Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wait a Second

Earlier this year, April 4th to be exact, I spoke with State Senator Mike Waddoups and KSL host Richard Piatt about independent redistricting. Here is a transcript and a commentary.

Piatt: OK, so Fairboundaries wants to change the process of how these boundaries are drawn. How do you propose to do that?

Miller: Yes, the Fairboundaries initiative that's been drawn up proposes to establish an 11 member commission to redraw these boundaries. One thing to realize though is not just the Utah Constitution but the United States Constitution charges the legislature to redraw the districts after each census. The only problem is inside of that, there is an inherent conflict of interest, you have the fox watching the henhouse essentially.

Initially, I think when they framed the constitution, I don't think our founding fathers, with as much skin as they had in the game, having gone through a bloody revolution, they essentially were traitors to their country, and what they went through they could not have possibly have imagined the low level of character that it would take to manipulate these districts for a particular political gain.

Piatt: Lets take a look at that graphic again and show what exactly this petition purports to do. It purports to create a commission that's independent.

    11 member commission
    No more than 4 from any political party
    Anti gerrymandering standards
    Open, transparent process

Sen Waddoups, do you believe that can be the case? Is the system as it exists right now better than what they are proposing it should be?

Waddoups: I think the current system works very well, for proof of that I would point to the fact that Utah has never been sued for a gerrymander for innappropriately drawing the districts. Most states where they have gerrymanders have lawsuits. The Texas example, there was a suit going on for 10 years until the next reapportionment. Utah never gets sued because we have people that are representing their constituents that are doing the right things.

Piatt: But you don't purport to say that gerrymandering doesn't exist. There are examples, the ones we showed you have a couple in your folder there. So is gerrymandering a problem do you think?

It does exist in this country yes, it doesn't happen in Utah because
of the constituency that we're representing. In Utah it's expected that we will represent our constituency and if we don't it's expected they would vote us out of office.

Piatt: Do you resent this notion that you're one of the foxes guarding the henhouse in this process?

Waddoups: I certainly do, because it says in the constitution that the legislature will draw their boundaries and those boundaries are drawn by people that are elected by the public. I would say this maybe is the rooster guarding the hen house but certainly not a fox.


1. So, if I am understanding the Senator correctly, 'Utah is a rare example where politicians do the right thing and represent their constituency or they are voted out, not like other places in the country where unresponsive representatives are not voted out'? Alright, general public, please weigh in on that one. I for one think a jury will not buy that argument.

2. We've never been sued, so see, no gerrymandering. C'mon. If we all took that attitude at work how long would our companies be in business. We've never been sued for negligence, so naturally our product or service is superior

3. We have legislators doing the right thing and representing their consitituents? Like Kevin Garn and Sheldon Killpack?

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