Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Redistricting update May 25th

The mapping consultant RFP closing date has been extended to June 2nd, which pushes the next IRC meeting to sometime in the second week of June, according to executive director Ray Bladine.

The initial closing date was scheduled for today, May 25.  However, bidders have posed legal questions to the State Procurement Office, which IRC legal counsel (Mary O'Grady and Joe Kanefield) are working to address.  When that guidance is provided to the bidders, it will be made public, along with the questions.  I'll post on the Arizona Eagletarian when I get the information.

In the meantime, equipment purchased to provide online broadcast (live streaming video and audio) of Commission meetings has arrived and should be enabled in time for the next open meeting.  And if readers would like notices by email from the Commission on meetings and other news, sign up is available on the contact page by clicking on the newsletter subscription button at the IRC website.

Besides deliberation on the mapping consultant, at the next meeting, Ken Clark co-chair of the Arizona Competitive Districts Coalition will make a presentation about the group's public mapping contest. Bladine will also present a staffing plan.  He is hoping to (soon) be authorized to hire an administrative assistant and a public information officer.

The Commission may also have to consider action to take in the event Lisa Hauser files a protest or lawsuit over the legal services procurement process.  Recall that Ballard Spahr (Joe Kanefield) was awarded the contract to represent the Republican perspective.  While others I have spoken with do not see how, given the leeway the Arizona Constitution provides to deviate from the Procurement Code, she would have any legitimate grounds to challenge Ballard Spahr's appointment, nobody is willing to underestimate her either.

Consider that Russell Pearce and others had met with Arizona Diamondbacks general partner Ken Kendrick a couple of months ago to discuss fundraising for litigation to challenge the final product (maps). I can easily imagine a scenario where financial pressure is applied to burn through the $3 million IRC appropriation quickly.

Who better to administer that pressure than the attorney who knows the ins and outs of the process better than any other current player? Who better than the only attorney to have offered, during her public interview, advice on how to minimize competitiveness in favor of communities of interest?

If the IRC has to make hasty decisions on the final maps, what is likely to happen?

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