As reported last week We the People Showed Up in Austin and here is the result of our efforts.
This powerful video made by Texas conservatives has been sent out not only to Gov. Perry but to all of our Texas Legislators.
Today’s video is Pt. 1 with more to follow from Texas’ conservative leaders:
Here’s the 1st Action Item: ACTIONS:
Please call & e-mail Gov. Rick Perry and ask him to veto HB 600 (Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 Redistricting Map) AND call a Special Session for the purpose of coming up with an acceptable map that the governor would sign. HB 600 is completely unacceptable because it is not a fair, legal and equitable map. Instead the 10 Year SBOE Redistricting Map in HB 600 favors the liberal minority and threatens the future for the Conservative Majority of SBOE board members to return to office come next election. SBOE Board member Ken Mercer (R – San Antonio) states, “My concerns are twofold. First, the input of the conservative members of the SBOE map E118 was purposely ignored by Sen, Seliger even though I personally called Seliger’s office as did a multitude of conservative groups to support map E118… Sen. Selinger’s rogue E120 map severely punishes conservative Charlie Garza, the lone Hispanic Republican on the SBOE. At the same time, E120 rewards two RINO’s, Thomas Ratliff and Bob Craig.”
Call & Email Gov. Rick Perry
Phone Numbers: 1-800-252-9600
Gov. Perry’s ONLINE e-mail address: http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact/assistance.aspx
Here’s the 2nd Action Item: ACTIONS:
URGENT – SIGN SBOE PETITION
Recent victories (see video) are in jeopardy of being reversed by powerful progressive forces and liberal Republicans. Don’t let the progress we have made be lost to these, “hate America” organizations
Sign the Petition: http://austinreteaparty.com/Signthepetition.aspx
We the undersigned urge the complete rejection and veto of the Senate Redistricting Committee’s rogue map (E120) which is both illegal and harmful to conservatives. We ask Governor Perry to support the Texas SBOE preferred map (E118).
This was a project of many grassroots activists from across the state of Texas! Thank you to them all for getting this put together! See Below for co-sponsors and contact numbers to call the Senate Redistricting Committee Members and make your voice count!
Sign the Petition: http://austinreteaparty.com/Signthepetition.aspx
AGAINST THE SENATE REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE’S
AND IN SUPPORT OF
THE TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION’S PREFERRED
We the undersigned are Texas citizens who care tremendously about our public school children and the education they receive. We support the direction that the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has taken, particularly in the last two years.
Because we support the new-and-improved English / Language Arts / Reading, Science, and Social Studies curriculum standards (TEKS) that the leaders on the SBOE have passed, we believe that these SBOE leaders need to be rewarded with districts that will help them to get elected in 2012 if they so desire.
The majority of the SBOE leaders have stood strong for the values we cherish and have stayed true to their promises by passing standards that emphasize:
· Correct spelling
· Expository/persuasive/research writing
· Back-to-basics math
· U. S. History that honors our American Founders, traditions, American exceptionalism, free market economics, and family values
· World-class science standards
Leading up to today’s Senate Redistricting Committee meeting (4.27.11), a gentleman’s agreement was struck whereby the SBOE’s preferred map (E118) was to be passed out of the committee because it would have provided a legal and fair solution to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Senate Redistricting Committee, however, announced its own rogue map (E120) after their meeting started this morning, thus not even allowing the public access to the map ahead of time nor giving the public an opportunity to testify against it.
UNDER ROGUE MAP E120
- Rogue Map E120 decimates conservative Republican Charlie Garza’s chances of getting re-elected by taking Republican Midland County away from him and moving five Democrat counties into his district.
- Conservative Republican chair of the SBOE, Gail Lowe, would lose two of her present counties where she has already built up strong voter support.
- Republican Marsha Farney, who has only been on the SBOE for two meetings and has already demonstrated Republican-in-Name-Only tendencies, is given a number of Republican districts including Northwest Travis County, making her almost a shoo-in for re-election.
- Barbara Cargill, who is a strong conservative Republican leader on the SBOE, loses valuable Republican districts.
- Terri Leo and Ken Mercer, outspoken conservative Republican leaders on the SBOE, lose many of their precincts/counties where they have built up strong name recognition and support with voters.
- Pat Hardy, an outspoken advocate of the new Social Studies standards, loses much of her voter base.
- Bob Craig, a full-fledged Republican-in-Name-Only, is rewarded with Midland County which is a strong Republican district with numerous lucrative donors.
