Charter Commission Redistricting Documents
From: Jack Ferman Date: 9:02pm, Oct 07, 2010
The most important PDF is the second one - the so-called principles report. After reading it, it is clear that it is not principles at all - it is planning document. The only principle is a short allusion to Federal Law relating to non-discrimination. There is nothing on how the various laws relating to connectivity, compactness, natural barriers and man-made barriers will be implemented. The Charter Commission held three public meetings, spent untold hours on drafting the committee reports and brought forth a most flabby set of baffle- gab paragraphs. Those interested in a fair redistricting process had best start planning their strategies for the legal assault to get the redistricting into a court of law. It will also help immensely to defeat the ballot initiative the coming November. John Ferman Kingfield Neighnorhood <email obscured> On Oct 7, 2010, at 1:46 PM, Barbara Lickness wrote: > Evidently, the links I posted earlier were messed up. Here is > another attempt at it: > > Final report of the redistricting committee > http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/Docs/Final-Report.pdf > > Final principles for redistricting > http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/docs/Final-Princ-for-Redist-w-Tech-Amend.pdf > > Possible time-line for public meetings. > http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/Docs/Possible-Timeline-Pub-Mtgs.pdf
From: Roberta Englund Date: 9:53pm, Oct 07, 2010
"The Charter Commission held three public meetings, spent untold hours on drafting the committee reports and brought forth a most flabby set of baffle- gab paragraphs. " The same thing could be said of the Citizen Participation Program Guidelines from the NCR/NCEC. It took a few more meetings and a lot of authors but the outcome was the same. I love the "flabby set of baffle-gab" description - and will use it when it fits. Roberta Englund Executive Director Folwell - Webber-Camden Neighborhoods 612.521.2100 O 612.275.5680 C
On Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 4:02 PM, John Ferman <email obscured>> wrote: > The most important PDF is the second one - the so-called principles > report. After reading it, it is clear that it is not principles at > all - it is planning document. The only principle is a short allusion > to Federal Law relating to non-discrimination. There is nothing on > how the various laws relating to connectivity, compactness, natural > barriers and man-made barriers will be implemented. The Charter > Commission held three public meetings, spent untold hours on drafting > the committee reports and brought forth a most flabby set of baffle- > gab paragraphs. Those interested in a fair redistricting process had > best start planning their strategies for the legal assault to get the > redistricting into a court of law. It will also help immensely to > defeat the ballot initiative the coming November. > > John Ferman > Kingfield Neighnorhood > <email obscured> > > On Oct 7, 2010, at 1:46 PM, Barbara Lickness wrote: > >> Evidently, the links I posted earlier were messed up. Here is >> another attempt at it: >> >> Final report of the redistricting committee >> http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/Docs/Final-Report.pdf >> >> Final principles for redistricting >> http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/docs/Final-Princ-for-Redist-w-Tech-Amend.pdf >> >> Possible time-line for public meetings. >> http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/charter-commission/Docs/Possible-Timeline-Pub-Mtgs.pdf >> >> "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens >> can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- >> Margaret Mead >> >> >> >> Barbara Lickness >> Whittier, Minneapolis >> About Barb Lickness: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/barbaralickness >> > > > John Ferman > Kingfield, Minneapolis > About Jack Ferman: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/johnferman > > View full topic, share on Facebook, Twitter, etc: > http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/topic/60sVEVvUVVG1QkO3uAoEDV > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - > To post, e-mail: <email obscured> or "Reply-to-All" to post publicly. > To leave or for daily digest, type "unsubscribe" OR "digest on" in subject instead. > > Forum home: http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - > Need help? http://e-democracy.org/support Hosting thanks: http://OnlineGroups.Net > Follow us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/edemocracyorg > > 1. Be civil! Please read the rules at http://e-democracy.org/rules. > If you think a member is in violation, contact the forum manager at > <email obscured> before continuing it on the list. > > 2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait. >
From: Dave Garland Date: 9:55pm, Oct 07, 2010
On 10/7/2010 4:02 PM, John Ferman wrote: > Those interested in a fair redistricting process had > best start planning their strategies for the legal assault to get the > redistricting into a court of law. It will also help immensely to > defeat the ballot initiative the coming November. Defeating the ballot initiative will merely ensure that the redistricting process is conducted the same way as it was last time around. You may remember the shenanigans and gerrymandering that happened last time, to ensure that the incumbent majority-party city council members retained their seats, and to rid the council of other voices. You can see the old way in Chapter 1 Section 3B of the Mpls Charter, at: http://library1.municode.com/default-test/home.htm?infobase=11490 It's not that the new proposal is the last word, it's that the old way was awful. But if the old way is how you like it (and yes, _that_ is the alternative), defeating the ballot initiative is the way to go. Me, I'm hoping for a system with better and fairer results, rather than defending the status quo. While there aren't any guarantees (guarantees from politicians are worthless, in any case), the new proposal is worth trying.
