Friday, December 07, 2012

12/10: ABQ Fair Redistricting Fundraiser

PLEASE COME TO A FUNDRAISER FOR OUR LEGAL FUND AT ARTICHOKE CAFÉ!

MONDAY, December 10, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
ARTICHOKE CAFÉ, 424 Central Ave. SW (corner of Central and Edith)
Suggested minimum contribution: $100.

Whether or not you live in the downtown/Old Town/north valley, you should be concerned about the implications of this Republican-engineered rediststricting plan that could lock in a Republican majority on City Council for the next decade. The biggest losers would be the old neighborhoods along the east side of the river who have the greatest infrastructure needs, but will be reduced to only one vote on Council.

Attorneys at the national League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) believe that we have a strong case and have agreed to represent us in court to overturn the unwise and unjust decision to eliminate our center city Council District.

LULAC is a 501(c)(3) corporation, and contributions for its advocacy litigation purposes are tax-deductible. This is a legal effort, not political, and your contribution, employer and identity are not subject to campaign reporting requirements. There is no limit to your contribution. Please make your check to LULAC, with “ABQ redistricting” in the memo space.

For more information or to donate on-line, see our website: http://abqfairredistricting.org. Just click on the “Contribute” link and you’ll be directed to a secure LULAC contribution site that sends donations directly to our defense fund.

You can also mail your check to us at: Albuquerque Fair Redistricting, 1106 Santa Fe Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Thanks, and see you on the 10th!

December 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM in City of Albuquerque, Events, Hispanic Issues, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee Initiates Public Records Inquiry Concerning Partisan Violations of Open Meetings Act and Hispanic Voting Rights Dilution

Following is a press release provided by Lora Lucero.

This afternoon, community leaders representing the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee submitted a public records inspection request to the City of Albuquerque, inquiring about back-door partisan communications that reduced the number of the City Council’s Hispanic Voting Age Majority districts to just two of the city’s nine council districts. Since 2000, 75% of the city’s new growth has been Hispanic, now comprising 47.2% of the city’s whole population. The National League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is assisting the group with its IPRA request and potential litigation.

“There’s simply too much at stake for Albuquerque’s Hispanic population and core historic neighborhoods to let this injustice go unaddressed,” said Lora Lucero, a north valley activist working with the group. “The five councilors might have scored a ten-year partisan majority, but they did so at the cost of diluting the voices of many minority and impoverished communities.”

Partisan power-grabs like that achieved by the five city councilors on February 22, and signed by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on March 5, were the target of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition to Hispanic voting dilution, the decision also packed into one district many communities of interest, including most of the city’s federally designated “pockets of poverty,” areas in need of street improvements, communities desperate for revitalization, and areas with crumbling infrastructure.

Although the Albuquerque City Council is a non-partisan body and the redistricting committee process was mandated to be public, the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee wants to know what communications were not made available to the public but might have had a significant impact on the outcome of the city council redistricting. For that reason, the group’s letter requests copies of all documents and communications (correspondence, e-mails, and attachments) related to the City Council redistricting process since June 1, 2010. Recipients of the IPRA request will have 15 days to respond and the information garnered will inform the ABQ Fair Redistricting Committee’s decision to pursue legal recourse.

July 12, 2012 at 04:00 PM in City of Albuquerque, Legal Issues, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

District Judge Releases New State House Redistricting Maps for Supreme Court Consideration

By Sterling Fluharty, Owner of Southwest Political Services, www.swpsnm.com

District Judge James Hall released two “preliminary” redistricting maps for the State House last night at 8:00pm.  These maps were drafted at the request of the New Mexico Supreme Court.  They are now available on the website of the New Mexico legislature.

