Redistricting Reform

October 27, 2010 10:53 am

by Bull Moose · 81 comments

Reapportionment also known as redistricting has become a rallying cry by some voters as they head to the polls now and over the coming days to cast their vote for Governor.

In many ways, I think that some are misinformed about how redistricting is currently done in Georgia.  The Legislature currently draws the lines and the Governor signs or vetoes the bill. If you trust your member of the Legislature to draw fair and balanced district lines, then fear of redistricting is just another pointless scare tactic being used to mislead voters from the truly important issues facing our state like creating a climate for robust job growth, education, and addressing our long overdue transportation problems.

The model of proper legal and ethical redistricting in our country is conducted by the State of Iowa.  In Iowa, “The legislature has the final responsibility for enacting both congressional and state legislative district plans, but the nonpartisan Legislative Services Bureau has initial responsibility. It must develop up to three plans that can be accepted or rejected by the legislature. The plans are criteria-driven, meaning that the bureau draws districts based on clear, measurable criteria.”

The four criteria, in descending order of importance are: 1) population equality; 2) contiguity; 3) unity of counties and cities (maintaining county lines and inserting house districts within senate districts and senate districts within congressional districts); and 4) compactness. A five-member commission consisting of four civilian members chosen by each caucus in the legislature, and a fifth chairperson chosen by the commission, is responsible for advising the bureau, but only upon their request. If the legislature does not approve the first three plans by the bureau, it must itself approve a plan by September 1st, or the state supreme court will take responsibility for the state districts. The Governor has veto power over both plans.

You can read more about Iowa’s redistricting process here.

As proposed by Roy Barnes, and supported by Governor Sonny Perdue, Georgia needs an Independent non-partisan commission, very similar to Iowa’s plan, to draw district lines.  It will be more transparent, ensure that back room deals do not trump local community integrity, and actually give us fair districts.  The current system allows personally drawn districts that benefits incumbents first, personal ambition second, and party dominance third.

greencracker October 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

Ah, where were you during the Dunwoody candidate forum last night? This is from my Dunwoody Reporter story coming out, uh, today I hope:

In fact, Millar avowed that he will fight for GOP advantage in the congressional redistricting scorched-earth fight expected after census results come out.

He aims to “emancipate” a few more blocks of Dunwoody by getting them moved to Rep. Tom Price’s 6th Congressional District, and to get a bit of Fulton moved into the north DeKalb state Senate district.

[Opponent Eric] Christ asked if the Republican did not prefer redistricting free of party politics.

“Philosophically it would be nice,” said Millar, bringing up the former Democrat-gerrymandered congressional district that ran from Atlanta to Savannah, “but we’re talking about politics here.”

Millar is a realistic man.

TPNoGa October 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

I can vouch for what Millar has been saying. I was at a Chamblee annexation town hall and he said he wanted to redraw the 6th CD to free more of Chamblee from the 4th CD. As long as he keeps me in the 6th, I am happy.

B Balz October 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

Right you are Ms. Maggie Lee! (Welcome):

Millar is a realistic man.

He is a pugilist, a fighter that never quits, and true to his causes. I am proud of him. As to reapportionment, some places need to be tweaked, and Fran knows where. I trust Fran Millar.

TPNoGa October 27, 2010 at 11:47 am

I have to say he has been a good Rep. One time I called his office and he actually answered the phone and talked to me for 15 minutes. I was impressed.

B Balz October 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Typical, Fran though. He always returns my emails. Usually I like what her has to say. (;>)

Clint October 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

You’d think this would be a Tea Party priority since it would dramatically improve little d participation in our democracy and bring more sunshine and transparency to the process.

maryalice October 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm

You’re absolutely right!! I will pass this on the TEA PARTY organizers, you know who they are!

objective October 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Interesting timing on this thread- Common Cause Georgia just screened the new documentary “Gerrymandering”
(http://www.gerrymanderingmovie.com/) last night. The movie shows how California passed redistricting reform to an independent citizen’s commission with bipartisan support- and strong help from Gov. Schwarzenegger, over bipartisan opposition. Common Cause will surely again support bipartisan reform in a bill similar to 2008’s SR344, which sought to implement Gov. Perdue’s commission’s recommendations.
http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4849065

View from Brookhaven October 27, 2010 at 11:04 am

I was planning on dressing as the Redistricting Boogeyman for Halloween. Thanks for ruining it.