From: Fred Markus Date: 7:18pm, Oct 08, 2010
I was stymied repeatedly in the transactions performed by the 2002 Redistricting Commission. It left me greatly dissatisfied with that process and I went to some considerable effort to encourage revisions on a grand scale. Never a Carol Becker, never a Jack Ferman in that new climate. I sat through and participated in every drafting session and have written in very warm terms about the product of this endeavor by the charter commissioners who took on this task. Common Cause backed away from its early opposition. The approach to the membership and functions of the Advisory Committee provided for in the Charter Amendment is an extraordinarily transparent and inclusionary sequence. The inclusion of the advisory committee members as fully functioning and voting members of the Redistricting Group right alongside the commissioners themselves and the series of public meetings en route to the final map declare an unmistakable commitment to open process. I think it unlikely that anyone wishing to suborn this new approach for whatever reason would have a very difficult time. The commissioners themselves are quite aware of their immunity from political pressure and that is an entirely new paradigm for Minneapolis. The deliberate intention to broaden the diversity of the Redistricting Group is there to be seen and evaluated by the electorate. The use of four languages throughout the life of the Redistricting Group and a very thorough preparation for timely notice to many interested groups and individuals is ever so much better than the minimalist experience in 2002. Much improved technology means live visuals and interactive capacities for many more people, not just a confidential huddle by a small group who waited until the very last to bring out their predetermined map and force its passage. Criticism is fine, but let it be informed criticism. If the amendment doesn't pass, it will still fall to the Charter Commission to choose who shall constitute the membership of the old Redistricting Commission paradigm and it is patently obvious to this writer that nominations submitted by the political parties will come with not just strings but chains attached. Once empaneled furthermore, redistricting commissioners under the old system do as they please and are immune to the interests of our many diverse communities if they so choose. A recipe for machinations that deserves harsh criticism IMHO, hence the care with which this alternative has been crafted. Fred Markus 2000-2002 Redistricting Commissioner Phillips West
From: Fred Markus Date: 7:22pm, Oct 08, 2010
Oops! - make that "highly likely that anyone wishing to suborn...would have a very difficult time." Fred Markus Phillips West
From: Fred Markus Date: 11:59am, Oct 12, 2010
Ah, yes. Three weeks to election day and it's a struggle to find coverage of the documents that the Charter Commission adopted on October 6 that inform how the Commission plans to deal with the Advisory Committee built into the Charter Amendment that's on the ballot on November 2. This is not to fault Steve Brandt's most recent article in the Star Tribune or the well-detailed article by Jake Weyer, both with October 11th datelines. What gets overlooked to date is that the considered intent of the Charter Commission is essentially to absorb the membership of a 9-member advisory committee into a larger working body named the Redistricting Group. The membership of this ad hoc committee of the whole will work in a very public way throughout 2011. Advisory Committee members will have equal standing with the Charter Commission members throughout the drafting process and bring much needed diversity to the Redistricting Group. Assuming the Charter Amendment passes - big assumption, given that 50% of all who vote on November 2 will have to cast affimative votes - the 2011 calendar year begins with a widely circulated notice to the interested public. This itself is an timely improvement in that the population of our city has become much more diverse over the past ten years with an ever-growing list of service organizations dealing with cultural issues. These include race, ethnicity, language, family structure and the like and across the board a need to learn the vocabulary of our civic life. There are also generational challenges for all our citizens - ranging from safe, secure, affordable life for a growing number of seniors to equality of opportunity for persons in their working years and to appropriate and sound educational environments for young people all across the first two decades of their young life. The Charter Commissioners will ask the public's help in framing the Advisory Committee application form via public meetings in January and February, 2011. This is a novel solution to both transparency and inclusivity issues. The Charter Commission will evaluate and decide the final form of the application in early March and