Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bookshelf Porn

"Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay. . ."
The quote comes from Bookshelf Porn, a website dedicated to the spaces we find books.

Sometimes I put up a list of some interesting blogs.  But this one deserves to have this post all to itself.  Picture upon picture of books and bookshelves.  And here and there apt quotes.   Definitely worth a visit.  Just click the link.

This blog also challenges how we think about what we mean by the word 'porn.' Why does it seem to fit here and what does it mean in this case? Does it just mean ;in excess'? And what does that do to our understanding of the traditional meaning of the word 'porn'?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Alaska Redistricting Board - What Happened Friday at Anchorage Public Hearing?

There's a 50 page analysis of what's happening with the Alaska Redistricting Board floating through my head.  Much too much for a post.  I'm hoping to find ways to reduce it to the most critical issues and explanation.  I'm thinking of a series of shortish posts, each covering a different point, though they all overlap to some extent.

Meanwhile here's my raw data from Friday's public hearings in Anchorage and two things that struck me Friday - the new emphasis on very low deviations and Randy Ruedrich's discussion of the source of AFFER's Anchorage map.   I'll talk about these at the end.

Other posts will look at what's not working right at the Board.

The Facts:

 Friday, June 21, 2013 at noon was the deadline the Board had set at their previous meeting for third parties to submit their redistricting plans.  It was also when the Board last met before the public hearings.  At that the Board meeting approved 11 plans:

  • Seven Board plans (Options A - G)
  • Three third party full statewide plans
    • AFFER (Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting, essentially the Republicans) - presented by Randy Ruedrich, former Chair of the Republican Part of Alaska with a cameo role by Matsu mayor Larry DeVilbiss
    • Calista (Bethel area Native Corporation) - presented by Calista attorney Marcia Davis along with the contracted GIS person, Steve Colligan, (who also did the Republican maps), and political consultant, generally Democratic, Tom Begich
    • Gazewood and Weiner, representing the Riley plaintiffs (who successfully challenged the original plans in court) will be presented on Monday at the Fairbanks public hearing. 
  • One partial plan
    • Ketchikan's plan of Southeast that had Ketchikan in a district with the southern part of Prince of Wales Island

Thursday, June 27, 2013 the Board posted three more plans on their website
    • AFFER revised
    • Calista revised
    • Calista 2
[NOTE:  All the plans, plus additional ones mentioned below, as I write this, are available on the Board's website here.  You can get the maps, the GIS files, and the population data.] 

Friday, June 28, 2013 - When the Board opened the public testimony, it was announced that there were still more plans. 
    • Calista 3 (which I think they used in their presentation)
    • Matsu Plan 
    • South Lakes Community Council (Matsu) Plan
Each stack is a different plan
At the meeting there were piles of maps for each Plan - with Statewide maps and more
detailed maps of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Eagle River/Matsu, Kenai, Southeast, and Western Alaska.  Plus the deviation numbers for each plan. 
  • Public testimony - began with three presentations by third parties
    • AFFER - (Randy Ruedrich (former long time Republican Statewide chair) and David DeVilbiss (Mayor of Matsu)
    • Calista - (Marcia Davis, attorney for Calista Native Corporation, Steve Colligan, GIS expert, and musician, (mostly) Democratic political consultant, Tom Begich)
    • Ketchikan (I only caught "Dan," but the internet shows that Dan Bockhorst is the Ketchikan city manager, so that would be a good bet.)  They wanted the southern half of Prince of Wales Island.
  • I took notes on testimony by 27 people, not in this order (links go to posts that gives a little fuller account of their testimony.) Some might quibble whether my gist of each person should be considered under 'facts.'  Maybe not:
[I posted more detail of their testimony as it was happening on Friday, June 28, 2013.  You can click on the links at their names.  Most posts include several presenters.]

The Third-Party presentations explained how they went about making their maps, which criteria had higher priority, and explained where they had problems and had to make decisions - like having to break up Fairbanks borough because it had excess population, but not enough for a whole new district, and where they took the population from and why.

For now, I'll limit my comments to two things that caught my attention Friday:
  • Keeping Deviation Low
  • Ruedrich's Comment on The Source of the AFFER Anchorage Map

Keeping Deviation Low -  Deviation refers to each district's number of voters more or less than the ideal sized district of 17,755 (The 2000 Census reported Alaska state population divided by 40 districts.)   AFFER and Calista emphasized the low deviation their maps had - below 1.5%.  The basic idea is that if one district is much bigger than another, then the people in the big (by population) district have more people per representative than the people in the smaller district. Calista's deviations show their smallest district with -142 people and their largest with plus 168 - a difference of about 300 people from the biggest to the smallest.

But low is a relative term here.  In the previous round, the deviations for the state were much higher and the absolute maximum - only to be approached if there was no other way to meet the other criteria - was 10%.

I just got concerned here about the sudden sanctity of extremely low deviations.  This is good, but only if other issues are NOT being sacrificed.  Like keeping cities and boroughs intact.  Like not splitting neighborhoods like Fairview and Airport Heights.  I kept wondering what I wasn't being told about the other criteria as they kept emphasizing low deviations.

Again, the lower the better, all other things being equal.  But a statewide 5% deviation was well within the acceptable limits the first time around, and there's room for a little more deviation if needed to keep communities together in districts.

One reason that the plans can have such low deviations is that the planners are no longer worrying about pre-clearance from the US Department of Justice.  However, although Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which calls for pre-clearance for Alaska,  is still in tact, Section 4 of the Act has been invalidated by the US Supreme Court (in a 5-4 decision) because they didn't think the formula for determining which states should get pre-clearance was any good today.   This despite the fact that it was renewed in 2006 by 98-0 in the US Senate and 390 - 33 in the House. Until there are new criteria for Section 4, there won't be any states required to get pre-clearance.

However, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act still stands and still protects Alaska Natives from having their access to voting curtailed.  So, even though pre-clearance isn't required, the Board can be sued if there is retrogression that cannot be avoided because of loss of population or other such justifications.

That said, Calista is a Native Corporation and they say they consulted with other Native Corporations.  One would hope that means at least their maps will be consistent with the Voting Rights Act.  And their deviation is low too. 

The Source of the AFFER Anchorage Map - When Randy Ruedrich got to talking about Anchorage he said:  (from my rough notes)
Anchorage map product of mayor's office, Assembly work group, Clerk.
From Girdwood to north of Muldoon, no change. 
The point he was making was that they just took what Anchorage had made for themselves.  But I recall two years ago when it came out that the Anchorage map was one that AFFER gave to the mayor.  He approved it.  Debbie Ossiander, then the Assembly Chair, testified that the Assembly approved it.  But it turned out that other Assembly members had not seen the map, let alone approved it.    It's probably not a big deal, but to someone without the history, it would seem like the AFFER group had nothing to do with the Anchorage maps, they came from the Assembly and Mayor and Clerk.  But, the way I heard the story, AFFER gave Anchorage the map in the first place. 

Another Reason Not To Cut Trees In Anchorage - Trees Keep Cities Cooler

[Some alternative titles:  "Heat - the biggest weather killer of human beings" or  "One football field worth of ancient forests are cut every 2 seconds in the world so we can eat off of paper plates."  This is clearly one of my meandering posts.  Go with the flow, everything is connected. ]

I've complained about tree cutting in Anchorage before.  I've tried to emphasize that this is more than an aesthetic issue.

