Commentary: Schwarzenegger deserves credit for Prop. 11

This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

One of the ironies of Arnold Schwarzenegger's time as governor of California is how he has failed to do some seemingly simple things – like balance the state budget – while at the same time tackling some of the most complex and arcane issues in government.

Early in his first term, Schwarzenegger built public support for fixing flaws in the workers compensation system, the obscure insurance program for people injured on the job. Later, he led a campaign for massive new investment in the state's crumbling infrastructure. And he came within a few votes of passing a top-to-bottom overhaul of the health care industry in an effort to expand access to care for the uninsured.

Now the governor seems set to add one more item to that list. The final votes are still being counted, but Californians appear to have passed Proposition 11, which creates an independent commission to redraw political district boundaries every 10 years after the U.S. census. While the campaign was a group effort, Schwarzenegger deserves credit for focusing on this issue in his first run for governor, then sticking with it until the public finally understood what was at stake.

To people who follow politics closely, this was an easy call. It is a fundamental conflict of interest for legislators to draw the lines for the districts in which they and their fellow politicians will run for office.

Using voter databases, election results and other data, lawmakers have been able to draw lines that make it easy to predict results years in advance.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.