State Treasurer Bill Lockyer became the first statewide elected Democrat to endorse Proposition 11 on Wednesday, saying through an aide that the power for state lawmakers to draw their own districts "presents an untenable conflict of interest."
Lockyer provided his positions on the Nov. 4 ballot measures at the request of Capitol Alert.
Tom Dresslar, a Lockyer spokesman, said the state treasurer, former attorney general and former state lawmaker believes that "the current redistricting system is not the cause of all evil in Sacramento and Prop. 11 is far from the cure all for everything that ails state government."
"That said," Dresslar continued, "allowing the Legislature to set its own district boundaries presents an untenable conflict of interest, and on that principle he supports Prop. 11."
Opponents of Proposition 11, led by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, have argued that the measure is a Republican power grab. (Except when they tell Republicans it is a Democratic power grab).
GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is supporting the remapping plan, is the measure's largest donor and has tapped his vast fundraising network to pass the proposition.
But the support of Lockyer, a Democrat, helps to undercut the GOP power grab argument.
"He would never support a reapportionment reform that resulted in a power grab by any political party or that presented a danger of reduced minority representation," said Dresslar.
Many minority and civil rights groups have express fears that the measure could dilute their representation. My colleague Jim Sanders had more on that earlier this week.
The endorsement from Lockyer does not come as a total surprise. In an interview in July, the treasurer said he was "in favor of the concept" of Proposition 11, but hadn't fully studied the measure.