Thursday, October 6, 2011

Redistricting: No Breaks for You

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM

If you're on Congressman Raul Grijalva's constituency e-mail list chances are you received a message from him yesterday regarding the Independent Redistricting Commission making needed changes to the map before approving it Monday.

The changes came after the Commission received word from hundreds of Southern Arizona residents not so pleased with the idea of going from two to one congressional representative. Grijalva said that inundating the committee the last few days with comments, along with the letter by Pima County Superintendent Richard Elias on behalf of the Hispanic Coalition for Good Governing, worked:

The Independent Redistricting Committee made significant changes in their proposed maps in response to the hue and cry of disenfranchised people from Southern Arizona over the past 72 hours. It was great to hear so many voices expressing their desire for two congressional districts to be centered here in Southern Arizona. Southern Arizona's Progressive voice will be heard through the next redistricting cycle, especially if some additional minor changes are addressed. This new map is not perfect, nor does it retain all of our communities of interest, but it shifted back significantly close into alignment with the maps proposed the Hispanic Coalition for Good Government (HCGG).

The Independent Redistricting Commission passed the final draft for their proposed congressional maps, incorporating significant changes after hearing from the public over the last 72 hours. New maps and data are now available on their website. We encourage you to contact Malena Barajas, outreach coordinator for Hispanics for good government, for future alerts on public hearings in our area over the next 30 days. We also encourage you to refer to the Commission's website and HCGG for the schedule of upcoming hearings and information about how you can stay involved.

Here is a copy of the HCGG letter:

HCGG_9-30-11.pdf

So, guessing from Grijalva's message everyone who sent comments to the IRC regarding the donut map and disenfranchising Tucson can take a break and relax, right? Well, no.

I recommend reading The Arizona Eagletarian's latest post accusing a tea bagger of interfering by sending a complaint to Tom Horne to help further a claim made Monday by Pima County Republican Party member Benny White that the vote Monday on the latest draft map violated the Open Meeting Law:

Since last night's post, I have learned that a tea party regular at Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission meetings has sent an email complaint to Atty Gen Horne hoping to get some traction on a claim made Monday by Tucson Republican Benny White that Monday's vote on the Congressional Draft map constituted an Open Meeting Law violation.

White had been on the short list of Republican AIRC commissioner candidates (but Pearce refused to appoint him). He specifically said (prior to the vote) that it would be a violation, suggesting the map on which they were to vote had not been subject to public review prior to that day. AIRC counsel O'Grady told me she believed that not to be a valid legal argument, since Monday's agenda specified that a vote could be taken.

At minimum, this is likely to give Horne, who finds attacking the AIRC more important than running his agency, more fodder for trying the case in the media and before partisan political groups. Remember that Horne spoke last month to a Scottsdale GOP group shortly after filing his lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court. Horne also personally appeared at the hearing before Judge Fink on Monday. Really, how unusual is it that a state AG would be personally trying a case on potential Open Meeting Law violations?

Continue to file your comments to the IRC here and you can go here to see the draft map.

Beginning Oct. 11 the map will make its way to a series of public meetings throughout the state before the IRC sends it on to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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