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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Map L

To get a real sense of what happened, you need to listen to this morning's meeting. Find the audio link here.

In a nutshell:

Responding to requests, opinions and information gathered at the public hearings, the Redistricting Committee has morphed the plan formerly known as J into a new Map L.

The new map refines Map J in the following areas:
  • Changes the Second District boundary to encompass Snyderville Basin (just over 7000 people), so they can vote with their neighbors in Park City. Several people at the public hearing in Park City requested this.

  • Makes Morgan County (about 7000 people) part of the Third District.

  • Includes the City of Eureka in the Third District.

  • Puts North Salt Lake in the Second District but keeps Bountiful in the First.

  • Adjusts the lines in South Salt Lake County in such a way that the population of the four congressional districts are in exact balance.
Each congressional district will have an equal population of 558,292, with the exception of District One, which will have a population of 558,293.

The Redistricting Committee approved this map 10-1.

Next steps: We anticipate being called into a Special Session on Monday, December 4. Then it’s up to Congress.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'L' stands for Love.

11/29/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"plan formerly known as J", kinda like "the artist formerly known as..."

Good info Ric!

11/29/2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Mark Towner said...

Ric, I just want to complement you on your efforts on the senate site. I followed today’s discussion intently. It is very interesting that the map today is what I came up with some time ago. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Mark Towner

11/29/2006 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the members of the redistricting committee will not run for these offices. I hope they will make it clear that they do not intend to run.

The 4th looks like a tailor-made district for the likes of a Steve Urquhart or Lavar Christensen. Tell me this hasn't been politicized!!! The southern portion of Salt Lake County has nothing in common with Millard County. It doesn't make rational sense.

J and L have one thing in common - they make it very easy for certain Republican hopefuls to win. This is so transparent!!!

This map could be much better.

11/29/2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Anonymous,

Of course this map could be much better. "Better" is in the eye of the beholder. Every person in this state could probably draw a personal map they would prefer over this one. I hope you did just that; and I hope you presented it at one of our public hearings. We certainly appreciate the insight.

The question is - - - Could you make a better map with a) precisely equal population in all four districts, that b) keeps communities as whole as possible, that c) tries to accommodate local input, that d) is built to withstand legal challenges, e) is conscious of the political weather in Washington D.C., f) tries to tie transportation corridors and geographical areas of interest together, and g) defines clear boundaries on which a majority of Democrats AND Republicans on the Redistricting Committee would vote YES?

That’s the challenge. A 10-1 bipartisan vote from this committee is nothing short of amazing.

From my vantage point in the back of the room, the legislators and staff of the Redistricting Committee were given an impossible task. They rose to the challenge and did the job right. My hat is off to each one of them – and to all Utahns who made the time and effort to offer the constructive criticism that helped us draw better maps.

11/29/2006 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Brian Watkins said...

anonymous,

If Steve Urquhart and LaVar and two-time nominee John Swallow all have to fight for the Republican nomination in a district, then that district can hardly make it easy for any one of them to win.

And the only way Millard county gets a rep who really focuses on the issues of rural Utah is if we get something like plan G, which the suburban-dominated Utah Republican Party leaders don't really want. Only a true rural westerner who knows about long open roads and small tight knit communities could represent a district like that. Someone who loves rural America like John Salazar (D-CO) with a similarly large district filled with public lands could do it, but not a freeways and megastores suburbanite R. I didn't invent this idea; they said so right at the hearing last week.

11/29/2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

This plan is a decent compromise. It would be possible to carve out another urban district, but it would be a mixture of SL and Utah counties that would not follow county borders at all. Many people get disconcerted when their next door neighbor is somehow in an urban district and theirs is an urban-rural, with no sense as to where the county was split.

I'm grateful to the Utah Democrats who introduced Plan G. Their outside-the-box thinking spurred the public and the committee to consider a uniquely urban district, and it looks like we'll have one. Those who harshly critized Plan G as unworkable need to remember this lesson for next time -- crazy maps are OK because they make you think and work harder. Thank you also to the Republicans for listening and responding to public input and for being willing to compromise.

11/29/2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

The best map that I have seen came from citizen Craig Johnson at Tuesday night's public hearing.

"Today is your last chance to help us draw the map."

His map is still better than the one drawn by this committee.

Ric, how much consideration did Mr. Johnson's map receive?

11/29/2006 5:44 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/29/2006 6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work from the committee. Who was the desenting vote and what was the reason they cited their "nay" vote?

11/29/2006 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rob

Is this "citizen" Craig Johnson the spouse of Lisa M. Johnson that ran against Representative Greg Hughes in House District 51 http://www.electlisa.org/Biography.htm? Sure looks like the same guy.

If so, is his (or your) lack of disclosure that he is married to a democrat candidate an ethical breech? If not, why not?

Is this the "independent" citizen you envision in your quest for an unbiased redistricting commission?

11/29/2006 11:07 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/30/2006 8:46 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Two comments from anonymous:

On senatesite.com, you referenced "citizen" Craig Johnson, but conveniently withheld the fact that he is married to a democrat candidate. Is this the "independent" "unbiased" citizen that you would like to see on your redistricting commission?

Hey Rob

Is this "citizen" Craig Johnson the spouse of Lisa M. Johnson that ran against Representative Greg Hughes in House District 51 http://www.electlisa.org/Biography.htm? Sure looks like the same guy.

If so, is his (or your) lack of disclosure that he is married to a democrat candidate an ethical breech? If not, why not?

Is this the "independent" citizen you envision in your quest for an unbiased redistricting commission?


What will be apparent in my next post on The Utah Amicus is how a citizen who happened to be a Democrat was able to look at redistricting in an unbiased nature.

I asked a simple question. To propose that there was any ethical breech on my part is just another example of backroom political muckraking.

