They just don’t care

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! When the Public Policy Institute of California asked the state’s voters what they thought about plans to water down term limits for state legislators, only 29 percent were in support. But when PPIC asked voters what they thought of taking away legislators’ power to draw their own districts, more than twice as many, 64 percent, were in favor. So which proposal do you think is getting all the energy and effort in Sacramento — redistricting, which voters overwhelmingly support, or the anti-term limits plan that voters vehemently oppose? The answer is sad but predictable: The pols are working on the measure that suits them, even if everyone else hates it. The plan to undermine term limits by letting pols stay longer in a single house of the Legislature — that way they won’t have to earn a new job — has been made a top priority. State leaders even rushed to move the 2008 presidential primary up to February, in large part so they could put their anti-term-limits measure on the same early ballot, thus giving them plenty of time to file for re-election should the measure pass. Not only that, the pols sicced some of their most special of special interests — the California Teachers Association and the California Chamber of Commerce — on the job of collecting the signatures to put the measure on the ballot. These interests will shell out some $2.5 million to curry favor with the politicians — favor that is sure to cost taxpayers plenty. At the same time, there’s little effort under way to put redistricting on the ballot. Worse yet, members of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation have threatened their counterparts in the Legislature that they will campaign against redistricting should it also apply to congressional seats. After all, that could jeopardize their careers, as well as Nancy Pelosi’s speakership. All of which suggests that, like last year, the pols will probably wait until the last possible minute, then let the redistricting idea die on some technicality. It’s easy to see why: Pols like undoing term limits because it expands their power. They hate fair redistricting because it undermines their power. Their self-serving ways have a wickedly corrosive effect on state politics. According to the Secretary of State’s office, since 2005, the number of eligible voters has increased by more than 300,000, but the numbered of registered voters has dropped nearly 1 million. Far fewer bother to vote at all. Bottom line: Californians are tuning out politics because they’re fed up with unresponsive politicians. But that doesn’t bother the Legislature’s leaders. For them, power matters greatly — unlike the public’s opinion, which couldn’t matter less.last_img