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Florida House Approves State Legislative and Congressional Maps

The Florida House of Representatives today approved House, Senate and Congressional maps.  The redistricting maps approved by the House of Representatives include:

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10 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Michael Barentine says:

    I would like to say “thanks” to whomever gerrymandered my family and friends from the old congressional district three to the new district six. I hope the 2012 Congressional Map becomes law.

  2. Concered Floridian says:

    Gerrymandering at its finest. In no way, shape, or form does this meet the criteria for the new fair redistricting amendment.

    It is obvious that the term “community” is not being used as it should.

    I am dumbfounded as to how the Pine Hills area of Orlando is considered to hold similar community views as parts of Ocala, Gainsville, and Jacksonville.

    Congressional District 5 is a “text-book” example of political gerrymandering. Likewise, Congressional District 10 shows how political parties use the redistricting process to ensure party-incumbents are re-seated. I guess Congressman Webster will have no problem at all getting re-elected.

    We might wan’t to remind our elected officials of what we passed. As the new constitutional amendment summary read:

    “Congressional districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice.Districts […] where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.”

    Silly me for actually thinking that Rep. Weatherford had any values. I guess he’s just another party-puppet like the rest of them — albeit he gives off a better personality than most others in the House.

    I just hope it’s up to the courts to interpret the constitutionality of the proposals, and that another court packing scheme doesn’t get passed. Which reminds me, I should probably update my signature — I wouldn’t want my vote to be invalidated, per the new statutory voting requirements [Ch. 2011-40].

    Oh, how I miss the long days in Tallahassee, the long committee meetings on growth development, and being awoken by the sounds of Justice 2 Jesus’ Mr. Pitts yelling at the Committee Chair.

    Yours truly,
    A Concerned Floridian

    • Thank you for the feedback. Florida’s Constitution does not use the word “community” and it does not factor in common interests between communities. Florida’s Constitution also does not read as you quoted above. It prohibits political “intent.” Congressional district 5 is similar to an existing district that was initially drawn by a federal court 20 years ago, historically allows the African-American community to choose a candidate of its choice, and is protected by the new amendments to the Florida Constitution, which prohibit the diminishment of existing opportunities for racial and language minorities. The framers and authors of the constitutional amendments articulated that the new standards are similar to a Section 5 VRA type of protection for these districts. The NAACP submitted a map that also redrew this seat. The constitution says what it says and the Legislature followed it to the letter of the law.

      • Concered Floridian says:

        First of all, thank you very much for your prompt and cordial response.

        I am well aware of what you have pointed out. I did mention that I quoted the Amendment summary, and not the actual constitutional wording itself. The amendment summary, as approved by the Florida Supreme Court, provides us with a quasi-accurate interpretation of the amendment.

        Also, I may not have been clear in specifying that my “community” comment was in reference to the post by Mr. Phil Buchanan and subsequent responses. Likewise, one could also argue that a “community” could be the municipal, and county jurisdictional boundaries.

        I am not sure I understand how you claim the proposed districts are free of gerrymandering or political “intent,” particularly as they seem to protect party-incumbents. Additionally, your point in regards to District 5 is somewhat misleading.

        However, I would like to thank you for taking the time in answering my concerns.

        Sincerely,
        A Concerned Floridian

      • In the case of the boundary between Districts 76 and 77, the Committee had a choice of using existing city/county boundaries or various geographic features (any of which could probably be defended under the Constitutional amendments). They chose a geographic feature that divided the Pine Island coastal community and provided an unfair political advantage to Cape Coral in its efforts to annex all or parts of Pine Island. They then ignored massive protests by Pine Islanders and local officials. No, they were not responsive to public input.

      • Respectfully, you’re wrong. Pine Island has been kept whole. Redistricting and annexation have nothing to do with each other. You are defining Pine Island as something that simply doesn’t factor into adherence to the standards in law. Soon after the House released its options for the state house map, we received input from the community that one of the options that would have put Pine Island with the bulk of Cape Coral was not what the community wanted. The Subcommittee looking at the state house maps disregarded that option, consistent with what Pine Island residents requested, at its next meeting. In addition, the full Redistricting Committee received public feedback regarding the Estero CDP, and it implemented that public input at its next meeting. The only question on the table was this additional input about neighborhoods and some residents associate with Pine Island. To implement the suggestion would have made both districts less compact in a manner that didn’t offer a reasonable tradeoff in terms of legal compliance. Therefore, this request was not implemented. Two out of three public requests were implemented in Lee County, consistent with the law. As such, your statements are just factually incorrect.

  3. What a load of crap. The Redistricting Committee ignored our persistent and numerous protests and divided our community into two House Districts. They rewarded their political friends and could care less about public input.

    • Redistricting Committee Staff says:

      What community are you referring to?

      • I’m referring to Matlacha, an integral part of the Pine Island Community. The Committee had the choice of using the jurisdictional boundary between the City of Cape Coral and Pine Island or just drawing an arbitrary line down the coast between the islands. They chose the latter and cut our coastal island community in half. I can understand the original mistake, but I can’t understand why they ignored our extensive efforts to get them to correct the mistake.

    • Redistricting Committee Staff says:

      Thank you for the additional insight. We looked quite a bit into the input we recieved from the community, presented it in a committee meeting and even looked at options w the Committee Chairman. The decision was to specifically use the waterway as a geographical boundary line, and to leave the mainland district as a very compact district. All of Pine Island is in the other district. These are decisions directly rooted in the plain language of the law. Unfortunately there is what appears to be some misleading connection that has been suggested between redistricting and local issues that are not connected to redistricting. But the reality is that the decision was given full consideration publicly and the committee sided with a boundary for the districts that is lawful.

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