Monday, April 19, 2010

"Packing and Fracturing" Voters

Well, this didn't take long.  Four days after the Fair Boundaries independent redistricting initiative failed to gather the required ludicrously high number of signatures needed to be on the ballot this fall, House Speaker Dave Clark seems to be organizing a standing ovation for himself this time.  SLTrib:

The always partisan and often contentious redistricting process remains in the hands of state lawmakers after an initiative to create an independent redistricting commission failed to gather enough signatures by last Thursday's deadline.

In preparation, Clark has already surveyed the state's three U.S. House members and examined years of population estimates, developing a "doughnut" and "pie" analogy for what he sees as the Legislature's main choices.

The doughnut would carve a highly urban "island" out of Salt Lake County, favoring a Democrat. This would leave three Republican-dominated districts surrounding it.

The pie, which Clark favors, would split Salt Lake County four ways, creating urban-rural splits that would likely lean Republican.
Would it surprise you to know that Clark has often been floated as a candidate for the proposed fourth seat?  Yeah.  The hubris, huh?  Clark has been pushing this along for quite some time.  Consider his theatrics (with video) at a Fair Boundaries public hearing last summer, if you doubt the passion Dave Clark has for furthering Dave Clark's Career.  And on who's heads will Clark walk to higher office?  You lowly voters.  If you'd only acquiesce, they wouldn't have to pack you into such distorted, gerrymandered "districts" of "representation."  And now look what you're going to make Clark and pals have to do to you (some more):
Taylor has a different way to describe Clark's doughnut or pie districts. He calls it packing and fracturing.
In his view, the doughnut packs all the Democrats in the same district minimizing their impact elsewhere, while the pie tries to fracture the voice of the minority into all four districts, diluting their chances of success.

He isn't shocked that Clark, a leading Republican and oft-rumored candidate for the fourth seat, likes that second option.

"If they can draw four seats that lean Republican, and they probably can, they will do that," he said.  Taylor believes the urban-rural conversation --- which he thinks is code for Democrat-Republican -- should be dropped.

"It should be drawn fairly along currently existing political boundaries -- communities, cities, counties. It shouldn't be intentionally drawn to fracture our existing political communities," he said. Taylor said if the districts were drawn fairly, two districts would likely be competitive, while two would likely remain controlled by Republicans.

As an example, he points to the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City, which is split between Matheson's 2nd District and GOP Rep. Rob Bishop's 1st District.

"I defy you to walk through the Avenues and know what congressional district you are in," Taylor said.

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