Prop 11 Pro/Con

Pro by Desiree Perez Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s why we need to vote “yes” on Proposition 11. This proposed change to the California State Constitution takes the power to draw congressional districts out of the hands of state legislators and gives it to a commission of registered voters.

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By Desiree Perez and Chris Johnson

By Desiree Perez and Chris Johnson

Pro

by Desiree Perez

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s why we need to vote “yes” on Proposition 11.

This proposed change to the California State Constitution takes the power to draw congressional districts out of the hands of state legislators and gives it to a commission of registered voters.

These commissioners will include five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither major party.

Some argue that a vote for Proposition 11 will only create ways for interest groups to buy a seat on the commission. However, with a more balanced say in California’s redistricting, it will be harder to maintain unfair and skewed district boundaries.

Because districts are currently drawn in a way that overwhelmingly favors incumbent officials, Proposition 11 would make it easier to create turnover in Congress. Ideally, the threat of being voted out of office more easily will spur state legislators to fulfill the promises they campaigned on.

Many people are hesitant to support Proposition 11 because it threatens the security of an incumbent which they support. Some even go so far as to claim that California may not be a “blue state” stronghold if the proposition passes.

I’d hate to see California slip from its status as a liberal, coastal “blue state.” However, I’d much rather be living in a “red state” if it more accurately represented the voice of the majority.

Still others are hesitant to create yet another government bureaucracy, but creating one more commission is worth it, if it allows for a more accurate representation of voters’ voices.

Let the boundaries fall where they may, based on population, county lines and other sensible restrictions. Vote for Proposition 11, and take a step toward ending gerrymandering based on race and social class, that favors lazy, out-of-touch incumbents.

Con

by Chris Johnson

Gerrymandering is a horrible thing, and needs to stop.

But Proposition 11 is the wrong way to do it, and could easily make things worse.

The intent behind the proposition is admirable.

Basically, it says, “Let’s allow a bipartisan commission to draw the lines between state districts, to avoid deliberate attempts to prevent certain votes from counting.”

The problem is it introduces a new bureaucracy when we don’t need one.

This commission can take as long as it wants and is guaranteed $300 a day, per commissioner, plus expenses. Expenses can include unlimited consultants and attorneys, and no one audits to ensure there’s no waste or abuse.

This commission isn’t elected, unlike the people who make the decisions now.

This commission can screw up, and voters can’t do anything about it.

Essentially Proposition 11 is a bad idea that’s supposed to fix a genuine problem. It would be great if there weren’t so many good ideas to solve it.

If you really wanted to end gerrymandering, you could do so by supporting legislators who oppose it, supporting congressional representatives who favor federal law outlawing it, or by supporting a proposition that mandates fair drawing of districts.

The problem isn’t complicated. State legislators draw the lines of congressional districts in the way that makes their party most likely to win more seats in congress.

You don’t need a bipartisan commission to figure out how to draw the districts fairly, you just need straight lines.

Gerrymandering is a horrible thing, and is a national problem. It needs to stop.

But it’s best not to vote for a proposition until they come up with a good idea. Proposition 11 fails at this.

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