Friday, May 13, 2011

Redistricting -- legal counsel chosen

Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission voted 3-2 to contract for Democratic counsel with Osborne Maledon whose team will be headed up by former state Solicitor General Mary O'Grady; and for Republican counsel with Ballard Spahr LLP, lead by former chief counsel to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Joe Kanefield.

The commissioners discussed the candidates for about an hour in executive session yesterday and for another hour or so after reconvening late this afternoon.  When the public session resumed, Chairwoman Mathis asked for a motion to approve hiring the two firms eventually chosen.  However, Freeman quickly objected. Stertz offered an amended motion to hire Gammage and Burnham, Lisa Hauser's firm as well as Michael Mandell for Democratic counsel.  The amended motion failed 2-3, with Freeman and Stertz the only aye votes  The original motion then passed with Freeman and Stertz the only nay votes.

I was not terribly surprised by Russell Pearce appointee Stertz wanting the hyper-partisan Lisa Hauser.  However, the other Republican, Scott Freeman did surprise me.  All three of the Republican counsel candidates were highly qualified, but the only one with serious partisan baggage was Lisa Hauser.  And as I mentioned in this morning's post (about yesterday's interviews), Hauser was the only candidate that spoke disparagingly of any of the other candidates.

Hauser was also the only lawyer interviewed that offered advice on how to justify a diminished role for the competitiveness criteria when drawing the new Congressional and legislative district maps.

The only other noteworthy tidbit from the evening's meeting is that a couple of individuals drove up from Tucson to attend the meeting this evening.  One of those people was Lynne St. Angelo, who offered public comments during Tuesday's meeting in Tucson.  Her comments that day established her as a constituent for her Community of Interest, Oro Valley, an affluent suburb of Tucson. Ms. St. Angelo's  Linked in profile lists her as a Political Organization Professional. She and another person drove away from this evening's meeting in an SUV with a bumper sticker that proclaimed the owner's support of SB1070.


  1. Thanks for more good info Steve. I will say that I don't find Lisa Houser to be "hyper" partisian. I have worked with her directly on a few issues and have found her to be honest and fair. I feel the dem attorney defered to her too much last time, but I may be wrong about that because I wasn't behind the closed doors. Hopefully we have a commission that will lead the attorneys, not the other way around. I find Chairwoman Mathis' vote, and her comments (as reported by AP)to be a good sign in this regard. OH, and I think speaking "disparagingly" could also be characterized as speaking "candidly". (Even more so when attorneys are the topic of conversation. lol)
    Thaks, and keep up your good work!

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bart. If you have the opportunity to listen to an audio recording of the May 12 meeting portion with Hauser's interview, you will see that she does a couple of things very distinctly. She frames her "candid" comments about Ballard Spahr in emphatically partisan terms. She claims that firm cannot be considered Republican counsel BECAUSE former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is a Ballard Spahr law partner; and because government compliance consultant (and attorney) Bruce Adelson, a named subcontractor in the Ballard Spahr bid, is a Democrat with ties to DOJ. However, she conspicuously left out mention that her law firm also has a big name Democrat partner.

    Ms. Hauser also emphatically made the point that public perception is very important to the IRC process. I understand that you know her and that she can be very fair minded at times. She also presented a letter that Paul Eckstein had written for her when she was under consideration for appointment to the Arizona Supreme Court. That does not obviate the fact that she indeed bears a large degree of the "credit" for the lack of competitiveness in our Congressional and legislative districts now.

    I definitely concur with you on the Dem counsel last time.

    I was VERY impressed with the way O'Grady reflected a couple of questions back to the commissioners during her interview. That demonstrated that she has a keen awareness of the limits of her advisory role as well as skill in keeping those particular boundaries intact.