Wednesday, November 22, 2006

plan G from outer space

As expected, the committee assigned with the task of drawing a 4-seat map released those maps when they were sure no one was looking--the day before Thanksgiving.

(Graphic credit: Salt Lake Tribune for more detail, click on this PDF by the paper)

All four plans share common elements. Sandy, parts of West Jordan, and most of Southern Salt Lake County not be part of the new 2nd district. Proposals I and J include Park City into the 2nd district. Davis and Weber Counties remain the "heart" of the redrawn 1st, although Proposal A gives the new 2nd district a tiny piece of Bountiful. All but Proposal G place Southern Salt Lake County in the new 4th District, and even then G places half in the new 4th and half in the new 3rd.

So which map would be the best for Democrats? Proposals A and G would allow Jim Matheson to run in the new 4th district and allow a Peter Carroon-type Democrat to run in the new 2nd district. Proposals I and J would be more difficult for Jim to run in their 4ths because of the inclusion of Washington County (St. George). Similarly, Jim would have a tough time running in their new 3rds because the parts of Salt Lake County, along with Carbon and San Juan (Moab) Counties would some how have to overcome Utah County (Provo). Thus, if I or J are adopted, I would expect Jim to stay in the 2nd district. But if A or G passed, I would press Jim to run in the new 4th and find a suitable Democratic candidate for the new 2nd.

Here are the redistricting hearing times and locations. If you live nearby, please attend. (Graphic credit: Deseret News)

So what are the chances of each proposal? The Deseret News gives us the scoop:
Senate Republicans, however, have insisted that the 2001 proposal known as "Plan A" continue to be considered. The committee's other two proposals, "Plan I" and "Plan J," were put together behind closed doors during a break in Tuesday's meeting.
The committee rejected a proposal by the minority Democrats, "Plan G," that would have created two largely urban districts from most of Salt Lake and Utah counties and two largely rural districts from the rest of the state.
"This really is a snapshot of what the state is," said Senate Minority Whip Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake. But Republicans disagreed, arguing that the state is better served when all members of Congress represent rural constituents.

Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City, stormed out of a meeting after G lost according to the Salt Lake Tribune "They always say they want input from the Democrats. Why have Democrats on the committee if you are going to ignore what we have to say?" "The governor said this was going to be a fair and nonpartisan process or he would use his veto," Biskupski said. ''He can't pretend this was nonpartisan.''

"If you are going to take three plans on the road for public hearings that are the same and not include the option from the minority party, it's obviously a partisan process," Biskupski said. Newsflash! Redistricting is a partisan political process, News at 10. Even though no political affiliation data was inputed into the mapping program, everyone on that committee knows where Democrats do well, where Jim's base of support is, and where Republicans do well. Let's not kid ourselves with this "non-partisan process" crap.

The interesting thing will be if Biskupski is correct and Huntsman indeed vetoes ones of these other plans for being overtly partisan.

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