Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Equity versus Socio-Economic Integration - ADP Memo Supporting Motion on Socio-Economic Integration of HD 6, 37, 39, and 40

This is the first of three late motions from the Alaska Democratic Party supporting the Riley Plaintiffs' most recent redistricting challenges.   My hope is to make these motions more accessible to the average Alaskan so when the decisions come down, they will understand the ruling.  You can see the motion on HD 6, 37, 39, and 40 here.

Summary of the challenge
It's basically arguing that Tanana Chiefs Conference/Doyon villages in central Alaska were unnecessarily spread out into these four different districts (plus, I assume there are also TCC/Doyon members in the other Fairbanks districts).  The memo uses different maps to show that the Department of Labor, ANCSA, Schools, Housing, and Health systems all group these villages together, but that the Redistricting Board chose, unnecessarily, to split them to lower the overall deviations to a point lower than they need to be. 

Also see V. Conclusion below for their own summary of the arguments.
The basic issue I saw was the tension between equity among districts (by having very low deviations* from the perfect sized district of 17,775) and preserving socio-economic integrity (one of the Alaska constitutional requirements.)

Going through the motion, step-by-step

I.  Introduction
II  Facts (pp. 2-3)

Points out that the Board encouraged and accepted plans after the June 21, 2013 deadline.

"Fairbanks is the hub of the TCC/Doyon region.  It is surrounded by 47 smaller predominantly Alaska Native villages with populations from 20 to almost 1,000."
The (TCC/Doyon*) "Misplaced Villages" (ADP's term) =
HD 40:  Alatna, Allakaket, Evansville, Hughes, and Kaktovik
HD 39:  Galena, Huslia, Kaltag, Koyukuk, Nulato, and Ruby
HD 37:  Anvik, Grayling, Holy Cross, McGrath, Nikolai, Shageluk, and Takotna
[Different sources give different numbers of of TCC/Doyon villages.  I'm not sure how many are in HD 6 and how many members are in other Fairbanks districts.  Given a total of 47 villages, the misplaced villages represent 38% of the villages, but I don't know what percent of the population.]

III.  Districts 6, 37, 39, 40  Are Not Socio-Economically Integrated (pp. 3-9)

“In rural Alaska, the lines that most reflect socio-economic and political integration are the boundaries of the ANCSA*(see glossary below) regional corporations.”

A.  TCC/Doyon* Socio-Economic Integration
TCC= Tanana Chiefs Conference - Interior Alaska, the not-for-profit corporation
Doyon is the ANCSA for-profit regional corporation for TCC
    1.  Economic Development
ADP Exhibit 5 - Economic Regions of State on 2013 Proclamation Plan - Econ Regions come from the Alaska Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development.  Interior region is one of the few that closely follows the boundaries of a regional corporation.  The Board’s plan does not reflect the economic patterns of the region.
    2.  Education
1975 - Molly Hooch case and setting up of regional education attendance areas (REAA).  Legislation required state to establish boundaries of the REAA’s by using the boundaries and sub-boundaries of ANCSA regional corporations. 
Exhibit 6 - Map of AK school districts.  REAA boundaries in the interior vary only slightly from ANCSA boundaries.  All the Misplaced Villages are located in either Y-K or Ididarod Area REAA, both in TCC/Doyon region.
Thus, under Alaska law, the MVs are all socio-economically and culturally integrated with other TCC/Doyon villages in HD 6 and not with Arctic Slope, NANA, Bering Straits, and Calista villages in Districts 37, 39, 40.
High school athletics, esp. basketball.  The basketball conferences also show
Map of Basketball Conferences and Districts - click to enlarge
the socio-economic integration of the MV with other TCC/Doyon villages and not the villages in the house districts imposed by the Board.  The map is one of several exhibits showing the mismatch between TCC/Doyon villages and the Plan.
    3.  Health Care - TCC contracts with IHS to provide healthcare throughout the TCC/Doyon region.   All are linked to the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center (CAIHC)
     4,  Housing - TCC is authorized to operate a housing authority in the interior region.  Pursuant to this authority, TCC established the Interior Regional Housing Authority (IRHA) which provides housing service to the TCC/Doyon region including all the misplaced villages.
    5.  HD 40:  Combines Athabaskan villages with substantially Inupiaq Eskimos.  Judge Larry Weeks “probably the single worst combination that could be selected if a board were trying to maximize socio-economic integration in Alaska.” 

IV.  The Board Had Alternatives Available (pp. 9 - 11)
Calista plan’s overemphasis on equal protection and low deviations wreaks havoc on SE integration.  Other plans including the Board’s Plan A offered much better SE Integration for TCC/Doyon

V.  Equal Protection Does Not Require Dismembering the TCC/Doyon Region (pp. 11-14)

Argues that the Board unnecessarily emphasized low deviations over other values and cites the Alaska Supreme Court's earlier interpretation in this case of the 2001 Redistricting cases:
"While the court finds the Board's intent to achieve low deviations to be commendable, it concludes that it must also live in harmony with the other constitutional requirements.  The Alaska Supreme Court's instruction did not imply that justification for deviating from the lowest possible deviation would not be accepted.  It simply stated that the Board must try to achieve low deviations."
Cites Justice Erwin in Groh v Egan - that while it would be easy to divide the state simply by numbers,
"it would be inconsistent with traditional notions of representative government for it would lead to absurd combinations of historical, social, economic and geographical boundaries with the state.”

VI.  Conclusion (p. 14)

“The Alaska Natives of the TCC/Doyon region are socio-economically integrated.  They live in a defined economic region.  They have a common cultural heritage.  They have common educational systems.  They have a common health and social services provider.  The Board has parceled out the Misplaced Villages into districts with which they have no socio-economic ties to achieve low population variances.  The 2013 Proclamation Plan violates the socio-economic integration requirements of art. 6, section 6 of the Alaska Constitution with respect to Districts 6, 37, 39 and 40.  The Court should grant ADP’s motion for summary judgment.”

Deviation - Number and percentage difference between a district's population and the ideal population (17,775) of a district.  Keeping all the districts as close as possible to 17,775 helps preserve the one-person-one-vote principle.
ANCSA - 1991 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
TCC - Tanana Chiefs Conference
Doyon - Doyon Native Corporation

Doyon website says they have over 18,000 shareholders.  Since 17,775 is the ideal number for a house district, if the population lived compactly enough, Doyon would have its own district with several hundred people left over.   It would seem the proportionality arguments could be applied here as well. 

I'd note that the Redistricting Board's website is adding motions that have been filed, so I'm way behind here.  

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