Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Redistricting -- Even a dog can shake hands

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Ex. Dir. Ray Bladine told me he took a call today from a reporter who said, jokingly, "I didn't know that Terry Goddard (former Arizona Attorney General) was working for the commission now!" Bladine retorted, "I didn't know until yesterday that Christian Palmer was working for [current Arizona AG] Tom Horne!"

The verbal jabs (playful nudges, really) stem from Saturday's op-ed in the Arizona Republic calling for Horne to end his partisan harassment of the AIRC, and Palmer's lame attempt to deligitimize Goddard's op-ed.

By the way, the headline/title for today's post comes from a Warren Zevon song, chosen because at last Thursday's AIRC meeting in Casa Grande, Palmer refused to either shake hands with me or even engage in small talk. It makes me wonder if he takes himself too seriously.


Tomorrow's AIRC meeting in the Pharmacy Board's conference room (third floor, of the State Capitol's Executive Tower) is still scheduled and will convene at 1:30pm.

The next meeting afterward is tentatively scheduled for 1:30pm Friday.  The likely location is in Tempe.  The commission expects at that time to resume discussion on mapping issues.


Last night, I watched the recording of this week's Sunday Square Off, which airs on Sunday mornings on Channel 12 in Phoenix. In the third segment, the panel -- which included Democratic Diva blogger Donna Greathouse, Chris Herstam and Nathan Sproul associate Brian Murray, lead by Brahm Resnik -- discussed the AIRC, its progress and the controversies raised by the tea party and other insecure GOP interests.

Murray, whether by accident or intentionally, wrongly stated that AIRC chair Colleen Mathis had previously worked for a liberal member of the Arizona Legislature.  Chances are that he was wanting to recite the tired tea party talking point about Mathis' husband Chris having done campaign accounting work for Nancy Young Wright in 2010.

Murray went on to make several other claims about the AIRC that, for anyone who has been following the commission this year, are obviously outrageous.  For example, he characterized the pace of the mapping, and the goal to be finished by the end of October, as Mathis trying to have maps drawn before anyone takes the opportunity to understand what the maps will mean.  But nobody challenged Murray on his claims.

The only thing Murray said that seemed to have any connection to reality is his belief that drawing districts favorable to Democrats (since nobody but Republicans has articulated this objective, presumably Murray meant to say "competitive districts") can only be accomplished by giving Hispanic voters and other minorities the shaft, so to speak.

His claim is not necessarily true, but to work out something that could approach a win/win for minorities while maximizing competition will take more effort.  This is simply, in my view, the latest GOP talking point trying to divide its opposition.  Murray's bio (linked above) does say he oversees all print and electronic media messaging for Sproul's propaganda machine.


  1. Hi Steve! First of all, thanks for being our go-to guy for the FACTS during this time. I am concerned about the competitive districts thing. I have several Latino politician friends that say they want to run on their platform, not the color of their skin. They feel that if they cannot represent the views of the general constituency in their areas, then they probably wouldn't get elected. I'm wondering if we should not feel the same way about redistricting. Don't you feel that we would be better off and have a better chance of advancing a progressive agenda if we kept the districts competitive?

  2. @jonkolton,

    Your question seems to assume that compliance with the Voting Rights Act precludes competitive districts. I do not subscribe to that view.

    I believe I've addressed the need for competitive districts already. Thanks for the question. :)