In an earlier post I cited biologist E.O. Wilson who writes in his book The Future of Life how nature performs many earth maintenance functions for free if we just let it.  He cites a 1997 study that estimated the annual value at $33 trillion.  I quoted him last time: 
Ecosystems services are defined as the flow of materials, energy, and information from the biosphere that support human existence.  They include the regulation of the atmosphere and climate;  the purification and retention of fresh water;  the formation and enrichment of the soil;  nutrient cycling; the detoxification and recirculation of water;  the pollination of crops;  and the production of lumber, fodder, and biomass fuel. [p. 106]
Trees are one of the major players in this system.  Here and Now had a segment Tuesday that adds another benefit of the trees, especially in cities: cooling the temperatures.   You can listen to as you read this.

It's disturbing to think how we're dismantling these 'ecosystems' (in the sense of actual infrastructure that performs an important role in keeping our planet's air, soil, water, and temperature in balance) in our mad rush for resources to stoke our economy.  It's like being on a boat in the middle of the ocean and taking it apart piece by piece to build fires to roast marshmellows.  The trivial short term benefit results in the long term perishing.*

I'm reminded of this issue right here in Anchorage because I go by a spot at Laurel and 40th fairly often and see the mindlessness of not understanding the value of these natural processes.

Here's a picture of the spot in September 2010 when there was a public notice about action to be taken on this property.

Here's this same spot today.  The trees were clear cut in the meantime.  The thickly forested hill that rises hidden by the trees in the first picture was mostly removed.  It's for sale.  And to make E.O. Wilson's point the smaller sign announces a Storm Water Prevention Plan.  The work that the trees and undergrowth did for free, the builder is doing now has to pay to do, and the water filtering function is completely gone.  The sound muffling of the hill and vegetation is gone.  So is the air filtering.  The land belongs to the Alaska Mental Health Trust.  It was cleared on speculation.  Rather than wait until they had a buyer, they just went in and tore everything down.   What an irony that the Mental Health Trust has to cut trees to raise money to help people with Mental Health problems.

Heat Islands

Brian Stone of Georgia Tech, is the guy  on Here and Now audio above.   He talked about something called a heat island, (I'm paraphrasing him now) a localized climate affect caused by changes in cities.  He listed three causes of the warming of cities:
  1. When we lose vegetation it tends to heat up the land surfaces - trees provide a natural cooling mechanism 
  2. We pave over those trees and build roads and houses where the trees were and those surfaces absorb heat 
  3. We emit a lot of waste heat - vehicles, air conditioning 
All this  elevates temperature in a city 2 to 20 degrees overall. (I'm sure he meant Fahrenheit.)  In Atlanta, where he works, he said it could affect the temperature by 5-8 degrees on a single day. The tree part of it tends to be the major driver of it in the regions that are naturally forested. Cutting down trees has a major effect, it reduces the amount of moisture available in cities.

I know, people will say, why would you want to cool down Anchorage?  But anyone who has been in Anchorage for the last couple of weeks knows that cool is nice.  And the global climate change caused by carbon emissions is going to warm up Anchorage (and other cities) enough.  The trees are one more form of protection we can keep.  Not just to cool us down on hot summer days, but also for the ecosystem benefits they provide, and the mental health benefits having trees nearby provides.  The list of benefits is growing.  

Another point made on the show - a surprising one:  heat is the biggest weather caused killer of humans.  Because it's not as dramatic as tornadoes and floods, the media doesn't scare us with heat headlines.

Sugar Shack Coffee Stand After Fire
One more example of a speculator clearing land on spec.    The land where the Sugar Shack stands today was all birch trees when we moved here in 1977.

A few years later a developer bulldozed them all down.  It's been sitting there with heat generating surfaces and no trees every since - that's 30+ years without those trees and the benefits they bring.  The Sugar Shack didn't need a whole lot denuded.

Eyes of Gaia's website says that a football field \ of ancient forest is cut every two seconds around the world.  That's why what seems like a small lot full of trees, is really important.  It's cumulative small plots all around that add up.

It's not hopeless unless you decide it is.  Eyes Of Gaia says:
"Ensure you use only FSC marked wood which has come from sustainably harvested forests and commit to using recycled paper.
Say 'NO' to paper cups, plates and napkins and join an organisation who is working to protect the last of the planets ancient forests."
There are things you can do.  I know,  your todo list is already full.  See if you can do without paper plates next time you have a barbecue.  You can buy extra plates and cups at a thrift store and let your guests know that you are doing this to save the world's ancient forests.  A half a million families getting rid of paper plates and cups goes a long way, and the more people do this, the more others will copy them.

You can talk to your Assembly member and ask what our Anchorage tree policy is and show them this EPA heat island reduction page that shows projects and strategies from cities around the US.

*I know the mantra - we need the oil and we need jobs for the economy.  These are the words of those who most benefit from the status quo and/or have no imagination. Somehow humans lived on earth for a couple hundred thousand years.  In some cases they have seriously damaged parts of the planet - such as ancient Greece.  But most of the humans lived in relative harmony with the planet - they had too.  There are alternatives to how we live today, ones in which a larger percentage of the population would be happy.  But that's a few more posts.  We were desperately running out of oil recently and now fracking is changing that forecast.  There's no reason why we can't develop sustainable energy sources as unthinkable today as fracking was ten years ago.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Roger Jenkins - Start At Compass Points; Peter Goldberg - Here to Compliment the Board

Roger Jenkins after testifying
 [These two are out of order.  I was trying to get the pictures up and posted a couple of others before them.  Probably nearer to John O'Day.] 

Roger Jenkins, Anchorage LIO.  I have some general comments.  Geographer from UW in 1970 had equal contiguous districts - seven, seven, and three.  Start from points of the compass and work toward the center.  Center in Alaska is Anchorage.  I liked your last plan and could follow it nicely.  See some of the same things coming into all these.

 Downtown, Spenard, Sandlake, not compact and contiguous.  Your plan last year had some interesting things.  I suggest districts 36,37.38.39 could be change simply.  Option B would put 36 with Aleutians and if started in 38 and 39, because 39 starts way over in Chitina, if just up Yukon to Nome and took south of that going down to Chignik, 38 and that ends up with a Calista 37 district and as much of river delta.  I think it balances out I really appreciate your efforts in all this.  My perspective  - not that you don't have the contraints of the VRA you could draw nice districts.  To the extent that you get away from square districts in Anchorage you won't fit the rules.  Haven't had a chance to look at them all.


Peter Goldberg:  Resident of ER.  Sure your board hears its share of complaints.  I won't.  Think you did the right thing waiting for SC to register.  I understand some of ER shifted to Chugiak.  I think you did a good job.  Sometimes people need a compliment.

Kelly Walters - Board's Incompetence Led To Supermajority/ Schulte Likes AFFER

Kelly Walters
Kelly Walters - Anchorage.  Can't say I'm pleased to be here, over the footdragging, incompetence, footdragging.  I think it was partisan, gerrymandered, I feel elections important.  The Board failed to make plan legally for 2014, which resulted in Republican supermajority which resulted in illegal legislation
SB 21 and the Cruise ship law which usurped the citizens initiative
Secondly, questioning myth that Democrats did this before.  The last Board was three unaffiliated, one Democrat and one Republican.  They were challenged and we had a legislature that PPT was passed and Corrput bastards and Bill Allen.

I hope we can move forward and can produce a Constitutional election.

Torg:  Thank you Mr. Walters for your testimony.  Time now 3:51 we'll stand at recess. 

