[E]ven Democratic lawmakers are pledging to strip themselves of their redistricting power. Very few politicians still are arguing that the Legislature should keep drawing its own maps.
Well, now it's next year and, gee, the Democrats are somehow unable to agree on a redistricting reform plan! Skelton tells us that unless they are offered the "sweetener" of weakened term limits, "it's not likely that Assembly Democrats will surrender the right to shape their own districts. "
"It's very difficult for members to give up any power," notes [reformer Alan] Lowenthal, who argued fruitlessly for his proposal at a Senate Democratic caucus just before legislators adjourned for a five-week vacation.
Here's a question: Is Skelton such a fool that he actually believed the Democrats would pass a redistricting reform once they'd defeated Schwarzenegger's? Or was he swayed by a not-so-subtle not-so-subconscious anti-Schwarzenegger bias--perhaps a desire to deny the governor a victory, or to see him humbled, or to please layoff-prone LAT bosses who might entertain those anti-Arnold impulses? Either way, doesn't Skelton owe his readers an apology for his pathetically bad judgment and advice? Any idiot (e.g. me, and Kos) could see at the time that Prop. 77 was probably the best shot Californians would have to end safe-seat gerrymandering for many years.
7/14 Update: Schwarzenegger now publicly advocates a weaker term-limit/redistricting reform combo. I don't quite see how it helps the semi-popular cause of redistricting reform to add to it an even less popular anti-term-limit cause. But Schwarzenegger has been forced to appease Democratic legislators who've reneged on their anti-gerrymandering pledge. ... 1:35 A.M. link
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The Plano Con is back. Once again a leftish movie is claiming "red-state" embrace simply because it's doing good business at a metroplex in what one kf reader calls a
"ritzy, upscale, SUV-choked, conspicuous-consumption-driven Dallas exurb populated by more east-coast 'expatriates' than native Texans."
Last year it was Brokeback Mountain'sproducers, via Frank Rich [$], successfully using the bogus Plano example. This year it's the promoters of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. S.F. Chronicle'sgullible Joe Garofoli reports (in an article headlined "Gore movie is reaching the red states too") that Truth is getting "off-the-chart audience recommendations in conservative bastions like Plano." The film's pleasing of Plano allegedly shows it's is reaching what its director Davis Guggenheim calls "that guy driving a pickup who is a little bit skeptical of what global warming is about." Don't believe it. ... P.S.: Not only is Plano not alll that much of a "conservative bastion"**[see Update below]--and certainly not the good-ol'-boy cow town its characterful name conjures for clueless coastal types--but movies playing there typically draw "liberals travelling from around the metro region, not conservatives from the immediate vicinity," notes alert reader T.M. ... [Emphasis added]
**--Here's T.M.'s description of Plano: "Plano is no more conservative than Sunnyvale or Palo Alto; it's a typical 21c American metropolitan suburban mongrel (10% Asian, 10% hispanic) that comprises newcomers from a wide variety of backgrounds and income groups. There are subdivisions with million-dollar McMansions, others between $300-450k. It isn't redneck by any stretch, or old-money Replublican. ... Plano's character, if it has one, is defined by a) white-collar managers at corporate headquarters of bland retail and technology firms (EDS, JC Penney, Frito Lay etc) and b) families obsessed with outstanding schools for their kids".
Update--I Am Curious, Plano: Numerous readers email to note Plano's very Republican voting record-- Collin County, less than half of which is Plano, went 71% for Bush in 2004. It's definitely a Bush bastion. It's less clear to me that it's a "conservative" bastion if by that you mean social conservative (gay marriage, school prayer, abortion, etc.). Nor does it seem to be a "pickup" truck, chewin' tobacco bastion in the classic sense. More of a Bobo Boomburg. Either way, the use of Plano to demonstrate red state outreach is still a PR-man's con because, as mentioned, the Angelika Film Center, where the Gore movie is showing, draws from the entire Dallas metro area. It's an art house featuring standard art house films--such as (currently) "Keeping Up with the Steins" and "Wassup Rockers." If a film does well there that says no more about any subversive appeal to conservatives than if the film sold out the NuArt in West L.A.. Or the Angelika Film Center on Houston St. in Manhattan, for that matter.