Jeremy Jones October 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

I guess sine Iowa has no real problems they can spend time on things like cacaus time frames, standardized testing writing/grading, and re-districting ideas.

I certainly like their plan on initial review. Ask Iowa how well that plan will work with cities with a higher population than their entire state. How does it work with extreme party people on both sides and morons like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton coming down to stir up the troops every time some one thinks a black person did not get an advantage over a white person.

Besides, if we had fair re-districting, what would the lobbyist be able to buy with all of their left over money if not a new state senator?

ChuckEaton October 27, 2010 at 11:26 am

I don’t know if I buy into the “scare” tactics, but the Governor’s threat of a veto, makes him a participant in the “drawing process.” Just as the Governor’s veto makes him a partipant in any legislation.

GabrielSterling October 27, 2010 at 11:27 am

As I said to you on Facebook earlier Clint. Both Perdue and Barnes are wrong.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 11:38 am

So if Gov. Barnes became Gov. again, he could veto whatever the legislature came up with. Thanks for the clarification, Clint.

If the legislature and Gov. Barnes don’t (ever) agree, does the DOJ appoint another 3 judge pannel to redraw for us? Under the Iowa plan, it goes to the state supreme court, but we don’t live in Iowa.

In your explanation, you left off that the DOJ has to pre-clear the new lines to make sure that they comply with the voting rights act. Maybe that omission was part of an omission of a REAL boogeyman: President Obama’s DOJ.

According to Gov. Barnes, he wants as many politically even districts as we can get. In other words, the truth slips out: more weird looking maps. He doesn’t care if it the state is overwhelmingly GOP, he wants as many Dems in congress as he can draw in. HE ADMITS HE WANTS TO GERRYMANDER. AGAIN.

I don’t have a problem with Iowa’s system per se, but the devil is in the details. Who decides who is partisan and who is not? I may not qualify to be on it, but what is to prevent my brother from being on it? If a legislature under the Iowa system were intent on drawing it’s own lines, all it has to do is to reject the first three plans presented. In both Iowa and in Georgia, the real responsibility of drawing the lines lies with the legislature with veto power by the Gov.

Thanks for clarifying another real reason not to vote for Gov. Barnes.

Clint October 27, 2010 at 11:46 am

Doug, regardless of what is drawn, it goes to the judges for review.

I provided you with the details on Iowa. Read it for yourself. There are several states that have a similar model, but Iowa is the gold standard.

The truth on the maps is that Republicans want maps drawn for pure partisan gain regardless of the lines and boundaries. It can’t be wrong when Barnes did it and right when Republicans do it.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Clint,

Your premise is wrong. ” The truth on the maps is that Republicans want maps drawn for pure partisan gain regardless of the lines and boundaries.” Prove that statement. We both know you can’t.

Republicans haven’t gerrymandered. You might find one yahoo who says that’s what he wants to do, but most of the legislators I talk to use the phrase “communities of similar interest” and talk about keeping whole counties in the same congressional district as much as possible.

Gov. Barnes has gerrymandered and says he wants to do so again. Gov Barnes from your link: “It should be charged with creating as many politically even districts as it can. What’s wrong with Congress is there are too many safe districts.” He will do what it takes to draw funny lines to make the districts more Dem.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm

doug, if republicans don’t work to create republican districts while in charge as you claim, then why is it so important that we have republicans drawing the districts? it’s the first opportunity in geogia history for the gop to draw these maps and they aren’t going to take advantage….??? come on man!

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Lets replace the concept of gerrymandering with child molesting. Doing that, you could say that Gov. Barnes is a known child molester, and he is open that he wants to do so again as much as he can get away with it. That doesn’t mean that a new group of people watching the kids will molest them, but it will keep the hands of the last guy who touched them off of the kids.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

You know I was just looking for an excuse to call King Roy a child molester.

Jeff October 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Would be typical for you ;)

Jeff October 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Let’s replace the concept of gerrymandering with rape. Do that, and you could say that Nathan Deal defended rapists.

Oh wait…

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

FACT: Congressman Deal prosecuted rapists.

FACT: Gov. Barnes defended rapists.

