California considers a bill for an independent redistricting commission
We've used much ink on these pages in the past several years writing on the evils of redistricting, the cynical power play of 2000 that has stifled political competition and virtually guaranteed that incumbent lawmakers would be reelected. Now, finally, state lawmakers have a chance to do something about it. But will they?
When party leaders carved up political districts in ways that entirely benefited themselves, it helped solidify a feeling among many Californians that their political representatives cared more about their own power than they did about voters and good public policy. Both parties were equally guilty. Redistricting has been one of the key reasons that voters have become so disenfranchised with the Legislature, which had a dismal 21 percent approval rating at last count.
On Tuesday the Legislature has a chance to change course, with the potential to restore some of that lost trust and confidence. A bill by Long Beach Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal, which would put the task of redistricting into the hands of an independent commission instead of politicians, faces its first hearing, by the Assembly Elections Committee.
Approval is something of a long shot, but we sincerely hope that committee members will surprise us and push the bill forward. And we tip our hat to Lowenthal for his efforts to do right by voters and bring some fairness back to the political process. -- Editorial, A cure for redistricting (Long Beach Press-Telegram)