Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Redistricting Board Hits Low Point In Process

When my grad students worked on their semester long capstone projects, there came a time, not far from the end, when it would all become too much and they'd throw up their hands and want to give up. 

The Redistricting Board seemed to reach that point this afternoon.  They couldn't make the PAM-E plan - that paired Senators Hoffman and Stevens - work  out in any other configuration.  The numbers weren't there.  The time frames for getting a plan before the June 1 filing deadline, what with getting VRA clearance and court approval, just looked impossible to them.

Should they tell the Supreme Court to just use the Proclamation Plan for this year's elections - an out the Supreme Court offered them?  Or should they try something, anything else?  Then board member Marie Green, who doesn't talk much, said she'd like to get more public participation, allow the private groups to submit plans.  The Chair has always been polite and respectful to Marie Green and he was when he said he'd decided to not open things up to outside groups.  And then he went on a rant about the people out there who said they had plans but never gave any numbers.  From my rough notes - not verbatim, but sort of the gist - he said, in part:
  "We have the save the Democrats in Fairbanks plan.  It was introduced to the court, but not to the board.  We’ve had three or four given to us that have been sent.  The ones making noise now haven’t sent us a plan.  They want formal presentation time.  I hesitate to give. If they were that excited why didn’t they send it Jan 17 the day after the court?  I understand they gave us 8X11, but no shape files.  That looks good, but no numbers.  I understand how you feel Marie, but I’m not sure about opening up."
Leonard Lawson, who presented the "Rights Coalition" plan ('save the Democrats in Fairbanks" plan) was sitting next to me and said they'd turned in the shape files (that have all the numbers) to the court and when he found out earlier today that the Board didn't have the numbers,  he brought them in.

Then Marie Green said she had a couple of plans emailed to her and she thought they had numbers.

And then Executive Director Taylor Bickford said that the Rights Coalition plan had come in about 20 minutes ago and it appeared to have the numbers and there was also the Calista plan.

One thing I admire about Chair Torgerson is that while he has gone on a couple rants like this before, he is also able to back up and change course once he gets it out of his system.  He worked through this and at the end when he was saying the meeting would reconvene tomorrow, he said, "Unlike your chair, try to have patience."

I'll try to put up more details on the meeting later and some video.  It was a very interesting afternoon. 


  1. Torgerson was an irrational ranter when he was in the Legislature too. I have no pity for these inept appointees who don't want to do their damn job. It shows what happens when you have an appointed board with no balance, who are selected purely on politics, not on competence.

  2. Torgerson's back-pedaling isn't something to be admired.

    When he fails in his attempts to browbeat others, he acts as if he would prefer you wouldn't acknowledge that he did attempt the tactic in the first place.

    That kind of thing more than likely shouldn't be considered an admirable trait.


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