Saturday, July 06, 2013

Saturday Morning Redistricting - Fine Tuning, Sort Of, Kenai, Matsu, Fairbanks, Juneau

Board met on the record from 10am until 12 noon.  Basically they were looking at maps and moving census blocks around and trying to figure out if they could make things better.  Some key points:

  1. They used Calista Option 4 as their base map
  2. Started with Kenai.  Kenai has population for three whole districts within the Borough boundary, but they have to figure out what do with the excess population - GIS tech Eric Sandberg was the key person
  3. Part of this included discussion of Kodiak and could they connect Kodiak to Valdez and Cordova without contiguity concerns.  Kodiak is an island so it needs to be contiguous over water, but how far can they go without raising problems?  Part of Kodiak borough is on the mainland across the water from Kodiak. From what I could tell, Board member Bob Brodie, who is from Kodiak, was the key person.
  4. Matsu has five whole districts, plus some excess population.  Should they follow the Calista 4 plan which takes about 400 people from north Anchorage and connects them via the highway to Valdez and the Richardson Highway, or try to take population from Matsu?
  5. Fairbanks North Star Borough has enough population for five districts plus about 7,000 excess.  Board member Jim Holm, who is from Fairbanks was working this one.
  6. Southeast - Board member PeggyAnn McConnochie, from Juneau, was in charge here.  The new map, she said, was in response to testimony last week in Juneau.  Haines folks said they wanted to be connected to downtown Juneau, not the Mendenhall Valley.  She did that.  She also had Prince of Wales Island whole.  Deviations were a problem here.  
  7. Deviations - attorney White said that the very low deviations in Calista and AFFER plans were good, but that there was room to increase deviations a little if they can justify that with other considerations, such as whole Boroughs or Socio-Economic Integration (SEI)
All the Board members were there except Marie Green.  They will reconvene at 3pm.  You can listen in at

Here are my very rough notes.  I'm in LA and so I listened in via the audioconference online.  There is also a call in number.  The Calista Option 4 Map is below and you can get a higher resolution copy here.  

Get higher res PDF here.

Here are my rough notes of the meeting.  I got in about ten minutes after the scheduled starting time.  Beware, I got what I could, but there are a few gaps and probably things I misheard.  ???? means it wasn't clear to me.  I've added some headings to show where they started a new topic.  Though they do talk about different regions throughout as other regions can be impacted by what they are doing with the region they are working on. 

Eric:  when you take Tyonek, drops ??? , you have to go to Chenega to balance it out,  38 is slightly low, so I grabbed Newtok into 38. 
Calista Option 4 stopped at Crooked Creek, I had to go into Good News Bay, then the Domino effect sends 38 slightly over. 
Taking Tyonek out of Aleutians causes domino effect.
Looked at original Calista 4 plan, they’d gone to end of the road system to get those type deviations.  Only about 1200 people on Kenai borrow off the road system and they have an excess of 2000.  Fox River East End Road. 
I’m the fill colors, the red overlay is Calista Option 4.
Torgerson: Why Fox River?
Eric:  To take this out of the road system.  Tail end of East End Road.  I reconfigured their Kenai slightly,  They had Funny River over here, but that’s Sterling.  Just moving around, all these districts overpopulated, can’t entirely get rid of the excess ?? Kodiak district. 
White:  Three complete districts in Kenai Borough, clear out those off the road system and the spread the excess among the three?
Eric:  Yes.
Torgerson: Discussions with Marie, you guys worked with Good News Bay?
McConnochie:  she preferred to have it.  Traditional Calista boundaries. 
Torgerson: In Calista?
McConnochie:  Yes,  When we had to split the Chain, not happy.
Torgerson:  You have 37?
Eric:  in Calista area,
Torgerson: What about Newtok?
Eric:  Remember they were closely related with Yukon River.  They’re all Calista.  This is all Calista area.   . . . .
[In response to Q from Torgerson )It would completely change, you would take 4000 out of Valdez, South Anchorage, this would have to be redone.
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  Can you go back to Kenai?


