Today's IRC meeting (February 16, 2021) can be viewed ONLY on YouTube.
It seems awkward that it can't be played (posted/excerpted) on any other website, like this blog, or to a news site like azcentral.com or azmirror.com (or other news papers/community news sites in Arizona).
Also, to the IRC's credit, they have opened/extended public comment essentially to the entire duration of the meetings. Then again, what possible reason would they have to NOT allow citizens to voice their suggestions, comments or concerns ANY time? This is not simply a matter of transparency. It's entirely a matter of the FACT that the process belongs to the people of Arizona and that the power vested in the five commissioners begins and ends with the people and no one else.
I also don't think I've heard any discussion, in any of the meetings thus far, about a rationale for limiting comments to 3000 characters.
Citizens will also eventually develop their own maps to submit for consideration.
That said, it seems entirely reasonable to not allow comments to post to the YouTube streams/recordings. But submitting comments any time until they vote to officially adopt the maps ultimately to be used for the next ten years seems like it should be a given.
The next meeting of the IRC will take place on February 23rd (next Tuesday), at 2 pm. Agendas get posted (thus far) to the old IRC website, azredistricting.org.
Today, not much significant action was taken. They briefly discussed the commission's budget and the job postings for executive director and executive assistant as well as RFPs for legal services and mapping consultants. They intend to issue (written by who knows whom) press releases about both the job openings and RFPs.
Next week, they intend to discuss the latest news about the fact that they now do not expect to receive the 2020 census data until the end of September. That, of course, is going to make the entire mapping process more hectic and urgent once they do get the data.
A notable reflection I have to share is that Commission chair Neuberg has repeatedly expressed concern and desire to avoid litigation.
My view--since she has also repeatedly, emphatically and publicly indicated she doesn't believe the language in the original proposition about the purpose of the commission--her expectation for avoiding litigation is unrealistic.
CITIZENS INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION INITIATIVE:
AN INITIATIVE MEASURE
PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE IV, PART 2, SECTION 1, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO ENDING THE PRACTICE OF GERRYMANDERING AND IMPROVING VOTER AND CANDIDATE PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS BY CREATING AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF BALANCED APPOINTMENTS TO OVERSEE THE MAPPING OF FAIR AND COMPETITIVE CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS.
There has been NO case law to my knowledge that suggests this purpose has been eliminated and/or that mapping of fair and competitive Congressional and legislative districts is NO LONGER the primary goal of the IRC.
Commissioner Neuberg has established herself as a competent, take charge chairperson. Her objective to make the meetings and the relationships between all five commissioners orderly and collegial are laudable and important. Nevertheless, continuing along those lines will not preclude competing outside interests from being very dissatisfied with the outcomes and the maps.
The reasons the prior commission encountered conflict had nothing to do with the quality of the job Colleen Mathis did. Rather, the political nature of redistricting made (and makes) intense conflict a significant part of the process. I wish Neuberg all the best in her effort to minimize the conflict. But she won't eliminate it altogether.