REDISTRICTING IN CALIFORNIA….The big news in California today is that Proposition 77, Arnold’s plan to turn redistricting over to a panel of retired judges, has been pulled from the ballot. It turns out that the backers of the initiative submitted one version of the initiative to the attorney general’s office and then circulated a different version for signatures, and a state judge ruled that this was enough to disqualify the measure.

I wouldn’t normally mention this except for an odd coincidence: on Sunday I was at a conference of conservative bloggers and heard a presentation from Ted Costa, the guy behind Prop 77. I can offer two firsthand observations.

First, Costa is kind of a weird dude. He was dressed in sneakers, robin’s egg blue socks, ratty running shorts, and an old t-shirt about a size too small, and rambled and mumbled his way through a talk that I couldn’t really even follow. It was a peculiar experience.

Second, he sure seemed mighty shifty about the whole thing, even though the room was full of people who fully sympathized with him and supported Prop 77. A couple of people asked for his side of the story, and in response he produced a disjointed tale about submitting the ballot measure to the AG, then making a change, then telling the AG to ignore the change, but the change got in anyway. Or something. I couldn’t really follow it.

How about the actual wording, though? Why weren’t both versions of the initiative up on Costa’s website so that people could compare them to see just how trivial the differences really were? At first Costa said he thought they were on the website, but maybe you had to click a bunch of links to get to them. That didn’t really fly, though, and eventually he said he’d get right on this, and the text would be up by the next day. That doesn’t seem to have happened, although I have to admit that I haven’t scoured the site closely enough to say for sure.

Anyway, the whole thing was passing strange. Costa was talking to a very friendly group, but even so they seemed more than a tad suspicious that he wasn’t more forthcoming about what actually happened. I don’t really know what to make of it all, but I thought I’d pass it along anyway. After all, vaguely remembered original reporting is what the blogosphere is all about, right?

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