Yes, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission met this evening. But no, it did not make any changes to map lines. First, let me address a question that a couple of readers posed after last night when neither Republican member showed up. The natural question was whether Freeman and Stertz were boycotting the remaining proceedings. Tonight, Freeman called in and remained in telephone conference mode until adjournment. So, the answer is, no, the Republicans are not boycotting.
The Call to the Public was held at the beginning of the meeting. Two state lawmakers showed up to make requests. State Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D-LD27) presented a letter from the Tucson Mountain Association wanting certain district lines changed. Yeah, I wondered why she would do that too. I understand she was disappointed about being drawn out of a Democratic leaning district for the 2012 election. But she also had said she owns a home in a different (more Democratic leaning) district that she intends to move into. So, it was puzzling that she would appear and actually look like she expected the AIRC to grant her request.
After taking some time to consider those changes as well as discussing the potential adjustments McNulty asked Strategic Telemetry to work up last night (change reports available in the section labeled LD improve VR LD8), they decided to not make any tweaks to the maps.
Also during the Call to the Public, Rep. Karen Fann (R-LD1) again made a plea for changing district numbers. After discussion, McNulty made a motion (Herrera seconded) to swap the legislative district numbers to make the Prescott area LD 1 and the district in the far southeast corner of the state LD 14. No change was made to the numbering for any of the Congressional districts.
Because technical changes to deal with split precincts for several counties have yet to be made, and because two of those counties have not yet provided the information to make those adjustments, the maps could not be completed this evening. Strategic Telemetry was instructed to contact those two counties and give them a deadline of the end of the day tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan 11). Corrections will then be made and a meeting of the Commission called to approve the maps either Friday morning (Jan 13) or next week.
Before the meeting, I sat with Ken Strasma for a few minutes to review the racially polarized voting report and graphs. I will write more about that information in a day or two. However, the fact that they made no changes is a statement about the results of the racial analysis.
This evening, Ray Bladine presented projected budget information. His worksheets will be posted on the AIRC website tomorrow. I will also have more to write about the letter Andy Tobin sent to JLBC requesting information on AIRC expenditures. Initially, the letter appears to have a little bit of inflammatory language but there really is very little real controversy that can come of Tobin's little hissy fit. After all, what is the legislature going to do, prevent the Commission from being able to pay its bills? That is not going to happen.
More to come.