That quote in the title comes from the last person to testify in the first batch of afternoon testimony - it's at the bottom. But it makes a lot of sense.
As always, these are notes on the fly. They get a sense of what was said, but leave a lot out because I just can't keep up.
2pm Board back to order.
Anita not here
Sonia Short - (Not yet)
Brian Hoag? -
Torgerson - We're on teleconference. We met at 10am heard from six groups, AFFR, Rights Coalition, AFFER, MOA, Fairbanks, Calista. Some interesting new ideas.
Brian Hoag? Fairbanks - Here on other business and saw I had another opportunity and thought I'd take it. Generally think pretty good job with the plan, my neck of the woods, Fairbanks area balanced fairly well. Happy to see Salcha and Eilson back in the fold. Districts appear to be very well balanced unlike past experiences.
One more thing about district, helpful to maintain the numbering system. Cuts down on the confusion. Thank you. 11 and 12 in particular, back up 7 and 11, Eilson is probably better suited for district 11, and if have to back population out, can look in NNW of Dis. 11. ONly other thing, I know there is a reason for everything, but D9, section of College Road, then dips down to slough and then back to College Road, natural thing would be to continue along College Road. Balance thing. Maybe on the west side come off sooner. On east side dips down to the slough. Maybe that's something we can look at. I know there's a reason for everything. thank you for your service.
Mike Symanszki: Live in Big Lake. Honor of being in Legislature several times, very compact south Anchorage district. Thought once to run for the Senate and ended up in the donut district from S Anchorage to Whittier, Cordova, Valdez, McKinley and almost got Tyonek. So thought I'd stop by and share my perspective. Lots has happened since I was in he legislature. Constitutional amendment now requires single member Senate districts. I commend all of you in this process cranking out plan in 90 days. Message: Living in Big Lake, as former Rep. the challenges of meandering districts just doesn't work. Separateion, ability to represent is just absurd. More compact, dense, closer relationships you can have in House or Senate districts the better. I couldn't do it. Oil interests fighting with Fishing, pro and anti development together.
In Valley where I am now. Numbers about 5.7 house districts - 3.5/2.5 Senate districts - shows how I've done my homework. Now, in Big Lake, we have Senator who lives in Birchwood. Don't get a lot of attention when asking for representation. Shouldn't put these tail sections of districts which are hard for reps to represent. Anchorage and Fairbanks will be compact. SE - have islands - difficult. Like to see the Valley particularly held to compact unit. That's all I have to say.
Mariam Landow - last time held testimony here, some testified they liked AFFER plan because it follows Community Council plans, but while true in South Anchorage, I have map here to show. AFFER's original map superimposed over Community Council lines. This morning's map is slightly different, but not that much. The second map is identical to that put forward by the Muncipality this morning.
What AFFER said about Community Councils isn't true - they don't follow CC lines. Put CC's into up to four districts. Looking at Senate pairings, most CC are not united. Randy Ruedrich says his plan matches CC's. He criticized your plan for leaping across the Seward Highway to split a community council. AFFER's plan does exactly the same plan. I think the board shouldn't consider either of the plans - AFFER and MOA's - using Ruedrich's own plan. Urge you to do one better to keep Community Councils intact. Thank you.
John Olson -AUDIO - I'm against modifying the language. RE is known as demon god of the underwolrd took me to court. I don't know why you are modifying the language. Anyone could change this to anything they want to change it to. There's nothing there. That's it.
John Ford - Petersburg - my thing is, so called redistrict is WHY? Create more revenue, steal more money out of people's pocket books? Alaska has no contracts to go by. Engage theft of Petersburg theft of property, I'm a first hand witness. High officials destroying maps of land owners and committing array of crimes for theft of property and no one ever does anything about it. Do as you wish baffle the people with a maze of BS. That's all I have to say cause that's what this is.
Torgerson: Back to Anchorage.
