California Proposition 11 (2008)

California Proposition 11 (2008)

California Proposition 11, also known as the Voters FIRST Act, is proposed as an amendment to the California Constitution through initiative.

If enacted this initiative would have the following effect:

* Changes authority for establishing Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from elected representatives to 14 member commission.
* Requires government auditors to select 60 registered voters from applicant pool. Permits legislative leaders to reduce pool, then the auditors pick eight commission members by lottery, and those commissioners pick six additional members for 14 total.
* Requires commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party. Commission shall hire lawyers and consultants as needed.
* For approval, district boundaries need votes from three Democratic commissioners, three Republican commissioners and three commissioners from neither party


California Common Cause is the advocacy group sponsoring the initiative.

Others supporting the initiative include:

* The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
* The League of Women Voters
* Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [ [ "Arnold in Remap X"] , Newsblog, Dec. 3, 2007] [ [ "Governor to lead effort to pass redistrict measure"] , San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 4, 2007] .
* Gray Davis, Former Governor (Democrat)
* ACLU - Southern California
* Bay Area Council
* Bay Area Leadership Council
* California Black Chamber of Commerce
* California Democratic Council
* California Police Chiefs Association
* California Republican Assembly
* California Small Business Association
* California Taxpayers' Association
* Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
* National Federation of Independent Business, California
* North San Diego County NAACP
* Neighborhoods for Clean Elections
* Santa Clara Cities Association
* Silicon Valley Leadership Group
* Small Business Action Committee
* Hannah-Beth Jackson, Democratic State Senate candidate [ [ "Hannah-Beth Jackson and Tony Strickland Endorse Redistricting Measure", August 31, 2008] ]
* Jim Brulte, Former CA Senate Republican Leader
* Robert Hertzberg, Former CA Democrat Speaker of the Assembly
* Fred Keeley, Former Speaker pro Tempore, CA State Assembly; Treasurer, Santa Cruz County
* Eligio Nava, President, Central California Hispanic Chamber
* Connie Rice, Civil Rights Attorney
* Aubry Stone, President, California Black Chamber of Commerce

See also: [|xefyx55vm4p2xm|xg2eomwonwtmp4 List of California Proposition 11 donors and supporters]

Newspaper Editorial boards in favor

* The Los Angeles Times [ [,0,4638334.story "Los Angeles Times", "California needs re-districting reform", September 12, 2008] ]
*The San Francisco Chronicle [ [ "San Francisco Chronicle", "Why Californians should support Prop. 11", September 12, 2008] ]
* San Jose Mercury
* Fresno Bee
* The Torrance Daily Breeze
* San Diego Union Tribune
* Pasadena Now
* LA Daily News
* North County Times
* Stockton Record
* San Gabriel Valley Tribune
* Santa Cruz Sentinel
* Lompoc Record

Arguments in favor of Prop. 11

Notable arguments that have been made in favor of Prop. 11 include:

* Under current law the legislature draws its own districts which results in a 99 percent of incumbents being re-elected [ [ Voters First Ballot Language] ]

* initiative will open up redistricting so that it will no longer be controlled by only the party in power

* When state legislators are in charge of drawing district boundaries, as they are currently, there is a conflict of interest such that legislators place their own self-interest ahead of the common good.

* A citizen's commission created according to the dictates of Prop. 11 will be able to make independent decisions leading to legislative boundaries based on fairness and the public good and not political aspirations..

* Partisan gridlock caused by the current way of drawing legislative districts has caused the legislature to underperform in its mission of serving the people of california. [ [ "Proposition 11 arguments in the California voter's guide] ] , [ [ "Field Poll makes case for Prop 11, backers say] ]

* State legislative contests held in districts drawn by a Proposition 11 commission would be more competitive, leading to voters electing more moderate legislators. [ [ "Sacramento Bee", "Budget signed, Schwarzenegger sets sights on re-districting", September 24, 2008] ]

* It will give the power back to the people

Donors supporting Prop 11

As of September 24, three campaign committees supporting Prop. 11 have filed officially with the Secretary of State's office. Some donors have contributed to more than one of these committees. The largest donors altogether are:

* Gov. Schwarzenegger's California Dream Team, $2,446,000. [ [ Record of donors to Prop 11] ]
* Charles Munger, $1 million
* Michael Bloomberg (the mayor of New York City), $250,000. [Mercury News, [ "Fundraising, alliances on agenda during Schwarzenegger trip"] , April 16, 2008]
* Howard Lester (of Williams-Sonoma), $250,000.
* New Majority California PAC, $237,500.
* William Bloomfield, $150,000

City of Pasadena endorses

On Monday, March 10, 2008 the Pasadena City Council became the first California city to endorse the Voters First Initiative. [ [ "Pasadena Now", City Council Endorses Redistricting Reform Initiative, March 11, 2008] ]

