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City Council: Yes on 11

Submitted by on 1, October 21, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Last week we got a note from Vice Mayor Lena Tam voicing the support of “good government advocates” for state Proposition 11, which would shift redistricting duties from state legislators to an independent citizen group. Now, we have to admit that we have not followed this closely enough to have an opinion about it or to offer you any perspective about it (we’ve been very, very focused on local issues). But when Tam offered us a local hook for this – the council is supporting it – we bit.

Tam pointed out that the measure is being supported by a number of groups, including the NAACP, League of California Cities, American Nurses Association and California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations, in addition to many of the state’s major newspapers.

On the other end of it, fellowblogger Dan Wood (you may know him better as A Progressive Alamedan) suggested a “No” vote on 11. He called it a “ploy to help the right wing” and pointed out that it is opposed by “minority organizations, labor, the Democratic Party, and the Green Party.”

Kate Quick of the League of Women Voters of Alameda, who talked to the council about endorsing the measure a while back, was drafted to send us a statement about the positive impact she thinks the ballot measure could have on Alameda. Said Quick:

A few weeks ago, the Alameda City Council, following a meeting where they heard a presentation by the League of Women Voters on Proposition 11, the amendment to the State Constitution to take the redistricting process out of the hands of the legislators and put it into the hands of an independent commission, unanimously endorsed the measure. Some might wonder what Prop. 11 has to do with Alameda. In the current situation, where the legislators choose their voters, instead of the voters choosing their legislators, individuals of both major parties have drawn districts which guarantee them re-election. They know that they, or at least the party they represent, will have a guaranteed re-election, so the need for the basics, like transparency, openness in process and procedure, or even compromise with other legislators becomes unimportant. This hit Alameda particularly hard when the legislature wouldn’t compromise enough to pass a budget, and certainly affects us when no one seems to care if the burden of taxation gets pushed down to the local jurisdiction because no one wants to figure out how to raise revenues at the State level. This is not to mention the cavalier and non-transparent way in which districts have been drawn. It makes a lot of sense for the Council to join the League in endorsing this good government proposition.

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