Gerrymandering is a major problem in California. The legislature draws districts to protect incumbents (and the incumbent Democratic majority). Because of this, almost no seats are competitive, which leads to primary voters selecting extremists in both parties who go on to win the general election. This, in turn, leads to a bitterly partisan (and nutty) legislature. As OpinionJournal points out:
California lawmakers are so adept at designing their own districts that of the 153 seats--80 Assembly, 20 state Senate, 53 Congressional--theoretically up for grabs last November, not a single one switched parties.Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a ballot initiative to end gerrymandering, but until yesterday, it looked like the proposition would not be on the ballot due to technicalities and sloppy management by Schwarzenegger's minions. Yesterday, however, the California Supreme Court put it back on the ballot. This initiative could be the most significant and most positive development in California politics in years. You would have to be an idiot or an incumbent legislator to vote against it.