Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alaska Redistricting Board - Meets, Sets Travel Agenda and Ground Rules

I went to the Alaska Redistricting Board meeting today downtown in the old Sunshine Mall where their office is. I'd read an announcement that said it went from 10:30am until 12:30pm. I wasn't really expecting a meeting that would last until 4:35pm, but it did. I walked home - which I really needed - and I'm not quite sure what I should post now. I'm too tired to try to put together a neat synopsis, but I do have pretty complete notes. So, I'll run them through spell check and put up the same warning I've used for other situations like this:


I would note that it is always good to check your stereotypes against the facts. With four people appointed by Republicans and one by an independent (I don't know how the Supreme Court Chief Justice registers) it does make the board seem pretty one-sided. But the talk today was pretty strongly aware of the dangers of political bias in this process and the chair said several times there would be no bias and that he had not spoken to the Governor or the head of the Republican Party about the process other than at his interview for the job with the Governor. Of course, that doesn't mean there might not be unconscious bias or even that it's all a show, but I felt more encouraged.

The Notes:

Alaska Redistricting Board Meeting
Wednesday March 16, 2010
411 W. 4th Suite 302

1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call - John Torgerson, Jim Holm, Marie N. Greene, PeggyAnn McConnochie
Robert Brodie missing - trouble flying out of Kodiak
3. Agenda Approval
4. Approve prior Minutes
l-r: Torgerson, Bickford (staff), Holm McConnochie, White(attorney)

5. Election of Vice-Chair - postponed until Robert Brodie arrives

6. Roll Call Staff, Public - Staff: Taylor Bickford, Michael White, attorney, Ron Miller, Executive Director

7. Public Comments
A. Invited Presentation Native POLICY CENTER
Denise Morris - Pres. First Alaskans , and have Liz Medicine Crow and Rick Mueller,
Policy Analyst at First Alaskans.

Break to get Teleconference online. Technical problems with teleconferencing.

10:52: Teleconference ok

Denise Morris again: Juneau connected.

Denise Morris: Pres of 1st Alaskans, Liz Medicine Crow, Rick Mueller Sr. Pol Analyst

Policy Center insures Alaska Natives are empowered and participate in policy
Also leadership group, Elders-Youth conference each year
Involvement in redistricting - FA dedicated as

[Can’t hear you - break try to move mic closer]

ANative Policy center in 2006 designated as Census info center for Alaska. We’ve been publishing info on redistricting. ANQuarterly - importance in involvement in participating in redistricting, Info on outreach, prepared public hearing and notice schedule, draft of letters people can use. Want to be resource for Redistricting Board - sharing information. We’ve had about 7000 hits on website in last month alone. Networked and linked to all organizations around alaska.
As draft plans are available we’d like to distribute them.
Mueller, Morris, Medicine Crow from First Alaskans Institute

Liz Medicine Crow - Tlingit Haida from Kake = Vice Director and ?? Alaska Native Policy Center  [Vice President of First Alaskans Institute and the Director of the Native Policy Center.] Looked at issues that greatly impact AK Native people - one is the Census and redistricting process. Trying to understand how these things impact AK natives.
We’re at the beginning of this.
Plan how to engage and empower AN community to participate, feel welcome, know how to engage. Tips on how to present public testimony. Drafts now until we talk to you. Also looking at the different proposed plans shared, concerns raised, and see how it will impact the AKN community.

Will come here to monitor. Yesterday. You released information on population. Put it up on our Facebook page. 7000 hits in a month. Your FB page is good, allows people to hook up immediately. Looking to be as helpful as we can for ANs and others. Also looking at 2020 process.

Rick Mueller - policy analyst, originally from Ketchikan. Job to look at draft plan, analyze it district by district and see how it impacts AK Native community pos and neg.

Q: PeggyAnn McConnochie: Thanks for your involvement - we
are going to need a lot of help, is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Marie Green: One suggestion - use local radio stations in rural Alaska. This material is great and I appreciate what you’ve already done.

Ron Miller: Liz was recently named one of the top under 40 Alaskans.

John Torgerson: Thank you very much.

B. Other public comments
Torgerson: About 20 people who want to testify. Limit to 30 minutes
By Phone: [I did get the list of people calling in so I could spell the names right]
Robert Venables- rep SE Conference: Thank you all for providing teleconference. Encourage as much meetings held in SE, especially district 5 which seems to be disappearing.
John Torgerson: Thanks, appreciate use of your connections around the communities. Will set this afternoon, which communities we’ll visit. You can go online and get updates.

Dave Metheny: STatewide coordinator for AK Dem party. Process not been particularly smooth on opening end. Case: changing phone numbers over the last three days. Wondering why testimony on front end, so we could respond to issue raised in meeting. Will all the work be done in open meetings with criteria being transparent? Cognizant open meeting laws apply except for executive session. Also people must have ‘adequate’ notice of meetings. Also, trouble getting info from redistricting board at this point. Hope you open it up a bit more. We need help to get Dem activists involved in process. Hope that motive of board is true, questioning slightly at this point.

John Torgerson: What info trouble getting?
Metheny- census data, timelines of meeting, phone lines. Want to get our people plugged in.
John Torgerson: We got the census data yesterday, it was on the web in two hours. How much faster should we do it?
Metheny: That’s fine.
John Torgerson: We will follow public meeting law - five days notice I believe.

Randy Ruedrich: Thank board for taking important task that will have impact on AK for ten years. Address issue that came to attention. March 1 memo - prisoner population attributions. Corrections published in Feb 2002- B of Census will provide group data for each prison in the state to allow you to consider attributing info back to their residences. We have about 5800 indivduals, 30-35% AK Native. That means representation of prison system is more than 100% greater as we work voting rights issues. To protect voting rights of AK natives, if over 2000 in system and can attribute them back to their home towns will increase those districts and impacts will be less and impact on majority and minority populations will be less. Encourage you to pursue this. If the average felon is only in for 387 days. Half the people counted in the correction system are already home. Got back faster than census data. Encourage you to seek legal counsel on this. Before we go to District Court in DC.