Prior to the Supreme Court's involvement, Judge Hall had adopted Executive Alternative Plan 3, which, according to the Supreme Court, had following features: 1) “the lowest population deviation between districts,” 2) “it adhered to the Voting Rights Act,” 3) it incorporated the “Multi-Tribal/Navajo Nation plan,” 4) “it reasonably satisfied secondary reapportionment policies,” and 5) it decided partisan considerations were secondary.  Democrats appealed this map, which had been favored by the Governor, to the State Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ordered Judge Hall to follow New Mexico's guidelines for redistricting: 1) “Maintaining low population deviations from equal districts using data from the most recent U.S. Census,” 2) “Comporting with the Voting Rights Act and federal constitutional standards,” 3) “For purposes of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, only eligible voters affect a group's opportunity to elect candidates,” 4) single-member districts, 5) contiguous and compact districts, 6) respecting political and geographic boundaries, including neighborhoods, 7) “Preserving clear communities of interest” that share “common social, economic, and cultural interests,” 8) “Preserving cores of existing districts,” 9) minimizing contests between incumbents, and 10) “a judge should not select a plan that seeks partisan advantage,” so “partisan bias” needs to be considered.

The Supreme Court shared its conclusions with Judge Hall: 1) “precise population equivalence" cannot be the highest priority, 2) Executive Alternative Plan 3 “did not undergo the same scrutiny for partisan bias that the majority of plans previously considered had undergone,”  3) incumbent pairings “contributed to the partisan performance changes in the plan,”  4) House District 63 in and around Clovis needs to remain an “effective majority-minority district,” 5) include the Multi-Tribal/Navajo Nation plan without any change, 6) the regions selected for the three pairings were appropriate, but it needs to be partisan neutral, 7) the District Court was not obligated to adopt the State House map in House Bill 39, and 8) the Governor was rightly allowed to submit redistricting plans.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to Judge Hall and provided “Remanding Instructions”: 1) use an expert, 2) parties should not submit additional evidence, 3) “consider historically significant state policies,” 4) as allowed or justified by New Mexico guidelines, use “greater population deviations,” 5) parties may submit briefs and reintroduce previous maps, 6) Deming, Silver City, and Las Vegas should be kept whole in districts by using greater population deviations, 7) “devise a plan that is partisan-neutral and fair to both sides,” 8) any Democrat-Republican consolidation “should result in a district that provides an equal opportunity to either party” or “some other action may be taken to mitigate any severe and unjustified partisan performance swing,” 9) District 63 must become an “effective, citizen, majority-minority district as that term is commonly understood in Voting Rights Act litigation, and as it has been represented, at least in effect, for the past three decades,” and 10) finish by February 27.

The new maps from Judge Hall succeed at meeting most of the requirements set out by the Supreme Court.  Brian Sanderoff was employed as an expert.  Apparently parties did not submit additional evidence and state policies were reviewed.  Population deviation increased modestly, particularly outside of tribal areas, and stayed within the accepted overall range of plus or minus five percent.  Deming, Las Vegas, Mountainair, and Tijeras were unified.  The extent to which geographic boundaries like the Rio Grande were respected appears to have not changed.  Single-member contiguous districts were preserved.  District compactness and core retention both increased slightly.  The Multi-Tribal/Navajo Nation plan was preserved.  The incumbent pairings stayed at three and in Central Albuquerque it was partisan neutral.  And the maps were submitted a week before they were due.

The new maps from Judge Hall continue to split a few communities of interest in Albuquerque, such as the International District, neighborhood associations like Academy Acres North and Taylor Ranch, and historic neighborhoods like Huning Highland.  Silver City remained split between districts.  The Supreme Court may consider whether these and other examples constitute “clear communities of interest.”

Judge Hall's latest maps lack any calculation or mention of the voting-eligible population.  The Supreme Court explained that when determining whether a map fulfilled the conditions of the Voting Rights Act, “the question is whether the minority group has a citizen voting-age majority in the district."  This was a general statement, but the Supreme Court also specified that District 63 must become an “effective, citizen, majority-minority district as that term is commonly understood in Voting Rights Act litigation, and as it has been represented, at least in effect, for the past three decades.”  Before redistricting, the voting-age population in District 63 was 54.6% Hispanic.  The executive map approved by Judge Hall reduced the voting-age population in the district to 54.0% Hispanic.  According to census data on citizenship status for the counties and census tracts that coincide with the precincts in District 63, the new maps create a district with a voting-age population of 17,973, of which 10,038 (55.9%) were Hispanic, and a voting-eligible population of 15,865, of which 8,032 (50.6%) were Hispanic.  The Supreme Court may not consider this slight majority “effective.”

