Governor Schwarzengger says California needs to redraw its legislative and congressional districts next year to break the hold of what he calls the political elite.
But a key Democratic lawmaker, Assemblyman Tom Umberg of Anaheim, calls the governor´s plan a Republican power grab. Schwarzenegger is pushing a constitutional amendment that would take the power to draw legislative and congressional districts away from the Legislature and turn it over to a panel of retired judges that would produce new districts for the 2006 elections.
He´s threatened to call a special election later this year to enact his plan if it´s rejected by the Democrat-dominated Legislature. Schwarzenegger says current districts were drawn to maintain the partisan lineups that existed in the Legislature and congressional delegation following the 2000 federal census and few of them are competitive.