Bruce Schulte - phone - voter in South Anchorage.  Thank the Board for waiting for SC decision.  Briefly, live in 21.  Redistricting well formed, and state constitution.  Support AFFER plan, and from my perspective as voter and layman, think it's good.

Torg; 3:55 and Board is in recess. 

Torg:  It's now 4pm and we will return until Monday at 12pm in Fairbanks.  Adjourned until Monday. 

ARB - Photos 2 - Calista team, Valdez Mayor, Aleutians East, Native American Rights Fund, Sen. Meyer, Brian Hove

The Calista team - (l-r) Tom Begich, Marcia Davis, and Steve Colligan.

ADN reporter Rich Mauer in the background.

Valdez Mayor David Cobb after testifying.  Board members (sitting) Bob Brodie and PeggyAnn McConnochie and ADN photographer Erik Hill (standing) in the background.

Aleutians East Borough rep Ernie Weiss after testimony.  This adds, in the background, Board Chair John Torgerson in the blue shirt and attorney Michael White. 

You can also see the transcriber on the left. 

Natalie Landreth of the Native American Rights Fund.  She pointed out to the Board that though Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is not in force now, Section 2 is.  And contrary to some media reports Section 2 does not require intent.  It too is evaluated on impact on protected groups. 

Senator Kevin Meyer testifying.  He likes the AFFER map. 

Brian Hove of Anchorage District 19, liked AFFER revised map. 

There's more on each of these folks testimony in previous posts.  I'll try to get the pictures into those posts, but this will have to do for now.  There's about 15 minutes left. 

Brian Blessington Wants NE Anchorage Consistent and Lois Epstein Wants Assumptions Of All the Maps

They start and stop as people show up or call in.  Trying to catch up.  

Brian Blessington  - recent UAA grad, questioning NE districting Muldoon consistency, not to redistrict away from our education centers.
White:  ????

3:28, we'll stand in recess.

Lois Epstein - Anchorage engineer.  Last time board rejected mycomments for a
non-partisan map.  The court has thrown it out.  Undercuts Boards support from public.  I asked the Board basis for the map, I was told the Constitution.  Asked why the differences between the map told it was too complicated.
I do GIS as part of my work.  Board needs to use first Borough boundaries.  Most important.  After key house and then Senate districts.  Then the boards can deal with discrepencies int he number and then SE integration.

All assumptions for drawing the maps including those by outside parties, should be made clear.  A professional should work on these instead of having untrained doing this.  I urge the Supreme Court and governor to appoint a special master for this process. 

Recess.  There's about 20 minutes left.  You could call in if that's not enough time to get here.  I think this number should get you through:  1-855-463-5009

John O'Day Likes New AFFER, But Where's The Sunshine?

John O'Day - I'm in favor of plan AFFER as printed today.  Life Long registered Republican, Anchorage, supervoter.  Questions?
Torg:  None
O'Day:  What happened to the sunshine?


Leila Weisz Is Upset; Jerry Ahwinona Wants a Fair Process and Thanks The Board

Leila Weisz - regular citizen who votes.  My confidence in this process is low.  Not an attorney, but it seems like you're making it harder than it used to be.  Looks more and more like political gerrymandering.  ADN says time for a master.  Court is your boss.  You've been fighting them.  Instead of arguing with them and dragging your feet.  If you'd been an employee you would have been fired long ago.
You're understaffed.  You should have hired an executive director.  The woman army veteran you rejected was perfect.  The paper made it sound like you rejected her because she was a Democrat.
I appreciate  the opportunity to express my opinion.

Torg: next

Jerry Ahwinona - from Anchorage on behalf of myself.  Thank the board for taking public testimony, I appreciate your efforts and wish they will be fruitful and redistricting fair and equitable and that the Board takes concerns of public and we have a fair 2014 election.  that we can agree on a fair map.  Last effort ... Voting Rights Act, but this year more focused on Constitutional aspects of our redistricting.  Thank the board for their service and have a great day.

Torg:  2:51 and we'll go on recess and get back as people show up. 

These were both by phone. 

2:22pm Pat Abney Wants Board To Hire a Full Staff

Patricia Abney - Been Anhorage resident for 53 years.  Urge you to comply with Court orders so Alaskans have fair redistricting.  And that you hire a full staff so we have open hearings.  We do not want antoher election under an illegal plan unconstitutional because no time.
Make maps accessible to download.  Board should be non-partisan so illegal gerrymandering doesn't occur. 

Here's Pat Abney talking to Randy Ruedrich after her testimony. 

There are now only three other people besides me in the audience. 

Board members Marie Green and Jim Holm are neither here at the hearings nor connected by teleconference. They may be listening in but aren't participating.

Redistricting Board Public Testimony Photos 1 - Beginning And AFFER Maps

Stacks of the plans - there were 11 that were accepted at last weeks meeting.  Then there were three more added as of yesterday.  And then apparently there were a couple more today. 

The audience a little after 10am. 

Randy Ruedrich getting tech help the computer ready for his powerpoint of the AFFER plan.

Larry DeVilbiss, Mayor of Matsu testified along with Randy Ruederich in favor of the AFFER plan. 

AFFER Revised statewide plan.  You can click and enlarge this.

AFFER Revised Anchorage Plan

AFFER Revised Fairbanks Plan

There was strong emphasis by the AFFER folks on how they kept the deviations (in population from one district to another) extremely low.  I think it was 1.44% overall.  This is a good thing in terms of 1 person 1 vote, but since they were allowed up to 10% statewide overall last time, it seems that as long as it's under 4 or 5% over all it should be fine and deviation shouldn't overshadow other issues.  However, I haven't had a chance to look at the plans carefully to see the impact.  And there is no analysis of the maps.  No one has said or been asked how the plans affect incumbents which is really a question that everyone has. 

Three More: AFFER is Great. Keep It The Way it Is. Don't Cut Airport Heights in Half.

I was going to put up pictures, but three more testified.

Steve Strait - West Anchorage, life-long Alaskan, I vote.  This is the fifth Census period we've done since statehood.  The fifth event, and now in the digital age, I call this edition 5.2.  Thank you for allowing me to be here.  Talking on behalf of Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting.  It's hard to overlay your process and the Muni of Anchorage.  My recommendation is to leave it the way it is. 

I'm amazed at how close the AFFER plan allows the districts to be so equal in population.  In the end it's so close.  I don't think we've ever been that close in Alaska.

Hope Nelson - Anchorage since 1964.  When we get down to only 1percent.  We'll never be perfect.  I think we should go ahead and get this passed?

Torg:  Any particular plan?

Nelson:  I like it the way we have it.  Just a little tweak.

Torg:  1:40 we'll take a recess.
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  We have one more.
Torg:  Wait, The lines are hot. 

Rebecca Kurtz:  Looking at 12new maps, some cut my neighborhood Airport Heights in half, but please don't do that.  I'm sure it's a real challenge, but don't cut Airport Heights in half.

Torg:  1:42  we'll stand in recess. 

A Few More - Deborah Williams, SJ Klein, and David Morgan

Deborah Williams - Representing myself.  Have lengthy history with process and Rights Coalition.  A few remarks:
1.  Make sure Board includes as one option, the last map that the Rights Coalition included and happily read in the the newspaper that you are still accepting submissions.  It meets the Constitutional requirements and I still believe it is the best one available.
2.  All suffer from C problems.  None of the Board options have intact Matsu and Kenai - split when you need not.  Entitle to 5 intact and Kenai to 3 intact.  Don't think any of your plans witll be found constitutiona.
Couldn't find analysis to support your plan.  You have so many plans ont he table,  Very diversionary, hard to focus on aplan.  If you continue, narrow to one or two and give plan an opportunity to give public hearing to talk of those plans.  Not meaningful without analysis and with short time to see the plans.
Really think it is time for a master.  So many problems including not hiring a qualified executive director.  I hope court says best move is to hire a master.
Our consitution and state best served by having board step aside and having a master. 