- Thomas Ratliff, who is under scrutiny by the Texas Attorney General’s office because of his unabashed lobbying interests that are in direct conflict with his position on the SBOE, is rewarded by getting a district that represents almost the exact counties his father had when he was in the Senate. This gives Thomas good name recognition built upon his father’s coattails. Ratliff is also rewarded by losing Brazos County where Don McLeroy lives, a possible contender in 2012 for Thomas Ratliff’s seat.
Other obvious problems exist under rogue E120 which appears to go out of its way to punish conservatives and to reward Republicans-in-Name-Only and Democrats.
We the undersigned urge the complete rejection by the full Senate of the Senate Redistricting Committee’s rogue map (E120) and the adoption by the full Senate of the majority-preferred SBOE E118 Plan.
ADDED AFTER THE FULL SENATE VOTE ON 4.29.11
If the rogue Solomons E120 map (or any reiteration of its provisions) should arrive on the Governor’s desk, we the undersigned ask Gov. Perry to veto this map because it goes out of its way to punish conservatives and to reward Republicans-in-Name-Only and Democrats.
To read more background information, please go to:
4.22.11 — “Monumental Attack Against Texas Conservatives” –By Donna Garner
4.27.11 — “Every Parent’s Alamo: Update on Texas State Board of Ed. Redistricting Maps” — by Donna Garner
CONSERVATIVE TEXANS’ CONCERNS
TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION REDISTRICTING MAP 5.4.11
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS SPEAK OUT
District 5 – Ken Mercer (R – San Antonio)
My concerns are twofold. First, the input of the conservative members of the SBOE map E118 was purposely ignored by Sen, Seliger even though I personally called Seliger’s office as did a multitude of conservative groups to support map E118.
Absolutely no SBOE members nor organizations called to support Seliger’s rogue 120 map because that map was not even available when Seliger began his public hearing at 8:00 A. M.
Suspiciously, lobbyist and SBOE Member Thomas Ratliff arrived at Seliger’s Redistricting Committee meeting to testify FOR map E120 when that map had never been posted for public viewing.
In District 5, I now lose most of the conservative precincts of Travis County which I represented; those went to Marsha Farney in District 10. [Farney has only been seated on the SBOE for two meetings, and she has already exhibited moderate-to-left-leaning tendencies. – Donna Garner]
Suddenly and without any explanation or discussion, I was pushed into new areas and far northern counties — all because two Republicans did not want the east Texas conservative Republican base of Aggieland / College Station in their SBOE districts [Thomas Ratliff and Marsha Farney – Donna Garner].
Both Republican voting strength and my name ID in District 5 is decreased; and the lone Hispanic Republican on the SBOE, fellow Conservative Charlie Garza, became the primary target and #1 victim of “the RINOfaction.”
Sen. Selinger’s rogue E120 map severely punishes conservative Charlie Garza, the lone Hispanic Republican on the SBOE. At the same time, E120 rewards two RINO’s, Thomas Ratliff and Bob Craig. What message does that map send to conservative Hispanics about the Texas GOP?
District 1 – Charlie Garza (R – El Paso)
Prior to April 28, 2011, several maps were introduced to redistrict the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for the next ten years. All SBOE seats are open in 2012. Neither the House Redistricting Committee nor the Senate Redistricting Committee asked for any input from the lone Hispanic Republican (me) on the SBOE. Given that the state holds a majority in both houses, you would think that prudent.
Districts 1, 2, and 3 (under E118 or E120) ALL have higher numbers than was deemed acceptable in 2002. If one analyzes that data it is clearly evident that the Hispanic percent population in District 1 was 72.7%. So why is that NOT the starting point for retrogression measurement, rather than the 76.9% that was used?
So all of this extends the question of just what is retrogression, what is the baseline, and “how much is enough”? With multiple conflicting goals of various Voting Rights Act (VRA) decisions, the mathematics are such that you cannot satisfy all goals simultaneously. The primary goal was (and hopefully is) “one man one vote”. E120 is woefully pitiful in this regard, particularly as compared to E118.
Sen. Seliger determined that the “fix” to my District 1 was to remove “the white counties.” The end result under the Seliger plan is that District 1 is now approximately 60,000 less in population than the number of people needed to give me an opportunity at being re-elected in 2012.
On April 28, I initiated a call to Senator Seliger’s office and asked to speak to someone who was working on the SBOE redistricting plan. In my conversation with a staffer, I expressly asked why I had not even been given a phone call by a fellow Republican since Sen. Seliger’s plan had changed SBOE District 1 more than any other district in the state. Moreover, I requested to know why Odessa (Ector County) and Midland (Midland County) had been switched. Especially when I already have name recognition in Midland!
Approximately two hours later in a fit of anger, Sen. Seleger called me. I stated to Sen. Seliger that I had numerous concerns with the way he had conducted the Senate Redistricting Committee meeting the day before (4.27.11):
(1) He had given the public no opportunity for debate.