Path to the ballot

Kimball Petition Management was paid $2,332,988 from two separate campaign committees to collect signatures to put this measure on the ballot. [ [ "Expenditure detail for Voters First"] ] , [ [ "Expenditure detail for the California Dream Team"] ] , [ [ "The governor, the money, and Prop. 11] ] [ [ "Rose Report", "Common Cause/League of Women Voters Support Redistricting Reform"] ] Signatures to qualify the measure for the California 2008 ballot measures|November 2008 ballot were submitted to election officials on May 6, 2008. On June 17, the California Secretary of State announced that a check of the signatures had established that the measure qualifies for the ballot. [KPBS News, [;id=11613 "Governor Schwarzenegger Submits Redistricting Initiative"] , May 7, 2008] , [ [ "Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure"] , San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec. 3, 2007]

upporters file campaign financing complaint

In late August, supporters of Prop. 11 filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission because the California Correctional Peace Officers Association--a group that opposes Prop. 11--gave contributions totaling $577,000 to the Leadership California committee, which is a campaign committee associated with state senate leader Don Perata. The Prop. 11 group said that it was wrong for the police officers union gave the money to the Perata committee rather than directly to the No on 11, and also alleged that the police union was trying to curry favor with Perata. Days later, the FPPC took the rare step of rejecting the complaint without conducting an investigation. [ [ "Oakland Tribune", "Complaint filed over union's contributions to Perata", August 28, 2008] ] , [ [ "Inside Bay Area", "Money-laundering suit washes out", September 18, 2008] ]


The official committee set up to oppose Proposition 11 is called Citizens for Accountability; No on Proposition 11. [ [ No on Prop. 11] ] Paul Hefner is the spokesman for the "No on 11" effort. [ [ "San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog", "Democrats Break Ranks on Prop. 11", August 13, 2008] ]

Opponents to Prop. 11 include:

* U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer,
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
* the California Democratic Party,
* the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund,
* the NAACP Defense Fund
* the Asian-American Pacific Legal Center.

(For a full list, see List of Proposition 11 opponents).

Arguments against Prop. 11

Arguments that have been claimed in opposition to Prop. 11 include:

* No accountability to taxpayers. Each commission member is guaranteed $300 a day, plus unlimited expenses in the form of staffing, offices, etc.

* The commission created under Prop. 11 would allow politicans to hide behind the selected bureaucrats to maintain a hold on redistricting as they wish.

* The overly complicated process created by Prop. 11 would make it easier to mask hidden agendas of the people behind those on the committee. [ [ Arguments against Prop. 11 from the "No on 11" website] ]

* Prop. 11 offers no assurance of the same representation for communities, such as California's Hispanic community in the redistricting process. [ [,0,2931883.story "Los Angeles Times", "Would Proposition 11 hurt minorities?", July 27, 2008] ]

* The current version of Prop. 11 does not included congressional districts as an earlier draft did, thereby not being complete reform and creating additional detractors to the measure. [ [ "FEC sets fundraising cap on ballot measure", The Sacramento Bee, Dec. 15, 2007] ]

* Even when commissions do create competitive districts, the people who get elected in them do not necessarily behave as political moderates." [ [ "Governor to chair drive to qualify redistricting measure", Fresno Bee, Dec. 3, 2007] ]

Democrat against Democrat

Kathay Feng, the main author of the initiative and director of California Common Cause, said in late June that since the measure qualified for the ballot and the California Democratic Party has announced its opposition, there has been attempt to bring everybody into line and to encourage those in support of the measure to oppose it. [Contra Costa Times, [ "Democratic leaders accused of pressuring supporters of redistricting measure"] , June 21, 2008]

Donations to opposition campaign

As of September 24, the opposition committee, "Citizens for Accountability; No on 11", had raised $350,000:

* California Democratic Party, $75,000.
* California Correctional Peace Officers Association, Truth in American Government Fund, $250,000.
* Members' Voice of the State Building Trades, $25,000. [ [ "Details of $5,000+ donations to No on 11"] ]
* "Voter's First" campaign committee, $40,000

Polling information

A poll released on July 22, 2008 by Field Poll showed Proposition 11 with 42% support and 30% opposition. [ [ July 22 Field Poll results on Proposition 11] ] A late August poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California showed Prop. 11 with 39% of voters in support. [ [ "Contra Costa Times", "Complaint filed over union's contributions to Perata", August 28, 2008] ]

External links

* [ Yes on Prop 11] , official website supporting Proposition 11
* [ No on Prop 11] , official website opposing Proposition 11
* [ California Voter's Guide to Proposition 11]
* [ California Common Cause website]
* [ Ballot Summary]
* [ Financial details of support committee]
* [ League of Women Votes, Time line of the initiative]
* [ Language of initiative]
* [ Prop 11 information page]


Additional reading

* [ "Capital Weekly", California forward launches reform effort, March 27, 2008]
* [ California redistricting plan faces hurdles]
* [ "Politicians will lie to kill Proposition 11"] , July 2, 2008
* [ California re-districting: Courtesy of Lindsey Lohan?]
* [ Prop 11 will take politics out of re-districting]
* [ Ballot will hold treatment for budget stalemate]
* [ Editorial: Prop. 11 looking good]
* [ Anti-11 group calls measure too complicated ahead of pro-11 rally]
* [ 2009 will be year of government reform measures]

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