SJ Klein - President of Fairview community council, but not representing them.  Specifically with plan A splits our neighborhood down Hyder.  One of the historic neighborhoods in Anchroage, community council, redistricting in way that splits us among several districts does us great harm and would recommend against.  We have two issues
1.  SE disadvantaged area.  Desire to have a rep that takes needs of entire neighborhood into account
2.  Line right through Hyder, splits neighboor in half, conflict between two reps in one neighborhoo.  One rep having one view and the other another where both should be together.  CC hasn't yet taken up the issue, but anumber of us want to be one contiguous neighborhood.  I appreciate opportunity to testify. 
Exec Board first thursday in July. 
Torg:  Send us your testimony when the council meets, thank you.

David Morgan - LIO - 2170 STanford Drive, Rogers Park cc member.  Looking at AFFER map you are adding a few more voters into 15.  I don't see any problem with that I've worked on elections.  Not too much problems.  A few people showed up at wrong places.  You are adding just a few people to our district, I think from 13.  It's minor.  Less than three minutes.

STand at ease until next testifier. 

Valdez, Aleutians East Borough, Bering Straits, Native American Rights Fund, Cooper Landing and some Anchorage folks testify

[Again, very rough, but current.  On break now.  I'll try to figure out my photo problem and clean some of this up.]

Public Testimony

Dave Cobb - Mayor of Valdez - reading his statement - Valdez will be effected.  Should interact with other groups in region, drainage, socio-economic.  Richardson Hwy north and east Alaska have commonalities, high cost of energy - missing a lot of this - HD 6 boundaries in Board G 0 God Plan - have the benefits:  Richardson highway in one district.  Copper Valley Electric etc. in one district.  Voting districts not interrupted. 1.18%, 2 of three PWS CCollege in one district. Pipeline in one district. No community interrupted.  Hospital districts are covered.  This plan for 6 as in Plans G and A ease redistricting burdens around the state.  Should not include Anchorage and others not directly related with pipeline, Matsu, Kenai, SE Alaska.  City met Wednesday with legal counsel and chose Board Plan G as the best for Valdez, Alternative Plan A.

Ernest Weiss - Aleutians East Borough
AEB six Akutan, False Pass, .... all fishing.  Sandwiched Lake and Pen B and west ???.  Haven't fully reviewed but have discussed with Mayor.
Since I've been involved early 2011 - our stance keep B together not divided and the Chain.  None of the plans divide us.  Congratulations.  In general as it splits HD 37, that's not compact nor contiguous, don't support the Gazewood plan.  Will listen.
AFFER and Calista remarkably low deviations congrats, but don't want to stretch too far into the middle of the state. prefer mostly ???
A and G ok.  Senate, pair us with Bethel or Kodiak, but if stretch to Yakutat would stretch to Attu worth noting.  Pairing with Valdez wouldn't make sense. 

Matt Ganley - Resources ?? for Bering Straits Native Corp. 
In past argued need for SE Integration.  With Calista map offered today, lowest deviation and most SE integration for the district.  They've achieved that goal remarkably.  For Bering Straits prefer fewer from Delta, but we understand need for compromise.  Did work in early 90's for Ahtna at that time - pleased to see retained in this version.  Retaining ANCSA boundaries important.  Calista map as presented today, comes as close. . . AFFER map too stretches.  Horsehoe interior district hard to make SE Integration argument.  Retaining coastal orientation in Arctic Districts important, majore development coming in decade.  Keep as close to coastline as possible

Liz Medicine-Crow? 

Natalie Landreth - Native American Rights Fund, Outside Counsel for Bristol BAy - they've sent letter noting strong preference for Calista map for option 2 and option 3 is also ok.  Shishmereff should be maintained with it. 
Low deviation helps with representation.  Donut/Ahtna - good district SE integration good.  More likely to have represenation that knows their interests.  Interior different from Coastal.  Large, unwieldy hard.  Separating fish seats 32 and lower Cook Inlet and 37, 38 and align along coastal areas, clients won't return my calls cause fishing in Bristol Bay will get good rep in house and senate.  32 - Kodiak Chugach reason - on behalf of Eyak - our expert witness, Matt Ganley is here - close relationship between Eyak (Cordova) and ?? as one family.  Closely united enough. . . Southern - can't keep up here.  Integration lots of evidence available on that alliance and with Kodiak.  Relatives even tho languages the same, Kodiak slighty different, same creation stories. 
One final comment - impact of Shelby County - removing section five changing Native control seat, in our view VRA still matters in SEction 2 - doesn't care about intent.  I've seen some media saying only intent.  But section 2 also bans changes that has results, doesn't care about intent.  VRA still matters, but matters differently.  Removes administrative burden of pre-clearance, but does protect Natives - as when you paired Western FB with Bristol Bay.
White:  I agree with analysis of section 2 - Calista?
Landreth:  yes -
White:  No issues with Calista map?
Landreth:  No I do not as long as it doesn't change.

Torg:  All I have signed up.  Susan Olsen?
Olsen:  Live in Anchorage, concerned citizen, interested in political processes in state.  Not an insider, but can read ARticle 6 of constitution.
1.  Time table - board met the constitution in 90 days in 2011, but now in the middle of 2013 and don't have plan.  Superior Court said need to follow constitution.  Ten months later told to draft new plan.  Last month on 30 Court said to get cracking and Board said previous testimony would suffice didn't make sense. 
I see seven plans plus at least four others.  I downloaded the first three plans of the board and realized that was fruitless.  There is no analsysis, no descriptions of the difrerences or reasons for them.  I could download and see differences, but without explanation of the differences I can't comment.  Not a technical expert, can only see what constitutions says.
Enforcement of ARt. 6:  if first plan not valid sent back to board.  It may be sent back to board if still found not valid.  This says the first time it does go back.  The second time it may go back.  I think it should go to a master board.  Board has been dilatory.  2.5 years later.  Board shouldn't need judge to admonish them to get going.  No meaningful public process for the citizen. If technical, one thing but Constitution says public process.  This is technical process.  Can't have Democracy without elections and can't have elections if we don't know where the lines are.  Board can't do job, suggest master apppointed.

Cooper Landing David Nees??: 
Point out in last redistricting 2010 first time Cooper Landing with Anchroage 120 year old city not ever incorporated with Anchroage.  Only one plan returns CL to Kenai Pen where we belong.  100 members should be in rural Alaska.  Have nothing to to with Anchroage, like to keep it that way.
Torg:  Senate pairing that does that, district is all in Kenai.

We'll come back here.  Sen. Meyers please.