It remains uncertain whether the Supreme Court will consider the new maps from Judge Hall “partisan-neutral and fair to both sides.”  The political performance for both of the new maps is 38 Democratic and 32 Republican districts.  These numbers happen to coincide with the political performance for the districts as they are currently drawn.  But the political performance model used by Judge Hall determined statewide voting over the last decade was 53% Democratic and 47% Republican.  If the Supreme Court decides that proportional representation is the best way to remove partisan bias, then they may prefer a State House map that contains 37 Democratic and 33 Republican districts.  But this scenario may only happen if the Supreme Court believes that increasing the number of Democratic districts from 36 in the executive map to 38 in the new Judge Hall maps meets their definition of a “severe and unjustified partisan performance swing.”

February 21, 2012 at 03:51 PM in Democratic Party, Redistricting, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2012

City Redistricting is More Than Lines on a Map

Provided by Contributing writer Lora Lucero.

Albuquerque City CouncilThe Albuquerque City Council is poised to take final action on Wednesday, February 22, on its preferred plan for carving up the nine city council districts.

The Council does this every 10 years following the US Census to make sure that we adhere to the "one person, one vote" goal.   Clearly, most of the city's growth in the past decade has occurred on the West Side, thanks to our leaders' pro-sprawl policies. And so it's time for the people of the West Side to have a third council district.

There are many ways to skin this cat, but it appears the five Republican councilors have decided "Plan L" is the map du jour.  "Plan L" essentially eliminates District 3 by squishing Districts 2 & 3 together, creating a "small nation" says Councilor Debbie O'Malley who represents District 2.

The problem with Plan L District 2 is the impact it would have on representation for downtown Albuquerque.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have approximately 30% of the city's "poor" and "very poor" streets; along  with approximately 40% of the city's 5-year road rehab projects.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have 23 of the city's 27 redevelopment areas.  Nearly 25% of the GO Bond projects would fall into a single district.

The new, enlarged District 2 would have the vast majority of low income census tracts and all of the federally-designated "pockets of poverty."

That means one councilor would be advocating for the needs of 30-40% of the crumbling infrastructure; for 85% of the redevelopment projects; and for the majority of low-income residents of Albuquerque.

The goal ideally is to create 9 districts with equal population numbers --- approximately 60,675 people. But "Plan L" would shift more people into District 2 and, with 63,508 people, the new District 2 would have the greatest deviation from the ideal.  4.7%

Something to think about ..... not just for those of us who live downtown, but for the entire city.

In a nutshell, what the 5 Republican Councilors want is to protect their solid Republican-voting districts while diluting the representation of the minorities and poor people who live in District 3.  This results in a geographic bias in favor of the predominately white, middle-upper class neighborhoods in the NE Heights.

Shameful!

The entire city depends on a strong historic core with a vibrant downtown.

There are other ways to draw the lines on the map so that we don't slight the voters who live downtown, and don't weaken the representation and advocacy that a thriving city requires in its downtown core.

Contact your City Councilor and the Mayor ---- and let them know that "Plan L" stinks.  They can do much better.  COrtega@cabq.gov 

February 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM in City of Albuquerque, Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (3)

Councilor Cook Redistricting Fairness is like “Getting thrown to the Wolves”

Guest Blog by Pam Fraser Walters resident in City Council District 7.

Could we please have more redistricting honesty and less obfuscation and grandstanding from City Councilor and Congressional aspirant Dan Lewis?  Does Mister/Pastor Lewis really believe and expect others to believe that “redistricting is not about politics”? The purpose of redistricting political entities, those units of government such as cities, counties, legislatures and congress, is to provide equitable representation for citizens.  That’s surely one element of politics.  Partisanship, unmentioned by Mr. Lewis, is often another.  How elected representatives and citizens behave is still one more. 

