Thursday, January 12, 2012

Redistricting Court Challenge: Tedium Squared - But Some Interesting Developments

It was really hard listening and typing today.  There were some interesting points, especially in the afternoon when the plaintiff's attorney cross examined Board Chair Torgerson.  I'm really trying to get up the energy to write about it.  Since I attended most of the public meetings, I understood what they were talking about and I had my own opinions about some of the responses.  But if I'm going to get up early enough tomorrow morning to listen in again, I just can't turn this out fast enough.

So, just to get something out, I'll put up a few of the things that caught my attention.
1.  In the morning session, Torgerson talked about his career path from his time in Anchorage to the military and working for Louisiana Pacific, Union Oil, and getting into the legislature. (This was in the morning session and you won't find it in the notes below.)
2.  His discussion of how he got onto the board - applied through the Boards and Commissions departments process, but also discussions with the heads of the Senate and House in case he didn't get appointed by the governor.  All pretty standard, but we don't usually hear all this background stuff.  We learned that Joe Balash was in on the talks and that Torgerson had beer with Balash around this time.  But he didn't remember if they talked about getting on the board.
3. Hiring the Voting Rights Act (VRA) expert.  I'd heard while blogging about the board, that they'd had trouble getting the VRA expert on board because in the previous redistricting process, the board had the power to hire.  But this time, it had to go through the governor's office and they went by the book.  But plaintiff's attorney Mike Walleri established that the staff attorney was hired in October while the VRA expert didn't come on board until April.  So, the time between when all the board members had been appointed and they began doing things until the put out the Proclamation Plan was 9 months, and the VRA expert wasn't hired for seven of those months.  Walleri asked questioned about when they first requested from the Governor's office that the VRA expert be hired.  Torgerson couldn't remember.  Then Walleri asked if they'd had to go through the Governor's office to hire the staff attorney.  Yes.  But he was on board in October and the VRA expert wasn't on board until April.  Why the big difference?  Torgerson didn't really answer this other than to blame the Governor's office and that the attorney was in-state and the VRA expert was out of state RFP.  This becomes important because the Board worked off the old terminology and presumed benchmarks for native districts for their first draft plan.  These were the standards they had to meet to get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice that they met the VRA standards.  And the third party groups that also were coming up with alternative plans had to work from these standards.  Once the expert got on board and checked the draft plans, she said the terminology and standards were different from last time.
Walleri wanted to know why they hadn't hired the VRA expert early on.  She didn't need the new Census data to review the voting patterns for the last decade and she could have come up with the real target benchmark before the Census data came in.  Then they wouldn't have wasted so much time with the wrong target benchmarks.

This is also an issue because, ultimately, the Board is claiming that none of the private groups that submitted plans met the benchmark standards, so this shows that it was too hard to meet AND meet all the Alaska Constitutional standards.  But if the other groups didn't have the right benchmark information - it turns out the real numbers didn't come out until after all the plans were submitted - there was really no way they could have turned in acceptable plans.  So if that holds, that would blow that argument for the defense.

3.  Torgerson said that none of the 3rd party plans met benchmarks, but Walleri found  places on the record where Handley said they did.  But then the next day the staff attorney and the executive director both said, that actually Handley didn't have the right data and they really didn't meet the benchmarks.  Walleri made a big deal about the fact that except when Handley spoke by phone or in person, all the board contact with her went through "the filters" of attorney White or executive director Bickford.  Torgerson took issue with the word 'filter' but said White and Bickford were the ones who communicated with Handley. 

