Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Redistricting -- What part of INDEPENDENT does Brewer not understand? UPDATED 11pm MST

Today, Governor Brewer sent the following letter to Commissioners Freeman, Herrera, McNulty and Stertz:
With regard to the draft legislative map, I would note that the proposal falls short when it
comes to ensuring geographic compactness of districts and respect for communities of
interest. Unless the Commission can justify significant detriment to these criteria, it needs to make substantial revisions. Specifically: 
- LD 1 stretches from urban Tucson through rural areas of Graham and Cochise counties.
- LD 6 includes parts of four counties.
- LD 7 is twice the size ofthe largest current district, and includes disparate populations from six separate counties and the Navajo Reservation.
- LD 14 divides Yavapai County and reaches all the Way south into the Phoenix metro area. 
As one further example, the draft legislative map divides my home city of Glendale into five separate districts. In theory, that promises more representation more political power to a single community. But it can have the opposite effect if those districts include just a sliver of the community, with the bulk of the constituents living outside city limits. In that instance, a community’s political representation is effectively “watered down.” 
A full and fresh review of the draft legislative map should be undertaken. Public confidence in the work to date has been undermined by various decisions and activities taken under the previous chairwoman, some of which I have enumerated in earlier correspondence. That confidence cannot be restored without a straightforward and transparent effort toward an honest, non-partisan process of the sort voters envisioned when they supported Proposition 106. 
The Constitution provides clear directives and objectives for redistricting. Against all partisan and individual agendas and manipulations, these are the neutral principles to which all those entrusted to carry out this process must adhere. 
I am, for the record, in favor of competitive legislative districts, in exactly the Way the law supports such favor: “to the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored Where [doing so] would create no signíñcant detriment to the other goals.” 
I urge the Commission to renew its efforts to meet in public to draw a constitutionally-sound map in which the mandates of law are honored, and in which the public may place its confldence.

Can this woman have any more gall than she has already displayed? Is she failing to heed the very lesson of this week's recall election? Several times over the last week or so, I can recall news stories citing the expression "doubling down." That seems to be what Brewer is doing here.

The Arizona Constitution specifically provides that the state legislature is authorized to make recommendations to the Commission on how the draft maps should be adopted or changed. However, there is NO SUCH language providing for the governor to do the same. Therefore, it would seem that her input should receive no more consideration than any other citizen of Arizona.

Brewer seems to believe she has the same role a judicial officer would when telling parties to a civil action to go back and fix the maps. She has NO SUCH authority.

This should stir Arizonans on all sides of the political spectrum to be very concerned about the role to which this governor believes she is entitled.


Several court filings have been made today in both Tom Horne's witch hunt and in the Supreme Court Special Action. I will include those in a separate post shortly. But on the particular subject of the constitutionality of the draft maps and Brewer's blatant, brazen continued effort to interfere in the process, a 10-page report released today by the Grand Canyon Institute contradicts Brewer's outrageous claims.

After careful analysis, we conclude that the IRC properly evaluated the six factors when it created the draft map. The draft map complies with the U.S. Constitution, and the IRC used considerable measures to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The IRC also properly considered the other four factors outlined in the Arizona Constitution...
Governor Brewer and the State Senate did not have a reasonable basis to remove Commissioner Mathis on  the grounds she engaged in "gross misconduct" because the IRC failed to consider the factors outlined by the Arizona Constitution. We believe that the improper removal does substantial harm to the independence of the redistricting process.

UPDATE -- 11pm MST

THE reason Brewer worded this letter as she did is because she retained Lisa Hauser to represent her on the issue of redistricting. One has to expect that Hauser must have been aching to get her two cents worth in on this year's maps somehow. Remember that when she interviewed last spring for the contract that eventually was given to Ballard Spahr, she told the AIRC how they could minimize competitive districts.

So, this language is very much Lisa Hauser's voice:
Unless the Commission can justify significant detriment to these criteria, it needs to make substantial revisions
But what Hauser apparently FAILED to tell Janice is that neither one of them has the authority to either require or to intimidate the Commission into balancing the six criteria the way Hauser believes they should. That's what having five commissioners deliberating in open session is all about.

1 comment:

  1. Steven,

    We have to remember that in the eyes of the ultra-conservative Republicans in this state, "independent" means you follow the ultra-conservative line or else you are a Democratic plant. The UCRs don't value independence, they only value blind obedience.