In Miller v the State (1976), Roy Barnes represented a Cobb County rapist who blocked a road with his truck to stop a 17-year-old virgin girl. Barnes’ client, carrying a rifle, entered her car and ordered her to drive to another location, where he raped her. The Georgia Supreme Court upheld a 20-year sentence for Barnes’ client.

RUMOR: Jeff likes moon pies.

Jeff October 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

so let me get this straight: Deal doing his job = saint, Barnes doing his = Satan. Glad we cleared that up, Mr. 9th District GOP Chairman.

FACT: Nathan Deal introduced SB 51 in 1991. When he was told that it would allow rapists to question the sex lives and clothing choices of their victims in open court, Nathan Deal continued to expend political capital as President Pro Tem of the Senate (the number two position behind the Lt Gov) in support of this bill. This bill was only passed AFTER Nathan’s language allowing this was removed.

Barnes had to give his client the best defense possible – it is an ethical requirement of lawyers, regardless of what their client has or has not done.

Nathan Deal did not HAVE to introduce SB 51 in 1991 – but he did it anyway, and he continued to expend political capital supporting it KNOWING exactly what it would do.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Ok Jeff,

I’ll help you get things straight. You said Congressman Deal defended rapists.

FACT: Congressman Deal prosecuted rapists.

FACT: Gov. Barnes defended rapists.

I did not say anyone was a sinner or a saint, I’m just helping you learn who prosecuted and who defended.

As far as the rape shield law goes, as a member of the bar, Gov. Barnes was for it before he was against it. I haven’t read a 164 page bill from 20 years ago to determine a conclusion on this issues. However, from what I have read, the proposed bill was about bringing out the truth, and isn’t that supposed to be part of justice?

http://politifact.com/georgia/statements/2010/oct/22/roy-barnes/barnes-said-gubertorial-race-opponent-deal-tried-w/

If you have a links to the actual language of what was proposed and what passed, please provide them and perhaps I will read them.

Now go have a moon pie. I’ve heard a rumor that you love them.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

nice dodge doug…figures.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm

That wasn’t a dodge, it was a direct reply. If you don’t like the answers, perhaps you should avoid asking the questions.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm

then you didn’t understand the question.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

The question: Why should the GOP be in charge of drawing the lines as opposed to working with Gov. Barnes?

Answer: Gov. Barnes behaved badly the last time he was in charge of that task. Accusing the GOP of behaving badly on this task when they haven’t ever had a chance to do so, is not a logical argument.

Did I understand the question? If not, ask it again.

TheEiger October 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

That is by far the dumbest analogy that I have ever heard.

Lady Thinker October 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I think the dumbest one is deal calling judges unethical when Barnes appointed Jason Deal to a Hall County position, then was moved to Dawson County as a judge. Barnes had a case before Jason Deal. Is Jason one of the unethical judges that deal the father is talking about in his ads?

ACCmoderate October 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

Possibly. Deal’s kids seem to have a tendency to suck at their jobs.

Lady Thinker October 28, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Well, ya got a point there.

Chris Huttman October 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

After the 2000 census, Colorado added a 7th Congressional District. The redistricting committee turned to political scientists to create an evenly matched new district that favored neither party. Republicans held it until 2006, Democrats now.

What’s so wrong with that again?

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Maps before Gov. Barnes:

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacdmap.pdf

It’s in black and white, but most counties are in the same district and from the same basic geographic region.

Maps approved by Gov. Barnes:

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2002acolor.pdf

&

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2002bcolor.pdf

Please explain to me what the voters in Walker County, where I live, (then in the 10th Congressional District) have in common with the voters in Rockdale County and why we should be in the same congressional district? The District looped through Gwinnett and Walton to reach the South side of Atlanta.

Can anyone justify the 11th? Look at what it did to Troop County. The 1st? Why did Camden County have to have something in common with Macon? The 12th? Savannah to Athens? The 7th, 8th and the 13th look like plates of spaghetti or a Roshak test.

Maps after Gov. Barnes:

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/gacongress2006color.pdf

If North Georgia wants to vote GOP, let them. There is no need to slice and dice our communities to try to make the numbers from Georgia “even” in congress.

Chris: If you can draw communities of interest together so that county lines are split as little as possible, such as SW Georgia counties all together, counties in the mountains all together, NE Georgia counties all together, the coastal counties all together, and so on, similar to the maps we have now, and they HAPPEN to give us a new district that may be 50/50 as far as a party having control of it, great.