I observed, last year at the board meetings, a lot of confusion over the terminology - it kept changing - and the number of required districts of each type (also changed several times), but that the Board and staff were trying really hard to pin down the numbers. There were several times during breaks where Mr. White and/or Mr. Bickford discussed at length with me and others the details of the terminology of effective district, majority-minority, influence, etc.  I admit I'm not a political person.  I may be interested in politics, but I'm much too open about what I think, so it is often hard for me to spot people who are the opposite. I take people at their word unless I catch them saying one thing here and something else there.  Or what they are saying just doesn't match other information I have. But I certainly never had the impression that Bickford or White were plotting something on their own to hijack the Board.  That doesn't mean I believed everything the board said, but I felt Bickford and White were pretty straightforward and eager to explain their positions and that they were feeling pressure from the Board at times to do things they weren't excited about.  But it's possible I was fooled.  But I would need more evidence. 

Rough, very rough, notes warning:
Below are my running notes for the afternoon session where most of this was covered.  Again, I had trouble either hearing or keeping up with (or both) for Michael White.  He spoke very rapidly and was usually drifting from the mic.  So don't take these notes as verbatim, but as a rough shot at what was actually said.  I'll put a page break up - but as I checked yesterday, that only works on some browsers and not others.  So if you want the afternoon notes, and you don't see them, look for the read more button.  And again, I'm sorry this is so loose.  Listening most of the day and trying to take notes fried my brain. 


Walleri:  Couple of questions.  Service here on the board took about a year out of your life?
Torgerson :  Not entirely, but takes time.
Walleri:  Direct a lot about the process. some questions.  Let me direct your attention.  Do you still have  ???
Torgerson :  Yes
Walleri:  This exhibit contains a report.  Want to take you thru this to clarify the time line.
You were appointed on June 26, 2010 by the governor.  (reading it now, yes).  Last member to be appointed was Marie Green Aug. 24.  Board was fully appointed by Sept. 1.  But you had been aware of the process before that.  Your application (yes) and had actually talked to the Sen Pres and Speaker of the House in 2009, I think.  (I think in 2010)  Early part of 2010 when they were still in session?  (yes) In those conversations you were in Juneau.  Why there during the session?
Torgerson :  Don’t know the particulars.  For the economic development commission.
Walleri:  lobbying?
Torgerson:  we had regular meetings there.
Walleri:  You talked to the Sen pres and House speaker and applied to the board to be a member.  Intent to speak to president and speaker, that was actually before you applied right? (Not sure)  Do you know how long it was between the time you applied and were appointed?
Torgerson :  Not sure.  All that time
Walleri:  Talked to Sen Wagoner right?  (Yes)  All these are Republicans right? (yes)  Did you talk to any other senators about this when in Juneau.  (Talked to presiding officers because they had the authority to appoint.)
So if gov didn’t appoint you, you were hoping to get one of the others to appoint you.
Did you think being a Republican former legislator helped?  (maybe)
Because they were Republicans and you were you thought that would help. (can’t say)
Asked Sen Wagonner to put in good word for you?  No
You knew Gov had been a lobbyist of Conoco - he was associated with law firm Patton Boggs, you were aware of that?  Yeah, he was.
You were interviewed by Balash  Yes, he was there.  Balash was the governor’s point person for oil and gas.  (I don’t know what he was when.)
He’s now the dept commission for oil and gas? (haven’t checked)
You are aware the Gov is working with the speaker of the house to push through the oil and gas bill (only second hand knowledge.  that’s my understanding)
When you talked to, you had no reason to know why Mr Balash was there?  He just showed up?  (I have no idea)
He was there at the request of the Gov. ?  I don’t know that
Well, this was for the Gov’s appointment, so the gov. had to have asked him to be there?  I can’t answer.  He could have been invited by Board and Commissioners.
While there, did you meet with Mr. Balash?
Torgerson :  I’m might have had a beer with him, not a meeting?
Socialize with him?  Not sure
While you were drinking beer with Mr. Balash you talked about your appointment to the board didn’t you?  I might have, I don’t recall.  Clearly that was my intent, but I don’t know if it came up?
I don’t know when it was (when they had beer together.)
Walleri:  Board hired Mr. Miller on October ? , 2010. (Check record Oct sounds right)
Walleri:  How long had ??? been going on.