Eric:  Anchorage has excess population about 7,746, that’s 43% of a district.  If you added it to the Kenai excess, then you’d have to grab Valdez plus part of Copper River Basin or Cordova. 
PeggyAnn McConnochie: As I remember the Calista plan didn’t split Matsu more than once?
Eric:  Grabs about 400 people around Knik River.  John asked me not to split Matsu.  ??? and a few changes i Matsu to even out the population.  Matsu, for five districts, remainder of 200? people.  They can be spread among five districts.  Kenai not into Anchorage and Matsu not split at all, that means Anchorage 7000 excess has to go somewhere.  Taken 500 out of Knik, means you have to make some changes up along Alaska highway.  Their Calista Option 4 split at Ft. Greely.  I moved Dot Lake back in, hadn’t quite finished. 
1-6 along with District 10 are about 500 people short of ideal for all seven, slightly,  Spread 500 people among seven districts.
Their original boundary goes to S boundary of City of Delta Junction.  Then down the Alaskan Highway. 
Torgerson:  Back to Matsu or Anchorage?  Valdez????  
Eric:  Eklutna, Knik Road, Knik Glacier, Lake george area.
Torgerson:  Takes care of issue SC was on, but I still have questions about SEI.
Eric:  To eastern, same as Calista 4, eastern boundary of Matsu Borough. 
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  8 and 10 ?? Knik?
Eric: Then you’d have to change the Valley a little? 
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  How many in that section of Knik Arm? 
Eric:  500
Torgerson: mmmm
PeggyAnn McConnochie:
Eric:  Whittier too is in there.
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  how many people where 10 ...Anchorage?
Eric:  7000 where all the Anchorage excess goes.  Has to go somewhere. 
White?:  Where’s the line drawn, for ten, the border?
Eric:  Basically, edge of state park, cut thru Chugiak.
Torgerson:  Deviations of 28?
Eric:  Negative
Torgerson:  Court ruled for Valdez, Whittier and Girdwood?
White:  Yes, court found them SEIntegrated.  Board take a hard look, limited themselves by saying they couldn’t combine Matsu and Anchorage, had to do Valdez.  Both had .4 excess, can’t combine them, proportionality.  SC said wrong.  On remand, board changed concept and created Richardson Highway district. 
Torgerson:  I think we can make the case for Valdez.  There’s a sweet spot there where people just go north, to Fairbanks  . . .Paxton, ????,
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  ????
Torgerson:  I think we can make the case for coming into Anchorage, Whittier????
White:  Ahtna Corporation, but I understand what you’re talking about pushing north.
Brodie:  Mr. Chairman, a hard one to balance, transportation has changed a bit, taken urban people and moved them clear to coastal areas, and these are all road people, to say they aren’t SEI is pretty weak today, in today’s environment, weak argument that the road district people wouldn’t match up.
Torgerson: You say they are SEI because of the road system connection.
Brodie:  I would think so.
Torgerson:  This dead space doesn’t bother you?
Brodie:  There is a dead space in many districts
Torgerson:  PeggyAnn, what is your though?
Holm:  We have to decide to divide Matsu, or go over the mountains.  We have cases of water being the connector and mountains.  This is not Anchorage, but close.  Within 200 miles.  Delta is a long way from Fairbanks too, but have SEI connection to Fairbanks. But also to Anchorage.  Hard to make blanket statements.
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  I kind of have a problem with that.  Alaska is a ?? state.  Valdez and small towns, not in my mind the right way to go.  I’d rather go to Matsu than Valdez Anchorage.
Torgerson: Michael can you defend us as it is?
Coming down to two competing, one that says shouldn’t divide borough versus defines SEI, I don’t disagree with what Bob said, there is certainly a connection,  highway corridor.
Holm:  What is the connection between ??? and Kotzebue?  We have places that aren’t connection, but they have some theoretical connection.  We have to make the connection.
White:  Can I defend it?  Of course I can defend.  There is sufficient evidence in the ?? it works.  It was basically an Ahtna region except Cantwell, but that’s an anomaly from Native perspective.  But then going up, just for population purposes, Greely, Dot Lake, ??Village, does the need for population outweigh?  Balancing act.  Yellow portion in Eric’s how many people there?
Eric:  Zero, boundary of Ft Greely
