Governor Gathers Signatures For Redistricting Measure

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Nancy Gee and a friend were lunching at Mimi’s Café in Sacramento when they heard Schwarzenegger was on his way: “I told the waitress, I said, we’re not leaving yet. The Governor’s coming, bring more coffee.” The Republican Governor worked the tables alongside former Controller Steve Westly – a Democrat. They’re co-chairs of the campaign to change the way the state’s legislative districts are drawn. Right now lawmakers draw the map – but under the proposed constitutional amendment, the job would go to an independent commission. Schwarzenegger says the current districts are gerrymandered – and after the primary, there’s no competition: “I have spoken to many of those legislators the last time around, some of them said to me I spent 800 dollars to get re-elected, because they have to make no effort. They’re in, they’re shooed-in. I think that has to change.” Schwarzenegger campaigned for a similar measure in 2005, but voters rejected it. Steve Maviglio is co-publisher of the Majority Report – a Democratic blog. He says it’s being touted as a bi-partisan measure, but it’s not: “This is just putting lipstick on a pig. If you look at who’s contributing to this effort, every single donor is from the Republican party and people that believe that Republicans need to gain more seats.” Critics of the measure also note it only changes the process for legislative and board of equalization seats, while lawmakers would continue to draw the congressional district map. Back at Mimi’s, Nancy Gee is on her third cup of coffee....and she’s signed the petition: Supporters will need more than 694-thousand such signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.