Last Sunday, two competing editorials were published in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing two proposed redistricting bills in California, Proposition 20 and Proposition 27. Both propositions focus on changing the Congressional redistricting process. Proposition 20 would give the task to the Citizen Redistricting Commission, which already draws the lines for the legislative districts. Proposition 27 would have the Legislature do it, but impose public oversight and strict guidelines on the process. The editorials dealing with these propositions took opposite views: Daniel Lowenstein of UCLA supported Proposition 27, saying it would reduce the cost and create equal districts; Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP, argued that Proposition 20 would prevent districts from being drawn for the benefit of politicians. Both disagreed strongly with the claims in the other.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? As is usually the case, the answer is not black and white.