Councilor Lewis claims that “Throughout the [redistricting] process, my colleagues and I on the City Council have been open minded….” Yet an October 21, 2011 email from Councilor Cook to a constituent declares “Do not worry about our district getting thrown to the wolves, we councilors on east side and Lewis on west will not vote for that.”

“Getting thrown to the wolves” is Councilor Cook’s depiction of moving District 7 to the southwest as Plan V would do. Of course, it also undoes his incumbent seat.  Plan L, which Councilor Lewis (and east side councilors Winter, Cook, Jones and Harris) have spoken for, would move District 3, Councilor Benton’s, to the southwest currently represented mostly by Councilor Sanchez and in a relatively few precincts by Councilor Benton.

And, while Councilor Lewis declares, “I will not support any map that does not give West Side residents three full council districts,” he fails to mention that none of the eight maps recommended to the Council by its’ appointed redistricting committee lacks three full council districts.  Nor does he mention that the “carefully” selected redistricting committee included not merely residents of each Council district, but active, elected politicians such as Linda Lopez, Sander Rue and Wayne Johnson (Alternate for Janice Arnold-Jones, first, then Kathie Leyendecker).  So much for redistricting being “political”  being “the furthest thing from the truth.”

Although Mr. Lewis says he and other Councilors appreciated constituent comments and took them seriously, anyone reviewing citizen testimony will see that Nob Hill and International District residents greatly preferred Plan V to Plan L.

Interested observers also may note that the first six redistricting maps, A through F, did not mark the residence of incumbents, a factor crucial in election eligibility.  All subsequent maps do.  Is that not political? It is also fair to point out that current Districts 3, 7 and 8 are farthest below “ideal” numbers of residents per the 2010 census (and hence, overrepresented) while Districts 1 and 5 are severely underrepresented.

Map L, which creates a new District 3 outside the residency of Councilor Benton, also considerably alters the boundaries of Districts 2, 4 and 6 (those most recently subject to election) and puts Councilors O’Malley (District 2) and Benton in the same district.  It also modifies eastside Districts 7, 8 and 9 and west side districts 1 and 5.  Map V, by moving District 7, would put Councilor Cook in a redrawn District 6, currently represented by Councilor Garduno.

Because the City Council has only nine districts, the real issue has been how will existing districts be reconfigured and/or moved, which Councilor(s) will be unseated or forced to compete, and consequently, who will represent Albuquerque citizens in particular parts of the city.  That issue of representation is crucial.

Redistricting means not only that west siders will be more equitably represented (by having three rather than two districts), but also that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of Albuquerque citizens will have new City Councilors and possibly not the one they recently elected.

Mr. Lewis closes his Op-Ed by saying that redistricting is “not about politics,” but “what’s best for the citizens of Albuquerque.”  Because Plan L changes not only boundaries, but also ethnic distribution within districts, the question is: Which citizens and Councilors are treated equitably, advantageously or disadvantageously?  Who truly is served?

February 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM in City of Albuquerque, Guest Blogger, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 17, 2012

State House Redistricting Case Moves Forward in Federal Court

Guest Blog post By Sterling Fluharty, Owner of Southwest Political Services www.swpsnm.com

A panel of three federal judges (Hartz, Black, and Johnson) met this afternoon in Albuquerque to consider taking jurisdiction for redistricting of the State House of Representatives.  After two hours of presentations, questions, and answers, they set a briefing schedule for the parties that will occur over the next ten days.

Republicans (the plaintiffs for now) filed in federal court last Monday and Democrats asked to intervene in the case.  Republicans argued that the New Mexico Supreme Court gave Judge James Hall unconstitutional instructions when they told him how to produce a new State House map by February 27.  Democrats sided with the state Supreme Court and argued that the federal court should not get involved.  Today the judges granted all motions to intervene, but did not decide who will ultimately be the defendants and plaintiffs if this case moves forward.  According to Republicans, the Navajo Nation and other persons who were not parties to the state cases are contemplating intervention.