Kevin Meyers:  Appreciate your taking time out of summer, taking much longer than expected.  Senator for District L, 24 and 26 in SE Anchroage, SErvice High,  Lower Hillside.  I've represented in Assembly, state house, and senate.  Very diverse, some very low income and very wealthy.  R 5 zoning - mobile homes duplex apartments and south to where people have airports in the homes.  Diverse. Ive reviewed all plans.  Many.  Most keep my district intact.  A couple not so good.  Want to talk about

Dowling road to Huffman, New Seward to Hillside.  Good clear boundaries.  Easy to undeerstand.  Major roads as boundaries and that's what you did with A,F, G.  Also AFFER and Calista plans.  But in the past represented an area - road divides the district and that's very confusing to neighbors as they walk across the street.  A few plans split neighborhoos D and E and Gazewood plan.  I know you have to consider many things - please look at community councils.  Makes it easier for them, know how to keep people accountable.  You've been torn between federal and state requirement, now federal has been resolved.  You had it right two years ago

Tom Klinkner - Birch, Horton, Bittner and ...   Petersburg Borough,  You'll hear from others at Juneau meeting next week.  You've heard from mayor a year ago.  Petersburg favors plan A of the ones under consideration - Petersburg, Sitka, and Wrangell - ones we have common interest.  Plan F not good - borough split in different house districts.  Most other plans don't include Wrangle - PofWales.  Not included with Juneau, and glad of that. 

Torg:  No questions, I know we'll get more in Juneau.

Brian Hove;  Live in Disrict 19 Anchroage.  First of all - comment made earlier.  Obviously this process is very difficult.  I think the board correct to wait until SC decision made.  Speaking in favor of AFFER revised plan, particularly regarding west Anchorage District 19.  SC allows for deviations to come down radically.  AFFER wide plan about 1.4%.  If take into consideration things required in constitution - equal proportion and common interests - 1.44% deviation is just about right. 

Scott Hawkins:  Also like to echo comments of Sen Meyer and Mr. Hove, Board has done a very credible job.  Hard to comply with two different standards.  You had it right two years ago.  I want to speak for AFFER plan, at least for Anchorage.  30 year participant.  Very good job of compact sensible districts in Anchorage.  Negligible impact on Anchroage with changes from last time.  7 of 14 districts no changes and the other 7 have minimal changes.  No confusion for voters. 

12:53  Frances Bennett:   15 year resident of Anchorage and live in District 19.  I too testify in support of AFFER plan.  Anchorage has had some tumultous elections in recent past.  Keeping things as they are now makes sense.  Not to be a parrot, I think you got things right two years ago. 

Torg:  Anyone we missed.  No one signed up on teleconference.  We will stand in recess. We'll be here til 4pm.  Until we have folks to testify. 

So, if you have something to say, come on down here or call in. 

ARB - Calista Presentation - live blogging

[This is really really rough.  And I'm having trouble downloading photos at the moment, but I'll put this up and try to clean it up later.]

Torg:  Asking for Powerpoint and tesitmony.
Marcia Davis:  General council and VP for Calista - our region of Alaska is critically impacted by redistricting.  Clarify we're working with - Ruederich said that on short time frame since Friday.
Calista Option 2 and resolved that after meeting with other Native Orgs which will facilitate Board's option.  Now Calista Option 3, sent to Board last night, hard copy on the wall and available online.  Different from Option 2 moves Shismareff from 40 to 39, moved Huslia, ??, and ??? from 39 to 40.  Did that and maintained total deviation to .9%.
One other change - working with Mr. Colligan who is knowledgable of Matsu and refining Matsu boundaries and alligning a Senate pairing.
Overview was on Supreme Court to follow constitution to have  - important, not only based on state, but also federal equal protection.  Umbrella under which all other constitution important.  Second, focused on compact, contiguous, and didn't mess with any city boundaries, though had some borough.  But our ANCSA boundaries are = to borough boundaries, met among ANCSA corporations and socio-economic issues.
Guided by deviation minimization.  Strived for cmpactness, contiguity, only balanace point where deviation is too much to get the others. 
Will be some points - Tom will point them out.  Very low deviation .97, which gives Board some wiggle room.
Fairbanks also has excess population.  Not just looking at Native side, need to look at interests of urban population.  Ester folks are longstanding urban population, to distrupt them and throw them as surplus population is wrong.  Using people on east - military?  - they move in and out, not long standing, had voting average of 5% compared to western FB that has one of the highest voting rates.  This pairing does the least harm to both sides.  Proud of Borough and ANCSA boundaries.  Calista with dominant with Kuskokwim drainage area - listing all but I can't keep up.  AHTNA ingonore in most maps - integrity minus Cantwell,  Koniak and Aleut preserved.  Doyon - they like Bethel have a split propulation - one cause large population the other because small. 

.....  Want to talk about doinut (yes, not donut) problem with Senate pairings.  FB core has five and pair extra with the donut that surrounds FB.  Allows future census cycles to have least disruption. 

Now turn it over to Steve Colligan at E-Terra who will speak to how the map was created and then Tom Begich who has worked on four redistricting process will talk about balance.

Steve Colligan - resident of Wasilla.  30 years ago thought I'd never do a redistricing again, using cards - using digital tools to enforce an analog process.  In this process with Calista and others, started with blank maps.  applied Native Corp boundaries, DDT????, then census blocks (???)  reaching across 100's of miles to find a couple of people. 

Tom Begich:  Resident of Anchorage.  socio-economic expert for state of Alaska in Hickel and also in Knowles, and contract to former Sen. Al Adams, and contractor to Calista, sole employer.  Deviation less than 1% honoring equal protection in Constitution, then compactness and contiguity.  Look at visual compactness.  We wanted to be sure where we had visible compactness also socio- ecomonic compactness.
Computer dropped to floor. 
District 6 on Eastern FB - Eilson and south, Moose river population kept with North Pole and city boundaries kept intact, no city boundaries violated.  Borough - one FB break, one Anchorage, one Matsu, 2 in Kenai.
Created FB city district, Boundary.  Per request to square it off added south part - two city house districts.  One around NPole and one College Chena Hills and connected by zero block along river.  Then older urban population North and west of the city.  One break of FB is here.  Mostly rural or more transient. 
South - area of interest, how take TCC and mesh with AHTNA, 20 years ago analaysis showed intermarriage connections. 
Valdez-Richardson district challenge.  Come in right under the Borough.  Only Matsu incorporated south of old Glenn - about 500 residents of Matsu.  So Matsu has all five of its house districts in tact.  Steve did this inline with some comments from Mayor of Matsu.  This only break, and becomes large district 10.  Not only has all 5 house seats and with Anchorage for Matsu Chugiak Sen pairing. 
In Anchorage with breaking senate pairings to north and south - keeps all pairings together.  Keeps ER together. 
I note four Board maps paired Sandlake and Ocean view so we copied that. 
I believe it's the same as the Anchorage house district maps.
White:  you changed some names?
Begich:  Steve will talk to that.  Had to change some numbers.
Kenai, now, see that Kenai Soldotna district, here - left 35 people out of Kenai City but back in.  Souther part unites with Kodiak, Cordova fishing district.  Twice a day plane service between Kodiak and Yakutat. 
SE briefly - similar to Ketchikan - with south of Prince of Wales - ethnicity of Haida/Tlingkit.  Also Haida people we didn't include.  Petersburg and Sitka boroughs maintained.  Split in Juneau - make as compact as possible.
Finally, take out of Kenai - Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Port Grapham and put in Bristol Bay borough.   . . . 

One exception with TCC Arctic Village for population 153 people incorporated with NWA - about 1/5 %.  Tried to get map as close as perfect for equal protection.
Colligan:  Each map different approaches to Matsu.  Some ??? that overlap. 
Stick to major roads, streams, Matsu with existing precincts has every assembly district split three times.  Adopted Assembly maps before, readjust and make reassignments, easier for public to understand and minimize deviation.  did cause some paring problems, so renumbered pairing north district to palmer, Chugach and rural with KGB, and norther lakes district with Wasilla (??????)

