national opinion

Monday Column
Carol Platt Liebau

[go to Liebau index]

Latest Column:
Stopping the Meltdown
What Beltway Republicans Need To Do

Subscribe to CRO Alerts
Sign up for a weekly notice of CRO content updates.

Jon Fleischman’s
The premier source for
California political news

Michael Ramirez

editorial cartoon

Do your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
Donate Today

CRO Talk Radio
Contributor Sites
Laura Ingraham

Hugh Hewitt
Eric Hogue
Sharon Hughes
Frank Pastore
[Radio Home]

















Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

Louisiana Politics? No Thanks
Keep out of the 62 swamp...
[Ray Haynes] 8/24/04

I visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the spring of 2000 to help a friend of mine who worked in the Louisiana legislature. Louisiana is a beautiful state, and its capitol building is amazing. Built in 1929, it is an example of the Art Deco architecture that dominated the period, and, in that respect, is unique in this country. The building even has a shrine where Huey Long, the “Kingfish,” was shot.

During my tour of the capitol, I met a number of legislators, and I was struck by one fact. My friend, himself a Louisiana legislator, described the political scandal with which each of them was associated, and almost all of them were associated with some scandal. In fact, while I was there, the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner was facing a federal trial for selling insurance licenses, and Governor Edwin Edwards, elected just three years earlier was on trial for taking bribes from Eddie DeBartolo (of San Francisco 49ers fame) to get a license for a casino in New Orleans (Edwards was convicted).

In fact, everyone in Louisiana knew that Edwards was a crook. He had been in three separate federal trials for bribery during his previous time as Governor, but, in the general election for Governor in 1997, Edwards faced David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan in Louisiana. The voters were faced with the choice of a crook or a racist in that election, and they chose the crook. The Louisiana primary system, which elevates the top two vote getters to the general election, regardless of party, had selected these two nuts to be the choices the voters faced in November.

Now, here in California, some “reformers” want to import this system to California, through Proposition 62, as if we didn’t have enough trouble already. These folks claim that our current system is insufficient—that, when you vote in your primary to choose the person you want to represent you in the general election, you don’t know what you are doing. So—they want to use the Louisiana-style primary (which Louisiana stole from France) to choose the top two vote getters in the primary elections, regardless of party registration, to go to the general election.

In France, this system made sure that the unpopular Jacques Chirac faced a racist in his last re-election and assured him his re-election. In Louisiana, it assured that Edwin Edwards, the crook, faced David Duke, the racist. This is reform? This will make sure that “centrists” are elected to the Legislature and to Congress? I don’t think so.

What it will do is force every candidate to run two full elections, making fundraising, already the source of serious ethical concerns, a full time effort for every legislator. It will also tell people that it doesn’t matter what party to which they belong, their vote in their party primary won’t count. Furthermore, it means that instead of primary candidates competing for the right to challenge the opposing party in November, the November election will largely be a rematch of the frontrunners from the primary. I don’t know about you but for me the only thing more painful than watching the November elections from the past few years in California would be having to watch them twice!

I didn’t become a Republican because I like elephants more than I like donkeys. I became a Republican because I believe in freedom, free markets, and family. Proposition 62 will say that I can’t have like-minded people to represent my party in the general election. It will make the Libertarian, Green, Reform, and other smaller parties with interesting ideas even more irrelevant, because they will never get to the general election. Finally, if Louisiana is any indication, it will not reform the system, since the David Dukes and Edwin Edwards of the world still get elected there, more often there than here in California. You may do what you want on this matter, but I thought it important for you to know the real facts about a fake reform.

If we’re serious about making elections meaningful in California, we need to take away the ability of legislators to draw their own safe districts. We need to put reapportionment into the hands of non-partisan judges – or even a computer – that would be prohibited from considering party registration and required to consider keeping communities of interest together, instead of dividing cities and neighborhoods for personal political gain. That is what will make races more competitive and force more politicians to actually listen to the concerns of their voters in their district again. CRO


Blue Collar -  120x90
120x90 Jan 06 Brand
Free Trial Static 02
ActionGear 120*60
Free Trial Static 01
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2003-2005