Republican Redistricting arrogance never ceases

The sense of entitlement and need to continue manipulation of processes related to the redistricting process is a common Republican theme in the State of Florida. Yesterday, House Democratic Leader designate Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) sent a sharply worded letter to House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island). The contents are below and we applaud Cruz for this strong and decisive action as the legislature undoubtedly plans to once again prevaricate and attempt to defy the will of people who overwhelmingly voted to enact “fair districts.”

Full letter is below:

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420 The Capitol

402 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

 

Dear Speaker Crisafulli:

 

By now I am sure you have had an opportunity to digest the Florida Supreme Court decision invalidating the congressional maps enacted by the Legislature. The Court afforded the Legislature 100 days to draw new congressional districts that are free of the misconduct that infected the previous process. Within its Order, the Court also commented:

“…in order to avoid the problems apparent in this case as a result of many critical decisions on where to draw the lines having been made outside of public view, we encourage the Legislature to conduct all meetings in which it makes decisions on the new map in public and to record any non-public meetings for preservation…”

Based on notions of openness as well as the Court’s specific admonishment, I do not believe that any meetings relating to this process should be conducted in secret. I do not believe the leadership of the Legislature – including staff of leadership, and outside consultants working directly or indirectly with leadership – should be permitted to meet in private to discuss the processes the Legislature intends to implement in compliance with the Court’s directives. Furthermore, I do not believe it appropriate or proper for legislators (or their staff) to meet with “counsel” in secret meetings purportedly cloaked with attorney-client confidentiality. If such meetings have occurred, I would like to be immediately informed of them as any lawyers working on this matter represent the entire Legislature and not just a few select members or staff.

In short, the Legislature has done an incredible disservice to our state. It is clear you allowed partisan operatives – at the direction of our own leadership – to violate the imperatives of our state’s Constitution; you failed to keep records and, in fact, destroyed records that would have revealed the misconduct; defended, at enormous cost to taxpayers, the misconduct itself; and, worst of all, forced Floridians to elect their congressional delegation from illegally drawn districts. This conduct flies in the face of the Democratic principles this state and country were built on.

               

The deceitful way that this process played out shows nothing but the arrogance of power. In just the last year, the Republican Party’s inability to govern has led to a special session that failed to fix illegal congressional districts, an unconstitutional adjournment of the House during session, a special session triggered by the inability to pass a budget, and now a second special session to again attempt to fix illegally gerrymandered congressional maps.

 

The Republican leadership will never be able to adequately redress these wrongs, but you at least owe it to the people of Florida to not repeat them. Please agree to make this process totally open and with the will of our people in mind. Floridians deserve better.

Janet Cruz

Leader-Designate

State Representative, District 62 – Tampa

5 comments

  1. a beautiful letter written to be read by “deaf” ears – but well worded and displays the proper amount of frustration in our party – ok – let’s now see what the DECs will add to this imperative initiative! Shouldn’t the local Democrats be urged to contact their local representations? How about a letters to the editor campaign so the general, not politically active constituency will know about our b.s. opposition’s actions?

  2. Great letter Florida House Leader Designate Janet Cruz (D-Tampa). Democrats in ’16.

  3. The Republicans who scandalously and illegally spent some $8 or $9M dollars of OUR PUBLIC FUNDS to pay Republican dirty tricksters to hide behind closed doors and again draw district lines favoring Republican incumbents and protecting Republican districts should be ordered to recover all $9M of those wrongly-paid fees! We know who the scalawags are, one in Gainesville, one in Tampa, and I believe, one in Jax. This was not “just” a violation of our federal election laws and Florida law: it was an arrogant disobedience of a COURT ORDER to comply with a CONSTTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT voted into existence by a large percentage of our electorate! For Don Gaetz and Wee Willie Weatherford, it was a planned, deliberate scheme to defy the “Fair Districts Amendment” and that is no less than malfeasance of office. I believe they should be forced out of office in punishment! There is not one SHRED of legitimacy to ANY member of the Florida legislature who carries an “R” after their name. We, the people of Florida want these crooks held accountable for their malfeasance of office!

  4. If you repeat a lie often enough, you’re a Republican.

  5. Indrid C. · · Reply

    The court should have taken another step and just drawn the districts, or required the creating of an independent re-districting commission. Asking a partisan political body to enact “fair” districts is frankly beyond their ken. No politician is going to voluntarily put their own re-election at risk, or give up the possibility of maintaining an electoral advantage for their party, just because the people and the law and courts and good faith require it.

    Otherwise, we’re just going to be right back here, trying to untangle whatever new nonsense the Legislature comes up with to replace the current nonsense, which was supposed to replace the previous nonsense.

    A shout-out to the League of Women Voters, though. They consistently fight for fairness and accessibility in the voting process, and deserve our thanks.

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