Friday, May 06, 2011

People Around the State Drift In To Testify Now and Then

6pm[Adjourned until Monday, May 16]

Chair Torgerson is convening as there are new people to testify.  So we just convened for a minute or so and adjourned.

Dick Stoffel, Republican Chair for new district 13 - goes from my place to north of Delta about 8 hours away and doesn't seem very compact.  At least keep the district within the Borough would make a logical guideline.  Keeping us more concise together.  Understand Fairbanks doesn't want to be in Matsu either.  That's my comment


Lance Robers - Fairbanks, reiterate what I said before.  Support Board Option 2, glad you brought Salcha back in.  Senate with 11 and 12 better.  I like board option 2.  Because of VRA we had to cut out parts of Fairbanks I like.  Wanted to encourage you on Board Option 2.  I'd like Eilson to be part of 11 instead of 7.
On Senate Loop, D7, glad you brought it in with the rest of the neighborhood with Summit.  should get all of Senate Loop.  Good together with other side of summit.  Don't care which district. 
Recess at 4.21 (Torgerson is 'excused' and McConnochie convened and adjourned.  She's using a different clock than the one on the wall.)

Torgerson is back 4:28

Richard Giessel? - thank you. Currently id District 31, but .  Anchorage resident since 1974.  Built house in 1979 in S. Anchorage. 2001 violated spirit if not law.  Current plans also.  I oppose the board's plans.  The AFFER will force me to resign my position, but strongly support the AFFER plan.  It puts principle about politics, complying with geographic lines and Community Councils.  AFFER considers many of those things and support it - N. of Huffman to Old Seward.  Old boundary of Assembly d.6.  Also support AFFER D32, compact from Girdwood to Huffman and north to Abbot.  Chugach and Seward.  All community councils in area.  Southernmost MOA area.  Like it's compactness and conformity with Community Councils.

Denise Morris - Got lots of paper here.  Good afternoon.  Appreciate your time, effort, and energy and public service. I know it requires you to be away from your home and family members and we appreciate your effort.  I am the President and CEO of 1st Alaskans Institute and testifying today as individual from Aleut Community in St. Paul.  1st Alaskans has taken lead in educating Native community about the process.  Unfortunately, but for individuals to activiely participate in process - it's a vast state - the hearing taking place today the ability to call in and participate.  When you go to one hub community, not being telecommuted to smaller communities.  Need opportunity to expand people's ability to participate.  Another comment we heard at our think tank is the opportunity to get answers to questions that are still unanswered.  Public input complete a month before the process is completed.  Questions about legal definitions of population that public may not have opportunity to comment on.  I'm not sure what others have raised.  Hope I'm bringing up new issues.  Also, maximizing the Alaska Native vote and preserving what we've worked so hard to maintain and increasing it where there is growth.  About 19% of the vote based on how people have identified themselves.  As people have continued to move around the state.  Reminds me of tests - literacy and citizen tests in the past.  Just asking equity in the process.  Faith, input, ability to participate it the process. 

the other thing, no reason any plan adopted should be retrogressive.  Enough plans that show that a plan can be drafted that is not retrogressive.  Talking about majority-minority and influence seats, that those are considered when looking at the population as a whole. 

Alaska Native community and cultural diversity.  There are more common issues that united us than separate.  There are different regional needs across the state, but common needs we have as well. 

Want to reiterate that growth of Alaska Native population is represented in the redistricting.  there are key issues - domestic assault, housing, and other issues - we need adequate representation to be sure those issues are addressed. 

Jim Holm:  Curious - citizens test.  Give me some thoughts on that. 
Morris - in the past indigenous people, in order to vote had to prove they were citizens, but in our history, they were not always considered citizens and not allowed to vote.
Holm:  Earlier we had testimony about people in fishing communities who were counted, but not voters because not citizens.

Morris:  Important for people who are citizens and reside here, looking to the future.  We do consider the people who are hear.

Holm:  I'm talking about non-citizens who work in Alaska who were counted.  How does that relate to First Alaskan issues.

Morris:  Not sure that's an issue related to our positions. 

White:  You've mentioned the 19.1% of Alaska Natives.  But have you looked at where there are Natives but it is impossible to make a Native effective influence in any urban area.  We all know the phrase Anchorage as the largest Native Village in the state - 23,000 - but so dispersed, I was wondering if you have any idea of Natives in urban areas?

Morris:  If we do have that information it is not in my memory bank and not immediately available to me.  But I can check when I get back and let you know.  And the other issue relating to population - where they reside and communities.  In Anchorage large population here in Anchorage.  Important not to look at this as a Rural-Urban issue, they all need to be represented.

White:  Understood.  You know we cannot get the numbers in Anchorage anywhere close - Natives are so intermingled in the population.  But can't look at 19.1%, but have to look in areas where they are geographically cohesive.

