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GOV. BLAMES JUDGES FOR LOSS OF REDISTRICTING MEASURE Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he knows why his redistricting initiative lost last year: it was the judges. “I think that what the people have objected to is the idea that judges were involved in the decision-making of redistricting,” Schwarzenegger said last week in his second-ever Webcast, which featured a reporter asking the governor questions submitted by Californians via the Internet. Voters in November soundly defeated Proposition 77, which would have stripped lawmakers of the power to shape the state’s legislative and congressional districts and given it to a panel of retired judges. Voters nixed every other measure on the ballot, too, including Schwarzenegger’s slate of five “reform” proposals. But in the Webcast, the governor wasn’t blaming an angry electorate or his own unpopularity for Prop 77′s defeat. Nope, it was the judges. “I think that what everyone recognized is that it is people that should be involved (in drawing boundaries) because it’s the people that are being affected,” he said. Schwarzenegger said he supports a bill � now languishing in the state Senate � that would create an “independent” apportionment panel comprised of “representative” Californians. What the governor didn’t say was that Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 would still involve judges in the redistricting process. The complex bill would require the Judicial Council to appoint a panel of 10 appellate judges, five of whom must be Democrats, the other five Republicans. That panel would then compile a pool of 50 potential commissioners � 19 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 12 “others” � who reflect “California’s racial, ethnic and cultural diversity.” From that pool, legislative leaders of both parties would choose eight commissioners. Those commissioners, in turn, would choose three colleagues. If the eight commissioners can’t agree, however, back come the appellate judges to fill the remaining three spots with pool nominees. Judges or no judges, SCA 3 faces a tough road ahead. Majority Democrats in the Legislature have shown little interest lately in conceding any gerrymandering power.

- Cheryl Miller

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