Marana’s mayor does not like maps - The Explorer: Marana

Marana’s mayor does not like maps

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Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 4:00 am

Discussions to redraw boundary lines for the state’s legislative and congressional districts came to Marana Nov. 4, allowing the public to comment on the two maps proposed by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The Marana meeting came after a week of controversy around how the maps were drawn, and the Arizona Legislature calling a special session to remove AIRC Chairwoman Colleen Mathis.

The Arizona Senate voted 21-6 to remove Mathis as chairwoman of the commission last week, after Gov. Jan Brewer accused her of “gross misconduct.”

Mathis was the only Independent on the board, serving with two Democrats and two Republicans.

While the search for a new Independent chairperson moves forward, Mathis is currently appealing to the Arizona Supreme Court to reverse the state’s decision.

Marana Mayor Ed Honea expressed his concern about the two maps proposed by the commission.

Honea said he is worried that the commission did not follow the requirement set forth in State Constitution that districts be compact and contiguous.

Honea said the districts being proposed for Marana means he would have to drive more than 200 miles to speak with a congressional representative in person.

If the district boundaries were contiguous as required, Honea said the current maps wouldn’t have Marana grouped in with the town of Page.

Besides requiring a district be contiguous, the constitution also requires the commission to draw maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act. The maps also must follow equal population requirements, respect communities of interest, use visible geographic features, and favor competitive districts where there is no significant detriment to other goals outlined.

In a short presentation, Bruce Adelson, a consultant for the proposed maps, said the AIRC held 23 public meetings before drawing one line on the new maps.

Now that there are maps being proposed, the commission will hold 25 more public hearings throughout the state, taking the comments and making adjustments as needed.

The new maps are needed after the 2010 census showed Arizona grew in population enough to add a congressional seat. The state will go from eight to nine congressional seats in 2012.

There will still be 30 legislative districts in the state, but the commission is working to redraw the boundaries.

After the public comment period, and new maps are drawn, the commission will then submit the drafts to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has final approval over the entire process.

The proposed maps can be viewed online at www.azredistricting.org.

Public comments can also be submitted online at http://azredistricting.org/public-inut.aspm, or by calling 602-542-5221.

(Editor’s note: To see why District 26 Sen. Al Melvin voted to remove Mathis, see The Explorer online at http://explorernews.com/news/article_6c393d2c-0595-11e1-a289-001cc4c03286.html).

The proposed maps can be viewed online at www.azredistricting.org.

Public comments can also be submitted online at http://azredistricting.org/public-inut.aspm, or by calling 602-542-5221.

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