…. Richardson is, the line, the Alaska ????
??:  What’s the deviation on 6?
Eric:  Low as well.  1-6 plus 10 have about 500 people short of ideal district, they have to be spread.
White:  Extra people in Anchorage.  Can you shorten 10 so it doesn’t go so far north.
Eric:  500 out of Matsu, changed Calista’s boundary there.
Torgerson:  I want to see what it looks like, if moving people, SEI, cut across Matsu not that big a deal.
White:  How many in Ft. Greely . . . .
Brodie:  16?
Torgerson:  Eric said 500 people
Brodie:  Chairman if we zoom out, NW a little, put villages from Wiseman down to Hughes, then becomes pretty much original, as in the ?? plan, then put Huslia in 39, that’s what PeggyAnn and I were playing with yesterday.  And 6 is pretty healthy.  Puts the villages back together.
Holm?  Deviations go
Brodie:  6 is good.  40 goes back to our Proclamation Plan.
Eric:  Ft. Greely 530, Dot Lake 13, Dry Creek 94, Dot Lake Village 62
Torgerson:  700 people, only taking Anchorage excess?
Eric:  7,746 people, rest of Anchorage deviations really low, about 7000.
Torgerson:  Need to keep them low, can look at that later on. 
White:  Start getting into the Fairbanks area, have to look very carefully.  Would be more comfortable if they weren’t in 10.  Not claiming no SEI, but fair to say those areas closer to Fairbanks than to Anchorage.
Holm:  Are you intimating that donut should occur?
White:  Difference between donut hole in the past and here.  Not just one city being isolated. 
Holm:  Testimony a couple of years ago that Delta Junction and ?? were not connected.  But Dot Lake and Village of Dot Lake should belong in 6.  Healy? Lake in there.  You’re going to split it some place, if highway is the corridor, then the proper place.  Not enough people there to make deviation problems.What about that piece there?  Any population there?  That whole piece could be connected to anybody?  The bombing range?
White:  Boundary of FT. Greely?
Eric: boundary of the base
Holm:  Did we make a choice that we’re going to split Wasilla or Knik to Valdez?
Torgerson:  That’s all we’ve been presented with.  Still puts Northern Anchorage and Valdez and Richardson Highway.  We could take Dot Lake and maybe, everything south of the highway, maybe a little more defensible than going across the highway.  Out of ten into 6.  That would tighten that deviation a bit.
Eric:  Largest deviation somewhere up north.
White:  Change Dot Lake, Creek? 
Brodie:  Just have to set in our mind priority:  Maintain Matsu that has exactly 5 boroughs.  We’ve taken excess from Fairbanks and now we have excess in Anchorage that’s taken about the same.  All sophisticated people with power and water, so what is the difference?  Distance or SEI?????
Torgerson:  40 people right?
Eric:  Same as Calista.
[lots of quiet or couple of words here and there]
White:  Red is borough boundary?
Eric:  No, red is Calista boundary, Borough boundary is here.
Torgerson: I like the deviation, if Valdez, ??? should be included.
Holm:  but I’d go all the way to …..
Torgerson:  I see
[I assuming they are just moving blocks around on the map to see how the numbers work in different configurations.]
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  take out?? and make it look better.
Torgerson: We already did
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  [can’t quite hear her]
Torgerson;  Voting blocks …..???
???:  That’s a huge block
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  Take it down to meet Anchorage . . .
Brodie:  This is just minor cleanup, is there another area we can work on?
11:04  [lots of knocking noises but no one is talking]
Torgerson:  Making water connection from Kodiak to Kenai B 37
Brodie:  These two sections of villages are ….just put them in ? to see what happens.  Puts 40 under back to where were before.  … . . . . the extra population here.  Nelchina Ridge, Ester, College, Farmers Loop, the numbers are pretty close.  All these are less than one percent.  Difference less than ½ percent. 
Torgerson: In The blue, this side of
Brodie:  River there, this could probably change color.
white:  That block
Brodie:  Could take all this to the river.  Whenever three districts come together, it’s always awkward.
Torgerson:  you just raised the deviation on 40, then took a little out of Fairbanks
Brodie:  On the edge, so these will all be close.  heard yesterday the ??? - these two were happy to be together and these two, and happy to be in 40.  Back in Yukon, Kuyokuk.
Torgerson;  TCC ????   