In the mean time, we don’t want any funny looking maps to satisfy Gov. Barnes agenda.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

did your boy deal ever introduce legislation to get georgia out of the bs voting rights review non-sense…i mean, he had 18 years to at least do that while he was spending the rest of his time trying to persuade ga officials to help his private businesses.

at the end of the day, a computer will draw the districts. the computer will be operated by a political geek in a back room either in the capital or across the street at the gold dome condos. the only question is which geek can do the better job of map manipulation. does deal even know about computers?

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm

3J,

I know Congressman Westmoreland and Kingston have objected to Georgia having to undergo preclearance, and I am certian Congressman Deal has as well.

I would be more interested to find out how Congressman Marshall and friends stood on the issue. Congressman Lewis is was for it in 2006, the last time it came up for a vote. The late Congressman Norwood wanted all 50 states to get preclearance.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm

actually doug, here are the facts…something that a high fallutin’ gop 9th district chairman should know.

the former 9th district congressman, charlie norwood was a leader along with congressman lynn westmoreland in the effort to end section 5 of the vra. this is the pre-clearance section. congressman kingston voted for the failed westmoreland amendment, but then gave in to his inner liberalism as the only ga gop rep. to vote for final passage of the bill w/o amendments. he was joined by our two ‘conservative’ senators in supporting continuation of the antiquated, anti-constitutional regulations included in the vra. tell me again why i should vote for johnny isakson….

once again deal, the constituency of one was a follower, but i give him credit for this statement during the floor debate on westmoreland’s amendment, “Just because some of our Members prefer to linger in the sins of the past, it is our responsibility to legislate on the facts of the present, and those facts do not justify an extension of section 5.”

maybe deal can call on others to help him with re-districting…he certainly has no leadership credentials in his background.

Three Jack October 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm

oh yeah, forgot to give credit to chris riley for that line from deal’s speech….we all know he had to be the author.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm

For the record, I don’t memorize votes and who voted how. I have better things to do. I usually wear jeans when I go to meetings so I don’t think I’m high fallutin’.

So what did you bring for lunch today? If you are going to talk like a second grader, I’ll treat you like one.

And for God’s sake, learn how to punctuate and capitalize! It’s almost as annoying as what you have to say!

your question: did your boy deal ever introduce legislation to get georgia out of the bs voting rights review non-sense

your answer: “Just because some of our Members prefer to linger in the sins of the past, it is our responsibility to legislate on the facts of the present, and those facts do not justify an extension of section 5.”

Do you need to talk to yourself some more?

Three Jack October 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

nor do i memorize votes, but even with my “second grader” mentality, i was able to look it up….something you should do before making false statements.

and the answer is no, the constituency of one never introduced anything to remove section 5, but he sure followed the lead of westmoreland/norwood.

bottom line, lynn westmoreland as a freshman in congress took on the vra, deal followed.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

When a law is passed does it matter who introduced it, or just if it gets enough votes to pass? A congressman doesn’t have to introduce a bill on everything he supports. If they all had their own bill with things just slightly different in each one, it would take forever to reach a compr0mise on language. Learn the system. Nothing I said was false. I said he was against continuing it.

Learn how to read and comprehend before calling someone a liar. Maybe that happens for you in third grade.

ACCmoderate October 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

Criticizing spelling, punctuation, or grammar on an Internet forum is like tripping a blind kid.

Is it fun? Yes. Do you look like a douche for doing it? Yes.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 9:57 am

One or two mistakes is acceptable. I make plenty. Has Threejack ever started a sentence with a capitalized letter? I don’t think so.

ACCmoderate October 28, 2010 at 10:19 am

It’s the Internet Doug. It’s not that big of a deal.

Three Jack October 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

so i don’t capitalize…you seldom fact check what you write…which is worse?

the point is doug, you say deal is the man because he will not do as bad a job as barnes with the maps. if deal had spent some small portion of his 18 years in congress to end section 5 of the vra, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. he had 18 years to do something doug, but he didn’t…it took a freshman congressman to lead on the issue.

the constituency of one is an abject failure whether you consider his political record or his personal finances. he will be a disaster as georgia’s next governor.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm

3J,

I fact check all the time. When I am wrong (and I know it) I admit it. Your problem is that you like to tell people that I am wrong on facts when I am not. Name a fact that I am wrong on in this thread. You can’t. I may not agree with your spin, but that doesn’t make my facts wrong.

