Monday, August 26, 2013

Marion County Judges Issue New Maps Designed For The Electorate, Not The Elected

I've had a chance to take a look at the new council maps a panel of Marion County judges ordered in response to a lawsuit filed against the Republican-drawn map signed into law by Mayor Greg Ballard last year and I have to say I like the new maps better than what the Republicans approved or the Democrats had proposed. An out-of-state contractor, CityGate GIS, drew the news map for only $6,000, a fraction of the $175,000 Republican council members blew on a contract with political insider David Brooks in 2011. Judge Heather Welch, who chaired the panel of judges, noted that the out-of-state contractor drew the districts without consideration of where incumbent members of the council reside, which is the way it should be done. The Star's Jon Murray notes that the new districts pit a large number of incumbents against one another, a problem exacerbated by a new state law pushed by Mayor Ballard and the Republicans that eliminated the four at-large council positions, assuming the at-large council members choose to run in the new districts. Here's a rundown of what Murray found:
  • Angela Mansfield (D) and Will Gooden (R) reside in District 2
  • Christine Scales (R), District 3, is located in the same district as at-large councilor Pam Hickman
  • City-County Council President Maggie Lewis, District 7, is located in the same district as at-large councilor Leroy Robinson
  • Monroe Gray (D) and Joe Simpson (D) reside in District 8, along with at-large councilor John Barth
  • Vernon Brown (D) and Ben Hunter (R) reside in District 11
  • Duke Oliver (D) and Steve Talley (D) reside in District 16
  • Brian Mahern (D) and Jeff Miller (R) reside in District 20, along with at-large councilor Zach Adamson
  • Frank Mascari, Jefferson Shreve and Jack Sandlin reside in District 24
  • There are 7 open districts, 9, 10, 14, 19, 21, 23 and 25.
I suspect that Democratic members of the council are as upset about the newly-drawn maps as Republicans are. The Republican-drawn map went out of its way to protect incumbent members of both parties, even though it slightly favored the Republicans. Mayor Greg Ballard has already vowed to appeal the decision of the panel of Marion County judges, which concluded that the council violated state law by failing to redraw maps in 2012. Black radio talk show host Amos Brown tweets that he finds that at least 6 of the districts are minority-majority districts, although he thinks minority voting strength is diluted in Washington and Pike Townships. There are currently eight black council members elected from the 25 single-member districts.


Citizen Kane said...

So, I won't hold my breath waiting for these thieves to return their ill-gotten gains. $6,000 - that is about right. But will anyone get called on the carpet for this financial malfeasance. No, instead, they intend to double-down.

Anonymous said...

how can Beech Grove be in 4 different districts, that seems like poor drawing to me.

Eclecticvibe said...

I always found it tough to accept that US law recognizes protecting incumbents as a legitimate interest of redistricting. But really it's seems now there's more gerrymandering than redistricting period. It seems like the judicially drawn maps are somewhat less politicized, though I'm not sure how you ever remove politics 100% from the process

Marycatherine Barton said...

"72% of Americans Believe NSA is Blackmailing Judges......" posted at on 7/7. I pray they are wrong.

Anonymous said...

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.”
-George Orwell, 1984