the open appointments window will last from mid-March through the end of April, 2011. May and June will be a time for evaluating the applications and arriving at actual appointments to the Advisory Committee. According to the tentative timeline spelled out on the Charter Commission website, July and August, 2011 will see orientation sessions for the new Redistricting Group, including briefings by the City Attorney and other City staff and decisions will be made regarding funding and technical assistance. Note that the intention of the Commission is to have all the public work of the Redistricting Group conducted in the four languages the City currently uses routinely - English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish. IMHO, translation assets will be a significant but necessary cost beyond provision for specialized redistricting software and technicians familar with these now-standard means of assessing geographic/demographic-based data. July and August will also be a time for public outreach, public discussions about proposed rules including a formal hearing for public comment, more specific advice from the City Attorney, and a final draft and adoption of the formal rules governing the subsequent activities of the Redistricting Group. Assuming the State Legislature has completed its own redistricting responsibilities (a statutory precursor to local redistricting and possibly involving post-redistricting litigation), September and October, 2011 are meant to be devoted to crafting a first draft of projected ward and park district boundary changes. There are a number of statutory requirements that shape redistricting choices, whatever agency or group does the actual work and these are spelled out in the Charter itself and in the procedures now adopted by the Charter Commission as of October 6, 2010. So ... that first draft map will have some built-in stipulations. The Redistricting Group will hold a minimum of two hearings in October, 2011 showing off the first draft map and seeking public feedback. November will bring closure concerning this first draft and the production of a proposed final draft map. This second attempt will also be vetted at three city-wide public hearings with 7-days' legal notice beforehand in a legal newspaper [and on the City's website]. Presuming the Park District boundaries have also been tentatively established, the Redistricting Group will send these along to the independent Minneapolis Park Board for their review and comments. The Legislature will need to finalize procedures governing the geography-based School Districts within Minneapolis. For now, the Charter Commission is necessarily silent on whatever will be the case for the four Minneapolis geography-based School Districts. In December, 2011, having reviewed public feedback about the second draft redistricting map (aka "proposed" as opposed to "first draft"), the Charter Commissioners themselves will adopt the final draft of the new Ward and Park District map and file this completed work product with the City Clerk and the Park Board in January, 2012. Note that there is no provision for any actions by the Mayor or City Council or any of the City's various agencies. This is strictly the business of the Charter Commission as assisted by their Advisory Committee and with the considerable benefit of several interactions with the general public over time. This proposed deadline (January, 2012) leaves plenty of time for possible litigation. By law, the process has to be complete before the opening day of filings for ward-level office in the fall of 2013 and fourteen days before the opening day of filings for park district-level office. Bear in mind that with IRV voting in place there won't be any municipal-level primary in August, 2013. Candidates will have between early July and the end of October, 2013 to make their respective cases to the municipal electorate and in November, 2013 we will choose the next batch of incumbents for our municipal government. Can't say I blame the two reporters I mentioned at the beginning of this lengthy post for not having waded into these procedural details. I do feel it necessary to be specific about the proposed timeline (also to be found at the Charter Commission's website, but only as a "best estimate" calendar) in order to rebut the notion that the Advisory Committee will somehow be window dressing for actions taken by a group of unrepresentative insiders - Steve Brandt quotes Charter Commission Chairman Barry Clegg as describing the core group as "charter nerds". And if the Amendment doesn't pass, we'll be back to the old Redistricting Commission that both reporters have described and in that case, another opportunity for political mischief will have prevailed. I believe this new system is fairly foolproof. It is certainly the case that we older folks need to make room for the young pups who will be 18 in 2010, 28 in 2020, and 38 in 2030. By then, I myself would be 92 years old and asleep much of the time. My suggestion is that membership in the Advisory Committee will be instructive to the diverse membership of that group, to the Charter Commission itself, and to the general public as well. Thanks to those list members who have stayed the course in this lengthy statement and good luck to the reporters that I hope will somehow boil all this down into a "Cliff Notes" version before November 2 is upon us. Fred Markus Phillips West
