Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, September 12, 2011

Redistricting -- wish I knew -- UPDATED

Since the agenda for today's meeting of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is essentially the same as it has been for the previous several meetings, I suspect the commission is making slow progress on decisions for adjustments to grid maps.

The reason "I suspect" it is because I decided to stay home and watch online -- but the online streaming video is not working today. Drat!

The second meeting for today, to discuss and take action on whether commissioners will have to disclose their telephone records/contacts with people seeking to influence them on district line decisions, was cancelled. Tentatively, that will be added to the agenda for Thursday's meeting which they expect to conduct at the Heard Museum near Downtown Phoenix.

Meanwhile, AIRC staff is also working on arrangements for the three commissioners subject to AG Horne's investigative demand to have legal representation. Each will have an attorney separate from counsel currently representing the commission itself.

Since my last post, I've read some of the depositions Horne released in his Trial By Media strategy on Friday. Horne has claimed that his investigation was "not a fishing expedition" and not a partisan witchhunt. Both of those claims are dubious, at best. From Texas Lawyer:
Parties often cite the 1989 Texas Supreme Court case Loftin v. Martin with their "fishing expedition" objections. In Loftin , three document requests were at issue, one of which drew a fishing expedition argument: "all notes, records, memoranda, documents and communications made [to support your allegations]." The court noted that the request was so vague, ambiguous and overbroad that it did not identify any particular class or type of documents but rather a request to peruse everything in its adversary's files.
This, of course, describes incredibly well the public records requests that Andy Biggs and Proud Terri, members of our illustrious Arizona Legislature previously had sent to the AIRC. However, Texas Lawyer isn't talking about public records or FOIA requests. Tom Horne, on the other hand, in his investigative demands, and in the transcripts of the interviews with Freeman and Stertz, did reveal he was on a fishing expedition.

Horne and his asst AG Mark Wilson, posed to both of them the question, "is there anything else I should have asked you that is relevant..." to this investigation. That question, in and of itself, and the answers the two commissioners offered, are tremendously illuminating. Freeman, being a lawyer, seemed to know better than to offer to expand the scope of the questioning.

Stertz, on the other hand, apparently wanting the opportunity to advance his own personal agenda, offered his editorial comments on the whole matter in reply.  In doing so, Stertz showed a remarkable lack of humility which may also be illustrative of his brand of Christianity. From his deposition:

I believe that giving everybody a clear and precise and concise understanding of what is right and what is wrong is part of what my personal DNA has evolved to over my life. And when I get concerned about how certain things become -- instead of being result oriented become -- the determination is made prior to, I get concerned, and that's not what the intent of this commission was. 
I don't think that that's -- what the crafters had written in 1999 when this was put together. I don't believe that that's what the State of Arizona voted on, and I don't -- so from my perspective as we move forward, it is incumbent upon this commission to become as clear and as transparent and as participatory and as fair knowing that there is no way that somebody isn't going to like the outcome of our work product, but at least if everybody doesn't -- doesn't like it then the job that we did was fair. 
Evangelicals often say that they view Christianity not as a religion, but rather as a relationship.
Christianity is not really a religion; it is a relationship with God. It is trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross for you (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), not on what you can do for yourself (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christianity is not about ornate buildings, flamboyant preachers, or traditional rituals. Christianity is about truly accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Okay, it's not about ornate buildings. But is Christianity about anointing followers of Christ as the arbiters of what is Right and Wrong in the world and in politics in Arizona? I'm not so sure.

Borrowing another phrase from contemporary Christianity, "What would Jesus do?"

I recall a couple of references in the Gospels (and elsewhere in the New Testament) about Jesus dealing with political questions. On taxes?  Render unto Ceasar, right? Check out Matthew 22:15-21. What about social services and good works?  Check out James 1:22-27.

What about what Jesus had to say about judging others?

1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.   3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Rick Stertz was very candid about his views and his ideas in his deposition with Tom Horne. Could Jesus have been talking to people just like Stertz?

Last week, after learning that the Arizona Democratic Party had filed a complaint with the Atty Gen and with two county attorneys, Stertz was stoic and had considerably less to say about those complaints.  Might Rick Stertz be in position for the kind of moment King David had when confronted in the Old Testament by the prophet Nathan? Check out II Samuel 12.
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Christians, of course, sometimes feel persecuted for asserting their faith. In the first century after Christ, they literally WERE persecuted. I can't say how Rick Stertz views the things he's having to deal with now, but it is obvious he is facing some pressure situations. Perhaps he might reflect on I Peter 2:19-20:
For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 
I'm confident that every one of us humans actually do judge others, myself included. But am I so full of hubris as to declare that I am the final arbiter of Right and Wrong?



I learned this morning that during yesterday's meeting in Casa Grande, the AIRC revisited the vote from Friday night on authorization to pay for individual legal counsel for Mathis, McNulty and Herrera. Freeman decided to vote in favor of the motion and apparently Stertz followed suit, so to speak. That changes the authorization to a 5-0 vote instead of 3-0 (as previously, Freeman and Stertz had abstained).

I haven't spoken with either Republican commissioner since the meeting yesterday, so I am not able to offer any insight on Freeman's change of heart. I do know that Capitol reporters Mary Jo Pitzl and Howie Fischer on Friday, during Horizon's Journalists' Roundtable, gave Horne some harsh criticism for the investigation.

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