Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin, still trying hard to get a piece of a legislative redistricting process controlled by the two Democratic members of the three-person Board of Apportionment, has a modest proposal.
To date, public hearings on redistricting have been conducted by the hired staff. Martin proposes the big shots conduct the hearing at least once. He proposes that the king and crown prince of the undertaking — the Democratic members, Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, — join him for a public hearing July 25.
"This would allow the public to talk directly to those who have a vote," Martin said in a letter. He also wants only maps or amendments to maps published by July 27 be allowed to go to a final vote.
Martin's letter is on the jump.
UPDATE: Despite repeated requests, the attorney general's office offered no response.
Gov. Beebe's spokesman said the governor would NOT attend the July 25 meeting because "he thought his presence would be counter-productive. The hearings so far have been successful because they've been about the maps, not about the men." The governor has confidence in staff members who've been attending the meetings and briefing the governor afterward, spokesman Grant Tennille said. He added that the governor has been getting letters, phone calls and emals for weeks. "Their messages are being heard," he said.
As for an arbitrary two-day closeout on changes, the governor said if the process is to be completed by the end of July, the board has to preserve flexibility to make changes. Remember the legislature? Remember when someone discovered a mapping error that had to be corrected the final day of voting? Why foreclose the ability to make such a change by an arbitrary agreement on an early deadline on changes?
BOTTOM LINE: See your ploy and raise you, Mark.
June 21, 2011
The Honorable Mike Beebe
Governor of Arkansas
Little Rock, AR 72201
The Honorable Dustin McDaniel
323 Center Street, Suite 200
Little Rock, AR 72201
Dear Governor Beebe and General McDaniel:
I am in receipt of General McDaniel’s letter and proposal for the upcoming Board of Apportionment processes. I am very favorable on the timeline that is laid out in the letter, but I would like to make a few suggestions and/or additions to the timeline.
I also agree with you that Mr. Woodson has done a good job in coordinating our staff and conducting the public hearings. However, instead of Mr. Woodson holding the final public hearing period, I believe it is incumbent upon the principals — the three of us — to hold at least one public hearing prior to a final vote. This would allow the public to talk directly to those who have a vote. Therefore, I propose the public hearing on July 25th should be held by us.
There will likely be amendments to the maps after the public hearing on July 25th. So I would also like to add, that within 48 hours following that public hearing, any amendments to the proposed maps must be filed and published for the public to view. This would mean that only maps or amendments to those maps filed by the close of business on July 27th would be allowed to proceed to a final vote.
I look forward to hearing the public’s comments on maps other than those my office has proposed. If either of you have specific objections to any portion of the maps currently being presented to the public, then please let me know. I would welcome the opportunity to address those concerns so that we can work together constructively on behalf of the public in accordance with our responsibilities as members of the Board of Apportionment.
Finally, I would like to thank both of you for allowing your staff to work closely with mine on the public meeting process. Please have your staffs contact mine on whether my suggested adjustments to the timeline proposed by General McDaniel are acceptable.
Secretary of State
cc: Joe Woodson, Jr.