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Redistricting win doesn't mask how IRC failed in state races

Great: the Supreme Court upheld Arizona's independent redistricting system. But that commission failed to weaken Fortress Phoenix when it redrew electoral lines — the GOP starts with a majority before the first ballot is even cast. Giving Kyrsten Sinema a shot at Congress was done at the expense of actual competitive districts where they matter most — right here at home.... Read more»

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3 comments on this story

1
2 comments
Jun 30, 2015, 10:08 pm
-0 +1

The errors in this article are almost too many to list. One crucial mistake is claiming that CD 9 was drawn for Kyrsten Sinema. While she was a state senator she and her staff worked on submitting maps to the AIRC. Andrei Cherney and David Schapira ran against her. Cherney, as you may recall had been elected to ADP chair. After giving many of us personal assurances that he would stay there for two years he jumped at the chance for CD 9. He also took a rolodex with the contact information of Democratic donors. He won ADP chair against Rodney Glassman, a former Tucson city council member. Ron Barber made a phone call to the ADP during that election claiming that Gabby Giffords had agreed to support Cherney. She could not be reached for comment as she was in a hospital with a bullet wound. Andrei left after a year. That new CD was too tempting. Victoria Steele is a Representative not a Senator. Unlike the author, I do know this woman and have worked to get her elected and to pass her bills in the House. I have never met McSally but that was her second run at that House seat. Ron Barber did not want to run for a second term but was convinced to run again. Dr. Eric Meyer is not from Mesa, he lives in East Phoenix in LD 28. Barb McGuire ran in LD 8 on a ticket with the two Republican House candidates. They did events together and I have a flier with the three names. Finding candidates to run in many districts is very difficult. Right now there is a search for a Democrat to run against Arpaio. The AIRC created a web site for the public to interact with maps. There were hundreds of people, many in groups, submitting maps. Claiming that the AIRC was a Democratic led organization is a fallacy. They were charged with creating political divisions that followed a number of complicated laws. CD 7, and CD 3 were nearly impossible to divide. The amazing thing is that neither congressman ran commercials on television. Two Latinos who were in bulletproof districts could have brought out the Latino vote. The three districts that are most heavily Latino, 17,29, and 30 were three of the lowest turnout districts. When the Governor race is won 809K to 660K and you leave nearly a million voters without any attempts at communication that is unforgiveable. Kenny Jones was sitting in LD 29 screaming for resources to do voter outreach. It wouldn’t matter if we had 30 competitive districts, if we don’t communicate with our voters they won’t come out. Oh, BTW, one slight problem. There is a heavy religious influence in the west valley. There is opposition to marriage equality and abortion. Reaching out to these voters won’t work within the same parameters as anglo Democrats. Our next election, removing Arpaio, will be the test of how we can raise our numbers. Catherine Miranda has expressed her desire to run for the seat Ann Kirkpatrick is leaving. She doesn’t live there but she has a number of devoted followers. She will be running as a Democrat that is anti-choice if she runs. One comment I hear a lot in Maryvale is “un gringo o el otro”. One white person or the other. We have the votes in the state to take over but we don’t want to compromise our language. I tell people we need to find common ground then tell them that the best way to stop abortion is to stop the pregnancy. I get cussed at for that.
The author may have been a political reporter for 15 years but seems seriously lost in the makeup of our legislature. I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the people he has not met. I have worked with them on issues. Blaming the AIRC for our less than stellar political power is wrong.

2
22 comments
Jul 1, 2015, 2:42 am
-0 +0

Thank you for pointing out that Steele is a Rep and not an Sen. Other than that you are proving the point of the story. The Dems big win on redistricting was CD 9. The same map that gave neither party an edge in U.S. house seats was carved up in a way that handed the GOP the legislature for 10 years.
My point wasn’t that the goal was to send Sinema, specifically, to Congress (that was more Grijalva in 2002). That was the net effect. The goal was to create a competitive seat in Phoenix. I’m not not arguing that that was wrong. I’m arguing that once they got that, the IRC stopped pushing.
There are 18 of 30 LDs where the Republicans barely need a pulse to win. The IRC’s job was to protect the VRA, establish competitive districts with respect to communities of interest and have those LDs add up to the same number of people. It’s a bitch. But c’mon ... 18 of 30? The only four swing districts carved out of Democratic LDs?
I also point out that for all I know McSally and Steele are the believers fighting for a cause.. 
Chernei is a great point that I wanted to use but the column was running long. The allure of DC makes a guy like that say ‘I know I made promises but screw it, my precious ...” right? That’s where the action is. It sounds like you are involved with local politics, and i have been there, too. So I don’t need to convince you that the money and power is geared toward the higher profile races, while the people walking neighborhoods are zeroed in on the Legislature. (I would also suggest that the reason that no one wanted to run was because the smart money was on the IRC map being thrown out. Watch what happens now).
Latino voter turnout is a huge problem for Democrats in the state and is the most over-looked element of state politics by those who write about it. It does no good to engage any community when they know their vote won’t have any real impact on the outcome, which again is the point.
I apologize if it came off as if this thing were about slamming Sinema or Steele.

3
1770 comments
Jul 9, 2015, 9:07 am
-0 +0

So what are Arizona Democrats celebrating today? They are celebrating a blow against gerrymandering, to be sure.

This is where I stopped reading. Partly because this piece was way too long, and partly because the inaccuracies stated whittled away at my interest.

A blow against gerrymandering? You’ve got to be kidding me. All it does is allow a different group with a different agenda the power to gerrymander. Gerrymandering is gerrymandering regardless of who is doing it, and why.

I have long and repeatedly advocated for the laws to be observed when drawing districts. No, not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. I passionately believe only three things should be considered when drawing district boundaries

-They should be equal in population
-They should be contiguous
-They should be as close to geographically rectangular as those two above criteria will allow

No where in there should skin color, political party, or anything else be considered. In the manner I advocate, a computer and some software can have the job done in about half an hour, and there wouldn’t be months or crybabies, lawsuits, and shitstirrers.

Here’s a link to what truly unbiased district maps would look like:

http://bdistricting.com/2010/AZ/

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