The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission met today just after 4pm to begin adjusting the draft maps in preparation for submitting them to the Department of Justice for preclearance. Four commissioners (Freeman still out because of yesterday's birth of his son), barely two dozen members of the public (at the highest point, most of the time less than 20), and one reporter (other than this blogger) attended.
The process will prove to be again very tedious as they talk about the goals and objectives for considering changes to Congressional and legislative district lines. A discussion that seemed to take forever (remember how much fun it is to watch paint dry?) finally got "drilled down" to the primary goal of making sure the proposed Voting Rights districts (both Majority-Minority and Coalition districts) are solid, but not over-packed.
Stertz was less contentious today but still had his moments. Linda McNulty proposed several approaches for Strategic Telemetry to make changes to Congressional districts from the draft map, including to keep Cochise County whole; try to make CD 1 geographically smaller; put Fountain Hills with CD6 (the Phoenix metro area, as opposed to the western Arizona rural CD); and consolidating Sedona and Oak Creek into the same CD. But Stertz took issue with giving this homework to the mapping consultant. He threatened to stonewall, saying at least twice that he also had a laundry list of changes he wanted to see made to each of the draft maps but it would take at least a couple of hours to go through them.
After both Herrera and McNulty indicated that Stertz would be welcome to go through his list of recommended changes tomorrow or another day, he acquiesced. Tomorrow, we will see what the changed (working) maps (based on changes proposed today) and the prospective demographics will be.
The most important point is that McNulty said she proposed small changes that would address major points that had come up in the second round hearings.
I should have a list of proposed meeting days and times for the next couple of weeks sometime on Thursday. I will try to post them as soon as I have them, though locations will still have to be worked out by AIRC staff.
Only a few members of the public offered comments today during the Call to the Public. No tea partiers or hostile GOP activists had anything to say today.