The Costa Proposal
People's Advocate CEO Ted Costa, with the support of House Republican Caucus leader Bill Thomas, filed a combination paycut and districting plan called "Let The People Decide", which qualified for the March 2000 primary as Proposition 24. The California Supreme Court ruled that the proposal unconstitutionally offered two different measures and struck it from the ballot. Costa has since refiled two separate proposals, one of which proposes a "Special Masters with Vote" districting plan, aimed at the November 2000 ballot.
The Fair Vote 2K Coalition had supported Proposition 24 on the March primary ballot as a worthy backup to the districting proposed by Fair Vote 2K for the November 2000 ballot. However, the Costa-B plan has many deficiencies, both politically and practically.
FV2K is on schedule. Our circulation period was planned to optimize the time frame. We will have the full 150-day period, ending May 27th. The split Costa plan won't get started for another 60 days and will lose that entire period because of the May 30th "drop dead" timetable to qualify for the November ballot.
FV2K is different. The Costa plan, even with a ballot vote, is still the old "Special Masters" proposal that has been defeated several times by large margins in California. The "techie" character of FV2K gives it a special appeal in the state (especially silicon valley), which has
embraced computers and the internet like no other.
FV2K is simple. Unlike the Costa plan, which carries all the burdens of appointments, public hearings and a ballot vote, the FV2K program can be run on a personal computer within hours. It prohibits any consideration of registration, voting history, race, sex or national
origin. Compactness and population are simple concepts that any voter can appreciate.
It's nonpartisan. The public perception of "sour grapes" and "special interests" are avoided. "The same old story" doesn't apply.
FV2K is non-partisan. We have as many Dem and minor party supporters as Republicans.
The Costa plan, even if it passes, will result in a purely partisan battle on the final districting. No voter will comprehend the process or the result, leaving the contest purely to partisan lines. The Democrats will win that vote in California, even if the Costa plan is adopted.
FV2K is immediate. The FV2K districting can occur within days of receiving the Census Bureau reports, facilitating campaign planning and analysis for the coming year. "Special Masters" appointments and hearings could drag on for a year. The ballot vote won't occur
until 2002, which will be conducted at the same time as the election of legislators under the new Special Masters map. If the proposed plan fails at the ballot box, no one will know who was elected to which seat.
FV2K is cheap. The districting process of 1990-1992 probably cost California taxpayers tens of millons of dollars in legislative and judicial expenses. Even the Legislative Counsel says Fair Vote 2K will cost, at most, a few tens of thousand of dollars. We dispute that, since tens of millions would be saved and the proponents were able to program the districting proceedure from free census data at a cost of under $100!
The Peoples Advocate and Ted Costa are well intentioned and their districting plan is certainly better than the legalized gerrymandering that would otherwise occur. However, the prospects for qualifying, the confusing elements of the proposal, the partisan character of the effort, the reputation of having been declared unconstitutional earlier and the likely partisan vote on the resulting plan all make the Fair Vote 2K plan the only reasonable option.