If passed, legislative districts would have to be contiguous and compact wherever possible, following pre-existing city and county boundaries.
This very simple TV ad is a nice rebuke to the pro-incumbent nonsense that has animated many of the newspaper articles and columns I've read the past few months, where reporters and columnists seem to foolishly imagine that they can explain the situation better with words, rather than a simple map -they can't.
They will NEVER be able to beat an accurate map for conveying the sheer preposterous nature of the way legislative districts are currently drawn by insiders.
But for some unfathomable reason, perhaps the epidemic of terrible news editing raging across the state's newspapers -with particular damage in South Florida- the simple act of displaying accurate representations of the districts is almost always missing from these stories and columns, even links to such on their newspaper websites and political blogs, despite how easy it is to show.
That's why I have taken it upon myself to actually provide links to these maps when I have chosen to comment on various news sites on this subject so that others can see them for themselves, absent the newspaper doing this basic thing.
A simple map of the districts is like cold water being tossed into the faces of folks like Rep, Corrine Brown, the erratic woman whose equally erratic and bizarre northeast Florida nine-county congressional district stretches from Jacksonville to north of Orlando, often only about the length of a few blocks for quite a distance.
Why was that done?
Simple -to keep her in Congress.
As I've written here many times before, it's the very same reason that FL-17, where I live and currently have Kendrick Meek as a rep in Washington for a few more days, was drawn up the way it was.
The CD snakes its way from Liberty City in Miami then goes northwest to Opa-Locka and then jumps across the Broward County line, including the part of Hallandale Beach that's west of U.S.-1.
Or, counter-intuitively, why the other part of Hallandale Beach, which includes the towering condos on the beach along State Road A1A, which are actually FARTHER AWAY from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's FL-20 congressional base of support out in Pembroke Pines
than I am, STILL end up being represented by her instead of Meek.
The current FL-17 was drawn specifically to ensure that there were enough African-American voters in a Miami-based district so that Carrie Meek could win a Congressional seat -and stay in office indefinitely.
And in a tragic case of unintended consequences, give it to her son Kendrick as an inheritance.
This sort of chicanery and mutuality of interests among Democrats also ensured that liberal Jewish Democratic voters in SE Broward would largely be able to vote for someone else,
Someone NOT named Meek.
How gerrymandering sustains political dynasties
Logically, FL-17 should include only Miami-Dade voters and should've always had a MUCH higher representation of Hispanic voters than it has, since they are the majority of citizens and voters in Miami-Dade County.
And yet it didn't, did it?
Perhaps once these common sense Amendments are passed, local and congressional legislative districts will FINALLY and accurately reflect the common sense realities of the mutuality of interests of citizens in compact districts, not merely be odd-shaped stains on a map to allow incumbents to get enough supporters to stay in office indefinitely.
This will surely be the last time that FL-17 looks the way it does now.
Adios and good riddance!
For more on combative Rep. Corrine Brown, please see:
Corrine Brown: Because This Senate Race Needs Some Crazy http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice/2009/06/corrine_brown_because_this_sen.php
Local radio host, Rep. Corrine Brown have an on-air shouting match
Opponent disputes Corrine Brown's district.
Documentary says boundaries formed by gerrymandering.
Scott Fortune - A Horribly Gerrymandered Congressional District
Scott Fortune - Gerrymandering in Mt. Dora, Fla.
See Scott Fortune's other eye-opening videos on gerrymandering in Florida at:
Here's another mention of Brown from an excerpt of a recent email I received from the FairDistrictsFlorida.org folks, since I'm on their mailing list by choice.
From: Kelly Penton, Kelly.Penton@fairdistrictsflorida.org
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:45:45 -0400 (EDT)
To: Jackie Lee, Jackie.Lee@fairdistrictsflorida.org
Subject: Say NO to self-interested politicians!
Have you seen FairDistricts’ television ad? Have you read that every major Florida newspaper is supporting Amendments 5 & 6? Have you heard about the latest polls that show we are on track to finally put an end to unfair redistricting?
Well, our opponents must have. The politicians, clinging to the luxury of picking their own voters, are burning up the airwaves trying to confuse voters and convince them that Amendments 5 & 6 are not in Floridians’ best interest.
State Senator Mike Haridopolos has been pumping defamatory op-eds into Florida papers, Congresswoman Corrine Brown has been all over YouTube spreading her message of opposition, and Congressman Diaz-Balart even showed up at our press conference trying to negate our message.
It’s not a coincidence that those who object to Amendments 5 & 6 are the very politicians who will face greater competition in their elections when 5 & 6 are in the Florida Constitution. When Amendments 5 & 6 pass, voters in Florida will regain the power to hold legislators accountable. Right now, redistricting guarantees victory for incumbents – No wonder politicians object!
I have learned to never underestimate the power of self-interested politicians.
VOTE YES on AMENDMENTS 5 & 6
A Clean Sweep for Amendments 5 & 6!
FairDistrictsFlorida Press Release
Friday Oct 22, 2010
Every Major Florida Newspaper Endorses the FairDistricts Amendments
October 22, 2010
Contact: Kelly Penton, 786-258-2649 Kelly@FairDistrictsFlorida.org
Miami, FL— Today, the Florida Times-Union recommended that “voters should support the reasonable Amendments 5 and 6,” making it a clean sweep of endorsements from major newspapers across the state. A total of 22 newspapers have urged Floridians to vote YES on FairDistricts Amendments 5 and 6.
“This could very well be the one issue this election season with unanimous support from all major newspapers across the state,” said FairDistrictsFlorida.org Campaign Chair Ellen Freidin. “Each newspaper agrees-- politicians have been using redistricting as a way to protect their own seats, making backroom deals and handpicking the voters that will most likely support them to be in their districts. Amendments 5 and 6 will stop this selfish practice, once and for all.”
The FairDistricts Amendments have even received national attention, with an editorial today in USA Today supporting efforts in Florida, California and Oklahoma, and stating “All these plans would benefit voters and the public interest.”
Since September, endorsements have been rolling in one-by-one from:
Ft. Myers News-Press
Naples Daily News
Northwest Florida Daily News
Ocala Star Banner
Palm Beach Post
Panama City News Herald
Pensacola News Journal
Sarasota Herald Tribune
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
St. Petersburg Times
The Florida Times-Union
The Miami Herald
They all say that by voting yes on Amendments 5 and 6, Floridians will create rules for politicians when they redraw district lines, to make sure they protect voters’ best interests, not their own. With voter approval, the amendments will: prohibit politicians from drawing districts to benefit themselves or their parties, while requiring them to make districts compact, contiguous, and follow city/county lines, where feasible. In addition, the amendments will inscribe into the State Constitution strong protections for minority voting rights, for the first time ever.
To read each endorsement, or for more information on Amendments 5 and 6, please visit www.fairdistrictsflorida.org
See veteran CBS News reporter Bill Plante interviews director Jeff Reichert, the writer and director of Gerrymandering at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RtKwhd60Q8
Sorry, that's not available for me to show here, but you can click the link above to go to CBSNewsOnline and view it.
But I do have the trailer for Reichert's documentary.