« PreviousContinue »
volvement, and if you will excuse the expression, treated it as a religious liberty bill, and finally, we got the exemption extended another 4 years. But the only trouble that we ever had representing the heart of the industry is when we run into what we call the southern bloc and the area bloc of California assemblymen. That was one example.
Another, and this is a perennial, and this is one which does lose and is lost in the assembly every time. The representatives of many rural districts of northern California, or more precisely mountainous forest districts, the Redwood areas in my country and the Sierra Nevada area, which have tremendous scenic and recreation potential and have a very large tourist trade, have very heavy installations of State parks. This is fine. We like them and they are good for us to have. But a lot of our land in these northern counties is already off the local tax rolls, mostly because it belongs to the Federal Government. In some northern counties of California, farther north, farther north than I am, something like 10 percent of the land in the entire county is taxable by the county
The State division of beaches and parks and recreation, our resources agency, will move into that area and pick off another 500 acres for another State park now and then. We have in the senate every fear a bill to require that the State pay an in-lieu tax, that the State pay to the county the equivalent of the property tax which the small, relatively impoverished counties lose by reason of this county acquisition. It passes in the senate every year. It is defeated in the assembly every year, because the urban bloc in the assembly, if I may call it that, represents the people, the tourists who travel to the parks and they are not interested in having the State park or State general funds inFaded to permit these northern counties which are the situs of the parks, to recoup what they are losing in property taxes. This is one example where the senate passes it every time and the assembly defeats it every time. Senator BAYH. Do these tourists ever spend any money up there? Senator RATTIGAN. In some places, they do, in some places they do not because there is no place to spend it, unless you spend it in a State park concession, where nobody is participating except the concessionaire, who is under contract to the State. There is just no place else to go. These are in the wild mountainous areas of our far northwest, the areas of Jedediah State Park, Redwood State Park, where they have no tax base to begin with and where there is no local business to speak of which can benefit by the influx of these tourists.
Senator Bays. You would say, as you point out on page 5 of your statement, almost 20 percent of California's farm products are produced in 53 of the State's 58 counties, containing only 40 percent of our population. And 75 percent of our most vital natural resource, water, originates in the far north, where only 5 percent of our people
Is it reasonable to say that, or would you say that urban legislators are so unaware of the value of these natural resources, the farm products and the water, to the well-being of the entire State, and consequently to themselves, that they would vote to destroy this interest?
Senator RATTIGAN. No, I cannot say and I will not say that any member of the California Legislature would knowingly vote to destroy any of these opposite interests. I will say, however, that repre
sentation itself by definition requires a responsiveness and an awareness to the opposite need as well as to the specific need represented, arsi that if the dice all fall in one direction so that the same areas and concentrations of population dominate both houses, inevitably, the areaof minority, in this case agriculture, are going to suffer for want of attention, for want of understanding, for want of essential responsiveness.
There are some specific examples where the northern counties of California, the rural counties, would inevitably suffer, not in ternof destruction but they would suffer. One example is our allocation. of gas tax funds in California from which we construct our freeway complex, the largest in the Nation. We now have 12,000 miles buis out of a projected 20,000. We have a statutory allocation of gas tan funds by which the northern counties receive 55 percent of the funds this is an oversimplification, but this in substance-receive 55 percent of the funds, and the 13 southern counties receive 45 percent of thir funds. Some southern interests deplore this, saying that the most gan tax money should go where the most people are, to which the norther! answer, and we have been through this every year, every session, in that the most gas tax money should go to where the most miles of highway are. It is one thing to talk about the need for 15 miles of freeway in Los Angeles County, it is another to talk in terms of the need for 125 miles of freeway on the same State highway in norther: California. We have this allocation which we think is fair.
Incidentally, I mentioned some southern California interests deplore the present gas tax situation, but many other southern California interests accept it and consider it fair and are willing to leave it alone. It is our thought that if our legislature is apportioned so that the urban counties dominate in both houses, our gas tax allocation formula will be one of the first things to go, because the urban representatives simply cannot resist the demand for freeway and highway improve. ment in their own areas. This inevitably means that the freeway sintem throughout the other approximately 35 nonmetropolitan counties of California, that their highway needs will inevitably be postponed almost to the degree or point of nothing.
It is in specifies like this where an existing system with which we live is likely to be changed in favor of the urban interests. We ir rural California or in less heavily populated California are inevitably going to sufer.