(2) I believe his actions violated the Open Meetings Act.
(3) The only map Sen. Seliger presented to the Senate Redistricting Committee was E120 which did not comply with the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Section 2 since I would become a victim of Congressionally-mandated and judicially-enforced “racial packing.”
(4) Map E120 would also diminish the opportunity for Hispanics to have an effect on other districts by packing them into District 1.
As stated by The Lone Star Report on 2.18.11, the Voting Rights Act is not “a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion to the population.” Section 2 is not intended to create racial quotas among elected officials. In fact, that is expressly forbidden by law.
Likewise, Section 2 does not require states to create the maximum number of districts possible in which the majority of the population is composed of members of a minority group. The Supreme Court has specifically rejected the establishment of a rule that would require governing bodies to maximize the number of so-called “majority-minority” districts. Instead, the purpose of Section 2 is to ensure that minority groups have the same ability to participate in elections and affect their outcomes as do other members of the electorate.
Before I had an opportunity to continue, Senator Seliger became argumentative and told me that the district in any map but his map would retrogress and that he had checked this with his attorneys. I responded by telling him that he was wrong especially since to my knowledge no definition exists on what retrogression is!
Instead of debating the merits of retrogression, Sen. Seliger continued to scold me as if I were a child.
When I tried to bring up the Open Meetings Act, Sen. Seliger, he said he would deny this allegation to any member of the media if the question were asked.
If the Republican Party truly advocates for a more inclusive big tent that includes conservative Hispanics, the Republican Party needs to address my grievous concerns right now while the SBOE redistricting map is being drawn.
District 14 – Gail Lowe (R – Lampasas)
The Solomons’ House map (E111) is particularly bad for me because my four most populous counties are given to four other board members:
1. I lose Wichita Falls area to Bob Craig.
2. I lose Wise and Denton (my most populous) counties to Pat Hardy.
3. I lose Grayson County (Sherman-Denison area) to Thomas Ratliff.
4. I lose McLennan County (Waco– my second most populous) to Marsha Farney.
My Central Texas district would wrap around the Dallas Metroplex area to the east, instead of to the west as it is now; and I would pick up 7 new counties. Most of my population would come from these counties that I have never represented before — 80 percent of my population would be new to me.
This map completely destroys my voter base and the areas I have represented since 2003.
The Senate map (Plan E120) is must closer to my current district. Although I would lose my western border and northern counties to Bob Craig, most of the remaining counties are ones I represent now. Only 21 % of the population in this Senate map would be new territory for me.
(Plan E120 and Plan E118 which the SBOE members like better are very similar for my district. In my case, it is the Solomons’ House map that is particularly bad for me.)
SBOE DISTRICT NUMBERS AND POLITICAL POSITIONS
District 1 – Charlie Garza (conservative Republican, new to Board)
District 2 – Mary Helen Berlanga (Democrat)
District 3 – Michael Soto (Democrat, new to Board)
District 4 – Lawrence Allen (Democrat)
District 5 – Ken Mercer (conservative Republican)
District 6 – Terri Leo (conservative Republican)
District 7 – David Bradley (conservative Republican)
District 8 – Barbara Cargill (conservative Republican)
District 9 – Thomas Ratliff (Republican-in-Name-Only, new to Board)
District 10 – Marsha Farney (Republican, new to Board)
District 11 – Pat Hardy (Republican)
District 12 – George Clayton (Republican, new to Board)
District 13 – Mavis Knight (Democrat)
District 14 – Gail Lowe (conservative Republican)
District 15 — Bob Craig (Republican-in-Name-Only)
1. Retrogression — This is the idea that a district cannot be redrawn in such a way that a protected minority is reduced in numbers (%, actually) from its numbers (%) in the current district. For instance, a minority district with 53 % cannot be lowered to the 49 % level of minority representation if other conditions are met. In actuality, avoiding retrogression may not be possible in all cases. For example, if a district’s population is too small based on a new census, (as is District 1), and the surrounding counties have Hispanic percentages LOWER than the current district, then ANY additional counties will DECREASE the overall Hispanic %.
However the uncertainty usually centers around several items:
A. To what is the baseline compared? For a long time, the prior census from prior districts was used. If that were still the case today, NO plans regress in any way. However, if the baseline is the current SBOE districts’ populations compared to any new redistricting plan, then that is a much higher bar to which to hold. Courts have typically ruled that a small amount of regression in a few districts, depending on the overall provisions in the rest of the plan (including other districts), does not invalidate the entire plan. However, the courts have been inconsistent on how much regression is allowable.
