Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, November 4, 2011

Redistricting -- Scottsdale hearing

Since it was basically in my back yard, I headed over to the Granite Reef Senior Center Thursday evening for the 6pm Public Outreach Hearing. The room was filled to overflowing. Rick Stertz, the only commissioner in attendance, presided.

Stertz announced that more people attended this night than at any of the other hearings. Nobody announced a number, but since round tables filled the room, it may have seemed like more people than actually attended.  However, more than 90 people signed up to speak. Before the meeting adjourned at roughly 9:20pm, 77 people had testified. Many denounced the GOP power grab. Some denounced the commission.

Toward the beginning, state Rep. John Kavanagh was given a turn. He immediately launched into an angry rant, repeating the faux righteous indignation script we've heard so many times over the last two weeks, with a passion that would do any New Yorker proud. Kavanaugh seems to have incentive to rant and rave and obscure the debate against fair and competitive redistricting.  Besides having been a New York and New Jersey police officer for 20 years, he currently chairs the Appropriations Committee in the Arizona House of Representatives, and has a track record of twisting the truth, that is, if he even approaches it.

Though I did not take my computer to the hearing, I did tweet. I made the mistake of tweeting that Kavanagh could not have made a bigger ass of himself. Several people corrected me. One said, "I don't think you give the man credit. I'm sure he has the potential to become a very epic ass."

I stand corrected.

The hypocrisy of those expressing indignation at the AIRC and the draft maps was astounding. Not much different from the tired scripts (and talking points) that had been read by people at earlier hearings. From outrage that the Constitutional criteria of compactness and contiguousness were disregarded in favor of competitiveness, to violent crimes against humanity, er rather "splitting up" communities of interest. Okay, saying "violent crimes against humanity" was hyperbole. But really, much of what they said was also hyperbolic.

The dichotomy however was obvious between those on the Right and those on the Left. However, the debate was not over abortion rights, law and order, entitlements, immigration, or even economic development. Instead, it was over whether Yuma has anything in common with Avondale; or should neighbors on a street in Fountain Hills be in two different Congressional districts; or whether people in Bisbee (on the southern border) have anything in common with those living in Page (on the northern border).

On the other hand, the people outraged with Brewer (and her overthrow of the AIRC) focused largely on the voice of voters, disenfranchisement and the overall big picture. Even the people discontented with having been in a Voting Rights district favoring Democratic voters and representation over the last decade reflected on the fact that more competitive districts would make for better representation in the state legislature. And I would agree. So would the most confident and competent of ethnic legislators.


I had heard Mary O'Grady expected to file the supplemental briefs in the AIRC special action in the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn removal of Colleen Mathis from the commission yesterday. However, I received no confirmation. I will post the documents to the blog as soon as possible.


  1. To characterize my calm testimony as an "angry rant" (Rant: to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner. 2. : to scold vehemently. transitive verb. : to utter in a bombastic declamatory fashion) is an intentional falsehood.

    To tweet that I made an "ass" of myself and then up the ante to "epic ass" in your blog is nothing more than an ignorant ad hominen attack.

    Personally, I thought you and your blog were better than that.

    State Rep. John Kavanagh

  2. You weren't listening to yourself John. YOU were intentionally telling lies. YOUR entire characterization of the situation last night was WAY off the mark and very much out of order.

    You were told, as was everyone else, what the subject of comments should have been. Instead of addressing the maps, you just threw verbal assaults on the integrity of citizen volunteers.

    And yes, according to the definition you provided (without disclosing your source), your testimony was given in a bombastic declaratory fashion. You did last night, as your comment here also carries the same tone, "to scold vehemently."

    I gave you too much credit, as one person corrected me. You have shown that you can make an epic ass of yourself.

    At some point, if I am able to obtain a clip of your testimony, I would be happy to post it to the blog. It will clearly demonstrate that my characterization was not an ad hominem attack.

    Perhaps your tallness and years on as a cop in NY and NJ have provided you with inadequate experience having to moderate your behavior. However, I also believe your appearance earlier this week on Horizon demonstrated that you are quite adept at verbal attack.

    Thanks for your feedback. :)

  3. Btw, John, in order for my comment characterizing you as an ass or an epic ass to be an ad hominem attack, it would have to have been used (by me) as a way to negate the truth of a claim you made. I did not do that.

    Instead, I pointed out the inappropriateness of your testimony separately and directly. I do not believe your testimony deserves the dignity of being quoted here. You do not represent the majority of Arizonans and I do believe your testimony was among the most inappropriate and offensive given last night.

    If you don't like wearing that characterization, perhaps you should more judiciously choose your words next time.