To the editor:
Virginians have many excellent ways to obtain more information about the constitutional amendment to end partisan gerrymandering that will be on the ballot this fall. The best sources for understanding the amendment and its attendant enabling legislation can be found in the nonpartisan information that OneVirginia2021, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have to offer, inasmuch as all three are supporters of the amendment and helped craft it.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of certain local legislators. Take my own delegate, Mark Levine, for example.
I often agree with Levine’s progressive policies, but his recent rhetoric opposing the amendment concerns me as many of his claims are simply untrue. Among other distortions, he has taken to describing the bipartisan referendum as the “Republican plan.” This claim has no basis in fact.
It was conceived by good governance groups and introduced and supported by Democrats – chiefly senators George Barker, Dick Saslaw and Alexandria’s Adam Ebbin.
Levine argues that making the Virginia Supreme Court the arbiter of potential disputes renders the amendment a de facto Republican gerrymander. In assuming the political corruption of the Court – which nonetheless retains jurisdiction under the present system – he shows a partisan’s contempt for the rule of law.
As a by-product, he suggests that former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Tim Kaine, Congressman Don Beyer and every senator in Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus, among many others who publicly support the amendment, have fallen victim to or are participating in a Republican conspiracy.
This is arrant nonsense. Voters should not be distracted.
By any objective measure, this amendment is a vast improvement over our current broken redistricting system. It will establish a citizen-led commission in a process open to public view. We cannot let this historic opportunity pass us by.
Virginians should support the redistricting amendment.
-Bruce Falk, Alexandria