Torgerson :  Not sure, seems they had 3 or 4 meetings , but not sure how often planning meetings there were.
Walleri:  who all was involved in appointing?  Chief Justice did , Robert Wood?  He was Chief Justice of Court system, someone from Dept of law. ???
Walleri - you were aware that Mr. Balash sat in on the Planning Meetings.  ?  No
Ron Miller was also there correct?  Yes.  Appointed by governor?  I don’t know
Walleri - the commission started work somewhere around, after, first meeting in Sept. correct?  I don’t know
Redistricting Board first meeting in Sept.  Yes.  Miller brought on in Oct.  At that time the board started to work.  (We did a few administrative functions)  The same Ron Miller who was part of the planning group. (yes)
Everyone was aware at that time the VRA was going to be a big deal.  Not sure at that time.
But there had been the constitutional amendment in the legislature. 
Torgerson:  I’m just not sure of time lines, you are trying to pin me down.  I personally did a lot of reading.  Was I personally aware?  yes.
Wallri:  aware that VRA would be important part of process?  (yes)  And Miller knew too because you talked to him about it right? (I don’t know, but I know he had two meetings in DC on this before the board was constituted, plus he was an attorney.  I think he was aware.)
Walleri:  So when they hired him in October they got someone pretty ???
He was a lawyer, had had one or two trainings, had worked with interim planning committee? right?  We all know that at that point it would be critical ?  yes
When Mr. Miller came on did he say we needed a VRA expert. Yes
One of the first thing you needed to do?  Yes, but counsel first.
In terms of hiring VRA expert, didn’t happen until several months later.
Torgerson: Some month later,
Walleri: About April 13 sound about right?
Torgerson: Sounds about right
Walleri:  The gap between getting started until the proclamation about 9 months.
Torgerson:  Yeah
Walleri:  But the, most of that time, leading from Sept to April, talking about 7 of the 9 months, there was no VRA expert?  (yes)
As I understand your testimony, one of the first things done was getting laptop computers for the members.  Everybody had Citygate program.  (yes)
Never had to go, to manipulate the maps, to go to the board staff, because they were all trained. 
Torgerson: I didn’t understand the question
Walleri:  Everyone had trialing in MD and in Anchorage, so everyone knew how to use it.
Torgerson: We were all over the board, especially early in the process.
Walleri:  As you understand the analysis Dr. Handley was doing, whether or not there had been racial block voting in the past decade, she really didn’t need the census date for that? 
Torgerson: I wouldn’t know
Walleri:  You know this looked back over the last decade.  So prior to March release of census data, you were using DOL census data.  Can you tell me why you didn’t hire the VRA expert before hand so she could have done the same thing?
Torgerson: All I know is the process took a lot longer than I expected.
Walleri:  Do you know when the first to the VRA expert made?
Torgerson: I’m not sure, we had to do RFP, ….
In the govt. mode for expediting, this was expedited. 
I don’t know when they started to hire Dr. Handley.  The govs office might know that. 
Walleri:  Once you started the process and got it expedited?
Torgerson:  If I don’t know the first date, and I don’t know the last date.  Mr. Miller was working on it and the Gov’s office was, I just don’t know.
Walleri:  The delay - as I understand your testimony, this 35% VAP to hae a district, but if Dr. Handley had been brought on board same time as Mr. White, the board would have had more accurate information on what the benchmark was.
Torgerson: I would guess, the sooner we had it the better it was.
Walleri:  I assume the same process for Mr. White was the same?
Torgerson:  All except the advertising - we advertised in state for attorney and national for VRA expert.
Walleri:  So if you had started the process the same time as you hire Mr. Miller, you would hae gotten her much earlier.
Torgerson: Yes
Walleri:  Hiring the VRA expert was crucial to the process?  (Correct)
As preplan process moved to public hearing process, not only was the board under the undertanding that 35% was going to be the benchmark and third parties understood this too?  (Correct)
When board produced its plan and heard from Dr. Handley on May 17 and found out the 35% wasn’t going to work. . .