PeggyAnn McConnochie McConnochie: Incarcerated in AK or anywhere?
Ruedrich: In state. We have some in Colorado. Basically those in April of last year. This data is available, so we could get the 4800 ….
John Torgerson: we gave it to our attorney. He’ll share his thoughts this pm
Heide Schoppenhorst, District 6 ???: Not sure about meeting purpose. Residents in rural Alaska, rumors that not enough people in villages and Dis. 6 might get lumped in with another district. Please don’t lump us with a place like Fairbanks. A big city isn't going to represent rural Alaska. If lumped with someone, we’d like Noth Slope.

Tanya Beatus: Fairbanks: Speaking on behalf for Alaskans for Fair Redistricting: Non-partisan, unions, AK native, civic. Volunteers interested in process. Not new. Have teams seeking inputs from people to understand the ramifications both urban and rural. Understand hard taks to get right number and meeting all the legal tasks. And all this in 90 days. We stand ready to help and hope to present plan for your consideration.
John Torgerson. We will have a meeting in Fbanks.
Tom Okleasik: Kotzebue: goal to enhance education and have more democracy. In redistricting important. Only one senator and rep to legislature. Particularly with the resources that go to state budget from our district.

Don Gray: Interior District vice chair for Dem Party 6,7,8,9,11, and part of 12. 40 year resident. Appreciate the work you do. Lots of changes over the decades. 1980s, only had 8900 people in my Fairbanks district. Became district 7 in 90s. One district from North Pole to UAF - 15 miles. Long skinny arm that wnt thru Dist. 33. I lived in 32 then. 32 came about in he 90s. Not the kind of district we’d like to see. 2000 districts became more compact. Board goal to make communities focal point there. I hope looking ahead, we’re a district - very helpful to see how we’ve grown - over 20,000 in what is currently district 7, up 15,000 from years ago. All the others larger than the ideal 17,755.
….You have big task. Speed precision and fairness
Ed Schoenfeld: No questions, just listening.

Lupe Marroquin: Representing self and former election professional. Thanks for your service. What is involvement of Gov’s office in this process and conversations with the Gov and if so what were the topics and how resolved and will the public continue to be advised.
John Torgerson: Constitutionally created board, neither under leg or gov. we cannot be public officials, independent, to keep board as private citizens. Gov. appointed two members - other than initial interview, I’ve had no conversations with the governor. Don’t intend to.

John Bolling: Craig. Thanks in advance. Hope board will be able to visit here.
John Torgerson. We did get letter from City of Craig and we will listen. My advice to board is we take up your invitation to invite neighboring folks.

Geric Jordan: Thank you. Mr. Chairman. Mayor of Sitka. Lifelong AK resident. Want to be sure you keep Sitka intact, don’t cross line thru community. Will members of the public be able to speak privately to the board members. Under open meetings act, 2 or less, can meet.
Mr. White: Any time more than 2 get together it has to be an open meeting. There is no legal impediement to indiviuals talking to individual members. As member of the public free to contact any board memeber. If that board member will talk to you hasn’t been decided.
Jordan: So, yes, private citizen will be allowed to meet with two members privately.
White: Not what I said. We haven’t decided yet. Whether board will hold meetings with indiividuals. not decided.
Jordan: Have you met with members of the public about redistricting?
John Torgerson: I have and I would recommend this board not put a cap on members talking to indiviuals. It’s part of the process. I think unconstitutional to gag board members from talking to the public. We are in the same offices, but don’t gt together. Indivi

[These people were in the room. I didn’t get their names so I apologize if I spell them wrong.]
Kristie Smithers: City Clerk right? Thank. AK Association of Municipa Clerks, Wasilla, Clerk from Palmer (Janette Bower), Sheri Pierce? Valdez Muni Clerk. Speaking for clerks, about 100 members. Some have done redistricting and newer clerks a bit intimidated. Not sure of the impact. In vally, very fast growing. Lots of interesting annexations. Over past few years, some examples, a map. Covered by District 14. Had annexation. One parcel in district 15. Doesn’t impact me because no reg voters in that area. I might have to have a precinct for one possible voters. That would allow others to know how that person cast ballot. Not only muni that has these issues, Kenai, Matsu, etc. Muni clerks run our elections every year. Public comes to us to ask why this happens. We have a lot of issues - “Why do I have to drive by three precincts to get to my precincts? Drive 14 miles? Have to have mail ballots.

Use water bodies, Alaska RR. RCA boundaries - they will encompass cities in future. City boundaries not necessarily the best. We are here to help you. Appreciate your time today.

John Torgerson: Precinct boundaries set by Lt. Gov office not the board.
Christie Smithers: We can’t cross state district boundaries to allow one person.

Jake Metcalf. 4th genration alaskan, born and raised in Juneau, lived in BEthel, now in Anchorage. SErved in City Council in Bethel. Anchorage School Board. Also as former chair of AK Dem party 2004-7. Chair of AK Dem Party redistricitng committee. I know that you and bord have one of democracies most important tasks to complete in a fair manner. Relying on process to be open and fair and legally ???
Have a list of questions in letter form. I’ll read a few I know time is limited.
1. What criteria used in drawing the lines. Keeping community of interest together - will you use?
2. Given pop shifts over the decades, possible to avoid retrogression in minority voting strength.
3. How much variance among districts do you think is allowable?
Looked briefly at material you’ve provided here. mr. White’s memo to you on a number of questions. One answer - advice - avoid backdoor politics and that board has to follow open meetings law. My advice and question: open government, transparency especially important in this process. Follow up on Mr. Jordan’s question in Sitka about meetings with individuals - and I agree that members should get to talk. I’m wondering if the board individually or in groups of one or two have met with Mr. Ruedrich. If there have been, what I’d ask for is that in the future to avoid backdoor politics, that in future such meetings all parties at the meeting. Important.
John Torgerson: I’ve met with Mr. Ruedrich as much as I’ve met with you. Zero. Call me and I’ll meet with you. Not saying we’ll agree, but you’ll be able to pull on my ear. Some..

