Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, August 22, 2011

Redistricting -- ambitious agendas

As I write this, Strategic Telemetry is presenting map options it was instructed to develop last week. Out of thirteen agenda items, thus far, the AIRC has addressed five and are on the sixth item, not necessarily taken in order.  At the beginning of the (after lunch) public session started at 2pm, Mathis announced the meeting would have to end by 3:40pm due to schedule conflicts for one or more commissioners.

This morning, former DOJ attorney Bruce Adelson presented for more than an hour on the subject of the preclearance process. He discussed what will be required to meet the AIRC burden to prove that the maps neither intend nor result in retrogression. Retrogression, that is, in the ability of minorities to elect the representatives of their choosing.

At a recess, Adelson showed me a letter DOJ sent to the 2001 AIRC. The letter indicates DOJ issued the (extremely rare) finding that they actually intended to discriminate against Hispanic voters in (the originally proposed) LD23.  This evening, I will update the blog to provide a copy of the letter and will highlight the significant language.

The AIRC also affirmed the contract with Strategic Telemetry, though Bladine presented transcript excerpts from prior meetings which show unambiguously that he had the authority to execute the contract. I will also post, in tonight's update, the transcript excerpts.

Also, revisiting an item initially addressed last Wednesday, they considered amending changes they made to the contract with Strategic Telemetry.  To address (tea party) concerns about its political work, the commission decided to require ST to keep a log of contacts it has with anyone related to its Arizona project.  At that meeting, I posed, during public testimony, that I felt it inappropriate to include media inquiries because that can form the basis for harassment of one or more media outlets.

Freeman and Stertz objected to excluding the press, especially bloggers from this requirement.  Kanefield had his law firm do some research on the subject, but McNulty presented questions outside the scope of the research he had available. The matter was tabled pending further research, but ST, in the meantime, must keep that log, including when this blogger contacts anyone with that firm.

Looks like the public session will wrap very shortly as they intend to go into executive session to receive legal advice related to the AG investigation.

Mary Rose Wilcox, Richard Elias speaking but will go long so they want to be on Thursday's agenda... Bladine is working on setting up the next meeting for Thursday, probably in Casa Grande.

Since they will be going into executive session, I will have to shut down my computer quickly to resume this evening.

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