Torgerson: that’s correct it was a different number.
Walleri:  The board was surprised by that?  (yes)  And all the third parties were? (I’m sure they were.)
And so it wasn’t surprising that none of the third party plans met the benchmark? 
Torgerson:  No we weren’t
Walleri:  You also knew you had to comply with Alaska requirements (yes)
Why is that that the board didn’t try to do a Constitutional plan while waiting for the VRA expert?
Objection.  Overruled.
Torgerson:  We did try that, we used the 35% we were practicing using the 35% and the Alaska Constitution.  Did I follow the Alaska Constitution?  Absolutely.  Did the board adopt a plan that followed it?  no
Walleri:  While you were waiting, why didn’t you try to draft a plan that met the Alaska Constitution?
Torgerson:  I don’t know.  We really didn’t meet until we got the census data.  There was no reason to do thi….????
Walleri;  You had a number of executive sessions to discuss legal actions?  yes, not a lot.
Walleri: So, early on, the board was already developing a litigation strategy before anyone was even suing?
Torgerson:  I wouldn’t call it a litigation strategy.  Idon’t know. 


WEre you advised, prior to Dr. Handley being hired, that the VRA could excuse violations of the Alaska Constitution?
Torgerson: I don’t know the timeline.  We were advised that in public session.
[Yes they were]
Walleri:  by the time Dr. Handley came aboard, you wre aware that the VRA could excuse violations of the Alaska Constitution?
Torgerson: I was aware of it long before because I had read alot on this.
Walleri:  IN attending those sessions, they have break up sessions.  Republicans go to one session and Democrats to another. 
Torgerson:  I went to the Republican
Walleri:  You were aware of national Republican strategies
Torgerson:  Not sure what you mean?  If you mean strategies for Alaska, no.  They were talking about strategies for congressional districts, not states.  I left early can’t give you much of a report.
Walleri:  You recall April 13 Dr. Handley teleconference to board.  Problem because she was in Afghanistan at the time.
Torgerson: Why she couldn’t sign.
Walleri:  Were there any concerns because of her other obligations she might not be able to meet the Alaska deadlines?
Torgerson:  I didn’t sign that it was done through administration.
Walleri:  Dr. Handley never advised that a public plan was not retrogressive?
Torgerson: don’t understand
Walleri:  In your direct I understood, you said none were non retrogressive?
Walleri:  I know I get confused on this all the time.  You testified that Dr. Handley never advised the board that the third party plans met the benchmark. 
Torgerson:  The opposite.  She testified they did not meet the benchmark.
Pause to find page
Walleri:  start at 3919 - ok?  This is...pause again … you may want to read to 3923 line 1-4, might be helpful (I guess they are reading, it’s quiet)
As I understand May 17 discussion.  Dr. Handley discussing combination of Kodiak and Aleutian and Senate pairing proposed by rights coalition and AFFER.  Dems were FR and the REpublicans were ER. 
Torgerson: clarification of groups…
Walleri:  It looks like it beats the bm of the ER and FR, no I’m sorry the adjusted AFFR plan and the Rights Plan all meet the benchmarks.
Torgersorn:  That’s what it says.
Walleri:  So it looks like these plans did meet the Benchmark.
Torgerson: That’s what it says.
Walleri:  She’s saying they were not effective
Torgerson:  A little confusing the way sentence written.  reading… I think she’s referring to HD 6 not effective at 35%.  In 2000 Census, the heaviest racial voting district we had.  Walleri:  go back to p. 40 she says 6 is now majority-minority, but I wouldn’t call it effective.  If you take a look at 4101 - this is board record at 5/18, the following day - I understand that you said, on 17th when you met, oh thank you, after the board had teleconference with Dr. Handley you indicated you wanted to discuss what they had heard from her.
Torgerson: sounds right
Walleri:  ON that day you asked Mr. Bickford to brief board on where they were.