Deborah Williams: Exec Dir AK Dem Party . Thanks you the board and staff. Thanks for the tremendous public service you are doing. Nothing more important than one person one meaningful vote. This R Board has the technical ability to make our votes meaningful or not very meaningful. Ability to gerrymander, depriving people of meaningful voting. And call also draw lines to ??? political prties and keeping current office holders out. I’m not hinting this board is going to do that.
Our current districts in Anc and Fbks are compact and represent the communities well. There will have to be adjustments, but those adjustments, espe. in Anchorage and FBks. Avoid pitting incumbents against each other and gerrymandering. There can be - as you say in your own documents - no political gerrymandering. Our constitution says this should not be political. Thank you so much for your work. You’ve heard from a lot of Dems today, We do care a lot. We really wish you the best.
Leonard Lawson: Here representing alliance for reproductive justice. Our director couldn’t make it. We want to involve people. We want to be involved for our members. Extreme work to learn software etc. We would really like to know the guideles the board will use to draw districts. What will happen when guidelines conflict? Which will you choose. Guidelines, hard and fast rules, order of precedence. We are in the same 30 day and 60 day deadlines.
2. Lookng through some of th legal issues in the documents you provided. You asked about incumbent maps. Is the board going to be using them? You said the use of non-partisan incumbent protection is justified. What does that mean? That all stay in districts they’re in? etc.
1. When guidelines come out?
2. How important is incumbent protection? How non-partisan?
3. Protecting existing districts important? If districts keep changing discourages involvement.
John Torgerson: guidelines on agenda for later this afternoon.
Amazing to say, with all the population changes - don’t know how you can preserve the district? 9000 people growth in one district? 4000 loss in another.
Incumbent map question -could you put tht in writing?
Handouts - These should all be online

Rest of the agenda:
8. Old Business review of open meeting act.
Mr. White: video ** a few places I stopped taking notes and took video - later for that
John Torgerson: PeggyAnn McConnochie has served on public boards

9. New Business
A. Budget update
$1,954,255 total 975,000 left project to carry forward into FY 12
Budget is under gov’s office - personnel - submitted request to continue in 2012. about $3.2 million for overall appropriation - 2000-2001 process little less that $5million
No money for payments for lawsuits.
Mr. Holms - balance is negative #. Why?
John Torgerson:
Miller: Personnel services $400,000+ projecting. Have available ??? very liberal projections to make sure we have enough. Part will be taken by voting rights act consultant.

[12:05pm] B. Adopt time-line for public hearings
Need our fifth member here to complete this.
Miller: left message thought plane would get here around 11:45 and would come straight from the airport.
Torgerson: I hate to delay because of teleconference. Don’t know what else to do. Take recess. Need all our board members when we take up this agenda and go forward as a board. With that we’ll take at least a ten mintue recess.

12:30 - Brodie had weather problems coming out of Kodiak is here now.
Torgerson: Teleconference bridgeline had some problems from overloading. We’ll disconnect video, it will be on internet - go to site and click on on front page.
[High volume] Good test for our equipment here.

John Torgerson - recognize board members won’t be able to go to all the meetings, but as much as we can on the pre-plan hearings. Post plan hearings, need to divide board into teams of three teams of two with attorneys being other team. Divide the state up and have the pre-plan meetings with at least two. But sometimes run into weather issues. I’d love go to all the meetings, but know probably impossible. Members have day jobs you have to pay attention to.

First issue:
C. Pre-plan hearing sites. Timeline yesterday morning 9:45 got Census data, so we must be complete April 14 at 9:45. A little quicker getting the data than I hoped. But I understand they were afraid of govt. shutdown if resolution didn’t pass Congress, but it did. Last ten days 4th April- 14th like board to consider being here all that time. We’ll do a lot drawings as a board. Consider public comments, where we want to draw the lines. then ten days. Whether we work weekends up to the board.
Block out those ten days.

Open to general discussion: Time Conflicts?
I’ll start. I have to be on Kenai 21st and 24th hour each day, previously set up and can’t do anything about. If in hearings. I’d fly home and be back. Meetings from 12-1. Back by 2:30 or so.
Mr. Holms - April 2 I have open house at my store. Only day. Weekends are better not to be here.
PeggyAnn McConnochie McConnochie - I can move things around.
Mr. White - My time is your time
Mr. Brodie - couple of evening meetings in Kodiak, nothing big
Ms. Greene - probably 14th of April - Nana Board meeting. Meeting here in Anchorage.

Brodie and Greene

Suggestion to meet every afternoon about 2:30pm - in mornings do things on our own, meet with people, etc.
Brodie: Would we, say next week go to these communities and then meet after that?
John Torgerson: Throwing out global thoughts - have to post meetings five days out, so have to post in advance to meet the open meeting requirements. It says reasonable length of time. Not sure if really five days Maybe when leg goes into 24 hour rule. . . No joking.
they’d like to video conference a lot, it takes coordination. If we do five days,
22nd, first date, maybe the 21st, count Sundays.
I suggest we start on 22.
Brodie - you have meeting on 21, what if we meet in Kenai?
Torgerson - not going to Kenai.
Going as one board to first one [preplan], then in teams. We should go out as a board to major metropolitan areas. After were done with plan, the next 60 days we’ll go as teams. That was my thought. Objection to starting March 22?
PeggyAnn McConnochie OK

C. Pre-plan hearing sites
Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Juneau, Palmer, Kotzebue, Statewide teleconference
All day trips? Can we come in the morning and leave at night?
Greene: yes.