Torg:  Two questions, a little confused Kenai borough twice split?
Begich:  Tyonek, Nanwalek, Port Graham to
and also fishing district.  does maintain Homer in Kenai district.
Torg:  Delta?
Begich:  Current Deltas are kept together - used Highway as boundary - south of highway is ten and north as get toward Tok is in 6.  Tok and that area I think in 10 district. 
White:  Thanks, some questions: 
Fishing district.  I know you've been qualified as an expert.  Tell us how fishing district holds together.  Kodiak.
Begich:  Entire Kodiak borough.  Chugach Alaska Boundaries.  PWSound desire of Cordova to be locked into fishing district.  Whole linkage of commercial fishing district.  Also relationship between Yakutat and Cordova - mostly air relationship but also fishing. 
Fishing, Coastal Alaska, common  Alaska Native roots and two Boroughs complete.
White:  Based on your expertise in Socio-economic integration you say this is ok?
Begich:  Absolutely
White:  Spoke with them and got their agreement?
Begich:  No,  head of Chugach region said frustrating because step children of region because population used for one or the other.  About 350 people, so some flexibility.
White:  Could put the two villages into Kenai and keep deviations under 5%. 
Begich:  Kenai B entitled to at least 3 house districts, absolutel constitutional mandate.  Have to do something with excess population of kenai.  Sometimes geography forces you to broken twice.  We think no other B needs that.  Only 1800 people affected by breaks.
White:  How many live in Eilson?
Begich:  About 2600, to east 19 people - around 4095 people.  When even out FB districts about 10,000, we got down to 8,800 people.  plus or minus .5 deviation in FB and only take out 9000. 
White:  Out of FBNS B took out
Begich:  8,800, most from Eilson, a transient group.
Significantly smaller number comes from permanaent population when take from east side than out of west side. 
White:  You'd agree with me if east or west is within discretion of the B.
Begich:  yes, but if want socio-integrated want to disturb the permanent population less.
White:  Valdez - how many people out of Anchorage? 
Begich:  7548 out of Chugiak area, the ideal amount of Anchorage excess.
Matsu - 512 people and all south of Glenn.  full five house districts for Matsu. 
explaining socio-integration of Anchorage and Valdez - if any part of Anchorage connected to Valdez it is the northern part.  Dittman survey.  Old Glenn takes you to Palmer and out.  You can do this without respecting the B boundary.  You could follow the highway and take more from Matsu?????  Zero blocks there.  If trust our Constitution - socio-economically integrated - Matsu boundary should trump highway. 

White:  Steve can you help difference tween your Matsu map and what the mayor drew for us?
Colligan:  Mayor's map maintain portion of Palmer they give up.  Mayor's map takes this portion Lazy Mt.  in this map maintain Wasilla and portions of Palmer, but it is different mainly ??????
Begich:  Under Calista map, district out of Chugiak in mayor's map comes up into the Valley.  In the Mayor's map it is broken twice.  Under ours it is borken onece.  Have to give up Lazy Mt.  [This is lots of mapping and hard to understand from the words only]

Torg:  Go into public testimony - but a five minute recess first. 

ARB live blogging - Some pictures of the scene

[This is really rough, but it's current.  They're on break.  I'll try to add photos.]

Randy Ruedrich, AFFER  Anchorage for Fair and Equitable Redistricting

BEen inivolved since the beginning.
Change only dealing with state constitution, minimize deviations to the extent that our largest neg. is -.74 in  district in Western Alaska.  Our largest postiive deviation is .7 in Kenai?  overall 1.44 which I think we can reduce further.
Using state constitutional criteria some limits.

Basic architecture of a map under constitution.
When you recognize borough and city boundaries as significant

16 MOA
5+ Fairbanks
5 for Matsu
3+ for Kenai
<2 for Junea
Sitka, Kodia, under 1
Boroughs of the chain another opportunity for an identified districts

Those boroughs quickly sum up 36 sitings for our 40 seats

Bethel and Nome - 2 more

Leaves two unidentified districts.  That's, based on previous maps leaves Richardson Highway and River area.  So don't really start with blank slate.  Start with 36 districts and the rest fills in.

Anchorage under ideal numbers is entitled to 16.4 house seats.  If 16 only, the deviation would be 2.5% over 16 districts.  Unconstitutional.  Surplus can be dealt with in several ways.
Kenai to south, not cmpact or socio-economically integrated when compared to linking to southern Matsu.  Pairing Anchorage surplus we wind up with a compact and socio-economic district that meets constitution and mimics 1994, 2002, and 20012 maps.

During those three mapping cycles, the surplus from Matsu has been paired with Richardson Highway.  To Valdez linked to Matsu - traditionally done.

What we have actually done in various parts of the state.

Looking at map, a lot of things that look familiar -
Anchorage first:

Torg:  For the record, you're looking at AFFER revised plan, not the original.
Ruedrich:  Anchorage map product of mayor's office, Assembly work group, Clerk.
From Girdwood to north of Muldoon, no change.  We made some minor changes to bring things into balance.  Dog bite.  District 24 - center - we removed a very small commercial ara and put it into 22.  And then Seward and Tudor brings district 23 within .5% and the district to the North also.  22 removed small population along the railroad along Tudor and put it ito 16, adding population in SE and removing in NE leaving it in .5% bound.

Next change even more subtle.  Instead of using Fish Creek in Spenard, we used Barbara Street, that leaves .5%  Took a few people south of Chester on the 16/18 border and put them into district 18.  We have 16 in the 1/2% bound.  Those changes creates a map that meets the ??   That's how close we are that starts with the map first done in the mayor's office. 

Changes in ER, we made major changes, slightly over 1% each.  That created a slightly larger district 11 component in Matsu bridge district.

Kenai - made some changes - by bringing ??? we removed significant out of 28, some into 30 and some into 29, hanged from 2.5% over population, by adding Tyonek/Beluga, that allows us to free 11% of the district from Kenai and allows us to put that into Kodiak district that already had Southern Kenai villages.  Bring 35 to ideal population.  Got free space to get Yakutat going to the North.

Larry can speak about Matsu  - Larry DeBilbiss, Mayor of Matsu Borough.

Thank you for your patience in this domino game we call redistricting. I did review the AFFER Revised map and satisfied with the way we are situated.  I called Assembly members twice and twice I got no response from any Assembly members.  That tells me the Assembly does not want major changes from the map you did before and very satisfied witht he representation that came out of that map.  We don't want to see any changes.  Some changes around Palmer area that won't have impact.

I was in a lawsuit over this in the past - they tried to whack out two legislators - me and Ogan.  Glad someone else is doing the hard work.
Torg:  Questions?
White:  Clarification.  Mr. Mayor welcome, thanks for your testimony.  Clear - colors are the current map and boundaries are new lines?
Larry:  I don't know about the colors
Ruederich.  This map does reflect the latest work the people of Matsu did yesterday.
Whtie:  Does orange represent the current?
Ruedrich:  No idea.
Larry:  I think you're right.  Glad you caught those.
White:  Understood your testimony right.  Yourself and assembly didn't raise any objections and dividing the borough twice is ok with you?
Larry:  Yes.
Ruedrich:  Let me continue.  SE map is very simple.  D 33, added metlakatla.  Left for historic reasons, ?? Cove, for added population.  But Ketchikan would work ok.  Thorn Bay which has been paired with ??? so Ketchikan's proposal might be better.

