Monday, March 26, 2012

Redistricting Board Offers Three "Hickel" Plans

Member Green and Director Bickford, Torgerson and McConnochie in back
I still have to finish another 35 pages of Dirt Music for tonight's book club meeting, but let me post my quick overview of the board meeting.

They had  three "Hickel" plans.  This refers to the Supreme Court's citing of the 1994 Hickel v Southeast Conference decision which lays out a process for the Redistricting Board to follow and which was the basis for their sending the original plan back to be redrawn.

They started with a template that kept the parts of the state from their submitted plan that met the constitutional requirements (Southeast, Anchorage, Matsu, Kenai, and North Slope) intact. 
"Hickel" map template

They left blank the interior and Fairbanks districts and Western Alaska and Aleutians.  (see map)

When they tried to set up the missing rural districts they were about 7,000 people short* which they had to take from urban areas.

So starting from that template, they made three options.
Hickel 1 - reshapes the districts in the blank part and gets the 7,000 from Fairbanks.
Hickel 2.  does the same and gets the extra people from Matsu
Hickel 3.  does the same and gets the extra people from Anchorage. 

(The three Hickel maps are in the previous post.  Or you can get download them here.  But you can't see them large enough to see the details of what they do to the urban areas.)

Director Bickford and Member Brodie

It’s probably my imagination, but it almost seemed as though the meeting were scripted.  People asked the right questions - does it meet this or that constitutional requirement and if not why not - to show they had tried everything they had to try.  Board Chair Torgerson at one point actually said: 
"Just asking the same question ten times to get it on the record."

It seemed fairly reasonable as they went through Fairbanks.  This isn't easy to get all the various criteria to match.  It's like a Rubic's cube - as you turn it to get this side of the cube right, it messes up the numbers on another side.  Matsu was next.  But when they got to finding population in Anchorage (Hickel 3) to add to a district going out to the Bering Sea and Executive Director Bickford said:
"We picked up Kincaid, part of Lake Spenard, part of Inlet View precinct."
I just typed what I was thinking on my notes:  "This is so stupid."

Member Holm
My sense is that this was the point they were trying to make.  If the Supreme Court thinks we should try out pairings with other urban districts, let's show them what it would look like.  Even taking the more rural areas of Anchorage like Chugiak would have been as much of a stretch as Ester and Goldstream (suburbs of Fairbanks) were in the challenged plan.  But to pluck out pieces from neighborhoods in the urban areas of Anchorage was totally ridiculous.

I'll add more later, but thought I'd at least get this up now.

*"Short" means that they didn't have enough people to get within 5% of the needed 17,755 people per district.  They mentioned different numbers, but I think it came to still needing 9,000 to get enough for another district.

1 comment:

  1. Personal for Steve -- My MAC electrical power (plug in device) has stopped functioning. The Apple Store does not open tomorrow until 10:00, so I won't be able to purchase one until our lunch break. Do you have an extra one? If so, I'd appreciate it if you would let me borrow it during tomorrow's morning session. Would that be OK? Barbara


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