Why Redistricting Matters More Than Gaga
Although Few Fans Of The Pop Music Icon Even Know What Redistricting Is, Here Are The Top Reasons Why The Process Must Go Gaga
Perhaps Lady Gaga can inspire the members of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. Image by Michael Spencer and used under conditions of Creative Commons Attribution-2.0 Generic license.
By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine .com
June 28, 2011 — Over the next six to 12 months, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will decide on new boundaries for all state and congressional representation in Arizona.
The redrawing of legislative and congressional districts is mandated each ten years, after the issuance of final U.S. Census population statistics. In this go around, the state has gained one new seat in the U.S. House, bringing the total for the next 10 years to nine.
The Arizona legislature, more controversial and relevant than it has been perhaps ever in the state’s short history, will be tweaked, perhaps, depending upon the final maps issued by the commission. Parity might be more of a norm if the competitive nature of the commissions work takes precedent. But then again, there might be another round of republican dominance in a state that is nearly evenly split in party allegiance.
But for some reason, no one seems to care much.
Early this year, Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce and former House Speaker Kirk Adams tried to force new names onto the list of 25 people — 10 democrats, 10 republicans and five independents — that the law that determines the appointments to the Independent Redistricting Commission mandates.
The state yawned.
Everyone in the state must be too concerned about who is going to get booted off Dancing With The Stars or American Idol. Who can blame them? Politics can be as dry as a cracker in a desert on a summer day with only powdered water to quench a thirst.
The key to buzz is being superficial. If Russell Pearce was as hot as Brad Pitt, or Sen. Sylvia Allen had the rack of Gaga (and the willingness to flaunt it) more people might care. But the fact is they don’t and most people (especially the younger generations) could care less.
At a meeting of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission last week, some of the commissioners — especially Linda McNulty — mentioned that they wanted the public to have their ‘say’ in a variety of public meetings. The problem is that the county elections departments are asking the commission to complete its work by October. That is four months from now.
And they have not yet even hired a mapping consultant to do the bulk of the work.
Besides, these meetings really only attract those who have a ‘vested’ interest — i.e. monetary — in the process. The number of average ‘joe voter’ types who give input to this process is negligible and few even know the process is unfolding.
What the Independent Redistricting Commission should do is “Go Gaga” in order to really get “regular” folks into the discussion.
Commissioners McNulty, Jose Herrera, Scott Freeman, Richard Stertz and chairwoman Collen Mathis would first need to go under makeovers in order to become chic and sophisticated — like pop stars. ‘Posses’ would be necessary for all of them, of course, which would draw the potential ‘redistricting paparazzi’ that might ensue.
Perhaps the posses could come from the winning mapping consultant, which is expected to be selected at noon Wednesday during a meeting at the State Library Conference Room inside the historical State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington.
After the style change, the first order of business might be to record a music video — with backup dancers and everything. The tune could sample “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, the iconic 1980s anti-cocaine anthem.
Anything for the people, right?
John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine.