PI Call to Action – Please Contact the Independent Redistricting Commission

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PRESCOTT INDIVISIBLE – CALL TO ACTION!
CONTACT THE INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

Before the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission chooses the mapping consultant that will help turn its proposed district boundaries into reality, it wants to give the three finalists an opportunity to respond to the criticism that’s been leveled at them.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) is going to hire a mapping consultant next week. Three firms have applied for this job:
1.  HaystaqDNA LLC
2. Taylor English Decisions LLC
3. Timmons Group/NDC
All three finalists have partisan baggage that has animated Republicans and Democrats to oppose the firms they view as hostile to their interests.

The commission heard presentations from and conducted interviews with the three firms last week, and could have made a decision on which one to hire at its meeting Tuesday. Under the state’s procurement system, the five commissioners must give each of the three applicants a score based on a set of predetermined criteria, and that score guides their decision on who to hire. 

Instead, they decided to extend the official public comment period regarding mapping consultants through the end of Thursday (4/29) at 5pm, and the consulting firms will have until Monday to submit written responses. The commissioners will address the comments at their next meeting on Tuesday. See AZMirror article.It is the opinion of the statewide Indivisible Redistricting Team that HaystaqDNA is the best qualified mapping consultantTaylor English Decisions has no experience and Timmons Group/NDChas the very worst track record one can imagine.

As you can can see from the public comments made to the IRC on Tuesday, April 27 (here), the Republicans have mobilized opposition against HaystaqDNA. They flooded yesterday’s comments with copy-and-paste screeds, egged on by Wendy Rogers and Kelly Townsend, as well as the AZ Republican Party and Turning Point Action.

The Commissioners of the IRC, in response to the volume of comments, extended the deadline to submit public comment to this Thursday, April 29th at 5pm.

Please join us to generate public comment in opposition to NDC. This week, the name of the game is volume. Here is what we ask you to do:

  1. Use the information below to craft comments and submit them to the https://irc.az.gov/contact-us
  2. On the Contact Us form, add your information and title it: Comment on Mapping Consultant NDC.
  3. On the dropdown box at the bottom, click any box. Every comment will go to the Commission.
  4. Please feel free to copy and paste from the text below

Comments:

  • Mapping and analysis performed by NDC and Doug Johnson has been rejected and discredited by courts throughout the country. (see lawsuits below, should you want to include a case in your commentary)
  • Hiring a mapping consultant with a record of drawing and defending court-rejected gerrymandered maps would risk the integrity of our maps and the public’s trust in the IRC. The Commission must reject Timmons Group/NDC from consideration.

In addition, we must bring the following concerns to the Commissioners:

  • The IRC Commission process is flawed: Many comments have been submitted via the website and there is no confidence that these comments have been read or received. This does not inspire confidence. 
  • Comments are treated differently based on where they are received. This is not open, transparent or fair. 
  • Biggest difference between Haystaq and NDC is competence, timeliness, defensibility.  
  • Anti-Haystaq comments are mostly generated by two extremely partisan members of the state legislature and the comments seem to be cut and pasted. 
  • Choose the mapping consultant that has the track record of not having maps overturned in court (Haystaq) 
  • HayStaq is vilified by the Right and NDC by the Left. TaylorEnglish is unqualified. The Commissioners must ignore all that and pick the candidate who will do the job and hold up in the courts. 
  • All the mapping consultants should be required to agree that they should not engage in any campaign work of lobbying work in Arizona during the contract period.
  • Any lobbying, campaigns or efforts on a federal, state or local level should be disclosed by the mapping consultant during the contract period.
  • The choice will be contentious either way, but the Commissioners must focus on the best candidate for the job. 

I.  In North Carolina’s 2019 landmark gerrymandering case Common Cause v Lewis, a three-judge panel tossed out Doug Johnson’s testimony in defense of North Carolina’s gerrymandered map — testimony which he later admitted was incorrect.
      A.  https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233105817.html
 B.  “The Court finds Dr. Johnson’s analysis unpersuasive and gives his opinions little weight.” https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/inline-files/18-CVS-14001_Final-Judgment.pdf?Bwsegeo1VV20zhJsp9hoClvmoRp3A6ARII.  The 2018 case Luna vs Kern County is a landmark voting rights victory in which the US District Court Judge ruled that the redistricting plan defended by Doug Johnson unlawfully denied Latinos the ability to elect candidates of their choice.
      A.   https://www.maldef.org/2019/03/kern-country-voting-rights/
  B.  Doug Johnson’s testimony and data were found to be “insufficient.” https://casetext.com/case/luna-v-cnty-of-kern-4

