California Redistricting Reform Looks Like Winner, Despite $15 Million Spent by Opposition

You can tell much about a measure by its opponents.  In California, with its almost yearly crop of ballot propositions, this is especially true. 

Proposition 77, the redistricting reform initiative backed by Governor Schwarzenegger, Common Cause (a liberal group), and the California Republican Party is looking like it may pass over major financial opposition of a number of interesting people and groups.

There are three committees specifically opposed to Prop. 77 and a fourth that’s opposed to four of the initiatives backed by the Governor.  Together, they have raised $14.8 million to counter the $8 million raised by the Governor’s allies. 

Who are these people and groups opposed to having competitive and fair legislative and congressional districts? 

One of “No on 77” committees has raised $7,915,500 so far, the bulk of it, $4,250,000, coming from Hollywood’s Stephen Bing, the wealthy scion of wealthy scions described by Mother Jones magazine as, “A notorious playboy.”

Bernard L. Schwartz also opposes Prop. 77.  Schwartz is the former CEO of Loral Space, a company that was fined $20 million by the State Department in 2002 for teaching the Communist Chinese how to build more accurate nuclear missiles.  Schwartz gave about $4 million to Democrats and 527s opposed to President Bush over the past two years, so we should be relieved that he only shelled out $25,000 against Prop. 77.

As expected, California’s state Democrat politicians are opposing Prop. 77, with $480,000 chipped in so far.

Congressional Democrats from all over America are rushing to the fight against Prop. 77 too, with 33 separate checks totaling $151,000 from politicians who must really care about California such as, Murtha of Pennsylvania, Hooley of Oregon, Green, Reyes, Hinojosa and Johnson of Texas, Nadler of New York, Inslee of Washington, Obey of Wisconsin, Clay of Missouri, Tierney of Massachusetts, Berry and Ross of Arkansas, Sabo of Minnesota, Davis of Tennessee, Chandler of Kentucky, Stupak of Michigan, Cramer of Alabama, Schakowsky of Illinois, and Larson of Connecticut.  With this unbroken list of liberals in opposition to Prop. 77, it kind of makes one wonder what the heck California Republican Congressman John Doolittle was thinking when he joined this liberal wrecking crew in opposition to Prop. 77. 

Trial attorneys are also busy opposing Prop. 77.  The Association Of Trial Lawyers Of America wrote a $200,000 check with more than 30 slip and fall firms throwing in another $300,000 for good measure.

Labor unions are also weighing in against Prop. 77, with almost $1 million so far.

In spite of all this spending against Prop. 77, opinion polls show the initiative may win.  And, a Prop. 77 victory combined with a win for Prop 75, the public sector union “Paycheck Protection” measure will provide a foundation to completely remake California politics and reform state government.