JUST THE STATS
Approximate cost to taxpayers for the legal defense of the Florida Legislature’s redrawing of Congressional districts in 2012; districts were redrawn despite the fact that voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment requiring “Fair Districts” in 2010
Amount Republican operative Rich Heffley was paid in 2012 and 2013 by the Republican Party of Florida in order to oversee the redistricting process, allegedly in the GOP’s interest
Number of pages of “trade secrets” (emails and documents) another Republican operative, Pat Bainter – a contact of Heffley – was forced to submit as evidence in the case brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida (among others) after a year-long fight with the Florida Supreme Court. The court also ruled that the media be removed from the chambers for the revelation.
Outside the lines
Yeah, yeah, we know: “Stop trying to make this redistricting trial happen, because it’s a boring mess of grids and terrible words like ‘gerrymandering.’” Yes, dear reader, we – like the GOP – are aware that when anyone opens their mouth (or computer portals) to utter some gibberish about minority-drawn districts, the dinner party collapses. Your electeds want you to be bored and confused, because otherwise you might catch on to the fact that just last week, in a Leon County hearing, well-paid Republican operatives were alleged to have used (even made up an email account for) a Florida State University Young Republican to submit the redrawn districts that would mysteriously turn out to be strikingly similar to the ones that Republicans ended up approving. They worry that if you notice, you might cry “scandal” in a crowded boardroom. Even more so if an expert analyst concluded under oath that the resulting maps were the most unfairly drawn he had ever seen.
Wait, stop yawning!
What all of this boils down to is that GOP bias is sketched into congressional districting to the tune of 15.9 percent, as was reported by the Orlando Sentinel. “Intuitively, that means Republicans could expect to capture 58 percent of the congressional seats to Democrats’ 42 percent of the seats,” the Sentinel notes, “even if voter turnout was perfectly balanced at 50 percent GOP and 50 percent Democrat.”
As of April 2014, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 39 percent to 35 percent in Florida (or approximately 450,000 voters), so the fact that we’ve got historically the most biased Republican representation has never seemed fair, but you just go ahead and keep on letting your eyes glaze over.
In the process of this trial, to which we have tipped our hat a few times over the past many months, the untruths are becoming more and more evident, right down to the fact that initially folks like House Speaker lug nut Will Weatherford, R-Our Darkest Most Unhealthy Fantasies, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, initially proclaimed themselves immune to the investigation and its requisite testimony and depositions, because pshaw. Fair-weather Weatherford even went as far as to testify last week that, no, not possibly, not in any manner or fashion, your honor, did legislators allow “staff to work with political consultants” or create this so-called “shadow process” that steered the redistricting, or do anything to destroy records of them doing all of the above.
So why, then, was the Republican Party of Florida paying $15,000 a month to just such a consultant, and why, then, did said consultant share his treasure maps with people in a manner that showed they were close to identical with that submitted by FSU Young Republican Alex Posada? Oh, Republican happenstance, how you never cease to amaze us.
Anyway, it’s already come out that former House Speaker – now a consultant, natch – Dreamboat Dean Cannon had a chief of staff with loose lips that like to sink big lying ships, admitting that he did share the maps to “help a friend,” which led Cannon to call him “stupid,” because, oh my God, you guys, this is so boring.
Posada, meanwhile, is claiming that he never drew the maps, and you almost have to believe him, because it’s not very difficult to create a Gmail account in someone else’s name, nor to abuse a student-sized party recruit for your own electoral gains.
“It was filed without his authorization under his name,” Posada’s attorney promised the Miami Herald. “He gave nobody authorization to file it under his name and the email account [used] to submit it was not his email account.”
What does it all mean? It means the cockroaches are scurrying and we may have a decision as soon as this week as to whether the voters’ mandate to have a “Fair Districts” process was blatantly violated by just the folks they were almost forced into electing for representation. Until then, take a nap.