From: Jim Graham Date: 3:10pm, Oct 12, 2010
Ahhh, thinking of politics in the morning. Since the "Charter Commission is also politically appointed (and NOT elected- I fail to see how it will have less "Political Mischief" than the present system. After all remember the political mischief that occurred last year when the Charter Commission acting as puppet for the City Politicians attempted to kill both the Board of Estimate and the Park Board? Remember how the elected Minneapolis City Politicians Flem-flamed that IRV thing into existence so the incumbents are almost impossible to get rid of? I have not figured out the political motivation behind this new action, rather than have a Federal Judge do the same (aren't Federal Judges supposed to be more ethical than Minneapolis politicians?), but I am fairly certain there is a political motivation. What is wrong with not allowing any consideration of special interests and just draw the lines as close as possible to Neighborhood lines and as straight a line as possible to get that number of people within the boundary. NO consideration of who presently holds office for Ward boundaries at all!!! I guess I just do NOT trust our Minneapolis City Government and their appointees. Remember you are not paranoid if it has happened to you before, just VERY CAREFUL, and the City's elected Pol's have certainly screwed us before. Previous items for example, and the attempts to kill citizen participation and the actual killing of NRP are only a couple of more examples. And another thought sprang to my "careful" mind: The languages that are included. What happened to Ojibwe and Dakota? We have a VERY large Ojibwe population in Minneapolis, and Dakota has special status because the Mdewakanton Dakota may actually have some title claim to all the land in Minneapolis under the 1805 Treaty. Last I heard, nine miles from the confluence of the St. Peter (now Minnesota River) and the Mississippi River includes all of Minneapolis. Under that MOU between Minneapolis and the Indian Communities I think Minneapolis agreed to STOP discriminating against Indian People. Not including their languages can be thought to be discriminating against them. Possibly, attempting to NOT recognize their language is part of the institutional genocide of those cultures that has certainly marked the long history of Minneapolis and Minnesota. Does anyone know what the statistics are to compare percentages of ethnic populations who feel included enough to VOTE? What is the number of Ojibwe people in Minneapolis and what percentage votes? What is the number of Hmong people in Minneapolis and what percentage votes? Just some stray thoughts while reading the Fred Markus post and drinking morning coffee. Jim Graham, Ventura Village “The City that scorns excellence in community infrastructure as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in political philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good sewers nor good public policy: its political policies will hold more crap than its pipes.” - Gem
From: Steve Brandt Date: 4:13pm, Oct 12, 2010
"Assuming the Charter Amendment passes - big assumption, given that 50% of all who vote on November 2 will have to cast affimative votes - the 2011 calendar year begins with a widely circulated notice to the interested public." Actually, a charter amendment requires 51 percent voter approval. From the city web site: Timeframe Passage Approval of the amendment requires 51% of those voting on the amendment. Steve Brandt Star Tribune
From: Ronald Leurquin Date: 4:20pm, Oct 12, 2010
Steve (or anyone that knows) Could you please clarify if you can if this amendment requires 50%+ of those casting a vote on the amendment or 50%+ of those voting at all? Mainly I am interested in what effect those voting but not voting on the amendment have on the results. There will likely be a difference since amendments are usually at the end and often the back of the ballot, something skipped/missed by some. Ron Leurquin Nokomis East Steve shared: "Assuming the Charter Amendment passes - big assumption, given that 50% of all who vote on November 2 will have to cast affimative votes - the 2011 calendar year begins with a widely circulated notice to the interested public." Actually, a charter amendment requires 51 percent voter approval. From the city web site: Timeframe Passage Approval of the amendment requires 51% of those voting on the amendment.