Torgerson:  Sounds reasonable, laugh I don’t know
Walleri:  We have Mr. Bickford reporting saying that AFFR and AFFER and Rights Coalition plans were not retrogressive and I asked her if that was because 38 was influence and is influence now?  And she said yes.  Mr. White said.  I think it’s because she got not the complete data.  Mr. Bickford had informed the board that the plans were not retrogressive.  But Mr. White stood up and said she did not get the right data. 
Before that, I’m sure the rest of the board, they heard her saying that the plans were not retrotressive.  And the third parties would also believe those plans were non-retrogressive?
Torgerson:  Not sure I know what they were thinking?
Walleri:  The only person saying they were not was Mr. White.  Mr. Bickford was saying Handley said they weren’t retrogressive.
As I understand you were not talking to Handley except in the hearing?
Torgerson:  Correct
Walleri:  When Board members needed clarification they went through Mr. White or Mr. Bickford.
Torgerson: correct
Wallleri:  So everything you said except for the days when she testified, everything you heard from Handley was filtered through White or Bickford?
Torgerson:  I object to word filtered, but yes.
Walleri:  simiar
Torgerosn:  yep
Walleri:  Mr. Bickford did a presentation - page 3999?? - 4004 - the day after Dr. Handley addressed the board.  In terms of your understanding of what was happening, Mr. B was explaining to the board, that the plans were actually retrogressive. 
2:50  Judge:  OK 20 minute break then we’ll go to 4:30

3:12pm Judge:  Clerk called about how she might State Appellate rule 260.5
Walleri:  Day after Handley said third party plans non-retrogressive, asked about Mr. Bickford’s report, he said there were major problems were the plan and that certain districts did not meet the benchmarks.  And this was different from what Dr. Handley said.
Torgerson:  I think confused was a little harsh, but from the record, Handley said one thing and staff said something else.  At the time I didn’t remember what the difference was, but perhaps that’s for a different part. 
Walleri:  After, the staff asked for Dr Handley’s notes from the presentation.
Torgerson:  I don’t know, but it makes sense.
Walleri:  Have you seen this before: Notes of the presentation of DR. Handley, from May 19.  I just like, if you take a look, her advice at this point turn to page 2, identify as RSPRS 100 9865 .  She’s talking about types of minority opportunity districts.  Effective districts and influence and equal opportunity districts.  I think you testified earlier, you had to have the correct number of effective districts and correct number of equal opportunity and influence districts?
Torgerson:  I don’t think that’s exactly right, but we had to have 4 - 3 - 1
Walleri:  At this time time, 4 effective and 2 equal opportunity districts.
Torgerson:  I’d say that’s what it says here, but she may have said something different.  I’ll agree she says that right here, but I don’t know how it relates to the rest of it. 
Walleri:  I’m trying to get to what people believed at the time and whether people were confused about what the benchmarks were.  As I understand, the reason for getting the notes was to find out what the benchmarks were.  And she say, it was 4 effective and 2 equal opportunity districts.  Laughing.  I guess we will play memory games, and I apologize.  Do you recollect she was advising at the time there were 4 Effective and 2 eaual opportunity.
Torgerson:  I remember in my mind 5-3- and 1.  That was drilled in my mind. 
Walleri:  You can appreciate how the public may have had some confusion about what the benchmark really was.
Torgerson:  The public in general?  We had experts also working on this.  I find it difficult to answer what the public might feel.  We started with the 35 and ended with the 41.  She didn’t have time at first to look at voting block analysis at first and when she got the data she changed it.  And I understand that people were looking at different ???
Walleri:  Whatever confusion, about a week later she came to Alaska. 
Torgerson: 24th right.
Walleri:  At that time she.  Look at ref. 4206 Line 18-21 ??? - OK?  A week after she advise before on the phone, she’s present this time.  She’s saying her understanding is 4 effective house districts and 2 influence, confirming her understanding of benchmark is 4-2.  She’s still not moving off to say effective districts. 
