Saturday, June 18, 2005


Gerrymandering refers to the practice of manipulating the boundaries of legislative districts to benefit one group or political party to the detriment of another.

In 1812, while Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was governor of Massachusetts, the Republican-dominated legislature redrew district lines to favor Republicans over Federalists. A Federalist newspaper cartoon depicted the Essex county district as a salamander and the artist referred to it as a "Gerry-mander" although the governor was opposed to the practice.

One of the three major issues Governor Schwarzenegger wants on the ballot in a special election this November is a proposal to have a group of retired judges redraw district lines in California in an effort to make boundaries more sensible. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, Democrats are willing to go along...sort of.
But what is perhaps more puzzling is that Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) has announced that Democrats are willing to go along with Schwarzenegger, relinquishing the power to draw their own district lines. They just want the first election with the new lines to occur after the 2010 census, when redistricting normally occurs.
My question to Nunez and California Democrats is, if redistricting is the right thing to do, then the sooner the better, right? Why wait until sometime in the next decade?

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