Berry: All California is Not Alike

In 1966 the November ballot had a measure that if passed would make the California legislature full time.  Later in life Gov. Reagan said it was one of his worst decisions in politics to support it.  Once passed we created a permanent political class in Sacramento.  Texas has a legislature that meets for a few weeks each year and if an emergency occurs.  They have no income tax..we are taxed till we leave the State.

“But then came Reynolds vs. Sims in 1964, which declared that both houses of bicameral state legislatures had to be apportioned on a population basis.  Now the U.S. Supreme Court, lead by Chief Justice Earl Warren (formerly Governor of California) took a bold leap in setting precedent in what is justiciable as opposed to what is none of the Courts’ business.

Thus with Reynolds vs. Sims smaller state jurisdictions lost their level playing field in state upper houses, contributing to a sharp turn towards liberalism.  In the case of California, for example, farmers found themselves competing with environmentalists bent on diverting copious amounts of water to fish.”

In combination, “one man one vote” and the full time legislature is a recipe for out of control government.  We have failed government schools, government theft of water from farmers, a homeless crisis caused by government policies.  That is the result of these two polices—and more.

All California is Not Alike

Marcy Berry, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views  2/26/20

By all accounts, California is a Blue state.  However, in his introduction of President Donald Trump at a rally in Bakersfield February 19, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy emphatically said, “All California is not alike.” Indeed it is not.

The situation in California is akin to that of the country – residents in populous coastal areas lean liberal; those in more sparsely-populated inland areas lean conservative. 

At the Federal level, though, inland residents have equal say to coastal residents via the U.S. Senate, where representatives do not reflect population numbers. At the state level, there is no such protection, since state legislatures are solely based on population.  This type of proportional representation dictates that preferences of liberal coastal residents come before the needs of inland residents.

Prior to 1964, states that wished to offer residents a compromise between population numbers and the differing needs of their counties or townships had legislatures similar to the Federal legislature, a lower chamber based on population and an upper chamber with an equal number of representatives from each jurisdiction.  California prior to 1964 was among those states.

Problems began to crop up when states stopped bothering to redistrict to account for significant population shifts that occurred in the 1940s – 1960s.  In the 1960s, reformers took advantage of the Civil Rights movement and an activist Supreme Court to implement one-person-one-vote rules. 

In 1962 Baker vs. Carr declared state Assemblies needed to accurately reflect population; that is redistricting needed to take place regularly to account for population shifts.  Although, Baker vs. Carr extended the power of federal courts in state affairs, it did not go much beyond what states were supposed to do but didn’t. 

But then came Reynolds vs. Sims in 1964, which declared that both houses of bicameral state legislatures had to be apportioned on a population basis.  Now the U.S. Supreme Court, lead by Chief Justice Earl Warren (formerly Governor of California) took a bold leap in setting precedent in what is justiciable as opposed to what is none of the Courts’ business.

Thus with Reynolds vs. Sims smaller state jurisdictions lost their level playing field in state upper houses, contributing to a sharp turn towards liberalism.  In the case of California, for example, farmers found themselves competing with environmentalists bent on diverting copious amounts of water to fish.

Speakers at the February 19 visit to Bakersfield by President Trump spoke passionately about their water-starved farms struggling for survival.  They appeared ecstatic that they were able to obtain some federal promise of assistance.  President Trump did sign a Memorandum changing the way water is allocated to environmental needs from a rigid formula to monitoring the real-time needs of the natural environment. 

Equally concerned are residents of California’s northern counties.  Some have gone so far as to plan for secession and creation of a “State of Jefferson.”  These residents specifically object to their lack of representation, and aim to reverse what they see as the damage to representation wrought by Reynolds vs. Sims.  They do not have friendly words for the Warren Court.  Here is what their website says,

“Earl Warren was a Governor of California and the States Attorney General for a while. President Eisenhower appointed Warren to the Court. Later Ike was to call Warren, ‘the worst damn fool mistake I ever made.’ Warren was a devout progressive. Warren believed the Constitution of the United States of America was a ‘Living Document’, and therefore putty in the Courts hands to be remade in Warren’s image.”

Earl Warren dismissed the differing needs of counties and townships.  He lumped everyone in one pile in his declaration in Reynolds vs. Sims:

“Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests. As long as ours is a representative form of government, and our legislatures are those instruments of government elected directly by and directly representative of the people, the right to elect legislators in a free and unimpaired fashion is a bedrock of our political system.”

Our Founding Fathers addressed that “bedrock” in the Great Compromise of 1787.  They recognized that small states would not be adequately represented under a system solely based on proportional representation.  That’s why the U.S. Constitution calls for a Senate that equally represents all states.

The Founders were silent on whether the Great Compromise of 1787 applied to individual states (as they should have been).  But one might guess that the Founders would view the Warren Court and Reynolds vs. Sims with a jaundiced eye.

California’s coastal liberal block is formidable.  Reversing Reynolds vs. Sims is a laudable long shot, especially since liberal majorities are eyeing the opposite route of eliminating the Electoral College.  Farming is not easy, in spite of what some presidential candidates say.

Given such challenges, residents of the less populated, more conservative counties are at present left with the choice of graciously living with California liberal values or working very, very hard to be heard.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. John Steele says

    That was a major FUBAR folks. Here in OR, they passed a ,measure years ago to give the legislature a short session in-between the two year session to clean up any finances. Now, they are using it to try to jam Carbon taxes on us… The Repubs are a minority, but they need them to have a quorum.. They ..LEFT the state to deny them a quorum. The carbon tax dies today as they can’t be found and Gov Katie the leftist crackpot gov has issued subpoenas to the state police to find them…. They can’t be found. They did this last year also.

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