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From: Barry Clegg Date: 4:44pm, Oct 12, 2010
In answer to the question about what is required for a Charter Amendment to pass, the answer is 51% of the votes cast ON THE AMENDMENT (emphasis added by me). See Minnesota Statute 410.12, Subd.4. So if someone skips this question, it doesn't matter one way or the other in determining whether the question is approved. Repeating previous poster's information about where information can be found, see http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/charter-commission/ This site contains the detailed language of the proposed amendment (not just the ballot question), a marked copy comparing the new language to the existing charter and a summary of Redistricting Principles and Procedures adopted by the Charter Commission. Hopefully, later today, it will also include a leadoff summary section which summarizes what the amendment would do in plain "non-charterese" language. Barry Clegg Nicollet Island Charter Commissioner
From: Dave Garland Date: 4:54pm, Oct 12, 2010
On 10/12/2010 11:20 AM, Leurquin, Ronald wrote: > Could you please clarify if you can if this amendment requires 50%+ > of those casting a vote on the amendment or 50%+ of those voting at > all? I'd swear I've seen the latter, but can't find the source now. The City's website link to the Charter quotes state law, and a quick check at the state level shows the quote is accurate: > Minnesota Statute 410.12, Subd. 4.Election. Amendments shall be > submitted to the qualified voters at a general or special election > and published as in the case of the original charter... If 51 > percent of the votes cast on any amendment are in favor of its > adoption, copies of the amendment and certificates shall be filed, > as in the case of the original charter and the amendment shall take > effect in 30 days from the date of the election or at such other > time as is fixed in the amendment. So, it would seem that it is "at least 51% voting on the amendment".
From: Barry Clegg Date: 6:07pm, Oct 12, 2010
Some of you have asked where the 50% +1 of those voting rule, as opposed those voting on the particular question, applies. That rule only applies in votes to amend the Minnesota State Consitution. The State Constitution itself addresses what vote is required for an amendment to the Constitution and provides as follows: "ARTICLE IX AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION Section 1. AMENDMENTS; RATIFICATION. A majority of the members elected to each house of the legislature may propose amendments to this constitution. Proposed amendments shall be published with the laws passed at the same session and submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at a general election. If a majority of all the electors voting at the election vote to ratify an amendment, it becomes a part of this constitution. If two or more amendments are submitted at the same time, voters shall vote for or against each separately." Barry again - as noted in previous posts, State Statute provides that charter changes (not just for Minneapolis, but for all charter cities) are determined by 51% of those voting on the particular question. Barry Clegg Nicollet Island Minneapolis Charter Commissioner
From: Wizard Marks Date: 2:52am, Oct 13, 2010
I hope Fred Marcus posts again on this topic a I think he can give a good account of the objections Jim Graham has to voting yes on the ballot question. But it is my sense of the issue that voting yes will, at the least, dilute the power of the partisans who want to make sure districts help specific candidates to stay in office. If I'm right about this, it would be a good thing to vote yes.