Jerrod McCort? - Thanks for opportunity to comment. D31 does jump slightly over the highway, but that's a business district. Oceanview where I live .. Options 1 and 2 flawed. Maps ....can't hear. Doesn't actually go to Beachcomber drive. Goes behind my house. Rely on creek that is little more than a drainage ditche. and ignore more significant landmarks - Campbell and Chester Creek. AFFER map improved since last testified. 29 doesn't go into Sandlake. I support AFFER 30 from Campbell Lake. All in Assembly district. Also AFFER 31. Half of Huffman/O"malley are in district 31. AFFER maps follows Constitutional guidelines. Thank you for your time.
April Ferguson - I have with me Natalie Landreth. VP of BB Native Corporation. Thank you all for your public service. I hope like you we won't be here in July. Focus on Boards 2 option. Both 1 and 2 purport to have 4-2-2-1 plan. But current plan, based on ?? not only has the population changed. ABility to elect is the standard to be used. Now called effective district and influence district is gone. The AG does not rely on any fixed demographic percentage . . . often includes election history, patterns, crossover patterns 7471 guidelines of Federal REgister. Board seems to base their plans on fixed 35% and 50% criteria. Have not done any anaysis yet. I understand that VRA expert won't have analysis done til about May 10th. And she is not sure 35 and 50% would still be valid. And testimony won't be taken on her analysis.
Sen. C at 39.2% - 37 only has 46% - why considered a majority district.
1. What is actual floor for Native district
2. Public Comment period open several days after her report made public.
Matt Ganley -representing Bering Strait Sea Corp. Concerned with D39 and severe mutations. Once all had a nice compact, contiguious 39, easy to define socio-economic unit. Like your 1 or 2. It fits the ideal the vra is looking for. Shares the same futures economically of its people. Like what it looks like in Options 1 and 2. We met with AFFR and they took to heart what we discussed. Much better picture now for residents of the region. AFFR is ideal for 39. If can't be achieved, another possible not completely acceptable. 5-0 plan. Bush Caucus modified 5-1-2-1 plan. Boundaries much the same Not ideal for us stretches to Canadian border. But what it does avoid is a significant block from Fairbanks area into D39. Thank you for your public service and putting up with us.
Torgerson: You aren't in favor district from Bering Sea to Canadian Border.
Matt: Not, but would prefer this one.
Burt Cottle, Wasilla Dept. Administrator. Like to consider separating Wasilla and Palmer and not put us int he same Sen district would help. Then both Senators could work together and not be pitted against each other.
Lorainne Stedman - Southeast concerns. Hearings in Sitka last week - from 1-3, didn't overlap lunch hour or after work. Hope you get comments by email. Not in favor of eiether paln.
Doesn't reflect ...
Private plan, like those that keep SE intact. 4 and 2 best for SE with outflow of population. Splitting Sitka isn't good. Basically islands with no road connections. Native influence considerations need to be addressed. with disollution of Ds.5, should be able to work it out. Very out of sync, .... recommend looking at private plans that keep SE intact, moving SE into interior isn't good.
Wilson Dustin I'm from Sustichina? ?? Tribal Council, Option 2 may be modified to be acceptable. The AFFR proposed plan we favor. Chistschina??
Ketchkan? ?? - We simply don't understand how you can take two communities - always a big part of Ketchikan into separate district - island that has our airport in separate district. Look at Rights plan and AFFR, both do good job of SE. Also four contiguous house seats and senate seats in SE. ONly constitutional way to do it. Either AFFR or Rights plan, take adequate account of minority voting issues we have to consider.
Kathleen Menke? I support the plan presented by Rights Coalition, either alternative 1 or 2 I would support. For SE Alt 1 is better because Yakutat isn't included. But Alt 2 addresses needs of people across the state, like Bethel and Kenai, if it works best for the rest of thestate moving Yakutat is accepatble. I think the Sen pairings are so sensible. Put people together in common socio-econ interests. IN SE in particular. We're losing a district so those four districts need to be HD1-4 and Sen Aand B - anything less would be totally unfair to SE. Compact, contiguous districts int he best interest for all Alaskans.
Elizabeth Gray - Hello. Asst. B Manger for Matsu Borrough. Both plans have problems but Option 2 - doesn't go to Delta Junction. Option 1 carves up Matsu and doesn't meet Constitutiona req. Dis12 is up and out for sole reason to join fairbanks for Senate connection. Option 1 is worst. District A in 2 is better. At least share history of coastal communities. DA in 1... Option 2 still has deficiency. 12 people on Western Parks Hwy - line should be moved east and let people be in House D 13 back into borough. Other ties shared by 13 residents - in community councils.