III.  NDC was the mapping consultant for the 2001 Arizona IRC, which produced two legislative maps that were later thrown out. 
      A.  In 2002, the Commission’s first approved map failed to receive preclearance under the Voting Rights Act: https://azredistricting.org/2001/Final/doj_letter.pdf
      B.  In 2004, the Commission’s 2nd approved map was ruled unconstitutional:https://azredistricting.org/2001/2004legfinal/2004LegCourtOrder.pdf

IV.  In March of 2019, the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) settled a civil rights lawsuit which claimed that the district’s at-large election map “dilutes the voting strength of Latino and African American citizens.
      A.  According to the plaintiff’s attorney, “NDC cost the District over $650,000 by spending over a year producing map after map without a Latino majority trustee area.”https://www.countyofkings.com/home/showpublisheddocument?id=25778
      B.  In that settlement, WCCUSD conceded that their map was likely in violation of both the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) and Section 2 of the US Voting Rights Act.
      C. The court adopted the Plaintiff’s map — not NDC’s. https://www.wccusd.net/cms/lib/CA01001466/Centricity/Domain/16/Joint%20Ex%20Parte%20Application%20for%20Entry%20of%20Judgment.pdf

V.  In 2018 & 2019, as the demographers for Redwood City’s redistricting, NDC claimed that it was not possible to draw two Latino-majority districts in the city. Latino community groups protested after the council passed a map with just one Latino-majority district. Then NDC reversed their position. 
     A.  “After pushback from that community, among others, the city’s demographer announced that it made an error and was in fact able to create maps with two Latino majority districts…”
https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/redwood-city-adopts-district-elections-map/article_29ddd2e8-7127-11e9-9750-c796bd4f69f7.html
     B.  Due to NDC’s “error”, the Redwood City Council was forced to start over on their map, adding additional time and cost.
https://www.redwoodcity.org/home/showdocument?id=17969
 
This is one example of why your Prescott Indivisible liaisons to the statewide Indivisible Redistricting Team continue to ask for your assistance in the Redistricting process.Contact Maria Lynam (maria488@cableone.net) or Maria Elena Dunn (med4others@gmail.comand find out how you can comment to the Independent Redistricting Commission. The IRC Tuesday meetings are open for public written comment from 9:30a on. 

What is our “ask”? You will be sent a weekly email with talking points that you can rewrite and submit prior to the Tuesday IRC meetings via the Contact Us form on the website or during the meeting via an on-line form. Your input will make the Independent Redistricting Commissioners understand that the public is listening! You do not have to listen to the meeting unless you so desire. PLEASE STEP UP! This opportunity comes once every ten years! 

Start a discussion on: TWITTER @IndivisPrescott
 Facebook (Public page) /Facebook (Closed group)
prescottindivisible.org 
Info@prescottindivisible.org
Prescott Indivisible on YouTube 

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Prescott Indivisible was founded in 2017, when Paul Hamilton and Nicole Romine put an ad in the local paper, requesting local progressives to show up at the library. Over 100 people lined up. In short order, we had formed a local chapter of the national Indivisible movement. Within six months we adopted a set of Guidelines that sets the framework in which we work, designed a logo and printed and sold t-shirts. Our mailing list quickly expanded from 100 to over 1,200. We usually have 100 or more attend our general monthly meetings.

Prescott Indivisible has a strong track record of activism. We adopted the team concept: Communication/Events; Voter Education and Elections; Education; Environment; Human Rights; Immigration and Peacekeepers to assist with safely issues. Initially we had a steering committee that consisted of volunteers. After our guidelines were adopted, the steering committee is made up of elected officers and members at large and the heads of the various teams, or their designees. A diverse group of community activists, social justice advocates and others that have volunteer ties to non-profits and religious organizations, the steering committee assists the teams when asked and sets the agendas.

Our teams and their members have worked diligently to make their voices heard. We have made thousands of calls, mailed hundreds of postcards to our legislators in Arizona and in congress. We have collaborated with like-minded organizations to advocate for issues of crucial importance to Arizona and the nation.

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