Thursday, January 12, 2012

Redistricting Court Challenge: On Critical Points, Holm Doesn't Know, Can't Remember, Or Resents the Implication

Board Member Jim Holm, from Fairbanks, where the court challenges to the Redistricting Board's Proclamation plan are centered, was the witness this morning so far.  There's a short break now, but whenever plaintiff's attorney Walleri got onto the issues of why incumbents were paired, or whether he knew where people lived, or whether the two Democratic Senators could have been paired if he hadn't stuck an unpopulated area into one district, his answers were repeatedly, I don't remember, I don't know, and a couple of times, I resent the implication.  I have to go through my notes, but it does seem to me there were some inconsistencies or things he didn't know that he had to have known.  Such as the fact that Sen Stedman is in the Senate bi-partisan coalition.  First he just said he didn't know.  Only after some more prompting did he know.  There were other issues like that - had he spoken to people outside the process about redistricting.  No he hadn't.  The Walleri gave a list of Republicans that there was documentation he'd spoken to and he said he had talked to them. 

This part of the testimony does need more scrutiny.  And it's a real contrast to the questioning of Leonard Lawson the other day.  While the Board's attorney White is pretty aggressive, Lawson answered all the question without hesitation and without getting upset.  On the other hand, the plaintiff's attorney, Walleri is very low key and polite, yet Holm took offense and regularly couldn't remember things or didn't know. 

They're coming back on so I have to quit.  More details later.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a draft Fairbanks plan that showed two state senate districts separated by a rather straight line that may have been a road or something like that. Along this straight line there was an unusual little square that had been carved out so that a particular cul-de-sac was included into the district that it would not naturally have been in IF the straight line (without deviation) would have been used to distinguish between two senate districts in this part of Fairbanks.

    So far so good?

    Anyway, I asked Jim Holm about this during a redistricting meeting break. I wondered why this strange irregularity was inserted unnaturally to the draft Fairbanks plan as it added a few houses into a senate district that it would not otherwise have been included in. To me it seemed very, very strange I said to Jim.

    After he heard my question, Jim behaved as if he had to limit his response to only three words because he was late for an important appointment or something like that. He was not interested in discussing what I saw as gerrymandering. Period. He said only "it involves deviations" and then moved away from me in great haste.

    Where did he go? To get a cup of coffee in the same room in which we were located.

    What I learned later was that Joe Thomas lived within the small square that was strangely added to the senate district on the other side of the straight line so that he would be "presto change-o" in the same new senate district as Joe Paskvan.

    Interesting, eh? Gerrymandering? Yes!


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