DEVIATION VERSUS OTHER FACTORS  But still in Fairbanks discussion

White:  As long as in the tolerance,under the ten percent maximum, made effort.  That would be a reason to have the deviation increase a bit.  Someone comes in and said we did under one and we are three, then you could say we balanced it with SEI.  If it were ten would be different.
Holm??:  I liked what Mr. Begich said about clusters of districts.  Just want to be sure we don’t run afoul.  If justification to have higher deviation than could be achieved without violating the constitution in other places.  But could also raise the deviation, but still get these together.  I understand it’s the boards decision.
White:  Deviation courts have said is a laudable goal,
Holm:  But this is not a constitutional requirement to move Wiseman
White:  by making those moves you are focusing on SEI,  saying we could get a lower deviation and still constitutional, but this is better SEI
???:  good work
Torgerson:  That was a minus 4 right?
Brodie:  Could always??? Arctic Village, or put ??? back.  Apparently [mumble]
Torgerson:  OK, just taking notes, Mary’s taking care of me.  Making note of these so we can come back and make our votes.
Torgerson:  Personally willing to gamble with deviation for reasons of SEI, trying to do what we can for the area.
Holm:  We looked at Native villages as well and Doyon map.
Torgerson:  Let me ask Mike about Kenai.  ??? was good.  Not taking Nanwalek,  You are making a connection by water, so you’re thoughts making connections by water.
White:  Given trial court ruling last time, a little pause to jump from Kodiak over there, ??? Kenai.
Torgerson:  Cook Inlet to 37 ok?
White:  ok
Kodiak to
Torgerson:  Kodiak is an island, has to cross water.  A little hesitation tying in lower part of Seward.  Now jumping from Kodiak to Cordova and Kenai Peninsula west.
White:  Kenai Pen crosses water anyway, but looking at Eric’s map I like better than crossing over water.  Kenai breached once or twice - over land.
Torgerson:  Jump over water, it’s still in borough boundary.  OK
White:  but the jump from Kodiak across… more troubling
Torgerson:  several reason
1.  has to go somewhere
2  has to make a water connection somewhere
3.  no evaluating distance of water is bad.  40, 50 170 miles?
White:  Court said Aleutian to Bethel too much.  Some risk court would say too much.
torgerson:  Didn’t have to connect that way.  Kodiak has no other option but to cross water.  On the Chain you could use the rest of the chain.
White:  Kodiak is connected to mainland.  Do you have to go to nearest water contiguity.  Borough isn’t there??
Holm:  getting more comfortable going over water.
Going 32, 37, 31.  Kodiak may be land locked. 
Torgerson:  This is now this distance, come across that way and connect.  I don’t know, we need to think about.  Is that another of these tradeoffs.  You can argue it’s contiguous, but not as clean as we’d like to see.  Where else Bob?


Brodie:  A little bit in Fairbanks. 
Torgerson:  Jim you want to look at that? 
HOlm:  I took boundary of Fairbanks borough.  Numbering not quite right, I renumbered districts.  took Ester area we had trouble with.  I wrapped it slightly over Fairbanks.  The City of Fairbanks is totally inclusive within the boundaries of Fairbanks.  Not one ounce outside.  The deviations here are one is -28 folks, pretty smooth.  Calista had a piece up here and I put it back into 4 and moved 4 out to Farmers Loop so this whole piece is back together.  This has been back before.  Only had to cross Chena HS a couple times for population.
Moved ??? south to borough line.  No one there.  I needed a few extra folks and I went up here.  I don’t like the look of that, but this is a voting block and there’s no way to get rid of that.  this little handle here.  If you click off on this it goes all to hear.
White:  That’s all one voting block? 
Holm:  5 right now is plus 73 folks.  i can take these folks out of here, but I think it makes a little problem. 
White:  What do you call it?
Holm:  Southwest of Ft. Wainwright.  This is city of Fairbanks.  took all the excess of 1 and put them in 2.  I put them here.  Took pipeline corridor has the basis for three, and all these folks live on B? road are included.  Kept integrity of North Pole City, then went to Eilson.
Torgerson:  Eileson is in 6.
Holm:  Yes, to eilson boundary.  Like Calista, shouldn’t shed to the West, so to SW. 
Torgerson:  You didn’t push population down into 6?
Holm:  Wiseman, may have to have some other changes.  Eliot Highway.
White:  Can you zoom in on 1 and 2.
Little blue spot?
Holm:  Outside the city limits.
White:  Outside city limits already in 2
Holm;  Moved it once, but didn’t make any sense.
Torgerson:  looks a little odd both ways
Holm:  Eric, make me look good.
We’re looking at ??? folks in there.  quite a few folk.  This is ???
White:  Can you put that area into 2?
Holm:  I can go either way.
Torgerson:  Looking earlier, peeking over your shoulder, a few things could be adjusted, one of the best justifications is city boundaries.
Holm:  Have to take them out of  . .
Torgerson:  Can you work on that this afternoon.  Up to you . . .
Holm:  I don’t see any justification for that.  On City Boundaries
Torgerson:  Disagree, there has to be a city boundary somewhere
White:  You go out of boundaries for 2
Holm;  That’s why we went to the west . .
Torgerson:  Not straight across anyway.  there’s a lot of little lack of better word, toes, where the boundaries  . . .
Holm:  that’s above the RR tracks.  Adding more people to 2.  City of Fairbanks has two seats plus a little bit to the west.  And 4 wraps around Fairbanks.  Fairbanks really has four.
Torgerson:  Eastern boundary, NE
Holm  NE boundary is the river. 
Torgerson:  We used to have pointers, but can’t afford it.  Looks like squared up a bit.
Holm:  Calista had it squared with this little chunk but it wan’t in the city so I put it back
Torgerson:  I’m talking about this one here.
Holm:  Something gets goofy right away.  problem with thee voting block.  Grab one and it’s different from what you wanted to do.
Isabella Creek.  Never heard of it.  All the way around.  that’s theoretically????
Holm:  If you get 4 and 5. 
Torgerson:  Questions for Jim?  None?  PeggyAnn  Southeast
PeggyAnn McConnochie:
Torgerson:  When you look at
Holm:  I moved that out
Torgerson: When I look at the other three, looks kind of uniform.  Treats all the population outside of Fairbanks the same. 
Holm:  We know the outside boundaries of 6 anyway
Torgerson:  I thought Bob’s looked good, his Fairbanks was similar to yours too?
Holm:  He wrapped the other way.  He took Chena Ridge and Ester all the way down, just the reverse. 
Torgerson:  Deviation of 5.97 with the 4.09
Holm:  Highest deviation I had  . . District 40? 
Torgerson: -4.09 and a +1.88
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  There got it
Torgerson:  Alright.    

