A pajarito sent me a tip this week that MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected Officials) are opposing Proposition 11 in California because they are playing personal politics. Apparently, one of the authors of the bill, which would take the ability to redistrict out of the hands of the state legislature and instead give it to a citizens’ commission, worked for MALDEF at one point and was fired. MALDEF actually has supported efforts to make redistricting less political and transferred to the hands of independent citizens before in a variety of lawsuits, but now the organization has decided to side with the Sacramento establishment.
The Democratic Party in Sacramento, along with the NAACP, the Mexican American Political Association, and some other ethnic rights groups (including MALDEF and NALEO) are against Proposition 11 because they feel that the citizens commission would not accurately represent the ethnic diversity in the state. However, I think it comes down to these organizations being comfortable with the status quo and the existing ethnic leadership in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
The San Francisco Chronicle has some good information about Proposition 11. There is broad bi-partisan support for this initiative with backers including Governor Schwarzenegger, former Governor Davis, the AARP, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and the ACLU. The state legislature in California has problems producing a budget on time in most years; I certainly don’t see the need to reward them with the ability to draw legislative districts yet again.