw their own lines is like having the fox guard the hen house.


At 8:23 PM, October 25, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I also commented again on your Evolution post.



At 7:30 AM, October 26, 2005 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Well, here's a stat for you: Democrats got 52% of the House votes last year, Rs only 44%. Yet, the Rs hold a majority. This is because of ridiculous partisan gerrymanders like the one in Pennsylvania, which has 12 Rs, 7 Ds. The same state of affairs obtains in OH, TX, FL, GA, VA, and presumably other states.

Non-partisan redistricting is a fine idea, but not in a blue state first.

:-), StS

At 8:54 AM, October 26, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


How would someone know if a judge is a Republican or Democrat? Shouldn't judges be non-partisan?

At 9:15 AM, October 26, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

II, when we look at california district line today, they are a joke in a number of cases. In some cases the district lines are hundreds of yards wide.

Logically the process has to change. The legislature up to this point has been incapable of doing so. I haven't decided yet how to vote, but what is the answer then?

At 11:57 AM, October 26, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I agree that the process has to change, but I don't think putting it into the hands of 3 unaccountable people is wise. Why should so much power be placed in the hands of people who would answer to no one? It's the lack of transparency that troubles me.

And, I find it hypocritical that the R's incessantly whine about judicial activism and then promote a measure that gives retired judges incredible, unchecked power. Since R's are so fond of propositions, why not have various plans for redistricting be put up for a vote?

At 1:08 AM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


There is a long process of selecting the judges and they are accountable to the legislature to act according to the guidelines in the bill.

Republicans are not against Judges, just aginst those who have agendas and not just rule based upon Law.

These guys will be a huge improvement over Gerrymandering because they aren't allowed to use politics in their decision and there are checks to insure that fact.


At 9:07 AM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

What checks are in place to ensure that politics don't play a role? That sounds like a miracle cure that should be applied to so many other governmental bodies.

R's aren't against judges with agendas. Only against those who issue opinions that disagree with their philosophies. That's why all the extremists in the party hated Miers. They couldn't read her agenda clearly enough.

At 10:28 AM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Pete Stahl said...

See Pete Rates the Propositions for an in-depth look at Prop 77, complete with maps of current gerrymanders and an amusing description of the process for picking retired judges to do the redistricting.

At 12:33 PM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Pete - thanks for the link. Very well written and your points are well-taken.

At 4:07 PM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Pete is apparently a Liberal based upon his votes for the props.

Having said that, I am worried that he and I actually agree on 77 and 80.

Maybe my stances on those two need revisiting?

How anyone can support minors lying to their parents about the possible murder of their baby is beyond me.

I hear it from liberal parents I know all of the time..."How can I possibly enforce consequences upon my children, they might run away."

Incredible! Don't teach them that doing bad things have consequences, because they won't like it and may actually blackmail you by threatening to run away. Talk about the inmates running the asylum!

We now have almost universal Scientific agreement on the definition of death. "The irreversible cessation of both the heart and brain activity."

With that definition, then once the baby has both a heart beat and has brain waves, then stopping those irreversibly is purposefully causing death,(Murder.)

No logical argument can go anywhere else.

Now what if those who say that life begins at conception actually turn out to be right. Then it is even more imperative to caution on the side of life not death.

Maybe I am just too old fashion.


At 4:14 PM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


I agree with the concept of parental notification, but making it a constitutional amendment seems quite extreme to me. It is the means, not the ends, with which I disagree.

About the other ballot measures, why is 75 necessary when, from what I have been told (I am not an expert), union members already have the right to ask that their dues not be used for political purposes? Seems quite vindictive against the same people in whose trust we place society's safety.

At 7:06 PM, October 27, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


If you ask a lot of Union members who try to "opt out" they not only get "brow beat" but they have to give the amount to a different fund. Many are intimidated beyond belief.

What is wrong with "Choice?"


At 8:50 AM, October 28, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Nothing is wrong with choice, but unions are the antithesis of choice. They are extortionists and I am now supposed to feel sorry for them that their bosses are muscling them the way they muscle employers. It doesn't pull my heart strings.

At 7:20 PM, October 28, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I agree and that is why allowing them to opt out is going to make it more difficult for the Union Bosses to push people around.

I think we are on the same page on this one.


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