Saturday, December 04, 2010

Redistricting Commission Interviews On Wednesday

The Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will interview the 40 remaining candidates for the next Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  They'll winnow the field down to 25 (10 Ds, 10 Rs, 5 Independents).  From those 25, the two highest-ranking Republicans and the two highest-ranking Democrats in the legislature (in order of selection:  Rep. Kirk Adams (R), Rep. Chad Campbell (D), Sen. Russell Pearce (R), and Sen. David Schapira (D) ) will each select one member of the Redistricting Commission, and then those four selectees will choose an Independent member who will chair the Commission.

The complete official notice of the meeting is here but here's the summary:

Date - Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Time - 8 a.m - ? (while there will be a few breaks, this one should go a while)
Place - Room 345, Arizona State Courts Building, 1501 W. Washington, Phoenix

Full agenda here, but here's the summary of *that*:

8 a.m. - Meeting opens, public comment accepted.
9:15 a.m. - Interviews with Democratic applicants
10:30 a.m. - Discussion and selection of Democratic applicants (may be partially conducted in exec session)
11 a.m. - Interviews with Independent applicants
11:50 a.m.- Discussion and selection of Independent applicants (again, may possibly include an exec session)
12:15 - Lunch
1 p.m. - Interviews with Republican applicants, followed by discussion (exec session possible again) and selection, culminating with adjournment.

Note: some of the interviews may be conducted telephonically.

Assuming they are able to stick to the timetable on the agenda (which might be an optimistic assumption), I project the meeting to adjourn around 3 p.m.

Stuff to keep an eye on:

While I don't know any of the Appellate Court Appointments Commission members personally, I can guess the names of at least two of the applicants who will make the cut with them -

Louis DeLeon and Mark Schnepf.

The Appellate Court Appointments Commission bent over backwards, violating its own rules for applications, to see that both would stay in the pool of applicants.

All of the applicants had to complete the same application package, and that package includes the following instruction:
“ATTACH A STATEMENT OF INTEREST EXPLAINING WHY YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SERVING ON THE INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION.  Applications that do not include a statement of interest will be considered incomplete and will NOT be considered for nomination.”
The applications as originally completed by DeLeon and Schnepf didn't include such a statement and so should have been immediately excluded from further consideration.

However, the Commission bent its own rules to allow Schnepf and DeLeon submit their statements of interest later in the process.  (They did so, with Schepf's here and DeLeon's here).

I'm not sure what DeLeon's special connections are (though he spent a chunk of his career with Anheuser-Busch, and John McCain's wife is one of A-B's largest U.S. distributors...or maybe it's just me being a little cynical :) ), but Schnepf's are clear and rather voluminous -

Former Mayor of Queen Creek
Former Member and Officer (multiple offices) of the League of Arizona Cities & Towns
Member, Arizona Farm Bureau
Member, National Federation of Independent Business
Member and former member of a number of county- and state-level boards, commissions, and councils
Member and former member of a number of East Valley and Arizona civic and business community boards

Oh, and he's married to a Biggs (State Sen.-elect Andy Biggs will be chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee starting in January).

And all of that is just from his application.

One other thing, aside from the initial lack of a statement of interest in Schnepf's application packet, that the Appellate Court Appointments Commission has apparently overlooked is the requirement that candidates cannot have been appointed to or elected to public office for at least the previous three years.

In this context public office means (from the published list of requirements for candidates) -

Members of the IRC may not have been appointed to, elected to or a candidate for any other public office, including precinct committeeman or committeewoman but not including school board member or officer, within the last three years. In making nominations for the IRC, the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will consider the following factors in determining whether an applicant will be disqualified as having held or run for a public office:

1. Is the position created by the Arizona Constitution or a statute?

2. If so, is the position authorized to independently perform duties that involve exercise of the government’s authority? 

These factors will be considered on a case-by-case basis because it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all positions that would be considered ‘public office.’ However, it is clear that people who have held or run for the following offices within the last three years are ineligible for nomination and appointment to the IRC:


Water or Fire District
In 2008, Schnepf was elected to the New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District (NMIDD).  It's name doesn't say "Water" in it, but according to this U.S. Bureau of Reclamation document, it *is* a water district in all practical terms (emphasis added) -
The New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District (NMIDD) was formed in 1965 upon the dissolution of the New Magma Irrigation District. The new district was formed for the purpose of receiving CAP water.
Yup, it seems that there's some serious contortions going on to make sure that Schnepf makes it on to the Redistricting Commission.  The only question seems to be if he will be appointed by Kirk Adams or Russell Pearce, who are both East Valley residents.

BTW - DeLeon's application has at least one answer, that if not an automatic disqualifier, should at least be targeted for clarification during the interview.

Question #2 asks "Will your employement and/or personal circumstances permit you to attend meetings of the Independent Redistricting Commission in their entirety?"

DeLeon answered "No."

Interesting answer.  Someone who essentially applying for a job (unpaid though it may be) by saying that he can't attend to it.

Oh - the partisan makeup of the 15-member Appellate Court Appointments Commission?

3 Independents

4 Democrats

8 Republicans

Can you say "IOKIYAR rules" kiddies?. 

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