December 2, 2011
The Reapportionment Commission, with a last minute never before seen map, has sent to the Supreme Court state legislative district maps dripping with political vindictiveness. Without regard to constitutional mandates (the very reason the Commission was directed by the Court to redraw the maps) the partisan majority rammed these maps through without allowing any discussion of other maps or even amendments.
I say partisan majority because the chairman, who claimed to be unaffiliated, at the end wholeheartedly led this chicanery. This even included a vote to prohibit the five Republican members from sending the Court a minority report.
With this eleventh hour plan eight Republican legislators were drawn into the same districts, and it looks like more than coincidence that many of these Republicans were in leadership positions.
One of the worst examples is in Larimer County. They gerrymandered a long appendage to Representative DelGrosso’s Loveland district, scooping in the incumbent for the neighboring district, Representative Nikkel. There was no legal requirement, or even politically practical reason for this move. In fact, this change violates the constitutional mandate for compactness of districts and does not have any effect on the political competitiveness of either district.
The only reason I can see for this move is political meanness. It pits a Republican woman in House Leadership against the chairman of the House Finance Committee.
I expect the drawing of districts to be a political decision. It is inevitable. However, this ugly partisanship is way beyond that. The callous actions I personally observed by the Democrat majority of the Commission at their final meeting is a glaring example of why the people of Colorado are justifiably cynical of our legislative processes.
I hope, and pray, the Colorado Supreme Court will reject the Commission’s plan and insist on better maps. We need maps that follow the law and create legislative districts which fairly represent all of the people’s interests in Colorado.
Colorado State Senate