Debra J. Saunders

After the needed signatures appeared, all talk of promised redistricting reform disappeared. Nez and Perata had talked about reforming how seats are apportioned to make them more competitive. But once they got what they wanted -- a February primary, a forgiving signature count and a bait-and-switch initiative that could help them hold onto the power -- they dropped even the pretense of cleaning up their act.

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a Republican, notes that all the swells needed now was an underfunded No on 93 campaign. To challenge this "naked power grab," Poizner donated $1.5 million of his own money to defeat 93.

As a believer in redistricting reform, Poizner noted that if legislative leaders get rid of term limits, "they will never in a million years, out of the goodness of their hearts" agree to reforms that would make legislators more accountable to voters.

More Poizner: "If it wasn't for these term limits, they'd be there forever. With gerrymandering, there's no competition left."

Former state Controller Steve Westly, a Democrat, told The Chronicle editorial board Tuesday that he supports redistricting reform "emphatically," but that the need for more experienced lawmakers is so great that he supports Proposition 93. Do "not hold the good hostage for the perfect," Westly said. "This is still good policy."

Sorry. It cannot be good policy to reward a dishonest scheme concocted by otherwise feckless politicians. California is facing a $14 billion budget shortfall. Now Californians are supposed to vote to change the Constitution to keep the same truth-challenged legislators in power longer?

In 1990, voters supported term limits because they wanted to evict arrogant self-serving legislative leaders. A new like-minded crew thinks that they can fool California voters and hang onto power. Why does it seem that the only time Sacramento leaders rush into action is when they choose to mislead

Debra J. Saunders

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