Torgerson:  that’s what it says.
Walleri:  You’re testifying there’s a need for 5 effective districts.  Who told you that?
Torgerson: I suspect Dr. Handley?
Walleri:  But you never talked to her except at the meeting.
Torgerson:  Through the staff.
Walleri:  But she said 4-2.
Torgerson:  That’s what it says on the page.  I can’t tell you what I don’t remember.
Walleri:  You testified that you needed to have Democrats, was that on 24th?
Torgerson:  I think it was earlier.
Walleri:  But that wouldn’t have been on the record.
Torgerson:  Staff would have made reports and it would be on the record.
Walleri:  I did a search.  Do I have…?
We’re back to Mr. Bickford, Mr. White reporting to the Board.  Mr. B reporting that partisanship is now an issue in creating VRA districts.
Torgerson:  I only see “taken into account” means it’s an issue.
Walleri:  Borderline district with white Republicans would make it harder to make an effective district, because Natives tend to vote overwhelmingly 80-85% democratic.  4337, line 8 and 9. 
Torgerson:  OK, gotcha.
Walleri:  ?? missed it.  In my review of he record, I haven’t found anywhere on the record where Handley said that Alaska Natives votes Democratic and that you have to add urban Democrats to make the districts effective.  So what you were relying on was what Mr. White and Mr Bickford said Dr Handley said.
Torgerson:  They talked to her.
Walleri:  I believe  its 4451, sorry this is voluminous record, Your Honor.  At this point Ms. McConnochie talking about this, the following day.  Line 8, not 12.  What we did is took what somebody said before, what are the Democratic areas of Fairbanks.  Mr. White responds.  It’s likely most areas don’t have history of voting and that areas is 46% and ??? that’s what Dr. Handley said.  So two days after Dr. Handley leaves, with nothing on the record, PeggyAnn McConnochie thinks she has to got to Fairbanks to get Democratic votes.
Torgerson:  She doesn’t say the have to go to Fairbanks, but that is where there are Democratic votes. 
Walleri:  You can understand why members of the public might be confused when there is nothing on the record.
Torgerson: I don’t believe that it’s not on the record.  I’d be happy to read all 20,000 pages if that helps.  She did not give those instructions to me directly.
Nor to the Board.
Torgerson: I would guess not to the board.
Walleri:  In drawing these plans, the question arises as to whether there’s anything in the record from Dr. Handley saying there are five effective districts prior to the adoption of the plan? 
Torgerson:  no
Walleri:  You’ve seen her final report, and it says there that there are 4 effective and two influence districts. 
When I look at the report, except when she’s talking about the proclamation plan itself.  On the Senate she says on page 30.  There are three effective districts. 
Torgerson: At this point she says about the House plan on p. 29 says there are 5 majority Native population but only 3 VAP.  What I’m trying to figure out. . . Well the board didn’t have the report when it made it’s plan so they couldn’t rely on this for the report.  Aside from Mr. B and Mr. Bickford do you believe that there was a need for 4 effective districts?
White seems to be talking in the background.
Judge:  I’ll overrule it.  Mr. Torgerson is the head of the board, this is about using time wisely.
Torgerson:  I’ve said several times I don’t remember dates.  I can’t change that no matter how you ask.
Walleri:  Mr. Bickfor will testify right?  Dr. Handley, from what I can tell, didn’t know until she was involved with the Texas case, that the DOJ wouldn’t accept these kinds of districts.
Torgerson:  I haven’t got a clue. 
Walleri:  Something about not having to protect incumbents.
Torgerson:  I don’t remember the time, but we made the decision not to include protection of incumbents.
Walleri:  Advice from counsel was it was something you could do, but could choose not to.
Torgerson:  I recall we were advised that other bodies did that, not sure about boards, but we did know we had the option.  We were aware of the decision.