Brodie: Could do Anchorage and Palmer in one day.
Torgerson: Don’t intend to limit presentations to three minutes if groups come in to present plans.
Brodie: We’ll entertain plans?
Discussion about times
If people have plans, give us notice so we could schedule afternoon time to hear it.
Try to start at noon and end at 7pm
White: Do you really want to set an ending time. If it ends at 3pm, do we want to sit until 6pm?
John Torgerson: I don’t mind sitting there.
Holm: People don’t know. It may be hard to get there on time, we give them a definitive time. Opportunity to email us and tell us we can’t be there till 6.
John Torgerson: in perfect world like to have public hearing for plans at a certain time and just public comments at a different time. You need an actual start and stop time. 7 or 8 hours is a long time.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: set up agenda saying plans first, then five minute public comment. Say that longer commenters should register - as with 1st Alaskans - to let us know they want more time. Not saying it well. We want to hear them all, don’t want to chop them off.
12am start 7pm
Holm = 12pm
Brodie: Adjust for community and airplane schedule
March 22:
Torgerson: Anyone have additional locations for preplan hearings
PeggyAnn McConnochie: I’d suggest Ketchikan.
White: Aluetians?
John Torgerson: No Dutch Harbor? We should add it.
Objections to adding Ketchikan? OK, added.
Anhorage and Fairbanks and Palmer easy to set.
Suggestions for
March 22: Anchorage
enough time for interested parties to come up with plans?
[Audience shaking heads no]
OK, Anchorage March 22.
March 23: Palmer
March 24 not available.
March 25 Friday - Fairbanks on ??
Can we get to Kotz from Fairbanks?
Greene: one flight a day - hour. Three flights out of Anchorage?
Can’t do Fairbanks - Kotz - Anchorage
PeggyAnn McConnochie: Since we added Ketchikan and Juneau then
John Torgerson: why is 28th circled? Sewards Day. State Holiday but not Federal.
Juneau on 25
Ketchikan on 26
Sunday day off
March 28 Fairbanks
March 29 Kotzebue
Greene - we should reverse that because of airline schedule, ok that will work
March 30 Bethel
March 31 Statewide teleconference
White: good to have a break for time to put materials together and to analyze
John Torgerson: If we have 3 people in office is that violation? [of public meetings law]
White: If working in the office but not meeting, not a problem.
John Torgerson: three day weekend, back on 4th.
Motion to adopt our proposed pre-plan hearings
Anchora 22 12pm- 7pm for all unless areas where we can’t
Brodie - in Saturday we ould adjust it in Ketchikan
Palmer 23
Juen 24
Ketch 25
Faribanks 29
Kotz 30
Statewide March 31

Rest of pre plan 30 days - board members own schedules, can be in he office and work on the plan, won’t be official board meetings. April 4th, to 14th we’re here in the office to set plans.
Afternoon meetings- might be open ended.
White: Don’t have to adjourn the meeting, could have one meeting and recess and come back in. Last year board did that. What happens? I’d probably notice them.
John Torgerson: start time is important.
PeggyAnn McConnochie McConnochie: I’d like the public to know start times. Rolling recess not good.
John Torgerson: times they met and recessed and came back the next day. I’d suggest 4th to the 8th we set time at 2pm til 5pm.
Brodie: What are we doing from 8-2?
John Torgerson: DRawing plans on the computer, work in teams of two to work on plans. Could be for an hour.
Brodie: How will it work if not all five here.
John Torgerson: assume that spend time as individuals so you hae thoughts.

