Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Redistricting Update: Colleen Mathis of Tucson selected as fifth member and chair of AIRC

Regardless of how the next round of redistricting turns out, Tucson should have nothing to gripe about. 

Three out of the five members of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) are from Tucson.

Independent Colleen Mathis joined Democrat Linda McNulty and Republican Richard Stertz on the AIRC today.

Mathis being sworn in by Secretary of State Ken Bennett.  Commissioner Linda McNulty is in the foreground with her back to the camera

The first four members of the new AIRC met Tuesday afternoon to appoint the fifth member of the Commission.  Last week, they interviewed the five candidates for that last spot but they instead of making the selection at that time, they chose to ponder over the candidates and their responses over the weekend.

After the weekend, the four members, with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett serving as the non-voting temporary chair, met in the old Capitol building.  After a few minutes of public comment, they adjourned into executive session at 1:16 p.m. to discuss "personnel matters."

At 2:39 p.m. they returned to regular session to select, by unanimous acclamation, Colleen Mathis of Tucson as the final member and chair of the AIRC.

While I'm not sure that it was legal for the four to deliberate behind closed doors, and it was obviously inappropriate, it is equally obvious that they did so.

The new Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is (their applications linked to their names):

Chair Colleen Mathis, Independent of Pima County

Linda McNulty, Democrat of Pima County

Jose Herrera, Democrat of Maricopa County

Scott Freeman, Republican of Maricopa County

Richard Stertz, Republican of Pima County

Steve Muratore of Arizona Eagletarian has a report here.

Because the vast majority of the meeting took place outside of public view, it was pretty anti-climactic, and there isn't much to write about it. 

However, I did get a few pics.  :)

former AIRC candidate Marcia Busching addressing the panel, urging them not to give in to the implied threat issued last week (that the lege could withhold adequate funding for redistricting if the four selected Professor Paul Bender as the fifth member)

State Sen. David Schapira explaining the "bill-to-law" process in Arizona to Christopher Mathis, husband of Colleen (you can see the top of her head in this pic :) )

The post-meeting scrum as members of the media gather around the new chair of the AIRC

The new Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (l-r) - Jose Herrera, Linda McNulty, Chair Colleen Mathis, Scott Freeman, Richard Stertz

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