Walleri:  When making the decision, you were aware of the bi-partisan coalition in the Senate.  You actually talked to Sen. Stevens about this and you knew he was prs of the senate.  In making the decision to not protect incumbents.  Implication, not necessarily going to protect members of the coalition.
Torgerson: Not necessarily, there were senators that weren’t part of the coalition.
Walleri:  You knew you weren’t going to protect members of the coalition?
Torgerson:  We weren’t going to protect anyone.
Walleri:  You weren’t going to know addresses of incumbents.
Torgerson:  correct.
Walleri:  There is a way to get addresses of incumbents?
Torgerson:  I don’t know.
Walleri:  In your testimony you talked about little dots, do you remember?
Torgerson: I believe the AFFR plan had map with locations of incumbents.
Walleri:  Were you aware that Mr. Bickford was the one who knew how to turn the addresses on?
Torgerson:  Mr. B was the computer expert.  I assume that what we paid for the software license included that. 

Walleri:  Isn’t it true that the board was all aware of where the legislators lived?
Torgerson:  no
Walleri:  You did say later on that the board started paying attention to where Native legilsators lived.
Torgerson:  We were aware of where in general, but the exact location I don’t think they knew. 
Walleri:  But for Natives for VRA purposes you needed to know.
Torgerson: yes
Walleri:  This is April 4, a board discussion, near the end of the process correct?
Torgerson: I don’t think so.
Walleri:  Line 18 on that page.  It says, Mr. Holm is talking.  There is a problem, we have two incumbents Wilson and  Coghill  live too close to each other.
Torgerson:  One is a Sen and one a representative, so it wouldn’t be pairing?
Walleri:  That’s curious isn’t it?
Judge;  Holm will be a witness too.
Walleri:  Take a look at where the board is actually hearing from a Ms. Hall, she’s talking about that people have been working with incumbent layers.  That’s what you’re talking about I think that people were showing us where incumbent live.
Torgerson:  Not showing, but giving us maps.  I know there were people working on incumbent protection. 
Walleri:  Were you aware that in one of the plans, I think the Right??? Plan that Sen Coghill was paired with Sen Thomas.  There was something in the paper about a ?? around Sen Thoams’ house.  Are you aware the issue came up at any time.
Torgerson: I don’t know where he lives and wasn’t aware.  I don’t remember.
Walleri:  Were you aware that Rep. Guttenberg was in that section that was moved into 38.
Torgerson:  yes
Walleri:  on ???? talked about Tammy Wilson and Bob Miller and Joe Thomas and Sen. Coghill being paired.  In that same hearing people talking about in testimony the pitting of Joe Thomas against John Coghill.  And then, take a look at another one.  2989,  Transcript from a board meeting June 1, just before the adoption of the plan.  Here we’re talking about, Mr. Holm is talking about, Mr. Kawasaki is about the same, ten is where is???; and this where Tammie Wilson and Joe Coghill. Would you agree that is what Board member Holm is doing?
Torgerson:  yes
Walleri:  I don’t see, I see concern about pairing Wilson and Coghill, but not about pairing Paskvan and Thomas.  Why would he be concerned about pairing Wilson and Coghill, but no concern about pairing Paskvan and Thomas.
Torgerson:  I don’t see an issue.  Wilson is a rep and Coghill a Senator.
Walleri:  Did you hear anything that Wilson was thinking about running for the Senate?
Torgerson:  No, I don’t think I’ve ever met her.
Walleri:  You testified that you lived in Fairbanks…
Torgerson:  Not exactly, outside the city, but there was no borough then. 
Walleri:  My understanding that the way you described this process.  The Fairbanks map pretty much drawn by Mr. Holm.  And he volunteered the way Green and McConnochie volunteered for SE and Native.
Torgerson:  I’m not sure, but …
Walleri:  You said you weren’t sure why things were done, because Holm took the lead on this. 
Torgerson:  He lived there, he did the heavy lifting for Fairbanks.
