Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, November 7, 2011

Redistricting -- what was that I said about BLOODSPORT?

Did any of you imagine, back when I first blogged comparing Arizona's redistricting process with bloodsport that it would actually come to this? Some will say yes, some will say no. Nevertheless it HAS come to this.

Despite the faux righteous indignation displayed by rabid tea partiers and GOP stalwarts, the current conflict over the chairmanship of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, boiled down to its essence, is solely a political battle royal aimed at so confusing Arizonans that it renders them unable to mount any kind of effective "insurrection" against the ruling Junta (Brewer,

Speaking of faux outrage, GOP House Appropriations Chair John Kavanagh was in the middle of the emergency meeting today of the Appellate Courts Commission on Appointments. He reportedly told the panel that vetting for new candidates for chair of the AIRC needed to include investigation of the candidate, his or her family AND people with whom they associate.

An additional dozen or so individuals offered public comment today, most of whom appeared to be reading from the same script. Except that Lynne St. Angelo actually made reference to one candidate having been disqualified last fall because of his religious beliefs. That would have been Republican Christopher Gleason. No, Gleason was NOT disqualified because of his beliefs, but the Center for Arizona Policy promoted that false myth and apparently there are still people repeating it.

Predictably, neither sounded ANY more knowledgeable or sane today than they have any other time they have offered a look at the vacuousness of their talking points.

Lest you think vacuousness is too harsh, consider this:

Noun1.vacuousness - indicative of or marked by mental vacuity and an absence of ideas; "the vacuousness of her face belied her feelings"
a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience.
These are people who refuse to shed their lack of understanding of the process, even though they have appeared at numerous public meetings.  Yes, PUBLIC. The AIRC conducted ALL of its business openly, in public. MORE so than the AIRC did ten years ago. But these are the people who continue to claim that Colleen Mathis rigged bids and made deals in secret. These are the people who claim that the AIRC has been given $10 million to spend, even though they have been shown the actual ($3.5 million) appropriations documents. Others have explained to them the difference between a budget request (by the Department of Administration, which was not involved in redistricting) and authorization to spend (by lawmakers).

So, vacuousness is NOT too harsh of a description.

By the way, Channel 5 (KPHO) aired a clip on the early evening news of one member of the screening panel saying, in no uncertain terms, that examination of applicants' spouses is completely inappropriate.

Arizona Competitive Districts Coalition Republican co-chair Roberta Voss encouraged members of the screening panel to be careful, as many of the comments sounded a lot like McCarthyism.  Again, could this be too harsh of a characterization of what we've heard and read from these people since last spring?

Voss told me this evening that she was shocked by Kavanagh's testimony. He spoke first and told the panel that vetting needed to include investigation of candidate, their families and they people with whom they associate. 

McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.
Among the most obvious of the egregious missteps taken by Arizona's governor and GOP senate supermajority last week was the brazen denial of due process.


The Appellate Courts Commission today opened the process by indicating it will accept applications for Redistricting Commissioner candidates from registered Independent voters through November 15. Review of the applications, interviews in open meeting and voting on who will be put on the list of three names to be forwarded to the four partisan redistricting commissioners, will follow. Tentatively, the screening panel expects to forward a list on December 1st.


Today, the Arizona Capitol Times reported that UNfair Trust (okay, they reported on Fair Trust) registered last month with the Arizona Secretary of State as a lobbying group. The only lobbyist registered as working with/for Fair Trust is David Cantelme.

Cantelme testified before the Joint Committee on Interfering with Independent Redistricting on October 28th. The Secretary of State's website says Fair Trust registered on October 27th.

The Cap Times story lets us know not to expect full disclosure of fundraising or expenditures by the group. Heck, the ONLY lawyer that registered as a lobbyist is Cantelme. Not Tim LaSota or Mike Liburdi, though both of them have lobbied quite a bit at the AIRC.

Liburdi went so far as to tell the Cap Times that they should NOT read anything into the timing of the filing. Does he even listen to himself? He's really NOT a very good liar. Come on, Cantelme registers the day before he testifies before the Joint Committee telling them the US Constitution prohibits anyone except state legislatures from handling Congressional redistricting. We are REALLY not supposed to think there's any significance to the timing of filing with the AZ SOS?

We also "know" it's very likely UNfair Trust has spent money (not only on  billable hours of attorneys Cantelme, Liburdi and LaSota) on the "grassroots effort" (read: astroturf) to provide talking points to all the brilliant tea partiers who have dogged the AIRC for the last four to five months.

Thank Congressmen Schweikert, Quayle, Franks et. al. for their wise efforts to enhance the cause of democracy.

Today, attorney Mel McDonald, representing Russell Pearce and the state senate, filed a response to the motion to stay the Mathis' removal.


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