Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, September 9, 2011

Redistricting -- the plot thickens

Starting its meeting just after 3pm today in Tucson, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission met for nearly five hours, and accomplished little except adding to the open discussion/deliberation time over adjustments to Congressional and legislative Grid Maps. The AIRC made no decisions today on where to put lines for DRAFT maps.

Yet, more drama occurred after the commission went into executive session for an update from legal counsel on the Attorney General investigation. Earlier in the day, AG Tom Horne released transcripts of depositions given by Commissioners Freeman and Stertz.  

Generally, the Call to the Public is handled after every agenda item except for the update from counsel.  Tonight was no different, so everyone had gone home except commissioners and staff. Therefore, the only others observing were in front of their computers for the live streaming video.

Mathis called for a motion to approve what they had discussed in executive session. McNulty and Herrera moved and seconded -- to authorize the AIRC to pay for legal counsel to represent Mathis, Herrera and McNulty individually in the legal action Horne filed in court this week. In discussion on the motion, Freeman expressed his regret that the situation has gotten to where it has.

Just as the stress of the verbal attacks made by the bus loads of tea partiers in Tucson at the end of June showed on his face and in his voice, it was clear, not simply by the words he chose, that he genuinely does feel that regret. He also said he supports the three members who are now under the gun, and that he would not oppose the motion. But he decided to abstain from voting anyway. Stertz, on the other hand, simply said that he would abstain from voting on the motion.

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At the beginning of today's meeting, Mathis wanted to take up the agenda items that had been tabled from the Thursday's meeting. However, Mary O'Grady advised that if the items in question were not on today's agenda, they could not be addressed today. If, instead, last night's meeting had been recessed until today, rather than adjourning, they could have resumed addressing the yesterday's agenda.

Therefore, at 4:50pm today, a second agenda for Monday (in Casa Grande) was posted to take up the matter of disclosure of outside contacts with commissioners and staff.  What this means is that the matter cannot be addressed by the commission before 4:50pm on Monday, to fulfill the 48 hour notice requirement. Sunday's do not count for calculating that time frame.

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Reflecting on Horne's performance on Horizon on Wednesday, and what I've been able to glean from his filings and press releases thus far, it seems to me that Horne protested too much when questioned by Ted Simons.  Horne, with a straight face, claimed he was not doing this for political purposes.  However, he personally attended the deposition interviews given by Freeman and Stertz.  If he's busy running his agency and making major agency decisions, why is he personally involved in those interviews.

Any claim he makes that his motives are pure are complete baloney.

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On Saturday morning, I will be speaking to San Tan Valley Democrats about redistricting at 9:30am.  Location is the SRP building, about a mile west of Ironwood on Combs Rd.  Combs is about five miles south of US 60.

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