Walleri:  The reason we have the bombing range, the vacant area South of the city in 5C, that choice for including it was not something you were involved in.
Torgerson:  Not at all. 
Walleri:  This little protrusion that comes out of District 1A - you don’t know why that’s there either?
Torgerson:  Only that it was a function of census blocks or something.  It should be on rcord because we questioned Mr. Holm on that.  I think it’s a census block issue.  When you click on it, it won’t let you divide it. 
Walleri:  In your understanding, you were aware that was in the option plan?
Torgerson:  I was aware after the fact.  Maybe reading your report.
Walleri:  You were aware at the time this was actually changed, that this population was added to District 1 to 4 and took this population out of 4 to 1.
Torgerson:  I can’t say I remember any part of that.   I don’t want you to feel like I voted on this without making the inquiry.  I take that very seriously.  There were questions asked and answers givens, I’m just not that good at remembering. 
Walleri:  That’s fine, because we’ll hear from Mr. Holms.  Why this occurred here was because of the 5000 people taken out of the borough and put into 38.  Did you hear that from Mr. Holm?  NO.  Who did you hear that from?   I can’t have my own opinion?
Torgerson:  I believe the questions was about District 1 but not about protrusions.
Walleri:  That helps.  You were talking about general ripple effect because of the 5000, you weren’t talking about protrusions.  There’s nothing in the VRA that requires that protrusion.
Torgerson:  I understand that the Judge has ruled that ???  The whole of Fairbanks was affected by the ripple effect.  I can’t tell you if the protrusion is a particular part of that except as it is related to census block.  …. That’s a 4% deviation.
Walleri:  Unless you take it out of 4.
Torgerson:  If you move anything around, you’re gonna have a ripple effect on the rest of Fairbanks .
Walleri:  I understand you believe that the Board made some specific findings about the need , certain aspects of the plan that violated the Alaska Constitution, and when you … the proclamaition, you were making . . .  specifically referencing the configuration, second finding under that, finding that configuration of HD 37, 36, 38 and 39, necessary to avoid retrogression.  To do that you needed to violate the Constitution.
Torgerson:  Violate sounds bad.  We couldn’t adhere to strict ??/ of constitution.
Walleri:  All those districts that needed to be configured that way.  Basically, they are listed in the proclamation.  They had to be configured that way
Torgerson:  That way?
Waleri:  ???
Torgerson:  OK
Walleri:  You wren’t saying D 1 had to be configured that way to comply with VRA or HD 6?  Wasn’t required by VRA?
Togerson:  No,  well we had to have a district 6.  More one person one vote rule.
Walleri:  I don’t see any Sen. districts on here, no findings that Sen districts had to be configured to comply with VRA. 
Walleri:  What’s wrong with HD 34.  Why does it violate the Constitution?
Torgerson:  Not really sure, but probably compactness.  You could clearly draw a straighter line, by going from Haines to Metlakatla. 
Walleri:  You actually complained about that in a tv interview.  So that could be better if strictly following Constitution.  And 36 whats wrong with that?
Torgerson:  Compactness rule?  Don’t know anything else.
Walleri:  37 that you already talked about.  38 that’s this one.  I think you testified.
Torgerson:  Probably compactness too, but other issues too.
Walleri:  39, why does that violate the constitution. 
Torgerson: Compactness.  One person one Vote.  39 and 40 are larger than the State of Texas.  Clearly not compact. 
Walleri:  It wraps around Fairbanks.  The old HD 6 did that too. 
Torgerson:  Correct.  yes.
Judge:  Mr. White, time to break.  Any more questions for this young man.
There was very wide latitude going through the record with the Chair.  No one else will have that kind of latitude.  Maybe Mr. Bickford.  Holm and Handley need to be much more focused. 
Tomorrow bright and early.  Also need to decide about Martin Luther King Day.  We should T up for golf. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. Comments with personal insults, rambling tirades, and significant repetition will be deleted. Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted. Click here to learn to put links in your comment.