Letter: Outcome of redistricting predictable

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The Sept. 28 editorial, “Wild (Good) ideas,” justifiably praised state Sen. Joe Zarelli’s suggestions about the state’s budgetary problems. In the middle of the editorial was a gratuitous plug for the Washington State Redistricting Commission and a snipe at reformers for demanding outcomes of “driven-snow purity immune to all political influences.”

On Oct. 2, The Columbian offered a thoughtful piece by an AP writer, Charles Babington, “Congress designed for dysfunction.” He says: “The parties have driven all but a few centrists from their ranks. House districts are ever more sharply liberal or conservative because both parties collude in gerrymandering to protect incumbents.” This is exactly the outcome which the Washington law establishing the redistricting commission sets up.

The only way to agreement is for two representatives of each party to reach an agreement that at least three of them can support. The predictable outcome is the kind of collusion to protect incumbents that Babington mentions. There is no independent voice. Our elections could be made more competitive if we didn’t turn over drawing district lines to the parties.

Our system is the redistricting equivalent of the closed primary, which The Columbian very appropriately opposed. The Columbian should stop lobbying for our system of redistricting.

John Milem

Vancouver