"I blame it on the Independent Redistricting Commission," said House Speaker Andy Tobin tonight when asked by Horizon host Ted Simons about wanting to spend more than $8 million for a special election hoping to have voters ratify his ANDYMANDERING. The epitome of avoiding personal responsibility, Republican Tobin BLAMES his decisions on someone other than himself.
Tobin's own taxpayer funded political operative John Mills drew the maps in secret -- at Tobin's instruction and with UNfair Trust snake oil salesman David Cantelme's "legal" guidance.
Simons asked, "Why did you draw new maps?"
"Well, I think, let's be clear, there is no map even submitted to this day. I mean, we're here on a Monday, there's no map that's been submitted to the Department of Justice right now even to be approved. So, I'm gettin' a little anxious, because as everyone in Arizona should be getting, we've got uh, we haven't even ever gotten the strategy or the summary of what they did for the majority-minority districts. Usually, you don't put maps together unless you actually have some sort of strategy that has actually has a legal tenet to it. So that's not even available."
Please (PLEASE) tell me WHERE in that jumbled mess (which is an actual literal transcription) from Mr. Tobin he even came close to responding to the question posed to him. I don't see any.
I do see Tobin ranting on about the AIRC. Not coherently, mind you, but ranting nevertheless.
Intent on USURPING the voice of the voters who, in 2000 overwhelmingly approved Prop 106, Tobin went on to make several highly UNcredible claims for which he must be called to account.
- Tobin set the context for his usurpation by invoking the name Jim Pederson as a plot by some rich Democrat to do something bad to Arizona voters.
- Tobin blamed Pederson for there being no rural representation on the AIRC.
- Tobin claimed there's no INDEPENDENT representation. In doing so, rather than examining the circumstances around each situation, he cited the alleged 100 percent correlation of Colleen Mathis' votes with the votes of (Democratic) Commissioners McNulty and Herrera. ANY scientist will tell you that correlation does NOT equal causation.
- Claims that because of decisions he disagreed with, you HAVE TO start thinking, "is this an independent person?" I've addressed that question before.
- Claims Prop 106 was only passed by "this much." (Tobin said 50.28 percent, but the official canvass of the 2000 general election on azsos.gov says 56.14 percent to 43.86 percent. Tobin's claim was that the margin was less than one percent difference. The official canvass puts the margin of victory at 12.3 percent a very sizable error by the Speaker)
- Tobin asks, "would the voters not be offended by what's going on" with the IRC?
Here are some FACTS to consider when deciding whether we should be offended (and at whom):
- Tobin was one of the first names that was associated with UNfair Trust, which we now know to have been a consortium of incumbent lawmakers raising undisclosed amounts of money hoping to influence the IRC process long before now. His name came up when reports of the group having met at the home of Arizona Diamondbacks general partner Ken Kendrick first surfaced.
- Tobin claimed on Arizona Horizon that HIS map does a better job of honoring minority voting rights. As I have mentioned in multiple posts, David Cantelme's primary approach to advocating for the Republican incumbent lawmakers was focused on this appoach (packing) as far back as when he had his outburst when I first tried to talk to him about it immediately after the AIRC first round public hearing in Mesa in July 2011.
- Tobin's (Cantelme's) strategy is set forth in exquisite detail in this article in The Nation. While the article is focused on the Deep South, there is no question that this is exactly what UNfair Trust, Andy Tobin and David Cantelme have all been aiming to do with THIS year's redistricting in Arizona. Contrast Tobin's maps with those certified by the AIRC, and you find higher minority populations in fewer districts, locking in the Republican supermajority even more blatantly in the rest of the districts.
From The Nation:
And it’s not just happening in North Carolina. In virtually every state in the South, at the Congressional and state level, Republicans—to protect and expand their gains in 2010—have increased the number of minority voters in majority-minority districts represented overwhelmingly by black Democrats while diluting the minority vote in swing or crossover districts held by white Democrats. “What’s uniform across the South is that Republicans are using race as a central basis in drawing districts for partisan advantage,” says Anita Earls, a prominent civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice.The truth/reality in Arizona is that Republicans have tried extremely hard from the very beginning -- in every way possible, EXCEPT by playing by the rules (of Prop 106) -- to USURP the redistricting authority Arizona voters purposefully removed from the state legislature in 2000.