According to your logic everything that failed to get done federally for the past 18 years is the direct result of either inaction or action by Congressman Deal. I didn’t realize he was President for the past 18 years. It seems you just want a King.

Three Jack October 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm

slow down doug. this thread is about redistricting reform. you say deal will be the better person to lead that effort on behalf of the gop. i simply point out that deal had 18 years to lead on this and so many other things, but he didn’t. thus your contention has little to no credibility based on deal’s history. you may disagree with how barnes handled it 10 years ago, but at least he was a leader representing his side instead of waiting for somebody else to show him the way.

regarding facts, you wrote “…kingston has objected to preclearance…” which is factually incorrect. there is no record of him speaking out during the debate and he voted for renewal of the vra in 2006 along with both of georgia’s “conservative” senators.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

“you may disagree with how barnes handled it 10 years ago, but at least he was a leader representing his side instead of waiting for somebody else to show him the way.”

I am calling Gov. Barnes a low down dirty cheater when it comes to drawing maps. It is nothing to be praised or emulated on behalf of the GOP. Congressman Deal is the better leader on this issue not because he got the VRA lifted from Georgia, but because he is not a proven GERRYMANDYER like Gov. Barnes is.

I read where Congressman Kingston spoke out for the initial need of the VRA had passed and where he had initially opposed it.

Georgia has nine statewide elected black officials and other proof of ample minority participation in electoral politics, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said in an interview. “If you move a polling place from the Baptist church to the Methodist church, you’ve got to go through the Justice Department,” he said.

From the WP.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/21/AR2006062101910.html

It was two Georgia representatives, Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who led the short-lived, 80-member Republican insurrection that delayed renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They opposed multilingual ballots.

http://www.nowpublic.com/politics/us-justice-dept-slashes-minority-voting-rights-enforcement-targets-massachusetts

Once the multilingual ballots were removed from the 2006 vote, Kingston voted for it. He did object, so my fact is right.

Three Jack October 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm

so in other words, he was against it before he was for it.

sorry doug, that is a hollow objection if the guy turns right around as the only gop member of the ga delegation to vote in favor of final passage.

“Congressman Deal is the better leader on this issue not because he got the VRA lifted from Georgia, but because he is not a proven GERRYMANDYER like Gov. Barnes is.”

deal did not get the vra lifted, he didn’t even try hard. he voted against final passage, but failed for 18 years to bring up the issue.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

So? And?

King Roy is a low down dirty rotten cheater when it comes to drawing maps.

Refute that.

Ken in Eastman October 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Doug,

Good question.

Also, Iowa is not under the thumb of the US Justice Department because of the Voting Rights Act which openly discriminates against certain states, including Georgia.

Sorry, Clint, but comparing us to Iowa isn’t exactly as straightforward as you make it sound.

NoTeabagging October 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm

The redistricting process seems to suck the life out of the legislative session, distract the media and keep the lawmakers from focusing on real issues. I wish they would skip it in the next session.

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 12:27 pm

They will skip it. Expect a special session.

greencracker October 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Heard the same. Next fall instead of playing in leaf piles, we’ll be sweating/fighting/gnashing teeth through a redistricting.

NoTeabagging October 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Good! Don’t waste our valuable time in the legislative session.

aoburns October 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Since Georgia is a voting rights state our map has to pass the DOJ which means we have to watch the inner city Black VAP. If its diluted too much thats a problem.

So we will get a new district. They will squeeze it into North Georgia somehow and shift the rest clockwise and the current congressmen will watch it carefully and make sure they get something they like by Lobbying hopefully a republican governor.

What happens to districts like GA8,GA12,GA2 will be the most interesting to see how the % turns out.

Ken in Eastman October 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

aoburns,

I think the population growth in Georgia was pretty asymmetrical with North Georgia gaining in relationship to Middle Georgia and South Georgia. This is going to mean still larger (area) rural districts in Georgia even after we add a district.

This is going to make changing those districts very interesting, especially GA-8 which stretches from about 30 miles from the Florida line to slightly above I-20 in two places. How do you expand that without broadening the district? But if you broaden GA-8, what happens to GA-2 and GA-1?

