Friday, April 29, 2011

No, Governor McDonnell: Please Don't Sign It

Well, it appears that little Dickie Saslaw blinked, and was forced to alter his extreme political gerrymander.

Nevertheless, as my friend Greg Letiecq observes, "Gerrymandering is OK if parties agree how to do it."  Here's Greg's descriptions of the districts --- five of them!  Count 'em!  Five! --- covering Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park:
The new proposed 28th district, for example, stretches from Bull Run Mountain all the way to Westmoreland State Park and at one points is only a few hundred feet wide where Rt. 215 crosses into Fauquier County.  The 29th district inkblot that was so egregious to RPV a few weeks ago is unchanged, snaking from Stonewall Golf Club to Manassas Park and then to Dumfries.  Traversing the proposed 36th District still requires a boat as it meanders from Mount Vernon up the Potomac River towards Widewater State Park in Stafford County.   The 37th District picks up a slice of Prince William County in Yorkshire along Rt. 28 nearly up to the Manassas Park city line that puts this portion of a Prince William County precinct in with Lorton.  There’s so much that hasn’t been fixed in this plan it’ll make your head spin.
Now, I don't agree with Greg that the new plan is "litigation bait of the highest order."  And while I probably know a little more about litigation than Greg, it certainly is not in the context of election law.  Maybe he's right.

Nevertheless, the average senatorial district in the Commonwealth is right around 200,000 souls.  With a population of 448,000 and change in the latest census, PWC, Manassas, and Manassas Park should have a total of two complete districts, with about a fourth of a third district.  But five districts?!?!

It should, and perhaps will, occur to the Governor and his advisors that the author of this plan --- Senator George Barker, D-WaPo ... er, Lorton/Lake Ridge, submitted the initial plan --- simply desires to split and/or punish jurisdictions which collectively gave the Governor a margin of approximately 15,000 votes in his victory in 2009.

Certainly, this confirms what some of us have known for years: any Prince William County resident who votes for George Barker should have his head examined.

Some of the problems of the initial plan may have been solved, and the new plan, which does more to protect existing incumbents, may have passed by a veto-proof majority.  And it is reported that Governor McDonnell intends to sign it into law.

Nevertheless, Governor McDonnell should keep faith with the overwhelming majorities in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, who helped to put him into office, and veto this gerrymandered monstrosity.

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