Saving Democracy in California
Jude Wanniski
July 5, 2005


Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, “democrats”
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: An Update From Bill Mundell

Back on April 6 the “Memo on the Margin” was devoted to “California Democracy, Soviet Style,” explaining how the redistricting process has become so corrupt in the nation’s most populous state that in the last year’s congressional and legislative elections not one seat changed hands!! Democrats and Republicans have finally figured out how to use modern technology to gerrymander voting districts so carefully that they will know the outcome of the election before the people go to vote. Instead of the people picking the representatives, the representatives pick the people. This is becoming true throughout the United States, the result of which is the gridlock and contentiousness we see in Congress. The moderates are driven out of legislative bodies, moderates who are supposed to be able to resolve differences that exist among the electorate in order to get a workable consensus.

The exciting news was that Arnold Schwarzenegger last year did win the governorship by running as a reformer. This year, it became obvious to him that the Democratic Legislature in Sacramento made it clear that it had no interest in the desperately needed fiscal reforms that have caused economic crisis in California. They did not have to work with him to solve the problems because they knew their seats were safe. And he’s had almost as much trouble with the GOP minority.

In that April 6 memo, we reported that Bill Mundell, a Southern California entrepreneur who runs a software company and the son of Bob Mundell, the supply-side 1999 Nobel Laureate in economics, had his fill of Soviet-style democracy and joined with Arnold to get behind an initiative that would take upset the back-room deal-making process and restore democracy to the state. We’ve been watching from a distance and cheering Bill’s progress and now hear that after collecting almost a million signatures and qualifying for the ballot in November, the initiative is likely to pass. The legislators, horrified that their power play will be broken, are now talking “compromise” with Schwarzenegger, with a deal that would put off redistricting until 2010 or beyond. Having come this far, we of course hope the Governor spurns the offer and goes ahead with the vote. I append here a link to an interview Bill gave several weeks back on the status of the initiative and the forces that are fighting it. It's pretty exciting stuff, I think. As a bonus, you get a photo of the handsome fellow, who looks like he may be leaving the business world for the political universe! He tells me for sure he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2006, for the seat now held by Diane Feinstein. How nice it would be to have a Mundell in the Senate!! And beyond!!!