ChuckEaton October 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

Sometimes, I think Section 5, of the VRA, has as much to do with killing the white Democrat in GA as anything else.

Max Power October 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I would like to see a constitutional amendment to adopt the Iowa system or something close to it nationwide.

Buzz Brockway October 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Barnes egregiously violated the 4 principles Clint outlined above last time Dems had the chance to draw maps. Pardon me but I find it rich that Roy Barnes suddenly wants a non-partisan commission to do this job.

It’s the job of Legislators to draw maps and it should stay that way. If we can’t trust elected officials to fairly draw lines then throw their hind parts out. Redistricting was one of the (many) reasons Barnes was tossed and one of the (many) reasons he can’t crack 40% in the polls and won’t win next Tuesday.

If we can’t trust politicians to draw fair lines then how can we trust them to do anything? Why not create non-partisan boards of experts to do everything? Unelected boards to help politicians avoid accountability is not what the Founding Fathers intended. As Madison said:

Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.

Part of my (soon to be) job will be to protect the communities I represent. That’s true of all of my future colleagues as well. The give and take and **gasp** compromise that will go on to produce new districts is not something to fear but a necessary part of our system of government. I think it’s should stay that way.

rightofcenter October 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Double ditto!!!!!!!
You will make a fine legislator. And Thank God we will have more minority representation (my fellow Tech Man).

chefdavid October 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Kinda of like us trusting our legislators to drawing a map that follows the basin lines?
http://www.georgiawaterplanning.org/documents/water_basin_map.pdf

Clint October 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Hey guys, we’re talking about the future, not the past.

The Independent Commission is a great idea. Pure partisans on both sides aren’t going to want to do it, but those that have Georgia first and foremost will champion it. Thank God there are still some people who care about Georgia first and partisanship second.

maryalice October 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm

AMEN!

Doug Grammer October 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

The reason you don’t want to talk about the past is because your candidate is horrible on this issue. I’m not sure if he could have done a worse job if he had tried.

As far as the future goes, HE IS ON RECORD FOR WANTING TO GERRYMANDER……..AGAIN!!!!

What part of that do you find more conservative than Congressman Deal?

Harry October 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Why are we discussing something that has no chance of happening?

Lady Thinker October 27, 2010 at 11:10 pm

To take up time and space.

Progressive Dem October 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Ronald Reagan was a proponent of independent, non-partisan commissions drawing districts. If you don’t trust a (former) governor to redistrict, isn’t that a good reason to support an independent commission?

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 6:53 am

Under the Iowa plan, the final authority on the maps is still the legislature and the Gov. Who decides who is independent and non-partisan? The commission would still be appointments from the legislature and the Gov. I think I’d like the people who draw the maps to have to be able to answer for them to the voters.

Progressive Dem October 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Clearly you are not independent and non-partisan. Neither is a elected official. Selecting a district should not be in the hands of the people running for office. They have a vested interest. They are biased and they are partisan. Elected officials, whether Democrats or Republicans, have proven that they will manipulate the process for the specific gain of their party.

polisavvy October 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I agree that it should be comprised of an independent, bipartisan group of people. The parties do manipulate it to their own benefit and those of us living in those districts become pawns. Sorry to jump in on the discussion you guys had going, but that’s my two cents worth.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm

So you trust an independent, bipartisan group of people?

My question is, who selects them? Is it the Gov.? The legislature? I’ll agree that I am partisan. That doesn’t mean I can’t draw fair maps with the aid of the right software. Would I? Yes, for four reasons. First, I am fair. Second, I am not a hypocrite. Third, if I engaged in the same bad behavior as the Dems did, it would come back to haunt my favorite party. Fourth, I like my work to be something I am proud of and that will stand the test of time and lawyers.

All that being said, if I am disqualified, what about my brother or best friend? If they have never worked on a campaign or held political office, I think they would qualify. And could I advise them? You bet I could, and so could a legislator.

The reason I am in favor of the current system is that if whoever is in charge draws bad lines, we can hold them accountable and vote them bums out, regardless of party.

