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Proposition 11: Reshaping California’s Political Landscape

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 By Lori Abbott/Steve Powers, Contact
October 29, 2008

CA – Tuesday, California voters will decide on Proposition 11, which would change the way the state's political boundaries are drawn. Instead of the Legislature deciding as hitherto, a 14-member commission would re-draw the districts for the state Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization when redistricting comes due.

Jeannine English, president of California's AARP, says Prop 11 will split up districts more evenly and ensure communities are not divided simply to guarantee the re-election of an incumbent. She refers to the current method as an "incumbency protection plan."

"They'll make sure that their district may include their address, or their mother's address, or their sister's address, the people that they want to represent, and that's why you end up with districts that just don't make sense."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been campaigning throughout the state for Prop 11, and he donated $500 thousand to the "Yes on 11" group this week. He says politicians are more focused on getting re-elected than helping their constituents.

"I think it is very important that we open this up, that we create competition, because competition, when Democrats and Republicans can campaign against each other, creates better performance in Sacramento."

Almost all legislators running for re-election this year are expected to win it. Opponents of Prop 11 say the commission's unelected members would have the final say in the state and that a 14-member panel is too small to adequately represent the state's ethnic diversity.

More information is available online on the AARP website at or at "Yes on 11" at

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