Chris Bell calls for ethical renewal, to include redistricting reformSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Chris Bell calls for ethical renewal, to include redistricting reform

16 April 2005 at 10:21:43 AM

Chris Bell, we remember, launched an ethics complaint against Tom DeLay, which was quashed by a Republican controlled ethics committee eager to paint over Mr. DeLays problems. Mr. Bell was redistricted out of his seat by the shenanigans of the Republicans in Texas. In the article referenced here, he calls for voters to have a seat at the table, making legislators more responsive to them, by calling for redistricting reform in Texas.

In California, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed letting an independent panel of retired judges draw districts that protect the voters' influence rather than the interests of incumbents. He has a point, and he's not the only one to identify redistricting reform as the top ethics issue in the country right now.

In addition to California, Common Cause reports that redistricting reform campaigns are under way in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

But here in Texas, the very people enjoying the spoils of Tom DeLay's redistricting efforts — Gov. Rick Perry and Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick — are squelching any chance of reform. Led by Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio and Democratic Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin, members of both parties are pushing the idea of creating a bipartisan redistricting commission. It's one of those ideas that most everyone likes except Perry, Craddick and DeLay. So far, despite bipartisan support, these bills can't even get a hearing.

Our leaders should be chosen in a fair fight in November elections. Voters should have at least as much influence over who gets into the Congress as sports writers have in deciding whether Mark McGwire gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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