From the San Antonio Express-News editorial page, I see that Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth from San Antonio is going to once again try to reform the way redistricting works in Texas. Yes, he is a Republican. Yes, much to my disappointment, he went along with DeLay's slimy re-redistricting back in 2003. But yes, he appears to still want to do redistricting the right way.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, will carry legislation again this year to create a bipartisan redistricting commission that would wrest from the Legislature the power of redrawing political lines.
Wentworth has introduced a similar constitutional amendment in every legislative session since 1993. This year, however, he can count on an unexpected ally: The Terminator.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a similar measure in his state. Like Wentworth, he faces legislative opposition from Democrats and fellow Republicans, with members of both parties reluctant to give up the power of the gerrymander
I was wondering what bloggers more experienced with the ins and outs of Texas politics thought about this. Via Technorati, I only found a couple of posts on this topic:
Kevin Whited at PubliusTX, who I am not very familiar with but who calls himself a conservative, doesn't like the idea. But based on his argument, I'm not sure he recognizes the flaws with the current system. He remarks that if voters don't like how legislators redistrict by gerrymander, then the voters should kick them out. This neglects the heart of the problem, which is that gerrymandering allows legislators to choose their own voters, not vice versa. With the gerrymandering system becoming more and more precise, the voters' alleged "power to hold elected officials accountable" is rapidly becoming a myth.
Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff likes the idea, but rolls his eyes, in this post from January 31:
There's a reason things like this are called "quixotic". The Republican leadership didn't spend six months in 2003 carrying Tom DeLay's water so that Jeff Wentworth could undo it all.
That was my initial reaction as well, but given Schwarzenegger's new initiative in California, and the relatively strong interest around the country in reforming redistricting, the dynamic may well be different this year. Or at least it has the potential to be if those of us who care make a stink about it.
Greg Wythe appears to have a similar opinion, although he has said very little about the fight in Texas.
While it almost certainly won't happen this year, perhaps we can build some momentum behind the effort to help make it a reality not too far down the road. We certainly won't win this effort by giving up without even trying. Are we in this for the long term or not?