PeggyAnn McConnochie:
11:47  Here’s my SE map.  Also note deviation have problems with population are a little higher.  Much like Eric - Ketch with Wrangell, New entire Petersburg, Hoonah, Pelican.
Downtown Juneau to Haines and Skagway, and downtown Juneau to Mendenall Valley.
Holm:  What’s south? 
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  Some maps across to Hydaburg or Craig.  Craig hard to carve out , so I left Ketch borough whole with Metlakatla.  Taking in all the testimony.  Wrangell Mayor wanted to be with Ketch.  P of Wales whole.  Then, Sitka all together. 
Downtown  Juneau with Haines, Skagway.  Haines had more in common with downtown Juneau than they do with Mendenhall valley.  Deviations not great.
Holm:  Talking about 35
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  35 great, but 33 is awful
White:  P of Wales not a city.  Testimony ?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  P of Wales Island similar SEI that’s why they wanted to be together.
Torgerson??White?:  How many in Hydaburg?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  That’s all Prince of Wales Island, yeah.
Torgerson;  all inclusive there?
PeggyAnn McConnochie;  yeah the whole area.  some along this area here
If that’s more important that keeping P of Wales whole, yea.
Torgerson:  I remember something about Metlakatla and wanting to be together.  Our deviation.  Plus3 getting into, not dangerous area, but . .
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  yes, higher.  Given the north stuff, rather split Prince of Wales Island. 
Douglas Island, break here, Steady point, airport is right here.  You see it’s Thunder Mt. straight down toward the glacier, to top of douglas Island, majority of Mendenhall here to borough line, right there.  Burners bay and Out The road. 
Torgerson:  Follow Juneau testimony?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  exactly
Torgerson:  We are doing that for for ferry system  Haines said if they have to be connected to a districted, felt more connected to downtown Juneau or south Juneau as they call it, than north Juneau.
Torgerson:  water connection?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  Juneau has lots of water
Torgerson:  didn’t really hear from Juneau this time. 
White:  District 36, no commercial marine activity?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  everything has marine activity.  Cruise ships come into downtown Juneau and to Skagway and Haines.  Downtown Juneau feels like a little city, the Capitol, main tourism area in downtown.  We have two major ports.
White:  I understand, but commercial ports?
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  Auk Bay and downtown Juneau, Taku main processor in downtown Juneau. 

Torgerson:  looking at Hydaburg, clean that up to get our deviation down. Any other questions on SE.
White:  this changed from our A based on testimony we received since? 
PeggyAnn McConnochie:  correct
Torgerson:  OK, thank you. Eric, anything else?  We’ll go off record and probably come back at 3.  Give people time to go for lunch and go over things.  Three major areas to look at:
Kenai Borough split
Matsu-Richardson highway, great conversation this morning.  Feel a little more comfortable with Richardson into Anchorage
Fairbanks, look at some of those iterations in Fairbanks
come back t 3 and see where we are.

No votes until tomorrow when Marie is here.  Anything?
White:  Before you draw, we found the maps from Hickel district?  We can have copies made for people.  Basically what you have in the district.  District contained Palmer and PWS communities, included Valdez, Cordova, Whittier, and two villages.  Here’s the actual map that was struck down.  Palmer was agricultural, others fishing.
Here’s 1990, Hickel case.  Some pleadings from that time with arguments that were made.
Torgerson:  Your opinion, the Richardson H with north Anchorage is totally different.  PWS just to Valdez, Ahtna,  Since ???
White:  Court has said it’s fine.  Biggest issue is the further north you go, the less connection you’ll have.  If you look at this, 28 too, Big Delta to Glen Allen this way.
We have these maps and you can look at them and pleadings, here for your perusal.
Torgerson:  12:07, recessed until 3pm

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