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    Oct 23, 2008

    Vote ____ on Prop 11

    Hopefully you have your General Election Voter Information Guide handy, because I don't have links readily to each of the propositions. I am instead going to presume you have the guide nearby for reference, or have already read or have heard something on them.

    Prop 11

    This Proposition is calling for reform. This is to suggest that the current system, or method of doing things, does not work, or is unbalanced.

    The U.S. Census serves many purposes. Its first, and perhaps most useful, purpose is to help determine how the state's districts are proportioned.
    There is a high level of anonymity involved, but very useful information is gleaned from this process. Once a decade, the census helps determine what groups of people (age, race, religious and political affiliation, economic status, etc) are living. Using this data, it is decided what areas are grouped to form a district. People belonging to a district elect an official to represent them before the State Assembly. A group of adjacent districts also determines one elected official to the State Senate. This also means, when this redistricting process is complete, it can impact who is voting to re-elect or vote out the current elected official for each district.

    Existing legislation dictates that the elected officials, in addition to the Board of Equalization, reviews the census data and determines where the district lines are drawn. This means that our elected officials have say over how their districts are shaped. This leaves the potential for unequal dividing of districts, which could almost guarantee re-election. (Example: Should a elected Republican see that a community of registered Democrats from a neighboring district is beginning to overflow into his existing District lines. This elected official may strike a deal with his Democratic peer, who hold the seat of the neighboring district, ensuring their respective parties stay within their own district lines, and lessening the chance of defeat at the polls come the next election.)

    Prop 11, if approved by voters, would change the redistricting process, leaving the decision to a team of interested individuals with nearly equal say among the 3 major party affiliations (5 Democrat, 4 Independent, and 5 Republican). Interested parties would apply for this temporary position, and be subject to meeting a predetermined set of criteria, as well as approval by the Board of Equalization. Once an applicant pool is created, 8 names are drawn at random (3 Dem, 2 Ind, 3 Rep), and those selected then handpick from this same applicant pool the remaining of their number. This team would be compensated a daily set salary for their work, paid for by existing funds used toward redistricting efforts.

    This Redistricting team, recreated every decade by the same process, would not be elected. At the same time, this would also mean that elected officials wouldn't be able to control how their districts are drawn, or re-drawn, as they may be able to do under current law. This could create a higher accountability standard for elected officials. Each would indeed need to be invested in the interests and concerns of the districts they represent, or face a fast track to new employment come the next election.

    Take from this what you will. Vote your conscience, but please do vote.

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