There are needs for large districts, but we should keep borough together. Carefully consider constitutions requirements, reject option 1, and pick one that works. We should have 5 representatives. We'll be submitting proposal for revision. thank you for your time and dedication. Hard job and we appreciate your service.
Frances Degnan - live in 39, I believe we need to stay with socio-economic status of district, as compact and contiguous as you can make it. Shouldn't cross from bering sea to CAnadian Border for one district. We are Coastal and Riverine.
Vicki Russel - Good Afternoon. thank you. President of Alaska Women for political Action. Non-partisan dedicated to election pro equal rights and pro women. At our last meeting we supporte AFFR plan
1. Good compromise undr Alaska's constitutional requirements - recognize you worked hard. AFFR does a good job solving the problems. Right number of Native districts to comply with VRA.
2. In urban areas, should minimize changes - not pair incumbents. We feel AFFR has done it well.
Thank you for this chance to speak and your service on the board.
Jaelene Araujo - VP Sealaska, originally from Angoon. Alaska Native. Express my appreciation for being mindful and trying to avoid retrogression. We've lost population in SE and is difficult. We do have important points
1. Try not to have incumbent pairings or at least avoid having us lose both native incumbents.
2. continue native influence in SE - present 2 Native leaders representatives
Comment board for working within VRA standards but see problems
1. both AK incumbents would have to face non-native incumbents from urban areas
2. A district constitutional problems because of contiguity
Prefer alternative plans because native incumbents won't face challenge
Different plans from Bush Caucus, AFFER, problems with each of them
1. Board plan, but alternate
2. Bush Alt 5-1 both reps unopposed, but no Native influence int hat plan
3. AFFER plan, possible to not have both Native people opposed. But splitting Sitka, Stedman could end up in either because he has two homes.
Daryl Nelson - thank you for allowing us to testify. I believe owner of successful advocy services focuses on issues not party lines. Also believe that Chugiak and ER should be together Now, Chugiak is part of Matsu. We need to focus on, go by borders of municipality. If you split the two, very hard to work on campaigns, heard to talk to people. I've worked on many campaigns and it's really hard in wheel chair to go house to house. If you include ER with Chugiak, better yet. If only two options. I prefer #2. Peters Creek and N. Peters Creek part of Matsu
I'm Daryl's Mom - Bonnie Nelson - Daryl's made trips to Lower 48 to teach legislators about disability issues. I ran for State House last time. Really hard in the area. Good experience. He was my campaign mangers. Hard to deal with issues in ER, Chugiak, and Palmer. Can't represent people in good way.
Wasilla - Mayor. Mr. Upright
I know it's a tough job. Weighin in. Tough options. From Senate district side, don't see it working for benefit of Wasilla. Connecting us to Palmer SEn. not helpful. Also connecting us to West and north. They have a different development mindset - basically none at all. Assist us with a SEn. dedicated to Wasilla area. Thank you for your time.
We'll do some off net.
Daniel - Wasilla Need for borough in need our five seats. Your plans cut us up. We need five dedicated house seats. Look carefully at Rights plan - gives us what we need and deserve.
Patricia Higgins in Anchorage - Live in 30 now in Anchorage. I wear many hats, just as citizen now. Member of my community Council. At our meeting last week. Looked at Census map. These numbers come out good. Should be able to do Anchorage bowl without going outside. But shocked when I saw the map. Break boundaries where toally not necesary. We need process and lines that are fair. District 30 now, we'd have five house and senators. Acnhorage boundaries all over the place. Across the Seward Hwy. Neighborhoods together don't have common characteristics. Need to go back. Keeps neighborhoods together. Certainly keep boroughs and cities together.
David Metheny - Anchroage 24. Would like to see a map repsectiful of local govt. boundaries, particularly borough. Doesn't split SEn district without contiguous house districts. Map that didn't put half Muldoon and ER together. Matsu get five full disticts like they deserve. I'd like to stay in District 24. I like my representatives. If anyone is going to fire my reps, it should be the voter and not the board.