Expect Democrats' Redistricting Plan To Be Worse For State Redistricting (100 House & 35 Senate Seats ) Than the Federal Plan Is
(First meeting Tuesday, May 24, 6:00 p.m. at ASU Student Union Auditorium - Other meeting places & date below in blue font.)
(Be sure to email the Board of Apportionment that includes Governor Beebe, AG Dustin McDaniel, and Secretary of State Mark Martin (Two Democrats & one Republican) about your concerns at this link: http://www.arkansasredistricting.org/aboutTheBoard/Pages/contactUs.aspx ] You can email Governor Beebe at firstname.lastname@example.org and call his office at 501-682-2345.
You may want to note this quote from article below in your email: "After voting to hire former secretary of state’s office attorney Joe Woodson Jr. of Little Rock as the board’s redistricting coordinator, the board voted 2-to-1 to give Woodson autonomy from any of the elected officials involved. The vote puts Woodson in charge of most spending, along with the board website, scheduling, staff and the apportionment office." (The two voting to give Woodson autonomy were Democrats Beebe & McDaniel - this effectively cut out the GOP Republican Secretary of State from having any real input.) Public pressure is the only remedy we have for this.
Below are excerpts from a newspaper article, "Redistricting panel transfers money, hires new director" April 7, 2011 Arkansas Democrat Gazette, that shows how Governor Beebe and AG Dustin McDaniel are treating the Secretary of State because he is a Republican. In the past when the Secretary of State was a Democrat, that office basically handled the Redistricting.
"After voting to hire former secretary of state’s office attorney Joe Woodson Jr. of Little Rock as the board’s redistricting coordinator, the board voted 2-to-1 to give Woodson autonomy from any of the elected officials involved.
"Woodson asked for the separation “given the politically charged atmosphere that we’re in.”
"Martin is the only Republican on the board. McDaniel and Beebe are Democrats.
"The vote puts Woodson in charge of most spending, along with the board website, scheduling, staff and the apportionment office.
“Although we have the authority to create policy and hire and fire personnel, you couldn’t do your job unless you were autonomous,” Mc-Daniel said to Woodson. “I don’t think you should be beholden to any one of the three of us any one more than any other.”
Martin voted no to hiring Woodson and giving him autonomy. Woodson worked for the previous secretary of state, a Democrat, and was not retained by Martin when he took office in January.
After the meeting he called the decision a “personnel issue” and would not say why Woodson was not kept on.
“That’s a personnel issue, and I think that’s probably better left as a matter with Mr. Woodson,” Martin told reporters. “I have no personal or performance issues with him; he’s never actually worked for me.”
Martin said that in the past the “authority” of legislative reapportionment “rested more heavily on the secretary of state.”
“I wanted the same level of interaction and direction of the Board of Apportionment as has been had in the past,” Martin said. “I think it has now moved into sort of the Board of Apportionment’s staff and whatnot. Less of the authority rests with the secretary of state now than it did before, so I think the reasonable vote was to say no on that.”
"The board members also voted to have preliminary Senate and House maps drawn by May and agreed to hold six to 10 meetings for public comment."
Public comment can be made at www.arkansasredistricting.org.
Partisanship of Democrats in the Federal Redistricting:
Most of you are probably aware of the Fayetteville finger threat to federal redistricting that was barely averted with another bad redistricting plan described even by a Democrat Senator, Jerry Taylor, "a map to help one party beat another party." “Why in the world would you justify splitting [Jefferson and Sebastian counties] unless you are looking for partisan advantage?” he asked. “I hope that you all will see the fallacy [of this bill]. I just wonder, has common sense left the building? Has common sense just walked out?” He said the Senate was “being held hostage” by people in the House. (Democrat Gazette article, " Senate OKs congressional districts map." April 12, 2011
In the following letter to the editor on April 17 JOHN R. PIAZZA of Bethel Heights explains how simple it would have been to redraw the districts without splitting counties had the Democrats not been trying to gerrymander the districts.
"I thank the Democrat-Gazette for its excellent articles on the Congressional redistricting, including the map after the 2000 Census and the new one approved by the Legislature to deal with the population changes measured by the Census of 2010. The old district configurations are reasonably compact geographically, but unfortunately the new configurations of the Third and the Fourth Districts are pathetically distorted.
"The Third District resembles a worn molar, thin at the top, with roots as deep as Sebastian and Pope Counties. Furthermore, five counties have been split between two districts. Given a tolerance of plus or minus 7,200 people per district, a suitable redistricting plan could have been formulated without splitting counties. Especially trifling is the splitting of Searcy County, a county with a population of fewer than 10,000.
The shedding of some 93,000 people from the Third District could have been accomplished by transferring Sebastian County to the Fourth District, transferring Logan County from the Fourth to the Third, and Searcy County from the First to the Third." ###
Jonesboro Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
May 31: Hope Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
June 7: Monticello Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
June 14: Fayetteville Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
June 21: Little Rock Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
June 28: Helena Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
July 6: Ft. Smith Public Meeting 6 - 8 pm
In April, the Republican Party called on the Board