The legislature gets to determine their pay scale, their benefits, the ethics laws and they have a vested interest in all of those. If we are electing them to govern, let them govern. Or do we need an independent non-partisan panel for those issues as well? And should they come back that legislators should be paid 100k a year, who do you hold accountable? Not the legislators, they would not have approved it under the type of system being discussed.

polisavvy October 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I see your point; however, you know as well as I do that the party in power at the time of redistricting generally does that redistricting without considering the people who actually live in those districts. You might be able to be fair and objective. You also know that there are probably others who could not be even if they said they would be. I don’t know how one would go about finding an unbiased group to do the redistricting. You just have to admit that partisan politics does figure into the scheme.

I actually spoke with a guy yesterday who lives in Iowa. I mentioned to him that this was a discussion going on in Georgia. He said that there are very few, if any, complaints about the way things are done there now. He said most residents seem very happy. I understand that Georgia is considerably larger, but it is still a thought.

Progressive Dem October 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

“The reason I am in favor of the current system is that if whoever is in charge draws bad lines, we can hold them accountable and vote them bums out, regardless of party.” BINGO!

You can’t vote the bums out becuase they rigged their districts into an incumbant reward system. How many incumbants have serious challenges? Is that because the voters are satisfied with government? Have you seen the approval ratings? I don’t think so. Incumbants have enough advantages without giving them the power to determine their own districts.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Well, PD, what’s your solution? We don’t have a perfect system, but it seems to be better than everyone else’s.

Primaries work, even against incumbents if there is enough going on. I’ll concede that some districts are safe for one party or another, but that doesn’t mean that the party primary can’t vote a bum out.

And we aren’t giving them the power to draw the maps, they already have it.

ACCmoderate October 28, 2010 at 10:16 am

Since Doug Grammar has shown himself to be an ignorant boob by drawing an analogy between gerrymandering and child molesting, I’m going to put this response where he can see it.

Doug’s claim: “‘The truth on the maps is that Republicans want maps drawn for pure partisan gain regardless of the lines and boundaries.’ Prove that statement. We both know you can’t.”

My response: There are numerous instances of GOP gerrymandering Doug. Take a look at the State Senate map. Athens-Clarke County was split in half in order to water down its largely Democratic vote. Half was paired with Oconee County to form Bill Cowsart’s district. The other half was paired with Madison/Oglethorpe/etc. to form Ralph Hudgens district. As a result, the 5th largest city in Georgia doesn’t have a single state senator that represents the interests of the majority of its residents (I do salute Bill for trying). That smells like gerrymandering to me.

There are more, but I’ll save you the trouble of having to read your own hypocrisy.

Doug’s claim: “In your explanation, you left off that the DOJ has to pre-clear the new lines to make sure that they comply with the voting rights act. Maybe that omission was part of an omission of a REAL boogeyman: President Obama’s DOJ.”

My response: The 3 Judge Panel isn’t some sort of Soros-funded Democratic engine. 5 of the 11 judges currently active in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (the judicial body in charge of pre-clearance) are Republican appointees. That includes Hon. Royce C. Lamburth, who was appointed by your boy Reagan. Your boogeyman is simply that… a specter raised to arouse fear in the minds of people who don’t know any better.

Just like any veto, the Legislature can override Barnes’ no-vote of their proposed map. Whether or not a group of individuals that has routinely demonstrated a lack of testicular fortitude would actually override any veto remains to be seen.

With Deal as governor, we’re going to wind up with gerrymandered maps. As a result, we’re going to wind up hurting the democratic process that generations of brave men and women have fought so hard for.

Harry October 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Again, why are we even discussing something that is not going to happen…other than to take up space and time, as Lady Thinker said??

Are we trying to score political points? You’re barking up the wrong tree.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Harry,

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I like talking about how bad Gov. Barnes is on this topic.

Doug Grammer October 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Acc notso moderate,

As I implied before, the analogy was in somewhat of a jest. However, the truth is that out of the two men running for Governor, only one has actively engaged in gerrymandering. Only one has openly stated that he wants to do so again. GOVERNOR BARNES SAID HE WANTS TO DRAW BAD MAPS THIS WEEK.

You said: “With Deal as governor, we’re going to wind up with gerrymandered maps.” Show us any proof that Congressman Deal wants gerrymandered maps. The link to Gov. Barnes map making desires is in Clint’s opening post.

So Clarke County got divided in half. Boo Hoo. Districts 46 and 47 look fairly contiguous to me.

