Sunday, November 06, 2011

Redistricting-related meeting on Monday

At 1 p.m Monday., the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will hold an emergency meeting to discuss how they will nominate three Independents to be considered as replacements for Colleen Mathis, who was ousted as chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission this past week.

Note to anyone who plans to attend the meeting: it will be held in the Arizona State Courts Building at 1501 W. Washington in Phoenix (directly east of the state capitol, with Wesley Bolin Plaza in between) and will chaired by Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch.  If she is running true to form, that means the meeting will start a 1 p.m. sharp, not "around 1", not "within a few minutes of 1", and not "1-ish", so plan accordingly.

Like most meetings of public bodies in Arizona (but unlike the closed meeting of the Republican caucus of the Senate last week where they wrangled votes for their kangaroo court of Mathis), public comments can be submitted to the Commission, whether in person, via snail mail, or via email.

Since I have to work Monday, I submitted a comment via email ( -

Chief Justice Berch and Commissioners,
Regarding the discussion of a nominating process to fill a vacancy on the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC):

Ideally, you would wait until any and all court petitions pertaining to the removal of AIRC chair Colleen Mathis have been adjudicated before starting the nomination process to fill any vacancy (if that is the end result of the court actions), but redistricting is a time sensitive matter and it is only prudent to make appropriate preparations.

With that time sensitivity in mind, the simplest and perhaps fairest process would be to contact the original finalists for the Independent member slot, perhaps in the order of the number of votes they received during the original process, and ask each if they are still interested in serving as chair of the AIRC.

Those original nominees have been through the full vetting and nomination process. If any or all of the original nominees are still interested, it would greatly reduce any delay in the redistricting process.

In addition, even an abbreviated search process for new applicants runs the risk of opening up more opportunities for the sort of mischief that has been evident over the last few months, culminating in last week's removal of Mathis.

Having said all that, I wish upon you the best of good luck - the Arizona Supreme Court may yet make any preparations moot.
I also wish upon you the deepest patience - the Court may make your preparations absolutely necessary, at which point this commission will become the focus of the same extraordinary political pressures that have been directed at the AIRC.

Thank you for your consideration and service.


Craig McDermott


Representing myself

P.S. - My first instinct in writing this was to recommend that you send the Governor and State Senate a letter that says simply "Be careful what you wish for..." and then forward a list of three names for the Independent member of the AIRC - "Paul Bender", "Paul Bender", and "Paul Bender". After careful consideration, I opted for a more tactful approach. Especially since I don't know if Professor Bender is still even interested in the rather thankless job of Chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
...Not the most eloquent thing ever written, but I really did have to rein it in, as indicated in the "P.S.", which in and of itself reined in.  I actually wanted to suggest that the members of the Appellate Court Appointments Commission go to the roof of the Courts Building, walk over to the side closest to the Capitol, turn around, and moon the Governor and Senate.

I also wanted to include this pic -


Arizona has its own Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland-style) - Governor Jan Brewer.  Pic courtesy Lauren Kuby

However, since I wanted my comment to be taken seriously... :))

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