Video discussion how to work;
PeggyAnn McConnochie - I’d like morning and then in the afternoon, opportunities to work as meeting. Extending it to 6pm is reasonable to allow working people to come.
John Torgerson: Open to Public Comment every day. Probably won’t be a work product.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: Not necessarily open to public, but allow the to hear our thinking. We’ll have heard a lot of people around the state.
John Torgerson: If we get a lot of people at 6, we could state.
Brodie: I wouldn’t necessrily preculde call in period from public?
John Torgerson: Beginning?
Brodie: or the end.
John Torgerson: How do I select the people for those 15 minutes?
Marie Green: Don’t we want to have meet time available for the public? We start on the 22nd. Realistically, how much time, how prepared will the public be? I’m sure people will share their thoughts. Making time for public at these board meetings, welcome them to share. How can we make it so the public, we’ll be hearing from them, even during our board meetings.
John Torgerson: I hear the concerns. At some point we have to cut the umbilical cord and the board needs to do it’s work. Then we’ll have 60 post plan days to hear from people. Then you end up with public comment that may or may not be germaine to this board, but I’m thinking it has to be restricted or we won’t have time to do our work? First three or five to sign up? I don’t know. Talking out loud. Could take day toward the end for another teleconference. Defeating post plan time.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: I ee what you mean. Trying to get my mind around this. Concentrate on preplan hearings. Then we have to put up our plan. As much public observance of that as possible. It would be difficult if people were commenting on minutia at last minute for us to deal with rather than waiting for the pre-plan meeting.
John Torgerson: If we move a community into a new district, we’d have 400 people show up and wouldn’t get things done for weeks. Plenty to call us. Email us. We can answer those emails in the morning.
Is Sat. April 9 a day - it appears we should be working on that day too. Question: Do we want to work over the weekend 9th and 10th?
PeggyAnn McConnochie: we should.
Holm: I may have some problem
Keep to 2pm on weekends too. Mr. White, can we cancel if we need to?
Mr. White: There will be a lot of issues coming to a head then. How are we going to deal with this? There will be issues you need to discuss that will help you all as you put together the plan. Mr. Brodie, I know you said you didn’t contemplate a staff plan, but I don’t see how tht hurts to have another plan you can compare against.
Brodie, Green: sure
John Torgerson: I’m not quite there yet. Will staff have time to ‘be staff’ and to make their own plan. Where’s the priority? If I want these guys to do something for me, do they drop their plan?
White: You are the priority for the plan. But we have resources. Given scrutiny we’re going to get from the DOJ, the more plans we have looked at the better.
John Torgerson: Talking about completely plans, or work I’ve done on the computer? I’m guessing each of us willhave run through this 500 times, or are you saying we need to have five plans?
White: No, we’re talking about the same things. As long as you’ve looked at these alternatives.
John Torgerson: I don’t object to staff plan, but I need to think about it. We’re thinking of hiring another staff member - they’ve been doing some interviews. Three it people who can assist the bord. Maybe with that extra person we’ll have time.
Media were there for the first hour or so
PeggyAnn McConnochie: This is a pretty good program. Can’t we just ask the computer to do different things? I’d be curious what it would come out with.
Bickford: I think it’s technically possible.
John Torgerson: I was told that. Not sure it can figure out retrogression.
Bickford: Software more built for urban areas. Popping out a plan for rural Alaska hard.
John Torgerson: Time for meetings? 8 or 9 - 11, 12, 13 8am start times.
Preplan schedule:
I will say what is there:
Not meeting April 1, 2, 3 - board members private time to work on own plans
April 4-10 daily meetings starting at 2pm until adjourn. Board members in offices doing own work in moring.
April 11-13 - 8am meetings. Passed.
Good discussion, what we needed to do.

[I'm experimenting here with the Break function that allows those who want to see the rest to go for it without this taking up any more room.  Let's see if it works.]

D. Post-plan hearing sites

Here’s what we have
adding Dutch Harbor - any objection? Any other communities we should add?
Anchorage, Angoon,, Bethel, Crodove Craig, Delta Junction,Dillingham, Fairbanks, Galena, Glenallen,Haines, healy Hoonah homer JUNEAU ketich, Kodiak, Palmer,or wasilla Petersburg, Seward, Sitka, valdez, wrangell

REquest for king salmon or Naknek. What about Barrow? Not much change there. Assuming our time is of the essence. Should prioritize places where we’ll have change. With District 40 numbers being almost ideal, that solves that part of the puzzle.But open. , ,
suggestion to add Skagway.
Brodie: this is alphabetical, when we look at it regionally, may see things missing.
Motion will include that the board may add as the need arises?
White: GIVEN

Motion -
Green: Add King Salmon, needs to be an amendment. Second.
Adopted. Amended motion back before the body.

E. Public hearing process and recording
possible do video recording, we should consider how difficult it will be. We can buy the equipment - units about $300 each, need three of those. Who and where to set up in the room, whether that adds to the public process.
John Torgerson: access to documents and to transcriptions.
Miller: Some organizations video everything they do. We are already posting audio of all meetings and transcriptions of all meetings. Not required to have video, consider expense, quality of video, what it adds.
Bickford: We’d need a dedicated camera man. Linking audio to cameras, can cover a room 4X this one. If split into teams, how can we do that.
John Torgerson: OK, right now, when board meets like this we record everything and
Miller: put on website, working on transcription.
John Torgerson: How long does that take
Miller: Week to ten days
John Torgerson: On the record, all that reocrded and transcripbe? Yes.
Will there be minutes?
Miller: not meetings,
Holms: Format to present to people prior to - spokesperson for board for the media. If we already have plan, we should have a format to elicit the right kind of comments from people.
John Torgerson: I see that. Not an agenda - since not an official meeting - but I agree we’d have - questions about are you gonna be fair? Mud against the wall to see if it sticks. Of course we’re gonna be fair. If they were judges I might listen more crefully.

BRODIE: Nice to have some transcription that came back so other board members can see the reactions instead of us just reporting. We could send recordings in without them being transcribed.
John Torgerson: transcribing appears to be 7-10 days. Four recognized transcribers. When we set the schedules.
White: need to pick teams, divide them up. Looking at a two week period, three different meetings, with three different teams.
John Torgerson: We;ll probably have to lock down the last ten days again. June 1-14 plan to all be here to adopt the final plan.
Brodie: Are we limited to certain vendors?
John Torgerson: The state has four vendors we can use. Four of Five? [Miller: five]
Brodie: Lots of small ones out there, we could do an rfp for three teams.
John Torgerson: I don’t think that’s possible to do.
Holm: think it’s possible to have us all together as a board after some meetings to talk about what we find so we can adjust before going out to the next ones?
John Torgerson: It would be nice if we all hit the major communities. If I’m going toSE, I’m not coming back to Anchorage and then. Maybe we could do a teleconference. Not sure wht you’d learn by that.
Holm: If it is 7-10 days befoe we get written info back, it will be old information.
It’s 2:05pm and I’m getting tired here.
Each team will hae a staff member
Discussion of teams. Attorneys and staff will go along.

Ironing out details. How about just hear for the video? Streaming it live on the net.
White: Not legally required, but can’t got much more access:
PeggyAnn McConnochie: I understand we can do that in Anchorage etc. ultimate public observance while we’re drawing maps.
John Torgerson: Ask staff to tell us what this will entail. Surprised we need a camera man. So worried about people not knowing what wer;re doing. I know it’s not a requirement, but neither is 50 public hearings. It’s just says public input.
Brodie: I think staff should investigate it. Memorialize video record, just have to be careful not to all wear the same ties.