In 2001, two key factors enabled the GOP to dominate that year's redistricting: a Republican leaning Independent chair for the IRC, Steve Lynn and selection of Lisa Hauser to be legal counsel.
Tobin claimed this evening that voters are offended by what took place with the AIRC. When Ted Simons asked Tobin how would voters now not be offended by having maps drawn by one guy, Tobin's response was, "well, let's put 'em up against the wall. At least I'm admitting it to ya." He then rants about the IRC spending money to fight open meeting law. But Tobin did NOT respond to the question Simons asked.
Supposedly, Tobin thinks because he took "a 50,000 foot level" we're supposed to think he was fair and impartial. What bullshit.
"The maps that I drew from the 50,000 foot level still upset of course some Republicans, but IT'S FAIR! It protects the majority-minority districts. It does it better."
Better for whom, Andy? Better for an insecure Hispanic lawmaker who is afraid that if he doesn't have as many Hispanics in the district he wants to run in, he will not get re-elected? Better for the Hispanic and other minority voters who will likely still not have a voice at the state Capitol, even though their population grew dramatically over the last decade? Or better for YOU, an OLD WHITE GUY who enjoys control of the state legislature despite having only 35 percent of the registered voters in Arizona?
Tobin had the audacity to say that his map establishes more competitive districts. This despite the fact that numerous conservatives, both before the AIRC (as well as the two Republican commissioners) and Bob Robb on Arizona Horizon last week, said that when you properly account for the Voting Rights districts, you cannot then draw very many (if any) competitive districts. Which is it Andy? Why did you lie to Arizonans and to Ted Simons? Was it because you knew nobody would demand you prove the claims you made?
Was it because when someone tries to ask you to do so, you avoid the question by launching into a recitation of an unrelated scenario of one day in the course of what ultimately took more than a year to accomplish?
When Simons asked, "Did you consult with minority interests," Tobin said, "actually, I had meetings with the minority long before the IRC started having meetings with the minority."
To which questions Tobin must be required to answer, with whom representing "the minority" and why did they meet with you then rather than the IRC? On its face, Tobin's claim on this one is highly implausible. Sure, he maybe met with someone with a Hispanic surname. But did that person (or persons) understand that he was already plotting to usurp the authority the voters delegated to the AIRC? Tobin claims that "they had come to us back in May and June... us, the majority, to help them formulate maps to protect the minority districts. And I still kept those maps."
When asked whether he took input from Democrats, Tobin said he did not. The reason? "Because they already owned the IRC. There's three Democrats running the Independent Redistricting Commission."
Simons asked why would voters scrap the IRC? Tobin specifically said that the IRC maps hurt rural Arizona. I wonder if he asked the people of Cochise County? Those people told the IRC they did NOT want to be in a district that goes all the way to the Utah border. But Tobin's map puts them in a Congressional district that does.
The essence of what Tobin intends to convince Arizona voters ahead of a special election in May (or June, he said tonight), is "did the AIRC follow the spirit of Prop 106?"
We know that because UNfair Trust obtained FEC waivers such that they were not and are not required to disclose how much money they raise, nor from whom, nor ON WHAT THEY SPEND it, Andy Tobin and his cronies intend to pull out the stops Citizens United style and (since they failed in each of their previous attempts to usurp the IRC) do the best they can to manipulate the electorate this year on this issue.
Tobin said, "I do blame them. We wouldn't be here if they had done their job." Maybe Andy needs to better account for the money HIS office spent sending HIS political operative John Mills to most of the meetings. Because if Mills had faithfully reported on the process, Tobin would know that the AIRC DID DO ITS JOB.
Simons final question: why not let the independent process work, see what happens?
More bullshit from Andy Tobin.
PEOPLE! Will YOU let Andy Tobin get away with this?