Incidentally, I, personally, do not speak from a sparsely populate area. Mine is exactly in the middle of the 10 senatorial districts of California as presently apportioned. Mine ranges exactly 20th.
Senator IIRUSKI. In population?
Senator RATTIGAN. In population, yes, Senator. So although I look a-kance and with some prospective horror at the prospect of urtxı domination, my county has a few people in it in California terms. 1: might not suffer as bådly as some of the counties in which there app typically less than 50,000 people.
Senator Barn. I appreciate very much your thoughts. This prol lem of the gas tax distribution, I think, is one that those of us who have had a chance to serve in a legislature realize is where the give an take is. I suppose in California, you have to decide whether it is better to try to get 1 mile of fr -- ily which 100,000 people are going
to use or perhaps 100 miles of freeway that 1,000 are going to use, because it will take the same amount of
I thank you for your indulgence.
Senator HRUSKA. Senator Rattigan, I want to thank you for your statement. I think it is one of the most compelling, one of the most dramatic, and one of the most persuasive presentations we have heard. Part of that arises from the nature of your State and its size, but you have certainly marshaled your facts well. I am especially appreciative of the documentation you have made of these various legislative measures which indicate a lack of rural sectionalism being imposed upon the urban areas of your State, notwithstanding the fact that that there is a control of the senate by nonurban communities.
It would seem that the pattern that you have in the house and in the senate has developed a quality of balance. Let me ask you this, Senator Rattigan.
If the rule of Reynolds v. Sims is applied there, would that balance exist anymore?
Senator RATTIGAN. It would disappear immediately, Senator.
Senator HRUSKA. It is one thing, to talk about the will of the majority to be expressed; it is another thing to put entire control in the majority to the exclusion of a voice of any consequence by the minority: is it not?
Senator RATTIGAN. I agree totally, Senator.
Senator HRUSKA. I think one of the most apt quotations in your statement is that of John Adams:
To expect self-denial from men when they have a majority in their favor and (onsequently power to gratify themselves is to dishelieve all history and uni. versal experience. There is, in short, no possible way of defending the minority from the tyranny of the majority but by giving the former a negative on the latter.
Is that not what you have in the senate today in California ? Senator RATTIGAN. Yes, sir; exactly. Senator HRUSKA. Any of the resolution proposals pending before the Senate now for amendment of the Constitution would simply enable the people, to express themselves as to whether they want to perpetuate the system that you have now or whether they want to be governed by the rule in Reynolds v. Sims. It that not the case ?
Senator RATTIGAN. Yes, Senator, and the only important thing is that they be permitted to make their own choice.
Senator HRUSKA. Do you know of any other part of our great Republic, or of any of our great States, that is above the will of the people?
Senator RATTIGAN. None whatever, Senator, and hopefully, this will not happen. There are some examples, deplorable examples in our Nation, where certain segments of our people are not yet permitted the chance to express their free will. But hopefully and necessarily, this, too, shall pass away.
Senator HRUSKA. That is not governed by this amendment, is it? Senator RATTIGAN. It is not. Senator HRuska. It is governed by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and civil rights legislation that has been placed upon the books.
Senator RATTIGAN. Absolutely.
Senator HRUSKA. Whether this goes through or not, that battle is going to have to be fought out. But these resolutions have no bearing upon that?
Senator RATTIGAN. No, sir; that battle will be fought on its own field and will produce its own victory.
Senator HRUSKA. Thank you very much for your splendid appearance here today.
Senator RATTIGAN. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, the question was asked earlier about public interest in California. Could I add one more document, exhibit F, for the record ?
Senator Bayh. Yes, without objection, it will be included in the record.
(The document referred to follows at this point:)
[Times edi als, Feb. 21, 1965)
REAPPORTION MENT: NO TIME TO GIVE UP Finally overcoming its reluctance, the assembly has joined the State senate in petitioning Congress to act on modifying the Supreme Court's harsh legislative reapportionment decision.
A great deal of precious time was lost by assembly footdragging on support of a proposed constitutional amendment restoring the right of States to elect one legislative house on a basis other than population. Approval by Congress and the States of such an amendment is the surest way out of the reapportionmen! dilemma.
California's upper house has been ordered to reapportion itself by July 1 accord. ing to the Court's one-man one-vote decree. Thus far, however, there has been far more argument than action in Sacramento.
