In California, the land of government-by-initiative, more than 30,000 citizens are vying for 14 spots on a commission that will redraw the state's legislative boundaries after the 2010 U.S. Census.
In no-nonsense Iowa, the once-a-decade job is handled capably by three guys and a computer.
In Illinois, as in most states, the new map is drawn by representatives of one
political party whose goal is to stick it to the other. In the process, they stick it to you. Instead of ensuring fair representation and competitive elections, they rig the map to protect incumbents and to guarantee themselves a majority. They win, you lose.
The Illinois Fair Map Amendment attempts to reform the process of redistricting. The trek of this amendment is a microcosm of the political world in Illinois and how our media analyzes it. There's one serious problem with the Fair Map Amendment. It doesn't appear to be constitutional. For an amendment to pass constitutional muster, it must possess a structural and procedural change. A procedural change is a change to the way in which the legislature does business. A structural change is a change to the structure of the legislature. This would change procedure but the change in structure is murky. The Supreme Court has been very tough in looking at the Constitutionality of amendments. Unless an amendment is tight, it will be viewed as unconstitutional.
Yet, both the Tribune and the Sun Times endorsed this amendment without even addressing this issue. If in fact it is deemed unconstitutional, it won't become law.
Furthermore, our manor of choosing new districts is just one of several problems with our government. Yet, the two major newspapers in Chicago have enthusiastically endorsed this amendment without giving it any sort of critical analysis.
Meanwhile, neither has even attempted to analyze the Putback Amendment. That amendment attempts to reform the entire structure of the Illinois legislature. It's far more comprehensive than is the Fair Map and redistricting is just one piece. Yet, if you read both the Tribune and Sun Times only, you wouldn't even know that the Putback Amendment exists.
So, in reality, neither the Sun Times nor the Tribune can effectively verbalize what is really the problem in Illinois beyond buzz words like corruption. They can't be bothered to dig deeply to analyze all options for voters. Without proper media attention, that's what produces corruption and waste. Both we have in Illinois.