Monday, January 09, 2012

Redistricting Court Challenge: Sen Thomas Continues

They are finished with Sen. Thomas now and there's a 15 minute break until the next witness who wasn't named yet.  I didn't catch anything particularly new in this last portion.  It continued to go along the lines that the districts in Fairbanks were politically motivated to get rid of one Democratic Senator and thus bust the Senate's bi-partisan coalition.

By the way.  Mr. Wallerie, if you haven't figured it out, is the attorney for the plaintiffs, Riley and Dearborn, one a resident of Ester and the other of Goldstream, as I understand it.  Those two communities were put into District 38 which includes Bethel.  Click here see a map of the Fairbanks districts.  You'll get a much bigger one than I can put in here and you can see what the issue is.  Districts 1 and 3 which represent the east and west sides of the City of Fairbanks are NOT paired.  Rather each is paired with a much larger and more rural district.  And even on this map you can only see parts of districts 38 and 3, 5, and 6. 

Here are my very rough notes.  Think of them as just giving you the sense of the questioning and don't rely on them for all the details to be totally accurate.  Attorney White was easier to hear this time round. 

1:30  Continue
Wallerie:  Have you ever seen that article before?
Sen T:  I've seen some, Sean Cockerham, yes, I've seen this.
We get the papers in Juneau and we read them.
Wallerie:  In the article it reports that Randy = Who's Randy Ruderich?
Sen. T:  He's the head of the Democratic Party
Wallerie:  Democratic Party?
Sen. T:  No, Republican
Wallerie:  He says Fairbanks is the best chance to gain seats.
Sen. T:  An indication of what others believe about what redistricting can do.
Wallerie:  Asking for your opinion.  the plan would allow the Republcians to make gains based on the redistricting.
Sen. T:  You gain one district by putting two Democratic Senators together.
Wallerie:  If they pair two members of the Coalition - you and Paskvan and Kookesh and Stedman, that takes out two, ten percent of the senate.  How do you think the effect will change the organization of the Senate.
Sen. T:  You get the numbers down, lack of funding help among Republicans for those in Coalition now, and that gets them back in line.
Wallerie:  Fractures in party now?
Sen. T:  Yes, they aren't paying attention to party lines, same numbers and different people. lasted long enough to frustrate Republican party - they can't control their troops.
Wallerie:  Any Republicans expressed this to you?
Objection - sustained.
Wallerie:  Republicans say the 1992 redistricting favored the Democrats, your opinion?
Sen. T:  Not in Fairbanks.  A Democratic representative lost immediately.  It wasn't until the corruption trials began and people changed.  That's when I won, Paskvan won, Bob Miller won.  Independents changed.  Not result of redistricting.  Right after, Dems lost seast and Republicans gained seats.  It wasn't until the corruption that things changed.
Wallerie:  Look at the infamous Tanana Flats.  Show where the Tanana Flats would be.
Sen. T:  hard to show,  Just south of  Fairbanks.
Wallerie:  In current configuration, that's now part of Denali borough district.  You know what that area is, right?
Sen. T:  A big vacant area all the way to Denali National Park.
Wallerie:  Why is the bridge going in there?
Sen. T:  We're hoping it will help retain the military in the interior.  They are about 40?% of economics of the Interior, want to keep them.
Wallerie:  You're familiar with Creamer Field, right?
Sen T:  We wouldn't have District B.  Before things ran east and west and now they run north and south.
Wallerie:  Without that connection there wouldn't be the conflict between you and Paskvan's districts.
Sen. T:  yes.

White:  A few questions.  You have a personal stake?
Sen. T:  I'd say more of a community stake, but sure I have a personal stake.
White:  You have already decided to run.  You have no right to be drawn into any particular districts.
Sen. T:  Yes, I don't.
White:  Would you say that two senators would be mroe effective than one representing Fairbanks.
Sen. T:  Depends on what the house districts look like and how those people would represent.
White:  Comments from your deposition? ?? Page 72 of deposition.  Line , I apologize for not having the exact . . .
Sen T: that's true
White:  If you are elected you could effectively represent that district can't you?
Sen. T:  Yes.
White:  Agree that city is entirely in the borough of FNS?
Sen. T:  Yes.
White:  You had not contact with the redistricting board?
Sen. T:  No I didn't.
White:  You would agree it's important to protect the Alaska Native voice in the legislture?
Sen. T:  Yes
White:  You are aware, you are aware.....about Alaska Native bill . . .That Alaska Natives usually vote Democratic?
Sen. T:  Not the case in the last election - Sen. Murkowski.
White:  That's unique.  Article on Ruderich.  True that Demcrats said that Ruderich's words are fantasy?  As I understand it  . . . aware of political make up of  ....????
Sen. T:  Either I told you that or my staff member did.

Wallerie:  White ask if two was better than one.  Some qualifications?
Sen. T:  When you stretch the districts as they are, you could theoretically do whatever you want.  We're working to get one Democrat out of the picture.  Just talking about numbers.  But if you're talking about being in the minority, it doesn't matter.  Two isn't necessarily better than one.  Or if your house district stretches down to Palmer, then there is an extreme dilution of the power and where the money has to go.  In District 28 there are some 30 fire districts, where there were only 8 in the old district.
Wallerie:  Wouldn't the inclusion of 38 would bring us up to 3 Senators from Fairbanks?
Sen. T:  I don't see that Senator spending much time in Fairbanks?
Wallerie:  That is an effective native district, so do you think anyone in Ester or Goldstream could ever be elected in that ditrict.
Sen. T:  The population extracted and put into that district is not a native population.
Wallerie:  White asked if the political tendancy of Goldstream/Ester area tends to be deomocratic?
Sen. T:  Yes, those were democratic leaning parts of the old District 8.  Putting all the Democrats into one district is something that's done in South American states or in the old south?
White:  You're not saying that Lyman Hoffman would ignore Fairbanks?
Sen. T:  I don't know how much time he's going to spend in Fairbanks.  He's got big majorities in the loal areas.  Not sure which are Yupiks, Athabascans, etc.  Just as there was concern about how much time Kookesh was going to spend up here.  Yes, I understand that's part of the sparse population in some areas of Alaska.

Done with Senator Thomas.  15 minute break until 2:15.

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.