But now that the assembly has voted its approval of the reapportionment amendment, the legislators and particularly Governor Brown should begin a determined effort to win congressional approval. California has the second largest delegation in Congress and it can surely make common cause with the many other States hit by the Court ruling.
The amendment introduced by Senator Everett M. Dirksen (Republican of Ili. nois) and supported by the American Bar Association would permit one house of State legislatures to be apportioned “upon the basis of factors other than population" if approved by voters “in accordance with law and with the provisions of this Constitution.”
No reapportionment plan thus could be adopted unless the right to vote was protected and enforced for all citizens. The absence of such protection was a valid basis for the Supreme Court's earlier decisions on legislative reapportionment.
In California, however, the present system was adopted by the vote of the people and endorsed by the people in several subsequent elections. In spite of some disparity in urban representation, the system is basically sound and has served California well, as Chief Justice Earl Warren said so forcefully when he was Governor.
Preservation of that system is worth the fight, worth the efforts of California's Governor, State legislators, and Members of Congress. And the time for an all-out campaign is now.
(From the San Diego Union, Feb. 23, 1965) PUBLIC Must RAISE VOICE: REAPPORTIONMENT STILL THREAT The people of California cannot let the legislature rest its case on apportionment by the passage of one resolution.
A resolution passed by both houses and in conference asks Congress to nullify a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the State senate as well as the assembly to be based on population.
The resolution is good as far as it goes, but raises a mere whisper to Congress instead of the groundswell needed to avert the drastic Supreme Court decision.
Congress and the Supreme Court have both ignored previous pleas of States to reconsider the so-called one-man, one-vote ruling Congress will continue to ignore the pleas unless there is enough public pressure to reach its politically sensitive nerves.
California's stake in continuing the pressure is great. If the Supreme Court's ruling is allowed to stand, a few populous southern counties will control the State senate as well as the assembly.
Representation in the large and economically important northern counties that are sparsely populated would depend on the grace and favor of the urban legislators. State government would be far removed from people of the north.
The people of California have clearly indicated in past years they do not want the State senate elected on a population basis. It is written into the constitution. Six proposals to reapportion the legislature were defeated at the polls since the turn of the century. The last was as recently as 1962.
As then Gov. Earl Warren pointed out in 1948, “Large counties are far more important in the life of our State than their population bears to the entire population of the State. It is for this reason that I have never been in favor of redistricting representation in our Senate on a strictly population basis."
Yet as Chief Justice of the United States he favored the one-man, one-vote ruling that will leave years of bitterness and divisiveness in California. Some already is evident in the proposals to divide California into two States.
The resolution passed by the legislature to seek relief from the Supreme Court derision is a good initial step. Now the campaign must be started on all fronts in earnest and maintained incessantly.
(From the San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 4, 1965)
IT ISN'T So
Justice Arthur Goldberg of the U.S. Supreme Court defended in Washington the other day the Court's recent decision compelling the reapportionment of state senates on a population basis. He said, “For the first time in the country's history, every man's vote is going to have as much weight as the next man's.”
This is not true. It was never true. It was not meant to be true. California has two U.S. Senators and 18 million population. Nevada has two U.S. Senators and 300,000 population. The vote of a single Nevada citizen weighs as much in the l'.S. Senate as the votes of 60 Californians.
That is the Federal system, prescribed for the U.S. Senate in the Constitution. It was also, in a modified and very successful way, the system followed in California's State senate until the Court interfered.
[From the Bakersfield Californian, Feb. 23, 1965)
A nationwide effort to enlist public support for a proposed constitutional amendment affirming the right of States to determine their own legislative organization and apportionment has been undertaken by the California Legislature. !! is a project that earns the commendation of all Californians and certainly bonld receive the prompt and unqualified support from the citizens of all States. 1! is one that concerns their most fundamental right.
Having approved a Senate Joint Resolution favoring the passage of such an amendment, the California Legislature is requesting those of the 49 other States to take similar action and asking the support of the California delegation in Congress. It is also seeking to arouse a popular movement among the citizens In the amendment by appealing directly to each legislator in the Nation.
Voting these moves, Senator Walter Stiern of Kern County has observed that California's historic method of legislative apportionment “has been upheld in four statewide elections, and significantly, voters in our dense population centers by would have gained additional senators in such a readjustment balloted lxavils to preserve present senate district boundaries which the Court's deci