Back to post plan hearings. We’ve adopted sites. let’s talk about teams, who would like to take what area and how to make teams mesh up?

Then pick start days.

PeggyAnn McConnochie: There should be ten cities I should be at: SE and Anchorage. That will be crazy to try to organized getting in and out.
John Torgerson: no one on the board from Anchorage and Matsu.
Brodie: when we get the list geographically, let staff put together a proposed and we can jump in on that.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: Should the whole board be at Anchorage, Palmer, Fairbanks?
John Torgerson: And maybe Juneau. But not sure we can. What you want Mr. White is a motion on the communities wer’e going to visit.
Can we focus on April 18th thru June 14
PeggyAnn McConnochie - gone for week in May - 9-14
Brodie: in or around May 22 - high school graduation
Holm - Mothers’ Day
Brodie: send a card from Kotz
Green: First week in May not available
Holm: Last week of May to beg of June not.
John Torgerson: Thursdays - 4 ? I’ve got another board meeting to attend.
I’ll ask staff to start travel schedules. We won’t know the teams. Any direction for us. How long to spend in each community? It will affect time line, but I agree you could hit 2-3 communities.
Brodie: Lets set that later.
John Torgerson: Ok with that Ron? Make sure rooms and flights are available. We’ll revisit this. Do we need an agenda?
White: At the public hearing yo could schedule one. Pre-plan hearings, just there to hear what people have to say. Post-plan, short explanations before taking testimony.
John Torgerson: How long will it take you?
Miller: Week or so
John Torgerson: Like to do before April 1 so we can make plane reservations. 3 weeks out still have a savings?
Holm: Does it matter what DOJ does before the hearings.
White: No, not until after we adopt a plan.
Brodie: I have two Tuesday evenings I’ll get to you.
Whte: Don’t have to pass a timeline, but a schedule set by the board. What you can’t do is suddenly decide to go to Wrangell on June 1. The board has to approve the schedule.
John Torgerson: we’re six week in advance now.

F. Deadline for submission of public comment & suggested plans
Need a final time so we can actually look at the plans. Just consider preplan, then we need to get our job done. By our hearing schedule, March 31 is the statewide telling conerence in end. That seems reasonable for the date we won’t receive any more plans.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: If we say March 31 is the deadline…??? [This is getting hard to keep in focus]
John Torgerson: Only thing we’ve set is June 1-14 we’ll be locked down in offices to finish the plan. In my thoughts, not plan after May 31.
White: You’re saying May 31? It seems reasonable to me since we’re taking that weekend office. By having Anchorage and Palmer first. That is where most of the resources are. Setting Anchorage first gives less time for those plans. You could submit a plan, but not have another public hearing to hear about it if submitted after the public hearing.
John Torgerson: We only have 30 days. We have to give deadlines. It’s hard, but the dealine is clear. I really don’t care, but I want us to discuss this.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: Whatever late plans will be avialable on the website.
Miller: Yes, it will be part of the reading file.
Technical difficulties

John Torgerson: If staff wants to review it. We won’t have any meetings April 1-3. My suggestion that March 31 is the last day.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: I agree
Miller: 5pm March 31.
White: I’d like to see the board have as much time as possible to submit.
Brodie: I think we should have an open meeting that day to allow people to present their plans.
John Torgerson: entertain motion to change March 31 teleconference to public hearing and teleconference. Not my intent to hae a lot of presentations on the last day. White: That’s what your setting up. Last day.
I’m fine with that. Statewide teleconference. Giving Anchorage two shots at the Apple.
White: Switch the dates. First day is teleconference, Anchorage on the last day.
John Torgerson: A little harder doing statewide first - need to get all the information out.
Brodie: Hard to prevent Anchorage people to call in.
John Torgerson: They will, but not the same as presenting the plan.
Holm: If plan submitted at 5pm on March 31, we wouldn’t have time to read it.
John Torgerson: No one’s going to write the plan. We’ll get them on disk.
White: Some people used maps, not line by line, but had information to present.
John Torgerson: Maybe I’m making too big a deal out of this.
Change motion, list Anchorage as hearing place and then statewide hearing.
Aslo 12-7pm. Adopted
Make timeline for public plans to be submitted March 31, 7:30pm.

BREAK 2:30ish
We’ll put any information coming in to us on the web. but we won’t hold any public hearings after March 31.
Brodie: Then 22nd is only day Anchorage could present a plan? Is that adequate. Is that what would happen if we went back to our old plan. I guess letting Anchorage have it toward the end, because there are more players, it seems . . .
John Torgerson: You’re intent to let Anchorage have two processes and everyone else having one?
Brodie: If we’re going to get 20 plans from this area.
John Torgerson: How do you figure 20?
Brodie: Because this is the largest.
John Torgerson: We have Anchorage listed twice and a teleconference. I’m fine with that if that’s what you wish to do.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: I’m from Juneau and we always fear what Anchorage is planning for us, I’m ok with this.
John Torgerson: Prepare for a long meeting. OK. Then set the time line for March 31. Don’t frown at me, you wanted to do this. There just won’t be any ore public hearings after the 31. We will accept anything as public information, just won’t be a hearing.
Holms: This is just a draft plan.
John Torgerson: I am fully aware anything that comes to us is public information. Our intent not to have any public testimony. Apparently that was confusing. You can submit a plan any time you want. There just won’t be a public hearing process. We need to rescind motion.
Brodie: I want to amend the previous motion. The last day to submit a plan at a public hearing is March 31, but you can still send in a plan.
Miller: The previous deadline was March 31 7:30pm. Now it should be deadline to present a plan at public hearings.
****** Changing deadline for plans. Notice if you want to talk longer than 5 minute.