Morris:  I've looked at the Bering . . . I'm not a population expert, but I know there have been a number of different plans and testimony presented.  The challenge is to look at the various plans where there is no retrogression.  I'm hoping at the end of the day there will be no retrogression.  That's the challenge.  And I understand it's difficult.

Torgerson:  You realize that the Board did put out the first non-retrogressive plan.  There have been some interesting approaches given us this morning.  We have struggled from early on to not have retrogressive plan. 

White:  Is First Alaskan's position that no retrogression more important than not crossing cultural lines?

Morris:  For me, myself, and I no retrogression.  As Natives there are more things that join us than divide us. 

White:  So, if two plans - one with seven but keeps the cultures together and another with nine, which would you prefer?

Morris:  My personal would be nine.

Carol Beecher:  I live in 19 Anchorage.  I'm in favor for AFFER and appreciate the plan they have put together,  They've tried to keep to the Constitutional mandates to keep like districts together.  Military bases also inhabits a lot of that area.  I appreciate how they are making SE to work which is a real trick.  Not letting Haines be part of Juneau so they don't have any voice.


Mary Weiss - I testifed when the committee came here.  Once again state what I call the Giraffe district that stretches across the state would be detrimental to representation to the Delta or YK.  The rights map or map fo City of Bethel.  Looks like compact district, some of the up river communities involved with Bethel as they are already.

McConnochie - is that the plan you refer to the one that was given to us when we were there?

Weiss:  Yes, the one given by Eric Middlebrook.  City Council meeting with public input.  Conversation within YK Delta.  Hope you consider it.
Adjourned 4:56

5:04 Torgerson convening again
Charles Degnan Unalakleet - Thank you for allowing me to speak.  Dis 39, I would like our district to be as small as possible.  And borroughs should be in their own districts and not split up.  We are so large with small communities that small communities ignored in allocation process. 

Ian Olson - testifying today to endorse the Rights map submitted to the redistricting board and the modifications made by the FNSBorough.  Borough deserves five districts.  Briefly I lived in Juneau, Juneau should have the same applied to them.
D9 neighborhoods in city boundaries ending up in proposed d8.  All should be within one district as much as possible.  Western part should follow boundaries.  Senate should give City of FB one Senator and current board map does that and encourage you to maintain that.  Lastly, map should attend to borough boundaries. Not dissect them this way and that way.  Should be broken only once if necessary.  In FNS if broken should be in SE near Eilson.  Don't believe Eilson should be included with areas north of Fairbanks, real stretch for socio-economic compactness.

Barbara Gazaway Anchorage audio - East Anchorage.  East Anchorage as boundaries stands we have good working class community, Assembly and CC level we work well. However, the part where we live borders on the park and part of that area has been put with ER and I'm finding as I speak to people, people are confused where they belong for the Assembly.  Our rep doesn't quite understand what happens in our sliver of the district, because member lives in ER.  I see in your plan, part of our community is put with ER.  That is so confusing with my neighbors.  They have nothing in common.  We'll probably have to travel greater distance to votes.  Some people ride buses and will have to bus to vote.  Rights plan keeps our district 19 together as it is now, which would be a wonderful thing to keep our community together.  thank you very much.  I appreciate the work you do. 
5:12 Recess

5:42 Fairbanks
Sonia Kawasaki - live in Northern portion of aurora neighborhood in the city limits.  Not fair for the seven streets in my district to be removed D9 was enlarged, if so, why would people outside of the city limits brought in and people in the city taken out.  If the proposal would go through, my neighborhood in the city is the only one not represented by one of the districts represented by Fairbanks.  Your representative should speak for you.  Be subtracted moved into HD8, in that district, not identify with issues of Chena Ridge, Parks Highway, it's absurd.  Neighborhoods east and west of our area brought into D9 and we were pulled out.  Comparable density and neighborhood character, but not in the city.  No reason not to keep all of Aurora in the city together.  Constitutions says consideration should be given to local city boundaries.  People in our neighborhood not aware because not being publicized.  They would also be upset.  We'd have to drive past new portions added to our district to go vote. 
Also concerned my Sen district. Had been in E and now in D, neither my senator nor representative would focus on issues that are city issues and politics and would rather focus on broader issues of the borrough.  Urge you to look at this and Spruce, Pine, Willow etc. back into district 9 and maintain our City of Fairbanks representation.

Blake Johnson - Nikiski - I'm for the Rights group.  Judy Saylor's talked to you about how it's been done before.  Have worked with Southern parts of Anchorage before, makes it easier and better for other districts.  I'm traveling around in Fairbanks now and don't have my notes.

Torgerson:  I take it you have my number and can call me.

Blake:  I do.

Torgerson:  It's 5:48 Recess. 

I heard a rumor that the next meeting is Monday, May 16 at the Redistricting Board's office on 4th Avenue.  It's six now and the board's been chatting about non-board stuff.  Time to adjuourn

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