Sunday, August 7, 2011

Redistricting is under way

I just sent this letter to the editor of the Journal Santa Fe, in response to their editorial on Santa Fe's redistricting plan.

If you have any stories about redistricting in your town, please send in a comment about it.

Your August 3 editorial on the city of Santa Fe’s redistricting plan is right on target. Instead of choosing a plan that was more mathematically accurate, that is, more fair, our city councilors instead took the opportunity to play petty political games.

Of course, this is nothing new. A similar scene is playing out in Rio Rancho, and no doubt in other cities around the state. Albuquerque chose to put off constitutionally mandated redistricting, apparently in hopes of changing the balance of power at the October election, and unfathomably a judge agreed to allow it.

Be sure that at the state level, it will be even uglier. Ten years ago, after numerous plans approved by the Democratic controlled legislature and numerous vetoes by the Republican governor, the courts were called in to decide the issue. The whole process cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

This is why good government organizations and concerned citizens have long been calling for multipartisan, independent redistricting commissions. Unfortunately, those in power cede nothing, and would rather have this authority so they can use it as an incumbent protection plan, or, worse, to punish members of their own bodies who don’t go along with the rest.

We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again in 2020 by mandating independent redistricting commissions. Anything less is like leaving the madmen in charge of the asylum.

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