I asked if any consideration was given to Mr. Johnson's proposal.

Now I understand; the fact that Mr., Johnson is a Democrat means that any good intent on his part should be ignored.

As for my true colors; I am the vice chair of the Utah Democratic Party. I believe we should all work together in a bi-partisan manner, but with saying that I also need to state that I have never tried to pretend that I am anything other than a true blue Utah Democrat which seems to mean to anonymous that any question I ask should be attacked instead of being respectfully answered.

With that said I will answer the question "is this the type of "independent" citizen you envision in your quest for an unbiased redistricting commission?"
(I never said that Mr. Johnson was an "independent" citizen, just that he was a "citizen", or that Mr. Johnson should be on the independent committee). My answer is simple; Utah would be fortunate indeed to have a man like Mr. Johnson leading independent redistricting committee. His ability to look past Party lines was apparent by his proposal, and let me remind everyone, which Party the "Merry Map Makers" belong too.

With every best wish,

Rob Miller
801-706-6203

11/30/2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/30/2006 9:44 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/30/2006 10:02 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

I am sure (for the third time)that I meant "belong to".

Happy Holidays,

The Utah Amicus

11/30/2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Hi Rob,

I'm glad that I am not the only one who does that. It seems like I am continually deleting my messages and reposting edited versions!

I suppose someone could accuse us of "Freudian blogging." But, what would it mean in this instance? That we all belong? Even us Republicans, TOO?

I like that.

I choose to read your words as being a subliminal call for unity!

Seriously, Rob, though I oppose on Constitutional grounds the legislation attempting to grant new House seats to Utah and the District of Columbia, this does appear to be one of the better maps that have been proposed.

Granted, I am not thrilled with putting the South end of Salt Lake County in the same district with St. George, but I don't know how else to distribute the numbers.

Like a lot of folks, I prefer voting districts to correspond with natural, intuitive boundaries, keeping communities in tact. I am impressed with how well this map does that, with the exception of the South end of Salt Lake County.

How does Craig's map differ? Can you post it on The Utah Amicus? I would like to see it.

Thanks, friend,
Alienated Wannabe

11/30/2006 1:01 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

In response to Rob and Anonymous, above.

From our viewpoint, we don't care much whether a citizen is Red, Blue, Chartreuse or Plaid; the fact is that Craig Johnson gave his time, took an interest, and sincerely tried to help the government - in which he shares part ownership - work better. That's exemplary.

Of course we can expect that he has a point of view (a.k.a. "bias"). Who doesn't?

Craig's testimony was striking on several levels. To listen to his portion of the public meeting, go to the Redistricting Committee’s home page:

http://www.le.state.ut.us/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2006&Com=SPERDT

And click on the audio archive for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Then open the part titled “Four-District congressional Plan - Public Hearing”

Craig’s testimony starts at 42 minutes and 45 seconds.

He was fully engaged and helpful. He had done his homework. My impression from listening to the audio and speaking to members of the committee is that he was very well received. Legislators were interested, courteous and grateful for his contribution. It was as impressive as any citizen input we have ever had on redistricting.

However, they didn't rush to throw out their maps in favor of his (see my comment, above: "Better" is in the eye of the beholder). Neither did they ignore his work. His voice was one of several that persuaded the majority of the committee to loosen their grip on the Rural/Urban District concept to the extent they were able to work out a bipartisan compromise agreement.

As accurate data and technology become more readily available, we anticipate much more, not less, of this level of citizen participation in the future. Kudos to Craig and to everyone else who sacrificed time and energy to get involved.

11/30/2006 1:45 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

To the other Anonymous (11/29 at 10:41 p.m., above):

Representative Ben Ferry was the lone dissenting vote on the Redistricting Committee. Rep. Ferry is a smart, genuine individual from a rural area (Corinne, Utah) and he sincerely believes that each district needs to have both urban and rural components. We think that is why he invited Donnie Osmond to the redistricting hearing - "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll. . . " He may propose an alternative to Plan L that adds more rural landscape into District Two.

Craig Frank talked about this a little in Under the Dome (a good blog to bookmark).

11/30/2006 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Curt Bramble said...

Rob - It was good to meet you at the final redistricting committee meeting. Thanks for providing input, both in person and in the blogosphere.

We actually had two citizens present maps based on both GIS and Census data, one in Salt Lake and one in Provo. As the senate co-chair, I really appreciated the hard work of these two gentlemen. Of course we could not incorporate every suggestion. But we did listen carefully and, in Plan L, we ended up with one mostly urban district and 3 urban/rural districts which is conceptually close to Craig's proposal, even though the lines were drawn differently.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but we intentionally scheduled four out of six of our hearings in areas that have not historically voted Republican (Price, Park City, Ogden, Salt Lake City). I hope this demonstrates a genuine desire to forge a map on which both parties can agree.

It was interesting to listen to the diverse points of view as we traveled throughout the state. Even some of the more strident comments were valuable. As the hearings progressed, it became clear that Utahns were divided over urban/rural, republican/democrat, liberal/conservative, house/senate, and constitutional concerns. As we tried scenario after scenario on the computer, we quickly learned that we cold not balance the population in each district and also meet everyone's request regarding all of our other criteria (such as keeping all communities of interest together, etc.). But we tried. I think we showed that interests on both sides of the isle can come together on tough issues.

As I look toward the 2010 census, I suspect that advances in technology will allow many more citizens to craft map ideas for the next redistricting committee. I think that will be helpful and I hope we embrace it - more people will realize just how difficult it is to draw a workable map, and the legislature will benefit from better citizen insight.

Thanks again, Rob. Take care.

Curt Bramble
Senate District 16

12/01/2006 12:03 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Thank you Senator.

12/01/2006 11:52 AM  

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