See below for some thoughts by Fairfax Democrat Chris Ambrose – who argued repeatedly and persuasively last year that Democrats should strongly oppose the Virginia redistricting amendment – on how “the sham of the Virginia Partisan Redistricting Commission is becoming clearer and clearer every day.” For what Chris had to say last year, see:
- Latest Email By “Fair Maps” Folks Takes Their Negativity and Dishonesty Into the Realm of Nasty and False Personal Attacks (“If you actually want to end partisan gerrymandering, vote NO on Amendment 1!”)
- Senators Ebbin, Favola and Howell Argue for the Redistricting Amendment. Here Are Two Rebuttals.
- Alternatives Offered to Flawed Redistricting Amendment – PROGRESS!
- The Proposed Virginia Redistricting Amendment Is a Bad Deal That Needs To Be Rejected. (“Instead, the Virginia General Assembly should pass fair redistricting reform legislation in the upcoming 2020 session”)
Also, check out VAPLAN’s Twitter feed for a lot more on why this redistricting commission it – as VAPLAN says – “like watching a massive train steaming down towards a baby toddling on the tracks and just a couple people desperately trying to pull the brakes.”
And also see:
- Video: VA Redistricting Commission Votes to Enter Negotiations with Highly Partisan Republican Law Firm (VAPLAN: Del. Marcus Simon “clarifies that though the Repub-leaning law firm has represented some pretty atrocious clients, it was the ONLY one that applied”)
- “Political activists have been automatically excluded from the Redistricting Commission but political fatcats are hunky-dory?”
- Video: VA Redistricting Commission Votes to Enter Negotiations with Highly Partisan Republican Law Firm
- More from @vaplan2018 on the Virginia Redistricting Commission cluster@#$!; Virginia GOP Makes a Mockery of the Redistricting Process (“Virginia V. Trost-Thornton is why we can’t have nice things.”)
- “Members of this Commission are quite CLEARLY having countless conversations outside the public view and access.”; and this by Linda Perriello (“What is going on tonight at the Redistricting Commission Public meeting in Richmond is absolutely predictable and crushing. Clearly there are hints of decisions having been made behind closed doors, clearly the legislators have taken over the process; Citizens being pushed to make decisions with ‘threats’ that if they don’t the legislature will not pass the maps; citizens pushing back saying that the public clearly did NOT want maps drawn politically but being shot down by the numerically superior legislators plus Republicans on the Commission. Chances that this ends up in the courts increasing. All of this was predictable as soon as politicians were put on the Commission.”)
A predictable – and predicted! – debacle, in other words. With that, here are Chris Ambrose’s thoughts:
As reported by Virginia Public Radio “Lawyers hired by the Virginia Redistricting Commission have advised the body to revise existing maps rather than start from scratch.” Translation: the lawyers hired by legislators on the redistricting commission are trying to intimidate the citizen members into drawing districts around the incumbent legislators, thereby freezing in the Republican-drawn districts.
The sham of the Virginia Partisan Redistricting Commission is becoming clearer and clearer every day. Of course, there was never any doubt to those paying close attention that the redistricting amendment was just a ploy to allow legislators to hide behind a “commission” while they *still* draw the districts. Still, the brazenness of their behavior to date has been shocking.
First, the legislators insisted that Virginia taxpayers pay for two law firms to represent the partisan interests of the legislators, rather than one non-partisan firm to represent the Commission. as originally envisioned.
Now, those firms are colluding to exert pressure on the citizen members of the Commission to draw the districts as the legislators want and to promise that no legislator is drawn out of their district – no matter how badly the district is gerrymandered. That adds a pressure point, in addition to the veto that the legislators have over the maps, that even the worst critics did not anticipate.