Monday, June 6, 2011

Redistricting -- on your mark, get ready...

When I think "hologram" I think of the movie, Star Wars. Though details have faded in my mind, I recall Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker appearing by way of holographic representation at a meeting of some sort.

Clearly, not yet 3-dimensional, the teleconferencing set up now in use for Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission meetings seems futuristic.  For now.  Maybe next month we'll start to wonder how we ever lived without this technology.

Using a Skype commercial account, three commissioners in one office in Tucson, one commissioner (Herrera) at his office in Phoenix, and Commissioner Freeman -- along with Commission staff, legal counsel, reporters and several members of the public at the IRC office in Phoenix -- met by teleconference this morning.

Besides Phoenix area residents, people drove in from Tucson and Northern Arizona to attend. At the Phoenix office, those not physically present were visually projected onto a white board and could easily be heard on the audio set up.  This was also the first meeting which could be viewed by live online streaming video (and audio).  To my knowledge, there's been no feedback received by the IRC yet to let them know how that turned out.  The link for watching online is prominently displayed on the IRC website home page.

As to official business conducted by the Commission this morning, Jean Clark, SPO administrator gave a brief update on the RFP and the Commission went into executive session to deal with scoring criteria for potential mapping consultants.

Before that, three people gave public comments.

Geri Ottoboni-Gilmore, who spoke last week suggesting that more detailed minutes be posted for meetings, today told the Commission she would like more meetings in Tucson and/or to be able to watch live online.  Gilmore told me that her daughter is deaf. She also knows others in the deaf community who would like to be able to keep up on the Commission's meetings.

Marilyn Zurell, representing the Pima County Republican Women's Club, bemoaned the hiring of "two Liberal" law firms to provide legal counsel to the Commission.

And Leonard Gorman, executive director of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission said, on the record, that he believes all of Arizona's indigenous nations should be considered one Community of Interest for redistricting purposes this year.  He also noted that the 63.97% Native American voting age population threshold (for Voting Rights Act district purposes) should be maintained or exceeded this year.  He encouraged the IRC to hold meetings in Flagstaff.

The next meeting is currently scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, at 9:30am in Tucson.  The main agenda item will be consideration of responses to the mapping consultant RFP.  Tentative dates for a subsequent meeting are Weds. - Fri. June 22 -- 24 (one of those days, not all of them).

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