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/pdf/2006senate.pdf

As far as you claim that it was GOP gerrymandering that divided Clarke County, according to what I have found and remember, it wasn’t the GOP who drew those maps, it was an independent panel of court appointed experts who drew them.

http://www.csg.org/knowledgecenter/docs/BOS2005-LegislativeRedistricting.pdf

“The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decision and after the state legislature was unable to draw new lines, court-appointed experts drew new maps that the court approved.”

“Furthermore, the court found that the state showed “an intentional effort to allow incumbent Democrats to maintain or increase their delegation, The Council of State Governments primarily by systematically under-populating the districts held by incumbent Democrats, by overpopulating those of Republicans, and by deliberately pairing numerous Republican incumbents against one another.”

You need to make up your mind. Do you like the maps that divide Clarke County or do you like maps drawn by people who are not members of the legislature? You can’t have it both ways, because it seems that they are the same maps.

I don’t trust Gov. Barnes with the maps of Georgia as far as I can throw the entire state, and I’m not going to rely on a veto to override his HISTORY AND DESIRE FOR DRAWING GERRYMANDERED MAPS.

David Staples October 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm

“However, the truth is that out of the two men running for Governor, only one has actively engaged in gerrymandering.”

That’s kind of like saying “out of the two men running for Governor, only one has actively used their staff members to do find out information for use in their privately owned business”. Right?

Perhaps you like this one better…

“Out of the two men running for Governor, only one has voted for increased spending in Washington D.C.”

Just give Deal the chance to gerrymander, right? That’s all you’re asking? When it comes to gerrymandering, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t the legislature actually draw the lines and the Governor just either approves or denies it? Barnes didn’t actually draw the lines, right? Didn’t the map as drawn have to be approved by over 100 other legislators before it even got to Barnes’ desk?

Doug Grammer October 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

The map as drawn in 2001 had to be approved by over 100 other legislators before it got to Gov. Barnes desk. Yes, that is true, and they were just as guilty as Gov. Barnes. It was an almost straight party vote: 2 GOP legislators voted for the maps and 2 Dems voted against them. The vote was 102-74 in the house.

http://archive.fairvote.org/redistricting/reports/remanual/ganews2.htm#newdist

For those who don’t think Gov. Barnes was neck deep in the process, here’s a link for you:

http://archive.fairvote.org/redistricting/reports/remanual/ganews2.htm#gov

Gerald October 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

The thing that I don’t like about redistricting reform is that it only becomes a good idea when the other party is in power. When your party is in power, it is a horrible idea. Take Roy Barnes for instance. He AND the AJC loathed redistricting commissions back then because they were trying everything that they could to retain the GOP hold on the state. But when the GOP took over, THAT was when the Dems – and the AJC – wanted a redistricting commission. I spent several times writing the alleged “former Republican” Jay Bookman and the alleged “moderate Democrat” Cynthia Tucker about their hypocrisy on the issue, and of course they never responded, nor did they admit that their position had changed in the paper.

It is obvious that Barnes supports this idea because he knows that it will limit the number of GOPers that get elected to office, and also make sure that more of the GOPers who do get elected are RINOs. And it is part of a national strategy. You never heard about redistricting commissions until the GOP took control of Congress in 1994. Then, all of a sudden, they became a great idea. All of a sudden, gerrymandering, partisanship, and ideological extremism, and the lack of contested elections became this huge problem, when it never was all those DECADES under Tip O’Neill.
Any inkling that I had of holding my nose and voting for Barnes went away when he proposed this idea. And he wants us to believe that he is humbler now and learned from his mistakes? Please.

As for why Sonny Perdue supports it: he wants a legacy. After eight years of doing nothing, he wants to be remembered for an actual accomplishment, and for being a policy guy. But remember, this is the same guy who opposes an engineering school at his own alma mater. That every large university in our main competing economic states (Texas, Florida, North Carolina) has an engineering school, and feels that Georgia Tech’s having a monopoly on engineering education in one of the nation’s largest states (unless you count the tiny, undergrad only engineering program at Mercer) is somehow a good thing. (So, competition is great for K-12 but bad for universities? How does that work?)

When you have to choose between Barnes and Deal to replace a guy like Perdue … is there a “none of the above option”?

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