B. “One man one vote.” This refers to the ideal district where each person would be represented equally. In an extreme case, one could have 3 million people in one district but only 1 million in another. The ideal average would, of course, be 2 million; and any difference from that perfect population would be called a “deviation.” In other words, deviation is based upon how the district deviates from the idea of “one man one vote.” The deviation from OMOV (one-man-one-vote) would occur because some individual voters get less or more of a representative share of the total board or legislature.
Note: Eight out of fifteen members of the SBOE explicitly agreed to E118, and at least 11 were “in the boat” one way or another. Three of the SBOE members were not contacted because two of the three were known as the instigators of the “against-conservatives-map.” One Democrat was not available. Let’s contrast this with Seliger’s rogue E120 where at best only three or four SBOE members were contacted, including the same two or three who contrived the E120 map.
OMOV is the most important part of redistricting, and Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 map is far worse than the SBOE-preferred E118 map in this regard. Zero deviation is not generally a realistic goal, but +/- (1%) has been used, and plans with their deviation at around +/- (1. 5%) have been found to be unconsitutional.
2. “Packing” is the term used when TOO MANY of the protected minority is put into a single district, thus having the effect of them being less effective in other districts. Under Seliger’s rogue E120, it looks as if Hispanics are being packed in at 5 percentage points higher than the next highest district and at 17 percentage points higher than a plan submitted that was said to be in compliance (but did not pass).
As engineers and mathematicians realize, when two or more criteria or “design constraints” are used, one sometimes cannot completely satisfy all goals. When a good faith effort is made, as was the SBOE-preferred E118, the courts would likely support that, even with its few warts. When a poorly transparent effort is made, such as Seliger’s rogue E120, with its serious flaws and political motivations, that would have a much higher chance of being declared unconstitutional.
Footnote: Thomas Ratliff actually argued for keeping together “communities of interest” — whatever that is. The Supreme Court of the Unites States (SCOTUS) has ruled, however, that as desirable as that concept is to some parties, that is not justification for gerrymandering or violating One-Man-One-Vote (OMOV) or for retrogressing in excess. In essence, Thomas Ratliff was arguing for a already rejected legal theory!
It is OMOV (One-Man-One-Vote) issue that makes Seliger’s rogue E120 unconstitutional.
CASE AGAINST SEN. SELIGER’S ROGUE E120
Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 ignores the cherished “One Man One Vote” principle. The SBOE-preferred E118 is far better.
Here are some additional observations relating to the Hispanic Department of Justice (DOJ) Districts 1, 2, 3. We must bear in mind that numerous cases have struck down redistricting plans based on districts being too uneven. Striving for zero deviation (i.e. “One-Man-One-Vote”) is one of the major goals of the courts — stronger than “retrogression” as that is sometimes mathematically unavoidable as populations change:
DEVIATION | %Hispanic
District E118 E120 | E118 E120
1 -0.61% -3.63% | 74.1% 77.7%
2 +0.73% -0.74% | 72.4% 73.2%
3 -0.36% +0.72% | 72.0% 72.2%
ALL…1-15 low -1.01% -3.78%
ALL…1-15 high +1.0 % +2.07%
All…1-15 range 2.0 % 5.85%
(font changed to Courier New for the tables…it’s a “typewriter” font that does not use proportional letter spacing.)
Note first that under the “One-Man-One-Vote” principle, E118 is closer to the ideal than E120 in all three DOJ Hispanic districts — District 1, 2, and 3.
In District 1, this is especially true with the ratio of the E120 % to E118 % being a whopping 5.95 to 1 (i.e. 3.63/0.61)! (Courts have held that even less than 2% can be high enough to be ruled unconstitutional, with 1% or less being a reasonable goal.)
E118’s total deviation from ideal districts ranges from -1.01 % to +1.0 % where E120 more than doubles the deviations to -3.78 % to 2.07 %.
Note second, and perhaps more importantly that the level of Hispanic voters in District 1 in the E118 plan (74.1%) EXCEEDS the level of Hispanic voters in the E120 plan (Districts 2 and 3 — 73.2 % and 72.2%, respectively).
It would seem that advocates of E120 are satisfied with lower levels of Hispanic voters in Districts 2 and 3 than in District 1, with the difference within E120 (District 1) in excess over Districts 2 and 3 being 4.5 and 5.5%, respectively!
Absent reasonable explanations, this would be considered “packing” in District 1. It also begs the question of why 74.1% is not considered suitable for District 1 in plan E118 when it is .9% and 1.9% higher than in Districts 2 and 3 in plan E120!
Additionally, though it failed, another proposal (E121) sought to create another Hispanic opportunity district with only 60 % Hispanic population.