We left 31 Juneau as it is.  Since Skagway was already in 32 we added Haines, since no Native districts to consider at this time, added Pelican to make a hook, to balance population only.
Torg:  When you refer to they, you mean K Borough?
Ruedrich:  Yes, the proposal we heard today from K.
In Kenai where we had excess population.  Also in FBNS borough.  Reduced D1 essentially a smaller fareast district.  D4 totally inside City of FB leaves a little to incorporate the rest of FB and then ??? to get second house seat.  Excess from D3 north of that added to 2 moves it further to east.  D5 south and ruther east.  2000+ more surplus relative to previous plan we drew and similar to plan that was drawn by the board.  That gives us 10,000 to be integrated into 38 that starts in Yakutat and around north through upper Tanana and Upper Yukon and back into Denali Borough.  Much more compact than 39 was in prior map.  Added more inupiat to keep consistent 40 to historic 39.  Kuskokwim and upper Yukon and KKKK?  and 36 is balance of chain and Yupik peoples of the SW Alaksa thru Nondalton and Lime Village which are actually Athabascan, but found this to do the least harm we can anticipate.
Map has deviation of 1.4%, we can probably work on it a little bit.  Can create a map that's a little better for you in the next few days.
Torg:  Thanks.  Questions?  Dividing FB once or twice?
Ruederich:  It's open in the west - to 38.
Torg:  That's where you were talking about 10,000.
Ruedrich:  We have about 7000 in prior plan.  By shrinking all the districts in FBNS borough by about 3% that frees about 2000 people.  Everything compressed to the east.  Freed individuals are on the Western frontier.  Ester precinct had been split, part in 38 and historic in 5.  This map puts all in 38 together.  Also allows small portions of University hills district are no in 38 and finally, took part of Farm Loop precinct into 38.  Those Western elements taken and addd because they were surplus.
Torg:  Other questions?
White: Help us understand socio-economic integration thinking - 38?
Torg:  When you build a map and work as hard as you can to get districts that work, you have elements of population that doesn't necessarily fit.  has pipeline as theme, but other things vastly different.  Mostly rural Alaska native folks.  Just don't have enough of them to form rural distric.  Have some urban population surplus.  End up with this piece that you have t put together.  I see this as the least troubling.  Have much in common with FB, which is center of their trade world.  Don't see why they can't be?
White?  37?
Torg:  That troubled me greatly.  If we try to keep Chain together and Yupik north with it, we have 39 as blend for years.  Need to add folks to get to antoher 10% as we go to full 1 person 1 vote representation.  Native villages going up the Yukon, Koyukuk villages together, Upper Kusko together, middle Yukon villages, and significant Yupik villages in south.  Entire Kuskokwim in this distric with some more changes.  Not enough districts to put all these people in separate boxes. 
White:  Courts been clearn not if adding urban, but where.
District connects over water?
Ruedrich: PWS, also takes Cordova who voted to be combined with Kodiak.  Fits because all fishing population. 
White:  Thank You. 

Redistricting Board Public Hearing Anchorage - Ketchikan Wants Prince of Wales - live blogging

Got here a little late, but meeting hadn't started.  Chair announced the situation - approved of 7 Board options and three private options plus Ketchikan.  Then they got three more from Calista and AFFER.  And another today

[Basically Ketchikan wants part of Prince of Wales Island.]

Ketchikan - Dan

Carefully consider the 8 page letter.  All to happy to provide additional information and supporting materials.  As I understand rules of redistrict, especially in the hickel process, contiguity, one-person one vote etc.  Similar to Board Option A.

Torg:  When we had hearings in Prince of Wales - they said they didn't want PoW divided.  Have you talked to them about this? 

Dan:  We have not.  It is mathmatically impossible 1 person 1 vote.  Population characteristics impossible to keep Prince of Wales intact.  VRA change is certainly a game changer.  We have very strong ties to Metlakatla and PoW.  More than with northern communities on the island.  I understand PoW desire to keep all communities int he same election district.  It just can't happen in my opinion, given

Torg:  Have you looked at map G?
Dan:  Mostly A
Torg:  Option G does keep PoW in one piece, so please look at that and give us your opinion. 

AFFER - Mr. Ruedrich
[He's setting up his powerpoint - there's a break here so I'll post this for now.]

What Does Darrel Issa Have In Common With Car Alarms?

It seems that car alarms are a good metaphor for Representative Darrel Issa.  Bear with me as I play this out.
"Car alarms are a terrible urban blight with obvious social costs - noise pollution, increased stress, wasted police manpower dealing with broken alarms - and it's not clear there are any benefits in return," says Lawrence Sherman, director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. "No study has demonstrated that they reduce auto theft."16
The above quote is from Transalt  a group trying to ban car alarms in New York City.

A 2005 New York times article says that
"nearly all of the burglar alarms investigated by the county's highly paid police are false. .  ."
Car alarms, the bane of suburban neighborhoods, barely show up in the false alarm figures because they are rarely reported except as noise complaints, authorities said."
Why am I telling you this?  Keep going a little further.
"Two companies, Directed Electronics of California and Audiovox of Hauppauge, dominate the car alarm industry and produce alarms under several brand names. Spokesmen for the companies said the alarms, augmented by new innovations, were highly effective in preventing theft."

Rep. Darrel Issa has been in the news lately.  He's chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which, among other things, keeps track on the President.  His committee has been setting off a bunch of false alarms lately.  It's his committee that held hearings on Benghazi and most recently on the IRS targeting Tea Party folks.  And now we've learned that he ordered a very narrowly focused audit  focused only to look at Tea Party and other conservatives, but no others.  It now turns out that liberal groups were targeted too.

Immoral Minority posted a Chris Mathews video segment charging that Issa's been shooting blanks for weeks now.   In the interview he's corrected - for years now.

Darrel Issa is, according to NPR, the wealthiest member of Congress, worth $450 million.
Issa made his fortune building and selling Viper car alarms. [As your eyes read this sentence, if Blogger had the technology, you would now hear alarms.]
Viper car alarms are made by Directed Electronics, Inc (Darrel Issa's initials are DEI).  The same company mentioned above as one of the two main car alarm manufacturers.

The NPR piece also reports:
"For years I used to tell everyone that I went into it because my brother was a car thief. Then they found out when I ran for office my brother did spend time in prison as a car thief, and it ruined the whole joke I'd had for 20 years in business," Issa said during an interview with whorunsgov; .
It seems Darrel Issa has been accused of car theft himself - a couple of times. Where the police and courts and indictments were involved.  He seems though to have either talked or paid his way out of trouble. 

There are 435 members of Congress. I don't know about you, but I don't know all that much about most of them, but I do have google and it didn't take long for me to find out a little about Darrel Issa.

Apparently, he's pretty good with electronics and made about $450 million on his car alarm company.  That business that is a
 ". . . terrible urban blight with obvious social costs - noise pollution, increased stress, wasted police manpower dealing with broken alarms - and it's not clear there are any benefits in return,"
He apparently has lots of street smarts and is a good talker.

An eight page New Yorker article in 2010 investigated the many allegations that have been raised about Issa - and which apparently caused him not to run for Governor of California after he successfully got Governor Davis recalled.

