Jill Stewart reports that even if the courts ultimately allow onto the November ballot Ted Costa’s Proposition 77, a measure which would end California’s long and shameful era of “safe seats,” the sneaky opponents of Costa’s reform plan will have accomplished their goal: profound voter confusion.
Eight times since the 1920s, California voters have been slyly tricked into rejecting measures to stop this awful practice of political gerrymandering. The same trickery is afoot this year, with foes of reform clearly hoping that by November, we voters will have a nagging feeling that something is wrong with the fine print in Prop. 77.
After all, Prop. 77 wound up in court, didn’t it? If Prop. 77 is on the November ballot, foes will spend a fortune to make sure voters carry that confusion to the polls.
How sick. Safe seats stole away our democracy in California while we slept. Safe seats, are why none of California’s 53 Congressional seats changed party hands last Nov. 2, and why none of 100 legislative seats changed party hands. Safe seats are why these freeze-frame outcomes were predicted months before the actual elections.
The majority Democrats do not want Proposition 77 to pass. Prop 77 provides that the drawing of voting precincts (districts) will be taken out of the hands of the legislature and put in the hands of three retired bi-partisan judges. This would be a disaster for the Democrats who have “gerrymandered” the state into ridiculous districts to protect their “safe seats.”
Most voters think that when they vote, they do so within a community of interest, based largely on geography, known as a voting district. How quaint. That was true once. But now, the California legislature uses computer programs to painstakingly divide voters, block by block. They no longer divide us based on communities of interest, but based on party registration.
Republicans and Democrats are carefully separated from one another and stuck in bizarrely shaped voting districts controlled by just one party. During the spring primary, the party that controls the rigged district carefully spoon-feeds its corralled voters a pre-selected candidate awash in campaign funds. Usually this well-funded party hack beats any normal person who hoped to represent that party come November.
Then, in the November election, because the fake and often strangely shaped voting district is stacked, the party hack who won the spring primary can’t lose. Voters are spoon-fed a hack, and with rare exception, it’s mathematically impossible for the hack to lose.
Think of The Matrix. You are being spoon-fed in order to support a creepy apparatus that wants to control your world. You don’t even know it.
The congressional districts in California make no sense whatsoever, unless you consider that they are drawn to give majorities of either party in the district so that incumbents will be easily re-elected.
Why don’t these think tanks, good government groups and media give us the truth? Why, in short, aren’t voters told they are being carefully herded by computer programs into fake voting districts where they are spoon-fed pre-selected candidates who can’t lose?
See how easy that is to just admit?
The Los Angeles Times a few days ago informed its readers that redistricting is merely “the Legislature’s ability to shape its own voting districts, which Democrats and Republicans have both long used to maintain power and keep challengers at bay.”
Huh? How did the Legislature get “its own voting districts,” as the newspaper says? I thought voting districts were for the voters. Silly me.
And how do politicians use these voting districts to “maintain power?” And what in blazes is the newspaper even talking about? Insiders know, but most voters don’t know. The typical voter, utterly confused, simply turns the page.
A July 29 story in The Sacramento Bee was incomprehensible to any member of the public trying to grasp redistricting.
The Bee informed us that redistricting is merely “lawmakers’ … authority to draw political boundaries.” That’s like saying April 15 is a deadline for putting a check in the mail. Then the Bee stated that former Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation creating California’s current legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization boundaries in 2001, but Davis now says “he doesn’t like the imbalance that has resulted.”
Is that like a sugar imbalance? If Davis doesn’t like these mysterious “boundaries,” why on earth did he create them in 2001?
The California media are way, way past caring if the public can wade through their babble. The journalists understand redistricting. Isn’t that enough? Must we worry about the public, too?
On July 29, The Associated Press devoted 579 words to the redistricting debate, informing us that redistricting is merely “the power to draw legislative and congressional districts.” Again, the public does not need to hear the reality.
According to AP, critics dislike an alternative to Prop. 77 proposed by the Democrats because that alternative gives legislators “too much control over the design of their districts.”
Get it? Their districts. Not the voters’ districts.
Voters are no longer required to operate the democracy, as the media clearly keep hinting. There haven’t been “voters’ districts” in California for years. They are now the politicians’ districts. That’s why California has seen eight past attempts to fix this mess.
Years ago, during one of the eight lost battles to reform this scam, the late actor Jack Lemmon made a TV commercial to convince California voters not to fix the system. Like Prop. 77, the reform opposed by Lemmon and many other rich and powerful Californians would have handed the job of drawing voting districts to an independent panel of judges.
Sadly, voters were swayed by Lemmon. The safe seats scam was preserved. Yet almost certainly, the judges’ panel would have brought back real voting districts based on communities of interest, as in other states that use independent panels. Nor would judges have dreamed up sicko computer programs that corral voters by party registration to create fake districts.
Today, the forces of confusion are back in action. Unfortunately, the public can’t expect help from the media, think tanks or good government groups who, aside from standouts like Bob Stern, will publish and utter hundreds of thousands of words on redistricting yet will say nothing at all.
Those who are opposed to having districts drawn without political bias will try to confuse the voter. Voters have an obligation to get the real facts and to understand how important objective and fair redistricting is to empowering voters to freely exercise their franchise.