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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Upcoming Florida redistricting hearings in Broward & Miami-Dade Counties in mid-August; sadly, lack of local forums by civic groups is par for course

Scott Fortune - A Horribly Gerrymandered Congressional District


What follows below are selected excerpts of an email I sent on Tuesday to someone who's deeply involved in the 2012 redistricting issue in Florida that's already well underway.
Perhaps it will give some of you on the sidelines some insight into what is -and isn't- happening right now, which, in my opinion, is not nearly enough.

As most of you who read this blog even fairly know, I was and am a very strong supporter of FairDistricts and voted FOR Amendments 5 and 6. http://fairdistrictsnow.org

Following that I have included here some helpful information I received late on Friday afternoon from Benjamin M. Fairbrother of the Florida House of Representatives Redistricting Comm. regarding the upcoming meetings.

To get you into the spirit of things, I'm reprising here two great videos by former congressional candidate Scott Fortune that I previously have used in the last two lengthy posts I had about redistricting, the first video of which is up at the top.

In 2010, Fortune ran in the Democratic primary against mendacious, mean-spirited and gerrymandered to a fair-thee-well Rep. Corrine Brown, one of the two current Florida congresspersons suing to keep things status quo in this state -FUBAR- so that they and their ilk can continue to avoid genuine accountability in congressional elections that are actually competitive, and with them, real discussion about issues, not repetition of talking points.

That much-discussed gerrymandered CD, FL-3, stretches from the Jacksonville area to north of Orlando, as you can see here.

The reasons it looks that way are described here:

The odd size and irregular shapes of many Florida congressional districts -CDs- is a subject I wrote often (and frustrated) about last year, esp. FL-17, where I live, two miles east of the Atlantic Ocean in Broward County, repped by someone -Frederica Wilson- in a CD that has as its political center an area in another county, northwest of downtown Miami, that shares few of the everyday concerns that people in Hallandale Beach and Hollywood have.

Scott Fortune - Gerrymandering in Mt. Dora, Fla.

See Scott Fortune's other eye-opening videos on gerrymandering in Florida at:


a.) October 25, 2010 New TV ad from FairDistrictsFlorida.org; FL-17 and Corrine Brown's FL-3 are embarrassing embodiment of what unchecked gerrymandering gets you

b.) June 14, 2011 Florida's 2012 redistricting meetings in South Florida are only two months away, so where are the competing maps? Or the pre-event info meetings?

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My excerpt starts with what was the second or third paragraph, after some general pleasantries:

Having grown-up down here before leaving for college at Indiana, I know full well how brutal August is for people living down here, A/C or no A/C, both in terms of the actual weather, latent concerns about hurricanes, plus, juggling vacations, kids camps, or even weddings or company outings or conventions.
Some people, maybe even most people, just want to do nothing in August except stay cool, keep their hurricane supplies handy and watch sports or catch a movie.
(I should know.)

I get that, really I do, still, I'm mystified that even in apathetic South Florida, where people with civic-minded natures are few-and-far-between, so many groups down here who, in my opinion ought to be filling-in the vacuum and showing some strong public interest in mobilizing their supporters or members in attending and actively participating in the upcoming meetings or something along the lines of what I'm suggesting in terms of an education outreach -so they can be exposed to various map scenarios- are NOT rising to the fore.

At least not to the point of actually announcing public plans for something tangible, and we're now just over two weeks away from those meetings.
If people don't know a week in advance, what's the point, since the percentage who can then attend is clearly much less than it could be?

Since I have a Google Alert for "redistricting," I see everything on redistricting, not just here in FL, but across the country for various govt. entities.
When you see what other communities are doing and how everyone down here is just snoozing...

Today's Sun-Sentinel finally had something decent, mentioning what the Broward League of Women Voters are doing on Saturday in Davie
but again, where are the other groups?

That said, to be honest, I'm less than crazy that Davie is the site for Broward's one and only official redistricting meeting.
That is not at all centrally-located or even convenient to get to.

