Tom Delay has declared that he’s taking his ball and going home. Let me be the first to say “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry”. Yes I know, he’s been railroaded for doing something (gerrymandering congressional districts) that the Democrats have done for years. The truth is, they should never have been allowed to do it either.
There is a method for drawing districts that is available to us now, that would result in non-political, geographically logical districts, if we only devoted the attention to the subject that it deserved (“If you are looking for someone to blame, look no further than in the mirror” –V) and made our ‘servants’ in the government understand that this was a non-negotiable issue. Don’t let me distract you from the start of baseball season, though.
Smart move on Tom Delay’s part, for that very reason. With his removing himself as a lightning rod, a good portion of the well-deserved attention the subject could have gotten will go to other things; subjects less likely to effect issues of gov’t control over the population.
I just wish I could vote for Michael Badnarik. Mr. Badnarik is running for congress this year, in district 10. As far as I know I’ll still be in district 25 come this election, unless the SCOTUS changes everything. Not holding my breath here.
District 10 used to be ‘my’ district, before Tom Delay and his Republican buddies gerrymandered Austin into three different districts in an attempt to get rid of the Democrat congressional representative Lloyd Doggett, who inherited the seat from JJ ‘Jake’ Pickle when he retired and appointed Doggett to replace him (and here I thought we had some choice in this…) after all the dust had settled, I ended up with Doggett again anyway, just a different district number. Which is too bad. I’ve never voted for him, and when I’ve had the misfortune to communicate with him, I get one of those replies that completely misses my concerns that I mentioned previously.
As I said, despite Delay’s best efforts (and possibly at the cost of his own seat in congress) Doggett got re-elected the last go round, and Texas wound up with one of the worst excuses for a district map that I can ever remember seeing. I’d love to hear how the Republicans spin the defense of this. As if Austin has any similarities with the areas around the Mexican border that are currently part of district 25. What I’d really like is for the SCOTUS to get a shakabuku, then they might actually go for the computer redistricting that a fellow libertarian and constitutionalist proposed several years back when this whole mess started. Not holding my breath on that either.
Back to Mike. I like Mike (I wanted a button that said that when he ran for President. Too cool) He introduced me to ALD. I wish I knew him better, but I know him well enough that I would trust him with the job of representing Austin (and a good portion of the rest of the state) in Washington. If you want to know Mike (or Mr. Badnarik for the more formally minded) better, just pick up a copy of his book Good to be King and give it a read. If you are at all like me you’ll probably agree that he would be a step in the right direction representationally for Austin. (Round Rock Georgetown, Jollyville, Brenham, etc. as well. Don’t get me started on districts again) Come on by the precinct and county conventions next week, and confirm him as a nominee.
Myself, I need to drop by his offices, which are right down the street. Somebody from his staff has been calling and e-mailing every week. Seems they need some volunteers. They always do. Plenty of people willing to spout off verbally on political issues, not so many willing to get down in the trenches and do the work…
Texas Republicans in control of the state legislature shifted congressional district boundaries enough in 2003 that 8 million people — including large blocks of Hispanics — were placed in new districts, represented by different U.S. House members, justices were told.Austin American Statesman, High Court Tackles Political Boundry Case
Kennedy, a centrist swing voter, focused his concerns on how the shift affected Hispanics in South Texas. “It seems to me that is an affront and an insult,” he said.
The Texas boundaries were changed after Republicans took control of both houses of the state Legislature. DeLay had helped GOP legislative candidates in 2002, and was a key player in getting the new map that benefited him and other Republican incumbents.
Since then, however, he has struggled from the fallout. He was charged in state court with money laundering in connection with fundraising for legislative candidates. He gave up his leadership post and is fighting the charges.
DeLay also was admonished by the House ethics committee for asking a federal agency to help track aircraft that flew several Democrats out of state as part of quorum-breaking walkouts during the bitter fight over maps.
Justices did not mention DeLay, and he was not in the crowded courtroom.
March 2, 2006
Supreme Court of Texas contact info
Computer redistricting. Anything else is Gerrymandering. Strangely enough, this is old news. What I want to know is, why didn’t the state act on the following two years ago?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TESTIMONY FOR NON-PARTISAN REDISTRICTING
Austin, Texas, July 2, 2003 — The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Redistricting heard testimony today from members of the Coalition for Non-partisan Redistricting, Robert Howard, Jon Roland, and Patrick Dixon.
A video clip of the testimony can be viewed online at http://www.house.state.tx.us/fx/av/committee78/30702p38.ram. To view it you will need a viewer such as RealPlayer from http://www.real.com. See also http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/redistricting.php.
In their testimony, the witnesses rejected not just the proposed new redistricting map, but the map used in the last election as well, and asked the Legislature to adopt a new method of obtaining district maps that is impersonal and not subject to human tampering or political manipulation. Instead of debating and adopting particular maps, the act would provide the specifications for the computer program, called Target, to use in drawing the map, and whatever map the computer produced would be the official map to be used in the next election.
The witnesses explained that each time the computer program is run, it produces a different map. The process is random. But all of the maps will meet the specifications. If anyone doesn’t like the maps, they should advocate different specifications. But any such specifications would be explicit and subject to public debate and judicial scrutiny.
Roland suggested that if the Legislature is concerned about the computer producing anomalous maps, the proposal could be modified to have the computer generate, say, a dozen maps, and then have a certain number of “strikes”, as are used to exclude prospective jurors during jury selection, to be applied by various members of the Legislature to eliminate some maps. The final selection would then be made from among the remaining maps by random lot.
Roland emphasized that this controversy threatens the precious bipartisan collegiality that has prevailed in Texas for more than a century, which allows legislative proposals from all parties and factions to be considered on their merits. If we allow such devisive issues to shatter that tradition, the result may be that only proposals by the leaders of the dominant party will have any chance of being heard. The result would not favor good or efficient government.
The proposal is at http://www.constitution.org/reform/us/tx/redistrict/cnpr_proposal.htm.
The Texas Legislative Council site is http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/
For a demonstration of the computer software see