The Attorney General's office argued that they should have represented the Secretary of State at today's proceedings.  The Secretary of State's position is that she has hired her own independent counsel.  The federal judges told the Attorney General's representative that his office could file an Entry of Appearance, and begin to receive electronic notices and participate in the proceedings, as soon as today.  The Attorney General's office has until Tuesday to resolve the question of who represents whom.

The judges said today, “The big issue for us is our authority.”  Democrats argued that state Supreme Court decisions are generally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The judges asked the parties to respond to the question of whether they have higher authority than the state Supreme Court.  The judges were surprised that Republicans wanted a decision from them before Judge Hall finishes his work.  Democrats and Republicans were both ordered to submit briefs on this question by Wednesday with replies by Friday.

Republicans argued the state Supreme Court gave Judge Hall unconstitutional instructions in requiring a redistricting map in which communities of interest would be a higher priority than the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.”  You “can't build a house on a faulty foundation,” they argued.  Democrats argued that Judge Hall's map will likely be constitutional and he needs to produce a map before it can be ruled unconstitutional.  Judge Hall began working this week with Brian Sanderoff, an expert witness, on the new map.  Briefs on the constitutionality question are due Thursday with replies the following Monday.

Republicans argued for an expedited court case, since candidate and election administration deadlines are quickly approaching.  State statute allows the Governor and Secretary of State to issue and amended proclamation on March 6.  March 20 is deadline for declaration of candidacy and nominating petitions, with certification on April 10.  County clerks will start sending out ballots to military personnel stationed overseas on April 20.  Republicans argued a State House map has to be ready by March 5, or it will be impossible for candidates and officials to meet election deadlines.  Democrats argued the federal court could allow the election to proceed under a flawed map, if the correct map was in place for the 2014 election.  Briefs on the authority to delay election dates are due Thursday with replies the following Monday.

With this briefing schedule, the federal judges will have all briefs and replies submitted by Monday, February 27, which is also the deadline for Judge Hall's revised map.  Based on their questions and decisions today, the federal judges appear ready to master the relevant materials (such as transcripts and opinions), to proceed with this case, and to consider or draft maps, if three conditions are met: 1) only after Judge Hall finishes his work, 2) if they are persuaded it is necessary, and 3) they are convinced they have the authority.  Two of the judges are Republicans and one is a Democrat, one of the Republicans is known for being quite fair, so neither Democrats nor Republicans should expect preferential treatment as this case moves forward.

February 17, 2012 at 07:23 PM in Democratic Party, Legal Issues, Redistricting, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Representative Antonio 'Moe' Maestas Comments on NM Redistricting Supreme Court Order to Lower Court

Back to the drawing board for the complex redistricting for the State of New Mexico House of Representatives new districting map, developed off of 2010 census info. The NM Supreme Court rejected the republican map which Governor Martinez brought forward. The more democratic map; the map passed by the legislators in the special session in September 2011 was vetoed by Martinez. Thereby sending the House of Rep mapping to Judge Halls Court. Where Judge Hall sided with the Republican redistricting map favored by Martinez. For a very good recap of the redistricting fight, up to the point of Hall's decision, see this post here from the conservative NM Watchdog website. If you can bear it read down to the comment posted at the end of the write up. There are good maps to reference within this post.

After Judge Halls decision Rep. Moe Maestas and Rep. Brian Egolf brought a suit to the Supreme Court of NM challenging Hall's ruling. Now if we fast forward to today: today we got the Supreme Court ruling which was 4 to 1 to not approve the Judge Hall's ruling and map. If you want to read the Supreme Court ruling issued today see this link Redistricting-Order.

