L.A. Area Chamber

      TUESDAY | April 22, 2008




Coming up
at the Chamber

TUE | April 23
Land Use, Construction & Housing Committee Meeting

THU | April 24
Executive for a Day

THU | April 24
HIRE LA 18-24 Business Engagement Meeting

THU | April 24
Transportation & Goods Movement Committee Meeting

THU | April 24
Energy, Water & Environment Committee Meeting

TUE | April 29
Economic Outlook Briefing

TUE | April 29
Education & Workforce Development Committee Meeting

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit

350 S. Bixel St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 tel
213.580.7511 fax


Last week, outgoing Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez said he was committed to placing his own redistricting reform initiative on the ballot rather than join the bipartisan coalition that is just weeks away from qualifying the California Voters FIRST Act for the November election. We call on Speaker Núñez to join the California Voters FIRST effort and help us make history through this landmark voter empowerment effort.

Since 2005, Speaker Núñez and other state lawmakers in leadership positions have repeatedly promised to end the inherent conflict of interest in which legislators redraw their own districts following each census. It’s a ludicrous system for a democracy – the lawmakers choose their voters rather than the other way around. Californians have suffered under this unfair system through gerrymandered districts that protect the extreme ends of our political parties and promote partisanship on both sides of the political aisle. It leaves those in the political middle – where most Californians reside – out of the process.

Despite having more than three years to build a reform-minded coalition and write his own measure, Speaker Núñez is now proposing a legislative solution to the problem. We applaud his decision to support reform. But the California Voters FIRST Act is poised to accomplish what the Legislature has been unwilling or unable to do itself. We invite Speaker Núñez to join our growing chorus to pass the Voters FIRST Act in November.

Opponents of the initiative – often the same people who are politically threatened by ending this conflict of interest – are calling it a partisan power grab. Some on the right claim that it’s a Democratic effort to maintain the status quo because Congressional districts are not included. Some on the left label it a Republican ruse to gain more seats in the Legislature or incorrectly claim that it will disenfranchise Latino opportunities for elected office. One only needs to read the actual initiative or take a look at the political diversity in this reform coalition to see that these claims are blatantly untrue. When both sides of the establishment are crying foul, we know we’re doing something right.

In reality, the California Voters FIRST Act is the most multi-partisan initiative effort in recent memory. It is supported by Common Cause of California, the League of Women Voters, AARP and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The list of supporters is growing and represents our state’s broad political spectrum including leading Democrat, Republican and Independent-minded organizations. All of whom have united together to develop an initiative that returns a fundamental good government function back to the people.

The act ensures that the 14-member bi-partisan Citizens Commission would strictly adhere to the Voting Rights Act when re-drawing legislative districts. The commission's work would be subject to strict public scrutiny through an open hearing process unlike the closed-door, backroom deals that led to the current district maps. Most importantly, the commission will reflect the diverse political and ethnic fabric of California by finally placing the interests of voters ahead of political parties or incumbents.

We encourage Speaker Núñez and other legislative leaders to join our coalition to make redistricting reform happen this November.

Together, we can make a difference in the future of California. 

And that’s The Business Perspective. 

Gary L. Toebben
President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

The Business Perspective is a weekly opinion piece by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.


by Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

L.A. Business

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Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.580.7500 | fax: 213.580.7511 | info@lachamber.com | www.lachamber.com

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