[EM] California Dreamin', Take 2

Brian Olson bql at bolson.org
Sun Aug 29 00:45:03 PDT 2004

On Aug 27, 2004, at 6:54 PM, Dave Ketchum wrote:

> On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 23:17:59 -0400 James Green-Armytage wrote:
>> Dear Ernie,
>> 	My personal opinion is that bicameralism is unnecessarily bulky for a
>> state legislature. So rather than re-conceptualizing the relationship
>> between the two chambers, I'd rather just condense it into a single
>> chamber. I think that people have enough trouble keeping track of 
>> what is
>> happening in state government as it is, and I think that having two
>> separate chambers makes this problem twice as bad.
> I like bicameral - and 49 of 50 states seem to agree.  Does our one 
> odd state feel they are better or worse?

My justification for bicameral is that there should be one 
geographical-representation body and one ideological-representation 
body. That is, one districted and one at-large proportional 

I think there's still value in having a local district representative 
who is more likely to be available to _you_, the local constituent.

For a representative to CA state legislature, say 1 rep per 50,000 
people for districted and 1 per 500,000 for PR. With 30,000,000 people 
that makes one body of 60 and one of 600. Both "manageable" sizes.

> As to gerrymandering:

Computer Science being the favorite hammer in my tool box, I feel like 
there ought to be a nice simple geometric rule that could be programmed 
up and you plug in the census data and out pops unbiased districts. 
(Alternately, and actively put into practice in some states (TX), given 
the voter registration databases with party information, out pops 
party-optimized districts.)

Hey, what if representation was based not on census but based on 
registered voters. That be some incentive to register, eh?

What if it went a step further and was based on voter turn out? (That 
could only be workable for PR, districts have to be worked out in 
advance.) What if PR was such that any 200,000 votes elected a 
candidate? That number would have to be tuned based on expected turn 
out, and desired size of legislative body.

Brian Olson

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