It's hard not to get the impression because of the reasons you and many others have so ably articulated in the past -foremost, lack of maps at the meetings- that many State Senators involved in the process are no doubt chuckling to themselves that they've created a scenario that is the ultimate win-win for them -the pretense of transparency with none of the messy details having to come up at the meetings.
And everything gets settled in Tallahassee.

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From: MyDistrictBuilder
Date: Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 4:50 PM
Subject: Email Update - Florida House Redistricting - August 5, 2011
To: MyDistrictBuilder


Florida House of Representatives – House Redistricting Committee

Redistricting Update – August 5, 2011

Location Change for the August 29 Tampa Redistricting Meeting


Due to expected attendance, the location for the August 29th Florida redistricting meeting in Tampa has changed to: Jefferson High School Auditorium, 4401 Cypress Street, Tampa, Florida 33607. Jefferson High School has plenty of free parking, close proximity to a bus stop, and more seating than the original downtown location. We think it will be much more convenient for the public. Persons who pre-registered (RSVP) to attend/speak at the Tampa meeting will be receiving and email or letter that confirms the change of address.


Public Submissions of Redistricting Maps and Suggestions

Via www.floridaredistricting.org, you can access our Plan Explorer site to view, comment on and share redistricting suggestions submitted by Florida residents. The site highlights proposed maps for Florida’s State House, State Senate and congressional districts. Of the 23 maps submitted by Florida residents thus far, 20 were created with the Florida House’s MyDistrictBuilderTM application. For your convenience, all 23 submissions received thus far are listed below, along with links to written suggestions that were submitted to the House.

· Plan 0023 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Orange, Osceola and Polk counties

· Plan 0022 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Lake, Marion and Sumter counties

· Plan 0021 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Lake, Marion and Sumter counties

· Plan 0020 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0019 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0018 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting 34 North Florida counties

· Plan 0017 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Orange, Osceola and Polk counties

· Plan 0016 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Sumter counties

· Plan 0015 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Citrus, Lake, Orange and Sumter counties

· Plan 0014 – Partial plan for the State Senate, affecting Citrus, Lake and Sumter counties

· Plan 0013 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting Lake County

· Plan 0012 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties

· Plan 0011 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting Lake County

· Plan 0010 – Partial plan for the State Senate, affecting Citrus, Lake, Orange and Sumter counties

· Plan 0009 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Lake and Seminole counties

· Plan 0008 – Partial plan for Congress, affecting Lake, Orange and Sumter counties

· Plan 0007 – Complete plan for the State Senate

· Plan 0006 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0005 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0004 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0003 – Complete plan for Congress

· Plan 0002 – Partial plan for the State House, affecting Brevard and Volusia counties

· Plan 0001 – Complete plan for Congress

· Written suggestions – Congress

· Written suggestions – State House

· Written suggestions – State Senate

Along with the feedback from the Legislature’s 26 public input meetings throughout Florida, these maps and written suggestions will constitute the starting point for redistricting when legislators return to Tallahassee in the fall of 2011 for committee meetings.


Upcoming Meetings

The complete Florida redistricting public meeting calendar (attached) can be found by visiting: http://www.floridaredistricting.org/. The remainder of public input meeting calendar includes meetings at the following locations:

· Stuart – August 15

· Boca Raton – August 16

· Davie – August 16

· Miami – August 17

· South Miami – August 17

· Key West – August 18

· Tampa – August 29

· Largo – August 30

· Sarasota – August 30

· Naples – August 31

· Lehigh Acres – August 31

· Clewiston – September 1

As always, if you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us.


Sincerely,

Benjamin M. Fairbrother


House Redistricting Committee

Florida House of Representatives

400 House Office Building

O: (850) 921-8831

www.floridaredistricting.org


Create and Submit Redistricting Plans with MyDistrictBuilder

MyDistrictBuilderTM @ Facebook

MyDistrictBuilderTM @ Twitter

MyDistrictBuilderTM @ YouTube

Blog & Resources @ WordPress

Questions or Comments, email: mydistrictbuilder@myfloridahouse.gov

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