Procedures to rescind and then amend. Done

G. Redistricting Guidelines

It’s ok to use ‘protecting incumbents’ as long as it’s non-partisan. If you are defending a plan, you could have made district 12 2% instead of 3%, then you could defend it by using the principle. If you use protection of incumbents as a guideline, then it should be voted on as a guideline. If you use where an incumbent lives, that’s ok. But if you’re going to use it, then you should adopt it. We will have to have data on where incumbents live for the Voting Rights Act stuff.
If you don’t expect to use it as a justification for your plan.
Brodie: is there a problem if you protect 30 but not ten?
White: Given the changes, it is inevitable. But if the board does it intentionally, to protect an incumbent, it should be one of your guidelines. But it has to be nonpartisan.
Last board didn’t use that as a guideline. If you have rational reasons based on your principles, then it’s ok. As long as information on incumbent’s address is not improperly used.
Brodie: Others?
White: Metcalf mentioned communities of interest. Tried to use community councils and court rejected that. You can adopt that as a guideline, it’s pretty amorphous. Contiguous intactness protects against gerrymandering. In Eagle River they changed a little part that cut out an incumbent. Court threw it out.
Another Case - Cox - was thrown out, they used partisan interest and didn’t try to hide it. Others board could consider. I think statutory mandatory guidelines is legit and going beyond that isn’t necessary.
Brodie: doesn’t stop us from using community of interest?
White: If you use them, but haven’t adopted them a guidelines, not good.
Brodie: Other guidelines?
White: Yes, but not in Alaska. Like whole counties. For me communitie of interest is pretty amorphous. Socie-economic integration gets that.
John Torgerson: I think socio-economic integration good. The incumbent guideline leads to gerrymandering.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: What’s in the federal and state guidelines. I’m naive enough that considering who is in the district and who might run against them is less important than socio-economic integration.
Green: You you concur?
White: I think soci-ecomomic integration covers
If you deviate within 10% there’s no presumption it is a problem. More than ten%. State Supreme Court said, in urban area - Anchorage in decision - I think it applies to other urban areas. In rural areas, it’s harder and you have more leeway, but still under ten%. Yes, I think anything that community of interest covers, is covered in socio-economic integration.
John Torgerson: I think court went on to say that ferry system and other things are part of community of interest.
Motion before us is to add community of interest and incumbents as guidelines.
Brodie: in rural area it is easy to know where people live, I don’t know about in urban areas.
John Torgerson: motion to adopt
Motion fails.
Adopt redistricting guidelines presented in our
Adopt guidelines.

H. Discussion of legal issues
Does not involve executive session.
1. Prisoners
Randy Ruedrich letter to consider this. I sent it to Mr. White.
White: Haven’t reached a decision yet. In past, board hasn’t had available prisoner stuff available. Prisoners are counted where they are. This time census people moved up ability to provide this. By May, we will know where the prison population. We’ll know how many people are in Spring Creek.
Mr. Ruedrich is asking that they be counted where they come from. This is an issue that was pushed nationally, but states that have huge prison populations where urban people are incarcerated in rural areas. More for money than redistricting. There have been four statues past in four different states. Deleware and Colorado prohibit counting them. NY and Maryland require counting nd reapportioning them to last address.
In the past prison population was included where they are incarcerated.
Problem: Census bureau will not provide us with people’s home address. We’d have to get tht from Corrections. May not nave time to get information by deadline.
Bottom line: Board can do either. Mr. Ruedrich’s rational was it would add to rural Alaska. General rule in Alaska: count the people where they were. Prisoners generally counted where incarcerated.
I need to check whether the board has the authority to do it or whether it needs to be legisltive.
John Torgerson: It sounds like he’s saying most prisoners are from rural Alaska. I”m not sure his allocation issue is correct. When Census gives us these numbers in May - we don’t know May when - we’d have to hire someone to find all those addresses.
White: I’m not sure we can reallocate people from another state. People incarcerated in Arizon counted in Arizona. If we reallocate Spring Creek, how will that impact Seward. That’s 20% of their population.
White: I don’t think what we do is binding on other districts. Two purposes: Money and voting.
John Torgerson: We do public process and then suddenly throw 5000 more people into the mix, then not sure how that will affect all their draft plans. Don’t know how tht works. Don’t need motion, he’ll come back with this on 22 or 23.

2. Military population - non-resident
We can decide either way. Given constitutional and statutory standard that is closed. Should do due diligence as board did last time. Issue here convincing DoJ to not count them. Given 90 days, we couldn’t do it, but we should do the due diligence to show we tried. Get estimate from Dof Law to see what they consider the population - only a few hundred. If they are stationed here, they are counted. People posted in Alaska, even if they are in Iraq. Non-resident means they don’t currently reside here in Alaska.
John Torgerson - something that says you can’t discriminate against race, creed, military. More interested to know what happens in other states.
White: States are free on their own to include or now.
3. Questions asked to me, and emailed them to Mr. White
a. Are all twenty senate seats up for election in next cycle. How do we determine two and four year seats? How determined if incumbent is not requred to stand for election.
If you substantially change a senator’s district, then the board can require new election. Not law that clearly says what substantially the same. Last time if fell out easily. Question is how to determine if Senator’s term should be truncated. Not fair to stay in office two more years with essentially new electorate. Determine who get two or four. Any reasonable rational. Last time just went in alphabeticl order - 2, 4, 2, 4.
Ten are up for election anyway. If no substantial change not required.
John Torgerson: What do you suggest? If we see it, we’ll know it?
White; probably. Last time 3 districts with <10% change, next 65%. Once you fall below 65%.
John Torgerson: 60% is 7000 people added - that’s a huge block.
White: 50-65% is the questionable part. 50% is bigger.
Brodie: Every district is changing by at least 15%. Would we be precluded from truncating everyone.
White: There’s never been a truncation case challenged.. . .
We know District 40 hasn’t changed. Population deviation 1.35% board says we don’t want to mess with that. But it also grew by 25%.
Bickford: The data won’t reflect individuals who might have been there ten years ago.
John Torgerson: We could just truncate them all. If SEnate district lost substantial number of votes. Some might shrink - geographically. They could be the same.

