House Democrats and Redistricting Special Session

oldandnewThe Democrats in the Florida House had an interesting week in Special Session. While Republicans wasted taxpayer money fighting over petty spoils and beating up on the Supreme Court, House Democrats attempted from at least a public relations to rise above this pettiness that after all comes from being in power without any sort of accountability for all too long. But some House Democrats are not above playing politics when it comes to district lines.

Rep. David Kerner filed an amendment in committee to restore something similar to the current map in Palm Beach and Broward counties, almost strictly for incumbent-protection purposes. Kerner’s Amendment would have assured Congressman Ted Deutch and Congresswoman Lois Frankel, both Democrats had separate districts from which to run.  This amendment and the current drawing of those districts in my opinion is in direct violation of the spirit of the  Fair Districts Amendment even if they are interpreted as  constitutional. Despite having close to half a million more people than Palm Beach County, Broward has one fewer resident member of Congress. This is unfortunate and quite frankly not really acceptable in any “fair districts” scheme. Palm Beach anchors all three districts with which it sends representatives to Congress. Broward only anchors two, and elects representatives from those two that live in the county. Again, Broward has close to HALF A MILLION more people than Palm Beach. 

The current map has given Palm Beach County more political influence than it deserves. I would make the same case about the State Senate map but will save that discussion for when those maps are redrawn in a few months. For some  Democrats protecting incumbents was a reason to oppose the Republican efforts to redraw lines in compliance with a court order.

Regarding the House Democrats desire to have an independent redistricting commission that has been a needed change since the 1990’s. Unfortunately when the Constitutional Revision Commission in 1998 was close to putting this in its recommendations, it was Democrats namely Hispanic and African-American democrats that curtailed it. As Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s reaction to  court rulings and reapportionment shows, some leaders in the minority community are willing to cast their lot with Republican lawmakers to ensure survival or even just to score political points. My sincere hope is that we are past this within the Democratic Party but I am far from certain that we are.

On another matter the claim by some Democratic leaders that the new House map was not bipartisan, while likely true is unlikely to impact the court. Why? In 2002, the legislature passed a highly partisan map but the court found that it was drawn with “bipartisan support” partly because 10 of 45 House Democratic Caucus members (mostly from Broward County) had supported the map. This Special Session, the House map was supported by 8 of 39 Democrats, a percentage similar to in 2002. So it is entirely possible the House map will not be considered sufficiently partisan for the Supreme Court to not consider it entirely or some component of it when drawing the new map. I would also note the court in 2002 was at least in theory more liberal than today.

House Democrats should be applauded for the strong stands they took. But uniting Democrats behind the idea of a commission and being able to convince the court that the map redraw was a partisan exercise are going to be very difficult. But certainly this is better than rolling over and playing dead as Democrats have done for years when it comes to this issue.

 

8 comments

  1. dianecbrown · · Reply

    Wow! You just can stop yourself from trashing Democrats. And you still have not learned that personal “opinion” is not the same as “facts.”

    “This amendment and the current drawing of those districts in my opinion is in direct violation of the spirit of the Fair Districts Amendment even if they are interpreted as constitutional.”

    You contradict yourself: If a district violates the spirit of the Fair Districts Amendment (which is well defined in the amendment) to the FL CONSTITUTION, it would not be interpreted as constitutional.

    “Rep. David Kerner filed an amendment in committee to restore something similar to the current map in Palm Beach and Broward counties, almost strictly for incumbent-protection purposes.”

    How do you know what Kerner’s “almost strictly…purposes” were? Since “incumbent-protection” blatantly conflicts with Fair Districts, I doubt Kerner has said or written anything publicly that would imply this was his purpose, so what is your proof?

    “Unfortunately when the Constitutional Revision Commission in 1998 was close to putting this in its recommendations, it was Democrats namely Hispanic and African-American democrats that curtailed it.”

    What are the facts here? Did they have a legitimate reason to oppose part or all of the recommendation, e.g., because the proposed method of selecting commission members was biased, similar to the recently failed constitutional amendment that would have allowed Scott to select judges?

    “As Congresswoman Corrine Brown’s reaction to court rulings and reapportionment shows, some leaders in the minority community are willing to cast their lot with Republican lawmakers to ensure survival or even just to score political points.”

