Tuesday, June 10, 2014

THIS Is How Low the FL Lawmakers Sunk To Deny Us Fair Districts

In 2010, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed the Fair District amendments that required legislative and congressional districts to be fair, compact and sensible. Districts had to be drawn with existing geographic boundaries and keep communities intact. The amendments passed well over the mandatory 60% threshold. This was during the teabag takeover, so it was clear that the majority of Floridians of both parties wanted to end the selfish practive of gerrmandering. Everyone celebrated.

Except the legislators.

The GOP legislators knew Democrats outnumbered Republicans by half a million in this state. Fair elections were the last thing they wanted. Of course, a few selfish Democratic lawmakers incredulously fought the fair district amendments as well. This included the awful Corrine Brown, whose current district was carved to be the MOST gerrymandered in the nation. That's it below:

 photo 5_zpsc9821f41.jpg

Pretty isn't it? This GOP-carved district bobs and weaves 160+ miles through NINE counties and shoves every single black neighborhood from Jacksonville to Orlando into it. This is the primary reason why the minority party has been able to have a supermajority in this state: they create a few massive Democratic districts to shove all the minorities into which allows thm to "bleach" all of the surrounding districts. These few Democratic districts have overwhelming advantages of 41 or even 58 percentge points! The GOP gets to rule Florida, and sellouts like Corrine get to keep their seats.

These rat bastards tried to run a Rovian smear campaign against the amendments. They failed. Then they tried to sue, with the GOP claiming its all about minority representation. (Because we all know that's the GOP hallmark). That also failed.

That should have been the end of it. But this is Tallahassee we are talking about. What happened next made be utterly sick, even by my state's low standards. And it was all exposed recently in a lawsuit with the League of Women Voters.

It was ugly.

First off, the "new" map the GOP approved is the most gerrymandered map ever created. That's not me saying that. That was from the nation's foremost expert on gerrymandering. He said the map was the most biased he'd ever seen. Another expert testified the district map would be "virtually impossible" to draw without intentional bias.

So OK, they are bastards. We get it. But then the story of how the maps were developed came to light.

The GOP set up a website for "public input". A young college student by the name of Alex Posada made a submission at 4:42am in the morning, right before the deadline. You can see his entry here. Now to hear the GOP legislators tell it, they stumbled across this map submitted by Mr. "average citizen" and totally ran with it.

One problem.

The young Mr. Posada, who was a member of FSU's College Republicans, at first told the prosecutor that yeah, he just whipped up a district map. All the kids are doing that these days.

But when he was called to the stand to testify under oath, he suddenly got his memory back. He swore under oath that he never drew the map and never submitted it! Not only that, the gmail account in his name wasn't even his!


And then things got weird. From the trial we learned:

-The kid now has a cush job at a firm founded by the current House Speaker's brother
-Former Speaker (Dean Cannon) deleted emails related to redistricting
-An employee of the former Speaker shared draft maps with a well-paid political operative
-Several secret meetings were held with operatives in violation of our state's Sunshine Laws
-Internal data and drafted maps were shared with paid political consultants
-Several documents were destroyed by both the consultants and the legislators

So amazingly, no one knows how that final map, which was the basis of our current districts, was submitted.

I'm sure this is a coincidence, but Alex's "mystery" map looks surprisingly identical to the well-paid political operative's map (from the GOP firm Data Targeting).

Say, you don't suppose....? NAH.

I wish I could tell you more but the presiding judge agreed with the GOP defendants that the rest of the trial should be held in secret. Because.... stuff.

But at least it's not like the GOP is spending a small fortune of OUR money to defend this crap... ohhhh wait, they are.

Look, I doubt we'll get justice in this state. But I'm damn proud of the people who put this lawsuit on the front burner. And kudos to the prosecutor for calling out the GOP's BS on the stand.

Mind you, we'll still get screwed. This is Florida, after all. But at least this may make the GOP put just a little more effort into their future scams.

UPDATE: the judge caved, we're essentially keeping these illegal districts. fuck me.


  1. From what I've seen, Brown's district even manages to bisect streets. If you're on one side of the street, you're in her district; if you're on the other side, you're not. Who can doubt the intentions?

    1. Senate district 14 is pretty bad