Representative Moe Maestas had this to say about the Supreme Court ruling today: "It is a great day for all New Mexicans. We are very pleased that the Governor's proposed map received a thorough review by the highest court in the land and the remand to the District Court is totally appropriate.  Redistricting is about the beautiful communities of our state and should never be utilized for a partisan power grab. The new districts will now be drawn to reflect centuries-old communities of interests instead of being drawn by DC partisans."

Thank you Representative Moe Maestas and Rep. Brian Egolf and the others who did not stop fighting for the fair representation People of NM!

The next decision from Judge Hall who has to reconsider the map is scheduled for February 27, 2012.

February 10, 2012 at 04:55 PM in Democratic Party, Redistricting, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (8)

NM Supreme Court Rejects Gov. Martinez Biased Maps

The following is a statement from Javier M. Gonzales, Chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, on the Supreme Court's decision to reject Governor Susana Martinez's partisan House district maps and send the case back to Judge Hall's court:

"We are pleased that today the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico rejected Governor Susana Martinez's maps as too partisan and too biased. The ruling was a victory for the people of New Mexico and the principle of one person, one vote. It was a rejection of Governor Martinez's partisan maps that favored the interests of her political party over those of the people of this state.

From here, the fight to guarantee districts that uphold the principle of one person, one vote and protect communities of interest will continue, and we will see it through until every option has been exhausted."

February 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM in Democratic Party, Redistricting, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sen. Wirth and Rep. Egolf to Hold District Meetings to Discuss 2012 Legislative Session and Redistricting

Egolf and wirth waphState Senator Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe) and State Representative Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) have scheduled two meetings with residents of their districts.

  • Tuesday January 10th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center in the Lamy/Peralta Rooms;
  • Wednesday January 11th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in Eldorado at the “Performance Space at La Tienda,” 7 Caliente Road across from the Agora Shopping Center.

“Representative Egolf and I look forward to the opportunity to visit with our Santa Fe constituents,” Wirth said.  “Constituent input and ideas are critical as we head into the legislative session.”

Senator Wirth and Representative Egolf have made district meetings a regular part of their legislative duties, and both underscore their importance.

“These meetings are one of the most important things we do,” Egolf said.  “They are a way for us to better understand individual and neighborhood concerns, while discussing the best way to proceed on legislative issues.”

Wirth represents State Senate District 25.  Egolf represents State House District 47.  Since their districts overlap, they work together whenever possible in addressing issues of concern to Santa Fe residents.

January 8, 2012 at 04:24 PM in Brian Egolf, NM Legislature 2012, Peter Wirth, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Westside Albuquerque Students and Lawmakers Rally for Representation

More than 40 Albuquerque Westside high school students rallied outside the Roundhouse Tuesday to hear New Mexico Senators and House members explain the importance of re-districting for their neighborhoods, reports a statement released by NM Senate Dems. Albuquerque Sen. Bernadette M. Sanchez (D-Bernalillo-26) told the students from Albuquerque’s R.F.K. and South Valley Charter Schools that there has been unequal representation in their district for more than ten years since the last redistricting effort -- but efforts now would help solve that. “People need equal representation,” said Sen. Sanchez, “I hope that every Legislator and the Governor keeps that in mind as we work on redistricting."

Redistricting New Mexico following the last census is the primary duty of lawmakers during the current Special Session at the Capitol. Sen. Sanchez said Albuquerque’s Westside districts have seen tremendous growth, but representation has lagged and could create a problem when it comes to capital expenditures for the district.

New Mexico has seen average growth of 13.2% over the last decade, but some sections of the state like Sandoval and Valencia Counties have witnessed remarkable growth while others have lost population. Research and Polling Inc. found that Sandoval County and Rio Rancho, for example, saw population growth of more than 46% between 2000 and 2010, leaving it underrepresented in Santa Fe and Washington.

“We want someone who lives in the South Valley to represent the South Valley and we want someone who lives on the West Side to represent the West Side District,” said Albuquerque State Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Bernalillo-16). Rep. Maestas told the student group that lawmakers must work cautiously to make sure re-designed districts don’t look like a snake with someone who lives in the head representing people living in the tail. “We want them to be compact,” said Rep. Maestas, “and we want them on the west side of the River.” 

