Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Public Hearing - Redistricting Board - Live Blogging from Anchorage

It's 12:30pm and all the Board members are now here and the seats in the audience have a few more people,

Meeting being called to order.
Small agenda of board business now.
Roll Call.
All board members present.
Approval of agenda
Torgerson:  Palmer meeting will be changed to Wasilla because room wasn't available in Palmer. 
Time adjustment in Kotzebue - to accommodate flight schedule - start at 1pm and adjourn at 6pm.  Approved.
Adding Cold Bay and Nome to Post-Plan public hearing schedule.  Approved.

12:35  Going into public hearing portion.

Ron Rivas - I live in District 20 - probably grown since last change, but still remains socially integrated area.  It should remain unchanged to keep equal and just representation.  I've read how in other states gerrymandering has taken place.  I'm sure in our Great STate, such a thing wouldn't happen, however this gerrymandering process, enables areas to be adjusted so that incumbents have to run against each other.  Which wouldn't benefit its citizenry.  Citizens of each district should be vigilant so that thru redistricting process, incumbents shouldn't have to run against each other and thus weakening legislative power.  Redistricting important to keep population balanced, but not gerrymandering to strengthen one party or another

Bruce Schulte - south anchorage along the marsh, eastern boundary a little rambling - encourage the board to clean up those boundaries, put northern boundary to Campbell Creek and extent eastern boundary perhaps to Seward Highway.  Neighbors in dispar

Randy Ruedrich -   Alaskans for Fair Redistricting - Overpoints on Redistricting about what happened ten years ago.
1.  World changes rapidly.  Were brought into US seemed like partisan Demo state, by 2000 more Republicans and now about 56,000 more Republicans.  We expect a fair map to show changed results.
2.  Federal Voting Rights Act - AK only state in union where this restraint applies.  Important we retain AK Native voiting right.  That's why I testified last time about getting Alaska Natives in prisons counted in their home areas.  Will have important impact on voting counts for rural areas.  Need plan based on solid record from your hearings. 
3.  HAve plan less likelihood to be litigated.  If we have ... map.  Delayed process confuses everything.
4.  Prior gentleman talked about gerrymandering.  If you want to look at worst case - 2001 plan had 21 republicans paired and no Democrats paired.  We need to do a better job of drawing a fair and equitable plan.  Also shouldn't fit communities.  ER deliberately split after litigation.  No remedy from Supreme Court.  Your responsibility to prevent splitting communities.  South Anchorage also split - narrowest part one row of houses.  Everything else put in District 31.  Community dissected.  If not for one house, wouldn't have been contiguous.  District 28 looks more rational because of the marshlands.  South end of 28 Joe Green, north end Lesil McGuire.  That redistricting made one of them extra.  In ER, same problem.  Most of district on military bases.  ER split after the trial, board again found a way to pair Randy Phillips with Con Bunde.  Original plan to south end and linked it to Valdez.  Still links Homer and Seward.  Still not idea.  Most people have heartfelt reasons for comments.

Torgerson:  Randy on 31st we'll be accepting plans.  So bring one in and we'll allow extra time to present them. 

Jennifer Johnson - representing myself and on the Anchorage Assembly.  Want to echo previous speakers about District 28 - could come up with better boundary.  32 when I ran for office, even tho there's a lot of similar issues between ER and Hillside, ER considers itself as a community.  Inappropriate to have Dis. 32 in ER.  Dst. 32 has increased substantially, probably mostly in ER.  (Eagle River)

Judy E?  - Resident of District 32.  Have lived in ER for years.  Main concern is that its very difficult for 32 to be repped by one person.  Goes all the way to ER, Hillside, Girdwood, Hope, Alaska.  Very different neighborhoods.  ER see themselves as community within themselves.  We don't go to same community council meetings.  Feel like represented by someone they don't even know.  Hillside has some common issues with ER.  Encompasses a lot of park and vacant land, but people live there. 

Hal Gazaway - in Anchorage since 1974 - lived all over Anchorage, now in Muldoon since 1998.  Each neighborhoods has unique characteristics and unique needs.  I would ask that Muldoon be kept in tact.  Assembly is split so that North Muldoon is with ER and he didn't even know he represented us.  Muldoon and ER have very different needs. 
Ask Muldoon be kept in tact. 

Seems like there's a break now. 

Torgerson:  We'll recess and reconvene as people show up.  We'll be here until seven.

This is pretty rough, but live so I'll post now and then start again.

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