Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, May 3, 2013

Redistricting -- the beat goes on... and on, and on...

A couple of thoughts reflecting on yesterday's meeting of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission:

Not to contradict anything I posted thus far about yesterday's meeting, but I've been ruminating over Commissioner Scott Freeman's comments -- including from the previous week. What he said and did really seems to be a classic example of the concept of "micromanaging." He spelled out, in quite some detail, how he believes it is his duty to be looking over the shoulder of AIRC staff, legal counsel and experts contracted to do work for the commission.

I can really relate to the vision he set forth. Back in 1998, I ran for a seat on the local school board. I had been an activist, a member of school site councils and had quite a few op-ed columns and letters to editors published by then. I campaigned on a platform of accountable government. In a three person race for two seats, about 10,500 people voted for me. But that was still about 1,500 too few to win.

It's just as well that I didn't win. A number of significant life changes followed shortly thereafter, not necessarily related to that election. However, had I won, I was prepared to approach the responsibilities of a school board member as a gadfly. Quite like Freeman seems now to be trying to do.

A major factor in my loss in that election was an organized effort by what I viewed at the time as "entrenched interests." Nevertheless, the voters decided that wasn't what they wanted at that time.

Freeman, however, was not elected by voters. He was appointed by a Republican legislative leader. Since he was the first member of the current AIRC appointed, neither he nor then House Speaker Kirk Adams necessarily envisioned a Republican minority position on the commission. In fact, Freeman only gradually morphed into the gadfly role he now seems to embrace.

On the other hand, Commissioner Rick Stertz has become less confrontational over the course of the two years he has been a member. He still asserts his perspective and disagrees when he sees fit. But he seems far less stressed about it than Freeman. I say this about each of them based on observation of public interaction (during meetings) and personal interactions I've had with each of them.

On policy related matters, Stertz and I are likely no less divided than we were two years ago. But we enjoy more gracious personal interaction regardless.

I won't speculate further on the reasons why, but I much prefer the way Stertz and I have interacted lately.

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Over the course of this week, both the AIRC and plaintiffs in the Leach case filed initial disclosures, which summarize the case from each party's perspective.


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