“Redistricting gives communities the opportunity to receive their fair share of resources -- resources used to improve things like infrastructure and services,” said Rep. Eleanor Chavez (D-Bernalillo-13). “The needs of communities on the west side are many and with additional representation hopefully we can meet those needs. I would like everyone to remember that the major focus of this special session is redistricting and we are spending countless hours making sure we get it right.”

Albuquerque Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo-12) told the students cities have grown as the population has shifted away from rural areas and lawmakers must find ways to reflect that shift so urban communities have adequate representation and guarantee the principle of one person/one vote to meet their needs. “They need maximum representation to keep communities with historical, cultural, economic interests intact,” said Sen. Ortiz y Pino, “and it’s our duty to make sure those communities are structured in a district that recognizes and meets those needs.”

September 15, 2011 at 12:30 AM in NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Redistricting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Susana Martinez/GOP to Sen. Mary Jane Garcia: Na Na, Na Na Na!

Grease5
Susana: Pink Lady Complex?

As the Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell Tweeted yesterday afternoon, State Senator Mary Jane Garcia (D-Dona Ana), the Majority Whip, appeared with Governor Susana Martinez at a press conference about the governor's bill to stop social promotion -- to hold third graders back a grade until they can read at the appropriate level. Although Garcia had supported a similar bill last session, yesterday she unexpectedly said the bill shouldn't be debated in the upcoming special session:

"It's premature," Garcia said of the bill. She pointed out that taxpayers will have to fork out about $50,000 a day for legislators to attend the special session, and she stressed it's not the right time to push for educational reform, given the need to focus on redistricting of political boundaries based on the latest census numbers.

... "I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you beforehand. But I made this decision just last night," Garcia said to Martinez. "I was mobbed with calls from everybody, saying, 'You can't do that. You can't take away a parent's rights. We don't want our kids to be held back. We want them to go on and achieve.' " 

Sen. Garcia then apologized again to the governor, and Martinez replied, "that's ok, everyone is entitled to their opinion." I guess Susana was more miffed at Sen. Garcia than she let on. Or she believes that revenge is best when served up (at least somewhat) cold.

Later in the afternoon, the Republican Party of New Mexico sent out a scathing press release repeatedly attacking Sen. Garcia for "taking a cheap shot" at Gov. Martinez, and then dredging up incidents from the past to try to embarrass Sen. Garcia. Susana might just as well have saved everyone time and effort and instructed the GOP spinner to write a press release containing only the phrase "na na, na na na!" repeated over and over again. It's that juvenile and vengeful. Well, nobody ever claimed that Susana Martinez or the NM GOP are models of dignity, restraint and maturity.

Images If this is how Susana expects to capture the VP slot on the GOP presidential ticket, I'd have to say her judgment is more than a little off. Then again, tea partyish right wingers seem to really like women candidates who "talk tough," cultivate a rough "law and order" image, pack "heat" and use rhetoric that exhibits the worst qualities of nasty banter heard in high school locker rooms from the 1950s. Think "Grease" or any number of entirely forgettable teen B-movies of the 50s era. All Martinez needs to complete the picture is a hot pink jacket and a ratted up bouffant hairstyle held together by a can of Aqua Net.

Governor-shooting
Susana "Pinky Lady" Martinez at the shooting range

Saying that Sen. Garcia "once again proved that no cheap shot is below her," the release quotes GOP executive director Bryan Watkins saying, "Garcia would rather take political cheap shots than improve our schools."

The release goes on to inform readers that, "Garcia has a history of taking cheap shots, including against Barack Obama, who she called arrogant." It then moves on to a report of Garcia "attacking" Martinez last year related to the Baby Brianna bill, and ends with the outrageously inaccurate claim that Gov. Martinez puts New Mexico above partisan politics. Yeah, we've all noticed that, right?