    Because Brown objects to breaking up a district that was originally drawn by the court to provide for fair representation of blacks, this makes her casting her lot with the Republicans? That is ridiculous. Objecting to one district does not translates throwing her lot, i.e., her ALL, with the Republicans.

    “On another matter the claim by some Democratic leaders that the new House map was not bipartisan, while likely true is unlikely to impact the court.”

    The courts do not decide whether a map is “bipartisan” based on the number of votes. The decision is based on whether districts are shown to be DRAWN on a “partisan” basis, as did Judge Lewis.

    “…rolling over and playing dead as Democrats have done for years when it comes to this issue.”

    No “facts” to support your “opinion.”

  2. Don’t worry Diane! Kartik will be gone soon. Twitter has been abuzz about him. He sealed stole documents related to a court case in New York then reported on it. He could go to jail.

    This is why he has not posted on Facebook in weeks. Spread the word. No one has anything to fear.

    1. Sorry stole sealed documents in a lawsuit between Oklahoma City FC and NASL. Then released them. He’s no better than Snowden. He will be on Russia himself soon to avoid prosecution.

    2. Weston Dad · · Reply

      Maybe you did not notice the person making the allegation had to apologize within an hour because they found out the NASL didn’t seal the documents until after Kartik somehow had them. A question can be asked how he found them and even knew this lawsuit had been filed? How he was able to download the documents in the 48 hours or so before the docs were sealed? Those are legit questions. Ethical ones. But not legal ones. For those not aware, these documents were highly incriminating toward NASL in the ongoing FIFA scandal. He knew where to look as a former NASL employee and found the docs but he didn’t steal them. That has now been clarified. Still I would love his explanation for how he knew about the lawsuit to begin with. That he needs to answer. The ethics of someone going from one side of the desk to the other need to be answered. If you worked for a company you shouldn’t be assigned to cover it after you leave. Your coverage was flattering of NASL almost as if you still worked for them. Then you flipped to critic suddenly when the scandal broke and has been driving that train since. Kartik, you have over 4,000 twitter followers and what you say matters. You have been reckless in the last few months since this scandal broke to try and hang things on Traffic and NASL. Your tweets then get retweeted by important media figures and YOUR ACTIONS HAVE PROBABLY COST THE NASL MONEY AND AN EXPANSION FEE OR TWO. At the same time you have written less and less here which is too bad. Go back to doing what you are doing instead of collecting twitter followers with sensational attempts at fawning scandal with your former employer and Sepp Blatter. You are not going to jail but aren’t smelling like a rose either.

  3. SPOT ON re: Kerner’s anendment. But in fairness to the Dems most didn’t voice support. But yes a clear attempt to protect democratic incumbents at the behest of lobbyists. He collected a favor for his commission run.

  4. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    I commend Kartik for being meticulous in identifying his opinions.

    I was under the impression that “The Florida Squeeze” is a BLOG. I am, further, under the impression that a BLOG is where someone is free to offer opinions and others can then fairly or unfairly offer comments on those subjects. What a dull world this would be if people are not free to offer opinions but restricted to proven facts. Besides, the First Amendment (free speech and all that) would come in to play if that were the law.

    As to the snarky reference to Snowden (and, ahem, this is an opinion) I believe that Snowdem will eventually be declared an American Hero for defending the fourth Amendment that reads; “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

    Clearly no Federal Law, such as the Patriot Act, can supercede any provision in the Constitution of the United States..Although the Fourth Amendment was written about one hundred years before the use of the telephone, such use in my opinion is clearly included in “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Where is the probable cause permitting the NSA to listen in on telephone calls and accumulate or compile a list of all people called .

  5. such c*r*a*p will cease once the Democrats get around to fighting back – if ever – we need someone to light a fire under our leaders – our local DEC didn’t pursue or at least fight against the R’s actions – too busy, I guess, with their private agendas – absent leadership (traveling out of their areas of responsibility to visit or lengthy vacations as examples) means no local leadership at all –

  6. Agree on the democrats and Diane for years black Dems have cast their lot with the GOP on these issues. Where have you been???

    On Kartik’s legal issue it’s unfortunate to hear and hopefully he doesn’t face jail time or has to shut down this blog.

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