The Arizona Daily Star reports this morning that Senate President Russell Pearce appointed Tucson Republican Richard Stertz to the Independent Redistricting Commission.
This after reports (here and here also) surfaced detailing numerous omissions on Stertz' application.
Speculation surfaced in December that Stertz and fellow applicant Christopher Gleason, both of whom cited involvement with the Tucson faith-based nonprofit Vision 360 when applying to become commissioners, had close ties to Tea Party GOP Congressional candidate Jesse Kelly.
In its story on Tuesday, the Daily Star reported that Stertz "is not seeking to serve on the commission to draw friendly lines for Jesse Kelly, who ran in Congressional District 8 against U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last year. Kelly has a joint Saturday morning radio show with him. Kelly also volunteered to record a public service announcement for his company, Vision 360, earlier this year.
"Stertz, who is a voter in Congressional District 7, said he only got to know Kelly last year. He said they share a conservative ideology, and he finds Kelly a "nice young man," but they've only done one show together."
Pearce is on record, on camera, on numerous occasions lately rationalizing his viewpoints on immigration, the US Constitution (particularly the 14th amendment), on lax firearms laws, and on setting aside any and all laws that do not suit him at any given moment.
It should therefore surprise no one that Russell Pearce has no shame and despite several, very blatant red flags in Stertz' background, would appoint a manipulative partisan who is equally able to minimize and otherwise rationalize away his deception by omission.
Alas, this is not the end of the story. Two more commissioners must still be appointed to the IRC, one by Senate Minority Leader David Schapira and then the first four commissioners will get together at Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office to choose the fifth commissioner, who will become the chairman, presumably an Independent.
However, the question remains as to whether anyone will initiate a court action (lawsuit) seeking to remove Stertz based on the material omissions in his application.
Eventually (probably sometime in March) the IRC will hire staff, including attorneys and demographic consultants, will receive official US Census data, and will begin holding hearings to compile input/suggestions from Arizona citizens on how to draw the Congressional and legislative districts for use until the year 2022.