Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Press(ure) Release Redistricting

There's been a push to change the way Wisconsin draws its legislative districts.  Common Cause is on a mission, the Wisconsin State Journal printed an editorial and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is consistently encouraging legislators to adopt the Iowa model for the next opportunity to redistrict.

I find this push somewhat disingenuous at best. I've said this before and I'll continue to harp on this, but if Democrats were really interested in "fair" redistricting they would have made changes in the 2009 legislative session when they had control of both houses and the Governorship.  Instead, assuming they would keep control of the legislature and have a Democratic Governor they hired O'Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing - which billed the state $189,529 for redistricting work they did.

Has any of media organization ever tried to find out what that money was used for?  If so, I haven't seen it.  Democratic Rep. Fred Kessler testified before a legislative committee that he had drawn up maps around his ill fated attempt to change the State Constitution concerning redistricting.  I'd be interested in seeing those maps to compare but Rep. Kessler and I aren't exactly on speaking terms.

Now concerning Iowa, their congressional map is interesting in that it looks like they only had to divide the state by drawing a vertical and horizontal line and then tweaking it. I don't think you could get away with that in Wisconsin with it's population spread out not as evenly as Iowa's. 

On a more local Iowa level the Senate districts, 50 of them, and the Assembly districts, 100 of them, seem to be drawn fairly similarly to Wisconsin's. One difference seems to be that Wisconsin's minority populations is larger in percentage then Iowa so the Voting Rights Act had more impact on us then Iowa.

Which leads me to a side bar.  Has anyone bothered to look at the recent Supreme Court case regarding the Voting Rights Act and how it will affect the 2020 redistricting?  I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere.

Bottom line concerning the redistricting battle is that the Republicans have control - and fairly won that control with court drawn districts. A fact never often mentioned. It is highly unlikely they will give up that advantage, nor would the Dems if they had the opportunity as evidenced by their 2009 inaction.

So a public relations fight continues, making the Republicans the bad guys when they have everything to lose and casting the now minority Democrats as the good guys for standing up for a gamble they took and lost.

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