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the texas 11

Hello once again boys and girls, I’m going to try to get again on a true cycle of updating this site in time for the Fall. Also, in the Fall, the webcam should be making it’s season debut at my new Austin residence.
Also, the Graduate Poll will be active for about another week- I’m looking at Monday or Tuesday to deactivate it, post results and throw up a new one. The theory will be to have weekly polls. We’ll see.
Now on to real musings. The Texas 11, a name given to the 11 Democrats from the Texas Senate who left the state to break quorum during the second special session. Personally, I’m glad they did it. First off, there are much more pressing issues then redistricting. According to law, we’re supposed to redistrict every ten years as soon as possible after the U.S. Census. Well, they didn’t redistrict in 2001 themselves but let it fall back to the courts- which is perfectly legal. Did the courts do a bad job? I don’t know that one way or another but Texas didn’t seem too concerned about it until U.S. Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (who albeit is from Texas), ‘suggested’ that we redistrict since Texas should have more Republicans.
Now call me crazy, perhaps we should have more Republicans, perhaps not. But polls and “overall voting trends” should not be the indication of how many of anything we should have in a representative democracy. The present districts, which were and are still ruled as being legal, elected the people to office. I say the number of Democrats and Republicans are correct for what they should be by that. Some figures I’ve heard include that four present districts should have fallen Republican, but the Democrats were voted in.
In all cases, alright, maybe redistricting would balance things out a little more. So let’s try to pass it during the 140-day hell that occurs in Austin every other year. Oh okay, that didn’t work. Let’s call a special session to spend a month on that and just that. Wait what? It didn’t work either. Hmm, let’s call another one AND change the Senate Rules so this time it will work. All this while Texas has no state school finance plan (as Robin Hood was wiped off the books with no replacement) and all state agencies are taking budget cuts. Why do the budget cuts matter? Just think about how much it costs to run a special session? I’m not sure the numbers on the Reps, but each senator gets $600/mth and $100 per day the Senate is in Session. Not to mention the costs of running all of the offices that are usually on a skeleton-staff during the off-season. It doesn’t sound like a whole bunch but to keep bringing up session after session to discuss something that obviously isn’t cared about that much.
What do I mean? It’s not an issue to most Texans. I’ve heard figures, albeit I haven’t checked them, that said most Texans are against it. Yet, it continues.
One thing I did get a kick out of though- New Mexico’s governor has put the state police on alert to defend the Texan senators if any Texas police officers or officials cross state lines with the intention of bringing them back.
Anyhow, just suck it up, wait until the next regular session and see if you can get something then Perry.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

2 replies on “the texas 11

Seems that redistricting is one of the tasks assigned to the legislature. Maybe it is not the most pressing but it should be done. Letting the courts do the nasty work is a slick out. Perhaps Texas should accept that the legislature will not be able to bring itself above partisan politics redraw the districts as mandated by the Constitution every census and put another method in place.
Giving the task officially to the courts is one option. Another option is to use the census data as input to a computer program that would draw the lines to geographic uniformity and demographic equality. Factor out the voter trends and where the incumbant resides.
Regardless, redistricting is one of the few pure partisan activities required of the legislature and no method will satisfy everyone.

True, it’s partisan and it needs to be done every so often. What is bothering me is the multiple special sessions when we have a legal map already in place and there has been little public support. In McAllen, the Texas Rangers had to be called out to maintain the peace at one of the local hearings to discuss the issue. Liberal numbers are saying 90% of people who attended the hearings were opposed to the plans and since I haven’t heard anything come out of the other camp on that aspect, I’ll assume it’s somewhere around 75% really opposed it.
I personally wouldn’t mind seeing either the courts officially take charge of it or some sort of computerized system. It really shouldn’t be too hard to create a map that keep districts in some sort of realistic geographic areas while maintaining proper demographics for the area. (I throw in the realistic geographic areas bit because in the last map I read about, Austin was divided into three or four districts including one that went from South Austin to the Mexican border).
Plus, we can’t afford all these special sessions as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to be paying more in tuition to get decreased services partly to do with a cut in funding from the state. Call it short-sighted but I’m paying more for a state institution while we hear about all these money problems. All the while, all Austin is concerned with is drawing lines that are legal as they are.
Go ahead and redistrict but wait until 1) other matters are taken care of, 2) the state’s financial outlook is a little better, 3) when the courts declare the current map illegal and/or 4) in 2011 when the Constitution says we’re supposed to.

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