by Charles A. Monagan
Jan 17, 2012
05:49 AMOn Connecticut
Foresight is 20/20
After the 2010 census, the Connecticut legislature was legally compelled to re-draw congressional district lines in accorance with population shifts that have occurred over the past decade. A bi-partisan commission with four Democrats and four Republicans was appointed in April 2011 and given a deadline of November 30, 2011 to complete the task.
In what seems to be the growing trend in politics everywhere, despite having months to negotiate, no deal could be reached by the deadline. A ninth member was added to the commission in the hopes of bringing about a resolution to the debate. After all the hemming and hawing, the committee got nowhere and reluctantly punted it to the state Supreme Court, who quickly lateraled it to Special Master Nathaniel Persily. Looking for the path of least resistance, Persily ultimately opted for a “least-change plan," according to CT News Junkie.
As a result, despite all the time and effort of the legislative members—and cost to taxpayers (these commissions don't operate in a vacuum)—absolutely nothing was resolved by our elected officials. When non-biased heads finally prevailed, a solution was found quickly and there was very little change. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
In retrospect, it's hard to fault our legislators. If only they had seen reapportionment coming—oh wait, they had a decade and then some.
In our October 2010 issue, Steve Kotchko looked at the ramifications of reapportionment, including the scenario that ultimately unfolded. From his article:
Republicans and Democrats may battle on the process, but no one wants it to end up before the state Supreme Court. “The courts will look at [redistricting] as a clean sheet of paper,” says [former state GOP chairman Richard] Foley. “They don’t care where incumbents live. They only care about making the map mathematically correct.”
Crafting mutually agreeable redistricting plans will be tough. Competing pressures create something akin to the old Whac-A-Mole game. “If you push something in at Greenwich, it may pop out at Thompson,” jokes Foley.
For the majority of state residents, this seems like much to do about nothing as only a few thousand people were affected by being moved to a new district. As it turns out, however, I am one of the "moles" who got "whacked.' As a resident of eastern Shelton, under the new plan I "move" from the 3rd to the 4th district. This means instead of being represented by Rosa DeLauro as we have been for the last decade, we will now look to Jim Himes to do our bidding in Congress.
It'll be an interesting change, but sometimes change is good, right?
Ah, the "simple" joys of politics.Foresight is 20/20