From: Fred Markus Date: 1:58pm, Oct 13, 2010
First off, thanks to Steve Brandt and Barry Clegg for pinning down exactly what the humorless vote counters will be looking for on the ballot question. I'm also glad to see that an official effort is being made to condense the explanatory language - no small task. Then a minor note about which Judge chooses the Charter Commissioners - that's the sitting Hennepin County Chief Judge, not anyone on the Federal Bench. The Hennepin County Chief Judge will no doubt be paying particular attention if the amendment passes, because three Commissioners are coming to their end of term and applications for those seats will be sought via the open appointments process beginning next month. Jim Graham is entirely right to point out the Native American Community has been getting short shrift in our civic life. I leave it to the experts to earmark certain languages for official recognition, there being scores of languages spoken as the lingua franca in our many households. I've spent a fair amount of time coming and going with Native Americans since moving to Phillips in 2003. I also studied about local history when living on Nicollet Island and benefited greatly from Professor Folwell's work in the late nineteenth century in this regard and from daily contact with my Native American neighbors on Nicollet St. And I grew up in close proximity to the Indian Agency House in Portage, WI where one of my cousins is continuing the caretakership that began in 1944 or thereabouts. I remember giving history tours of that restored 1832 residence when I was seven years old. Lots of history around Portage, WI and interest in Native American heritage remains strong in my extended family. I expect that if mainstream American culture falls apart, the values held by the continent's original inhabitants will be a sustaining influence in future times. To my mind, the central issue that both Carol Becker and Jim Graham raise is about trust. Do we trust our local government to live up to our ideals? There's a lot of chatter about "taking back our government" in the national scene and I submit that we need a better mechanism for municipal governance in Minneapolis than we now have in place. I'm not particularly fond of slogans and the use of negative campaigning. I'm also not prepared to fulminate about our current crop of municipal leadership. What you see has been what you get. History as it truly is. What I do see very clearly is that immigrant populations have built this city of ours over the past century and a half and we continue to give truth to the phenomenon of assimilation howsoever it takes multiple generations to come to that conclusion. We also have the largest urban Native American popoulation in the United States. We also serve as a final destination for recurring waves of domestic arrivals from every sort of place in the Midwest - rural, small-town, other cities - and from across the country as well. There is also a near endless variety of motives in these movements. So. How best encourage participation in our governing entities? We have to be able to communicate with one another in vocabularies we all understand and with respect for our parochial varieties of culture as we experience them. That's how our local history is put together and it's a task for all of us, bar none. In this regard, diversity is truly our greatest strength. Transparency in process, inclusivity in intent, and pondering the notion of the good of the whole permit us to renew our social contract. How not encourage enlightened self-interest wherever it's found? How better to explore the meaning of that last phrase than in the public forum where decisions are taken every ten years by fiat in our federal constitution? On the question of trust, can we trust ourselves? Is the voting electorate in Minneapolis willing to have a fresh start on such basic questions? I certainly hope so, because in twenty or thirty years a whole lot of new faces will be sitting in our elected seats. The same will be true nationally and globally for that matter. What sort of message will we send to these far-flung neighbors? Who will be our ambassadors around the globe seeking trade agreements and mutual understandings? There's very little room in these futurist questions for complacency. Trust has led us into some really awkward economic and military situations, I submit, because trust must be earned, not assumed. And the "We" I refer to knows no particular boundaries. Granted, this amendment ony deals with the City of Minneapolis but this process, if adopted, sends quite the message to all those places that aren't within the City of Minneapolis. What a good idea! Fred Markus Phillips West
From: Peter Tobias Date: 3:19pm, Oct 13, 2010
Wizard Marks: > But it is my sense of the issue that voting yes will, at the least, dilute the power of the partisans who want to make sure districts help specific candidates to stay in office. I second that. Let's compare the suggested change with the realistic alternative, which is doing the redistricting the old way, not with some imagined better way that has no chance of implementation. I like incumbents to stay in office due to their positive track record, not due to machinations behind the scenes.
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