24 May 2005

Democrat calls Bush on redistricting flip-flop

For years, Governor Jeb Bush has opposed the idea of an independent commission drawing the districts for the state's congressmen and legislators. Instead, the governor supports the politicians drawing their own districts - essentially the elected officials choosing their voters instead of the voters choosing their elected officials. Now, it appears the governor has a change of heart.

Last weekend, the Orlando Sentinel and FloridapolitiX.com reported that Governor Jeb Bush now supports an independent commission for redistricting. The only catch ... he only supports it in California. Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, who like Bush is a Republican, is pushing a ballot initiative in the Golden State that would require an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districts instead of the politicians themselves. The difference between the California and Florida plans? California has a Democratic legislature, while Florida's legislature is controlled by the GOP.

Now a Florida Democrat is calling the governor on his redistricting flip-flop. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Dania Beach), a co-founder of the Committee for Fair Elections which is pushing the constitutional amendment creating the independent commission in Florida, has written a letter to the governor, praising him for his change in position and inviting him to join his effort to provide fair elections in Florida. The text of the letter follows.

Dear Governor Bush:

I was thrilled to hear that you had embraced the idea, and even held a fundraiser here in Florida, to support the concept of having an independent redistricting commission, not politicians, draw the boundaries for state legislative and congressional districts – until I realized you were only supporting the idea for California, and not for Florida.

Both our states have seen one party use gerrymandering to unfairly dominate their respective state legislatures. In Florida, the Republicans have used squiggly lines on district maps to give themselves a 2-to-1 advantage in both the state legislature and Congressional delegation, despite the fact that there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state. In California, Democrats have pretty much done the same. But just because both parties do it, that doesn’t make it right.

So how about it, governor? I’ll endorse an independent redistricting commission in California – even though it’ll mean fewer legislative seats for my fellow Democrats – if you’ll join AARP, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and a host of other good-government groups and endorse the idea of taking redistricting out of the hands of politicians with a vested interest in the process here in Florida

I look forward to joining you and Governor Schwarzenegger at a future fundraiser in support of reforming Florida's redistricting effort, along with Attorney General Charlie Crist, Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Members of Congress Ander Crenshaw, Mark Foley, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ginny Brown-Waite, who all voted for independent redistricting as members of the State Senate in 1993.


Tim Ryan
State Representative, District 100

P.S. I hope this little note won’t make you veto any bills you might see with my name on them.


Anonymous gator78 said...

Finally! A Democrat with some balls!!!!

11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great. Why don't more Ds do this kind of in-your-face stuff with the Republicans?

8:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just when I was losing hope in Florida Democrats, I read this. Good for Tim Ryan. It sounds like he's the only one in the party with some cajones.

9:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that Ryan doesn't just stop with this letter. When the redistricting makes it on the ballot, he should put Jeb in the commercials and mail. Force Jeb to ask that his name be taken out and force him to flip-flop publicly.

The letter is nice, but not nearly enough. I hope the Dems go much further when this issue goes to the voters.

1:19:00 PM  
Blogger BlueDawgDem said...

I am fortunate enough to know Tim Ryan, and he is a solid bulldog for the issues important to Democrats. He is one of those folks in Tallahassee that Democrats can count on to do the right thing and carry our banner.

Until Betty Castor got involved, he literally kept this thing going on his own. It is long past time that he gets his due---both from us loyalists, as well as the media.

4:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About time!!!! Jebby is such a asswipe on real issues for the working people, and now he has shown his true colors.

You go Mr. Tim

6:12:00 PM  
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