"Hey, Charles! It's super cool that you've been at Pioneer Park and elsewhere taking pictures of a growing, self-sustaining movement of serious activists and also the two or three dudes rocking Guy Fawkes masks, but what is going on with that whole 'redistricting' thing? Have we figured out the creative and amusing way in which the Utah GOP has decided to slip a shiv into the vitals of local Democrats?"
I'm glad you asked!
I admit that of late I've neglected this story a bit, and my apologies. The "good" news is that the redistricting process has made little-to-no progress, and is slowly unfolding like a repulsive strip tease performed by a fat, drunken clown.
Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune provides some illumination:
Lawmakers began a Redistricting Committee hearing on Friday in a stalemate over how to redraw congressional districts. They ended it that way, too.
But in between, Democrats and reform groups zinged Republicans for earlier closed-door meetings that included discussions about how to draw all districts to be at least 62 percent Republican. The committee also examined a dozen maps as possible compromises, but did not act on any of them...
The hearing Friday to publicly examine possible compromise maps came in part because of complaints on Tuesday by Democrats and reform groups that Republicans had been busy attempting to draw new plans behind closed doors without public input.
Republicans groused Friday at that characterization and said they were debating among themselves about existing maps. Lockhart said, “We were not drawing maps in our caucus room.”
“Were you singing Broadway songs?” replied Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis. “If physical maps were not being done, it was close enough.”
Dabakis added, “The fix is in. It’s about raw political power. It’s getting Republican percentages right so you can ensure yourselves continuing 10 years in those congressional seats. ... It’s the only way these maps can be justified.”
As things stand, without a compromise, we are still without a 2011 Census Redistricting Plan. Congratulations to the Democrats for sticking up for themselves (much good it will do them, unfortunately).
Stay tuned to see what tainted sausage finally emerges from the well-greased machinery of the Utah Legislature.