Granted, some of the statements attributed to Sen. Garcia are not exactly politically correct, but the venom expressed in the press release is rather shocking, even for the New Mexico GOP. And that's saying something.

Susana Martinez has been taking a lot of guff for trying to pack the agenda of the upcoming special legislative session on the already contentious issue of redistricting with bills meant to nurture wedge issue frenzy -- like another stab at repealing driver's licenses for foreign nationals and the social promotion bill touted yesterday. Sen. Garcia is quoted in a KOB.com story as being very critical of the governor's plans for the session:

"We may end up being here the whole year and not get the redistricting done," said Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, a Las Cruces Democrat. "I want to focus on redistricting, and I'm thinking of the $50,000 we're gonna spend every day to keep us here in Santa Fe."

She'd Kick You in the Kidneys
Another Dem legislator is also seeing the nasty "Pink Lady" side of Susana Martinez. According to an Albuquerque Journal story,

Rep. Eliseo Alcón, D-Milan, made it clear Wednesday that he didn’t see any compassion in Republican Gov. Susana Martinez as he made a speech outside the Roundhouse doors.

“I believe that our governor up there on the fourth floor, if she were to see you laying on the floor right there because you were hurt, she would probably go kick you in the kidneys just because she can,” Alcón said. “And that would be all she would do. She feels that just because she is governor she can hurt whoever she can.”

As the Journal reports, Alcón was speaking after an announcement that Martinez’s administration would be sued over an administrative action that requires 10,000 foreign nationals with in-state licenses to prove their residency in New Mexico or risk losing their licenses – a move her critics, and the lawsuit, claim is discriminatory.

Gov. Martinez is developing quite the reputation as a cruel and callous operator, which many right wingers no doubt think is very, very cool. What she's losing in the process, however, is any perception that she knows how to govern wisely and fairly. This is one GOP governor who's never out of campaign attack mode -- and it's ordinary New Mexicans who will suffer for that fact. 

August 30, 2011 at 03:37 PM in Education, Immigration, NM Legislature Redistricting 2011, Redistricting, Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, August 29, 2011

8/30-31: NM Legislative Redistricting Committee to Meet in Las Vegas and Santa Fe

The Legislative Redistricting Committee continues to hold public meetings at locations throughout the state in order to encourage public accessibility and input on the upcoming redistricting plan. The final public meetings prior to the upcoming special session will take place at Highlands University and at the State Capitol in Santa Fe on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 30–31.

Representative Mary Helen Garcia (D–Dona Ana–34) and Senator Linda M. Lopez (D–Bernalillo–11) serve as co-chairs of the committee. The upcoming meeting begins Tuesday morning, August 30, at 10:00 AM in the Kennedy Lounge on the Highlands University campus. On Wednesday, August 31, the meeting moves to the State Capitol, room 307 and begins at 9:00 AM. This is the final interim session meeting to be held in preparation for the special session of the legislature that begins September 6, 2011.

The committee will recommend new boundaries for the congressional districts within New Mexico, the state House of Representatives and Senate districts, the Public Regulation Commission districts, and the Public Education Commission districts. Recommendations will be based on the 2010 decennial census, the redistricting guidelines adopted by the New Mexico legislative council, and testimony received from interested individuals and groups. The hearings will include sharing of information about the legal requirements of the redistricting process, sample maps and time for public comment.

The committee recognizes the importance of redistricting in a democracy. Members and legislative staff are working to ensure that every citizen is represented and that the process is visible and open for public input. Representative Garcia encourages all interested New Mexicans to take an active interest in the redistricting process.

“The job of the Redistricting Committee is to develop a variety of plans that are in line with the legal principles that govern redistricting. We look forward to sharing the information we’ve gathered and hearing from all concerned,” said Representative Garcia.

The committee welcomes and encourages public attendance and input. Time for public comment will be allowed each day. For more information and the most current committee agendas and calendars, please go here.

August 29, 2011 at 07:52 AM in Events, Las Vegas NM, NM Legislature 2011, Redistricting, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (0)