The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) held a three-hour hearing Friday evening in the main branch of the Phoenix public library on Central Ave. Turnout was solid - not SRO, but definitely well over 100 people attended the hearing. 49 spoke, and more would have, but they left before being called.
While the crowd was mostly well-behaved during the meeting, there were some mild fireworks. Some of the tea party types objected to people taking pictures and recording a public meeting held in a public building. Curiously, most of them spent the meeting taking pictures and video of people.
One right-winger became upset and very angry when a couple of the speakers pointed out that she was one of the worst (and most hypocritical) "offenders" - she was both videorecording the speakers and taking still photographs of the crowd for the purposes of intimidating people into silence.
Some pics -
The LD17 contingent...
AIRC Executive Director Ray Bladine (standing) and AIRC members Scott Freeman (seated, left) and Jose Herrera (seated, right)
Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, speaking in favor of creating a Congressional district
David Lucier of Tempe, speaking in support of more competitive districts
Jim Williams, of I'm not sure where, self-identified tea party type, criticizing the AIRC
Longtime Phoenix activist and icon, Phyllis Rowe. She brought up the irony of standing up and speaking in a library building named after long-time legislator Burton Barr, and that the push to name the building after Republican Barr was led by a Democratic adversary/friend of his from his time in the lege. She lamented the loss of civility and collegiality in the legislature, and its replacement with the basest, ugliest, partisanship.
Michelle Melchiorre gave the most moving testimony of the evening, talking about her medical history and good fortune to have health insurance to help her through her time of need while this legislature has denied AHCCCS care to thousands of poor Arizonans during theirs. The Commission often talks about the "Cs" - Compact, Contiguous, Communities of interest, Competitive. She suggested that they (and we) add another C - Compassion.