For the last two hours, I've chewed over whether to actually tell you that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission hearing in Nogales was a let down. I'm still undecided.
What it WAS, is a small, quick meeting with only about two dozen members of the public in attendance. Some were from Tucson, at least one from Phoenix and a dozen and a half or so from Sonoita, Patagonia and Nogales.
The last public testimony was finished by 7 pm. Commission vice-chair Herrera oversaw this hearing, as he did in Phoenix last night. Before he struck the gavel to end the meeting, Commissioners McNulty and Stertz, along with Herrera offered thoughtful comments of their own reflecting on the process, the humbling responsibility each has and thanking all members of the public for their input.
All three expressed support for Chairwoman Colleen Mathis. One has to really wonder why conservatives are deaf to what Stertz has clearly and emphatically stated in support, on multiple occasions, for Mathis.
This week's on Horizon, the Journalists Roundtable, featuring the Arizona Republic's Mary Kay Reinhart, the Arizona Business Journal's Mike Sunnucks and Capitol Media Services' Howie Fischer assessed the controversy over Mathis' application and Strategic Telemetry's contract. Howie pointed out that Attorney General Tom Horne said he doesn't know or necessarily even believe anything has been done inappropriately by the AIRC. But clearly, Horne has been getting plenty of complaints.
Tucson Tea Party lawmakers Frank Antenori and Proud Terri have pointed to Horne's statements as giving their concerns legitimacy, even though they are the ones Horne wanted to get off his back by starting the inquiry.
Some people have suggested it is time for me to write more about the specific suggestions people give to the Commission on how they want to see their new districts drawn. Yet just reporting on a sample of suggestions people make will not give readers a fair understanding of the bottom line. However, the politics of the process is far more interesting.
So, until there are maps to analyze, I'll share particularly poignant public comments... or the mendacious and mundane... or any other item that seems otherwise intriguing.
Rather than simply feeding the urge to rubberneck, please consider what you can do to have an impact on redistricting in Arizona. There is plenty to do.
Some can organize a carpool to a hearing. Some can take pictures or write letters to editors. But EVERYONE can stand up, and -- at least -- read a statement you write to tell the Commission what is important to you and WHY.
Think of the Arizona we want. THIS is what we can do in July 2011 to make it happen.