Communications between legislators and members of the board. Legislative Ethics office says they can use state resources to engage in redistricting but all their communications with board should be through thepublic process. Nothing prohibits people here with having contact with them, but they might have problems.
John Torgerson: This is advisory, not an opinion of the board. After 5pm he’s on his own, but if using state money - had to do with initiatives not redistricting. If representing thir constituents. They can come before us as a board.
Brodie: If my legislator comes home and has constituent meeting and asked me wht is going on? What should I do.
White: Doesn’t apply to you. It applies to legislators. You can come back and put it on the record. I agree with John that there is some questionable reasoning in the decision.
John Torgerson: After hours he can do what he wants. he could just say, “one of my constituents…” The ethics opinion decision says board can call the member and ask anything they want. If it initiated from our side.
White: NEXUS - equate the board with public hearings, legislators cannot call up and influence a department. Are we the same as an administrative board. Just want you to know this is out there. Legislators are the one at risk if they violate it.
Mr. Holms: would that also carry ovr to Borough mayors and other elected officials covered by APOC?
White: I THINK this opinion only applies to legislators.
John Torgerson: each local has own ethic issues. This is about using state money. They are assuming this is a partisan issue. I would have been a dissenting vote on this.

Status of Work on Data Bases
Bickford: Eric Sandberg -GIS specialist -
can’t be here, but I’ll do it. We have a handout.
Page 9: explains the data process.
Disc comes as raw files you wouldn’t know what to do without GIS background. Eric has made it readable.
We have contract with XXX and they will provide us, but this is stopgap until the.
I think the majority of it is the same.
John Torgerson: Would we have the Native breakdown by then too?
Bickford: I should be able to get your laptops set up. You’ll be able to open it with Fred’s data.
Contract with CVA???

You have all the census data and racial/demographic data. Also geographic on page 3. The ?? redistricting software from Census ??? page two also on housing units - occupied or vacant. Other big category is election data. Not provided by Census, but by our voting rights act consultant to show our plan is ok.

J. Public Access to Baord information
Miller: We have website, FBI, Twitter - traffic on FBI and twitter.
In addition to personal email service. you can see raw emails that have gone out. Probably higher. and percent actually opened. Looks small, but normal. As of March 11. Sho

K. Media policy -
1. Requests from media - we’re talking about people speaking on behalf of the board.
PeggyAnn McConnochie: Won’t that be you?
John Torgerson: Me and Ron Miller
Brodie: If local newspaper wants to hear from us? As long as we’re talking as individual members, not representing the Board.
John Torgerson: Right - who will speak on behalf of the board.
White: I agree that each board member is just giving personal opinion. But Board spokesperson should be Ron. That allows everyone to debate and gives insulation for the Board member.
John Torgerson: I don’t disagree, but if I get a call, I can’t say no to a call. I’m in the same position as everyone else if board hasn’t already voted on. I didn’t accept this high paying job as chairman just to shirk speaking to people. The media wanted a board member out there today. What do we say? No I’m not talking to them?
Brodie: CEO of Kodiak Electric is not a Board member and is the spokesperson.
White: If you same something that is your opinion and not the board spokesperson Official pronouncements from the board come from the spokesperson.
Green: I’m getting mor confused. Official announcements vs. We agreed earlier that our chair should be our spokesperson.
John Torgerson: We did. I understand. You’re just going to have to take a leap of fate that we’ll be responsible. They were sneaking in questions to get anwers. Asked me what I thought about the orruption? I said, What corruption? I’m not afraid of speaking the truth. If that’s going to come before the court… I think Ron.
Brodie: I move that ??? spokesperson. Then if you talk,you can say, “That’s my opinion.” Motion to make Executive Director Spokesman for the Board.

Item 5: choose vice chair - postponed until Brodie got here.
Holms: PeggyAnn McConnochie
Green: Bob
John Torgerson: Do we want to vote open, paper?
Let’s just do a sheet of paper.

I nominate exeutive diretor to count the ballots.

3-2 Peggy Ann vice chair.

Item 10 Executive Director comments

Status of Voting Rights Act - Sean from Governor’s office, proposals due at 10am this morning. We need a three person evaluation committee to evaluate. We don’t know how many proposals. Confidential until deadline.
John Torgerson: I’ll be here tomorrow. Looks like everyone will be gone. I can use the attorney. Is that a conflict?
White: No.
John Torgerson: committee will be Mr. White, Ron Miller and myself.

Miller: SEan will be hear tomorrow at 9.
John Torgerson: We’ll pick, but it is still private until appel period is over.

Miller: Othr contrats we talked about - court reporting/transcription services. That’s it.

Brodie: How many staff will we have?
John Torgerson: four plus the GIS - budget for five, but we have Dept. of Labor on loan. Just paying his transportation.

11. Board Comments

Holms - ready to work
PeggyAnn McConnochie= ready to work
Brodie: welcome PeggyAnn McConnochie
Green: Same
White: Glad to work with you.

4:35 Closing up.

1 comment:

  1. In this statement, "Liz Medicine Crow - Tlingit Haida from Kake = Vice Director and ?? Alaska Native Policy Center..." The questions you put in here should be Vice President of First Alaskans Institute and the Director of the Native Policy Center.


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