Proposition 27: Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act

The California Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act, or Proposition 27, qualified for the November ballot on June 24, 2010. The purpose of this initiative is to repeal the redistricting privileges that were assigned to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission after voters approved Proposition 11 in the 2008 election. Prop 11 created the commission so that it would have control over drawing the state’s legislative districts and Board of Equalization districts. However, if this new initiative passes, it would seek to solidify control over the state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives. The initiative would also prevent further initiatives from changing congressional districts by amending California law. The official ballot title of the measure states: “Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.” The ballot description is as follows:

“Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors. Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts. Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting. Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature. Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely decrease in state redistricting costs totaling several million dollars every ten years.”

This measure is competing with another initiative that will appear on November’s ballot that would extend the commission’s power over congressional districts.

Supporters: The primary backers of this initiative are Democratic members of the U.S. Congress and Daniel Lowenstein, the former chairman of the FPPC. Financial backing has also come from prominent Democrats, such as Karen Bass, theformer Assembly Speaker, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Businessman Haim Saban also donated $2 million to the campaign. Supporting arguments suggest that a commission of unelected members is not accountable to voters and that it creates more bureaucracy that is too costly for the state at a time of financial difficulty.

Opponents: Supporters of the VOTERS First Act for Congress are opposed to this measure and have qualified a competing initiative that runs counter to the goals of this initiative. A list of supporters is available on the campaign’s web site. Those who oppose the measure argue that party control over redistricting needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians who are more interested in solidifying their control and incumbency than serving the interests of constituents.

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