City Journal Winter 2014

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Winter 2014
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Steven Greenhut
Removing Politics from Politics « Back to Story

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I have followed the Commission's work while it unfolded. I agree that the Democrats seem to have been more effective in approaching the Commission, but the Commission, while not a perfect institution, appears to have made a good deal of progress.
For example, Lois Capps' Congressional #23, the poster child for partisan Gerrymandering will change to include eastern Ventura County, excluding the City of Ventura, and the Counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The new draft honors the community of interest.
While I personally would have preferred the Commission to adopt "nesting" (two Assembly districts = 1 Senate district)as a commitment, at least they didn't reject the policy entirely.
It is fairly obvious from the maps produced that there was a concerted effort to reach out and accomplish an agenda by inclusion and exclusion of parts of various political entities (cities, counties, etc.)
The 1991 Special Masters created a Congressional district that consisted of all of Ventura County plus Carpenteria, less Thousand Oaks. The Commission has failed to adhere to the constitutional mandate of compactness of districts in many areas.
It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out with these new districts and the new primary system with the two highest vote getters in the runoff.
In my opinion, it can't be worse than the Faustian bargain between the Democratic and Republican incumbents foisted upon us in 2001.
One of the greatest conceits of our age is that we can fix inefficient, crooked, lazy, incompetant government by applying more of the same, layer upon layer, ad infinitum. Most of the Federal Government is there to control and administer the rest, which might acually be pretending to do something usefull in the first place.
When a tool becomes over-engineered, it becomes clumsy, heavy, and finally useless. Best to throw it away completely and start from scratch.
Now, where is this reset button Obama keeps talking about?
Since when did you ever think that redistricting would be fair? If you did, then I got a bridge to sell you.