Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Time For A Change

Why don't we get the ball rolling RIGHT NOW? It's probably too late to change the congressional district boundaries for 2006, but for 2008, changes need to be made. I've long been aware of the partisan maps that are drawn up. But I broke out the map of just District 17 the other night, and it is simply the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Moline, Rock Island, and Decatur...all in one district? Jeezus, did Ronnie Milsap and Stevie Wonder have input on this thing?

Here's the best and most simple solution, and one that the voters of this state, the people who HIRE these people, need to fix.

The 2000 Census says there are 12,419,293 Illinoisans. There are 20 congressmen and women from Illinois, right? Then each one should represent roughly 621,000 persons. Now, you take the map, and starting at the Northwest Corner of the state, you start drawing boxes...BOXES, not 752-sided, um, er, THINGSthat make no sense...but BOXES. Each box gets between 600,000 and 650,000 people. The districts around Lake, Dupage, Cook, etc, will all obviously be smaller, but they'll be BOXES. You campaign in your BOX.

The downstate and WESTstate (why do you people call Rockford "downstate"?) districts will be larger. Go with county lines whenever possible, (yes, that will distort the "box", but it's a damn site better than what we have now) and make sure that the man/woman who represents the interests of Sterling doesn't also pretend to represent the interests of Macoupin County 200 miles to the south (both currently in Lane Evans' District 17, BTW). Lane lives in Rock Island. How do you think the good folks of Cahokia feel knowing they're just a few miles from St. Louis, but their Congressman's office is in Rock Island? Can't just drop in and see him, can ya?

Evans won his most recent race 61-39. Ray LaHood and his self-designed district leave him with 70-30 victories. These victory margins assure them of getting elected again and again and again, and keep otherwise qualified candidates from even running, if indeed they're from the "wrong" party for their district. Is this what people really want?

Why is this so hard to change? Who were the dopes that gave the legislative members the power to do this themselves? This is a job for people that do not run for office, and have no idea who is a Democrat or who is a Republican. It would be a perfect job for some geography and population experts teaching at some of our state universities.

Who do I talk to to get change started? I know what I'm up against, but you can't change it if you don't try at all.


precinct commiteeman said...

Just few comments

precinct commiteeman said...

Just a few thoughts, Redistricting can not start until 2010 census is complete. State assembly draws lines not citizens, Illinois has 19 reps not 20, we will lose probably in the next round, Illinois has a flip of the coin system to break ties in the state redistricting commission , the dems have both house this time unless the repubs take back one of the houses in the next few cycles.

BJ Stone said...

Thank you for the response.

A couple of things you pointed out are what I have problems with.

Until 2010: Why? Because of the census? I guess we can wait, there's really no other way to do it. So 2010 is good for me.

19 reps not 20: my info was old. We'll keep losing reps with population shifts, won't we. Thanks for the correction. The 19 should still represent the same number of people.

Assembly draws lines: Here is the problem. This is what needs to be changed. Wouldn't you rather have the citizens (or "a few chosen" citizens) who were non-partisan draw the districts, disregarding the two major parties wants in favor of the people's needs? The state assembly is just two parties drawing districts based on each other's desires, isn't it?

Finally, do you not agree that a district that goes from the Western Chicago Suburbs almost to the Quad Cities is a tad silly? From Sterling west to Moline south to Galesburg further south to Cahokia east to Decatur (but circling Peoria/Pekin/Morton). Is that not a little odd?

Again, I thank you very much for the response and clarifications.

DownstatePundit said...

It should just be handed over to a computer that could come up with a set of lines that would go to a vote. If that vote goes down, then they take it to the computer for a new set of lines.

We have the technology to do this, but the most important stuff in Springfield is too boring for the press to write or report about. Not a good visual for the TV people, I guess.

Bill Dennis said...

A committee of learned experts won't work. That's what the federal base closing commission was supposed to be, and it's been completely perverted into a political process, but this time more behind the scenes than the old way of making decisions. The illusion of professionalism is more deceptive than just having Congress make the decisisons based on deal making.

I agree with Downstater: Have a computer make the decisions, then have the Ganeral Assembly vote up or down, or failing that, the computer design goes into effect automatically.

John Ruberry said...

Iowa does it this way. It's a good idea, but won't work. The voting rights act will prevent it. Luis Gutierrez' Hispanic district is shaped like a boomerang to create an Hispanic majority district.

It would be hard to create a majority Black district w/o some artistic skill in what's now Danny Davis' district, as the African-American population has become less concentrated west of the Loop.

And it'd be hard to create two South Side Black-majority districts if created by a computer or impartial committee.


There is no such animal as non partisan, everyone has some belief in some type of political attitude or couse if they do not have feelings then why would they volunteer to be judges of some thing that does not concern them. The body that would choose the non partisans is a partisan body hence political influence. Granted the abomination of districts is truly just that. Because our state has a high number of minority groups voting rights Act will overide the computer model Iowa has a relative ly low minority pop, that is why it works there. We also have too many school districts which influences county board and precinct boundaries. 1 school disrict per county is all we should need