Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, February 6, 2012

Redistricting -- ANDYMANDERING

"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.

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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?" 

Tobin replied, 
"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?

11 comments:

  1. He's got the votes to put it on the ballot for a special election. THAT'S when we have to really get people out to slam him with a 'no' vote.

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    1. He may or may not have the votes to put it on the ballot. We'll have to wait and see.

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  2. That, and also holding things up in court, which I'm sure will happen. He's got a very narrow window to operate in so a few lawsuits against his plan will prevent him from putting it into effect.

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  3. The question that's on my mind is whether the legislature goes forward with the special election idea or just scraps that and tries to instead pass on a referendum this November when the 8.3 million dollar price tag and political chaos are not an issue. I get the idea that Tobin is pretty much out on a limb here and is not speaking for most Republicans. Apparently, some in the Senate leadership are kinda miffed at him if my read of the Cap Times is to right.

    As for a November referendum, should it happen, I am more confident. Across the nation, fairer districts have become more popular. They tried to create a commish for years and years in CA, but it finally got voter approval in 2008 and 2010. In FL in 2010, despite Republicans doing very well, redistricting reforms passed with 62% of the vote. Good government is in style.

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    1. A spring or summer special election would have lower turnout, which would likely favor the malcontents. The question is, to what degree. In spite of the ongoing conflict, I believe independent redistricting is here to stay and will sweep across the nation. But it still will require vigilance in every state.

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  4. One more question: Is he right that the AZ IRC's maps haven't been submitted for preclearance yet or is he wrong? I'm confused on that.

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    1. Indeed, confusion had to be Tobin's chief aim with bringing up that issue. He was non-responsive to the questions Ted Simons posed to him.

      The maps were certified by the AIRC on January 17. There will be NO changes to the AIRC maps at any time unless DOJ finds that the maps adversely impact minority voting rights.

      As to sending the preclearance package off to the US DOJ, it takes time to compile all of the related data and maps. So, technically, the maps have NOT been sent to DOJ yet. But that has nothing to do with anything Tobin was asked in the interview.

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    2. I learned this evening (Feb 10) that 1) the IRC submitted the Congressional map for preclearance yesterday (Feb 9) AND that in the first IRC cycle (2001), the maps were certified on November 9th but not sent to DOJ for preclearance for nearly three months (end of Jan 2002). So, this year's IRC made up quite a bit of time in getting the package submitted in three weeks.

      http://2001.azredistricting.org/Meetings/PDF/AIRCMinutesPublicSession11-9-01.pdf

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  5. Let's say that the legislature, in their "wisdom" approves a special election for the voters to accept Speaker Tobin's maps. Doesn't the DOJ or the District Court of DC have to sign off on such a special election as a part of pre-clearance?

    Also, with Congressman Quayle announcing yesterday that he will be running for the Republican nomination in the new CD 6, as drawn by the AIRC and not Speaker Tobin, doesn't that take the wind out the sails for support of Speaker Tobin's maps?

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  6. I believe DOJ has to preclear even having such an election. As to whether Quayle's announcement matters? Not necessarily. Whether this gets referred to Arizona voters for a special election is a function of 16 and 31. Sixteen state senators and thirty-one members of the House. Those Republicans are more concerned about their own races than they are about Quayle and Schweikert.

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    1. I am pretty sure the even the mental midgets in the legislature knows the DOJ won't give pre-clearance to a special election, not maps drawn up in secret. But, the state does have the option of going the District Court of DC, bypassing the DOJ. I am sure our mental midgets would believe they have a better shot in the DC Court, but would they actually have a better shot?

      How much will unFAIR Trust play a part in all this?

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