Things like
  • driving the wrong way on a one way street and having concealed weapons in his glove compartment (in Ohio where that wasn't legal.)
  • burning down his factory (after removing the computer with all the data and quadrupling his insurance)
  • firing an employee by putting a box with a gun on his desk
  • stealing an army buddie's Dodge Charger
  • stealing a Maserati from a Cleveland dealership
  • padding his biography with false awards, falsely claiming to have protected President Nixon, and lying about his military record
  • reporting his car stolen and collecting the insurance after his brother sold it to a dealer
  • hit and run
The New Yorker article details each incident and Issa's explanations.  What I find interesting - well there are a number of things, like the length of the list -  is how all his problems are due to other people, how he seems to have surrounded himself with scumbags.  Here are a few examples from Lizza's article:
Issa told me that he did not set the fire at the Quantum factory in 1982, and he is furious that the story has dogged him. He lashed out at Eric Lichtblau, the New York Times reporter who, in 1998, while working for the Los Angeles Times, first aired allegations from Issa’s former business partner Joey Adkins. Lichtblau, Issa charged, “is a notorious hatchet man.” (“Everything in that story was accurate,” Lichtblau told me in response. “The picture that emerged of his early start in Cleveland was very different from the Horatio Alger story he had adopted.”) (p.7)
Issa seemed unfamiliar with the insurance company’s fire-analysis report concluding that the fire was arson, and said that, as far as he knew, it was officially declared accidental. He blamed the local fire department for letting the fire get out of hand.
Adkins, both Issa brothers said, is not credible. William told me that Adkins was “a lowlife.” The morning after the fire, Darrell said, Adkins took most of the Steal Stopper merchandise that wasn’t damaged, hauled it away, and set up a rival business across town. (Adkins told me it was his understanding that the inventory would be scrapped, so he took it.) It was that theft of merchandise, Darrell pointed out, that caused the insurance company to deny his claim on the Steal Stopper inventory. There was one more twist. Adkins’s brother, Gary, sold the merchandise back. Issa paid with a check that he cancelled before Gary Adkins could cash it.

The New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza, called "Don't Look Back" is well worth reading.

Issa's district is north of San Diego and includes the Pendleton Marine base, Oceanside, Carlsbad, San Inofre, San Clemente (where Nixon's California White House was) and San Juan Capistrano.  He won last November by 35,000 votes - 59% - 41%. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Alaska Redistricting Board Adds Three New Third Party Maps - 6 Days After Last Week's Deadline

Today the Alaska Redistricting Board sent out an email to people who have subscribed to their email list with an amended Agenda for tomorrow's (Friday, June 28) public hearing in Anchorage.

The basic agenda change is that Gazewood and Weiner will present their plan on Monday in Fairbanks instead of in Anchorage.  Gazewood and Weiner is the law firm that represents that Riley plaintiffs who challenged the Board in court.  Their office is in Fairbanks.

At the bottom of the email is a notice that there are three new plans:

AFFER - Revised
Calista  - Revised
Calista Option 2

The deadline for all plans was Friday, June 21 at noon.  That was six days ago - actually the time that the Board meeting opened last week.  At the meeting there was no vote to extend that deadline, nor any announcement that it would be extended.  There was a hint that the Board wasn't necessarily firm about the deadline when the Board chair asked Board member Marie Green about a plan from Sealaska and said that they could get it in even though the deadline was over.  But she checked and said there was no plan coming in from them.

Also, for the first 11 options, the Board voted to adopt them.  There hasn't been a meeting since then, at least not one that was announced to the public, so how did these three plans get on the list?

Although the plans were only posted on the Redistricting Board website "as of noon today" according to the 3:10pm email, the three (3) new plans, along with the original 11 adopted by the Board last Friday, were displayed at the Haines Assembly meeting last [Tues]night (Wednesday) and discussed. 

From  KHNS' radio's report on the meeting:

“The State Redistricting Board is now considering 14 different maps.  Mayor Scott created a chart with some of the different options on the table, showing what communities Haines would be grouped with.  Under most of the maps, Haines, Skagway and Klukwan are grouped together as they used to be.  Most options also include grouping the upper Lynn Canal Haines with other small like Gustavus, Hoonah, Kenakee Springs and others.  But each option also includes of either parts or all of Juneau.

Assemblyman Dave Barry said the best option for Haines is   is likely the option that includes the upper Lynn Canal communities, Gustavus, Hoonah, Elfin Cove, Pelican, Kenakee Springs, and north Juneau.

Barry:  “I think the one that would benefit us the best would be E, the mere fact that the more communities we have that are similar to ours, is the less amount of population that north Juneau could put in so we wouldn’t be drownded by their thoughts. 
It would be interesting to know how they got the maps and who else got them early.  Maybe it wasn't from the Board, but directly from the Republican Party, but then all 14 plans (including the three that weren't up on the Board's website until this afternoon) were presented as the options the Board was using.  

Usually, when public agencies have deadlines for submissions of any kind, late submissions are not accepted.  While you want as many good submissions as possible, accepting them after the deadline isn't fair to people who actually trust the Board to honor their deadlines, and thus don't turn in late proposals.  One might also consider some extenuating circumstances, such as a group that is not already represented or is a marginalized group that doesn't understand how the process works.  

But in this case, the new plans (two revisions and one new plan) come from the Alaska Republican Party (AFFER) which already has four representatives on the Board itself, and from Calista, a Native Corporation that uses the same GIS expert to do their maps that the Republican Party uses.  Steve Colligan's resume (on his Colligan for Assembly website) shows long experience with GIS going back to 1984 where he worked for the Municipality of Anchorage through now as president of  the firm E-Terra, LLC.  He's also served as Vice President of the Alaska Republican Party.

Ultimately, is this going to make any difference?  I suspect not.  The Board is probably feeling pretty good now that they don't have to worry about pre-clearnace from the Department of Justice due to the Supreme Court ruling on Shelby County Monday.  They will do what they want with the maps - as is legal - as long as they meet the Constitutional requirements. Political gerrymandering is illegal though, but it is be hard to prove.

Even if this won't significantly effect the final plan,  it does show how poorly the Board is being run now that it doesn't have an Executive Director.  Deadlines are sloppy.  Official notification seems to lag behind some other form of notification (that got the maps and data at least a [two] day[s] ahead to the Haines Assembly.)  Even if Haines got the extra three options from the Republican Party, why did they think the extra three ones were official ones approved by the Board since they weren't among the original 11 and the Board hasn't met to approve them since last Friday?

Below is the email from the Redistricting dated 3:10pm today, June 27. 
Alaska Redistricting Board
June 27, 2013

The Agenda for the Alaska Redistricting Board June 28th public hearing has been amended.
A M E N D E D   A G E N D A
Public Presentation and Public Testimony


10:00am to 4:00pm
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Discussion of VRA mapping schedule
4. Presentation of third party plans

Presentations limited to the times shown below

A. Ketchikan Borough                                                                           5 minutes
B. Alaska For Fair and Equitable Redistricting (AFFER)          30 minutes
C. Calista                                                                                                     30 minutes
Public testimony on all plans
Testimony is limited to three minutes each
4:00pm       Adjourn

The Agenda for the Alaska Redistricting Board July 1st, 2013 public hearing has been amended.

07-01-2013 MONDAY

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call of Members
3. Presentation of third party plan
       A. Gazewood and Weiner                                                             30 minute
4. Public hearing
Testimony will be limited to three (3) minutes per speaker.

4:00pm ADJOURN

There are, as of noon 6/27/2013, additional proposed maps now available on the Alaska Redistricting Board website 
The additional maps are:
AFFER amended
Calista amended
Calista Option 2