Redistribution needs to be much less partisan in Colorado. Politics is in the best way
Nicolais finds it unrealistic to expect average Coloradans to be heavily involved in redistribution because it is such a technical process.
“Redistricting is very, very inside baseball for a lot of people. And it’s got a lot more complexities and nuances than most people are ready to get into and think about. I don’t know it’s so different from the years before. That’s just my personal opinion. “
And Shipley said the commissioners are open to the views of political insiders.
“Because they don’t just say, ‘People with a political leaning cannot be involved in this process at all.’ Because everyone is the public, ”Shipley said. But “I think they don’t like it at all when people aren’t honest or open or clear about who they are.”
One way politicians are trying to influence the process was recently revealed through a leaked video by Republican State Representative Matt Soper speaking to a handful of Republican voters earlier this year.
In the videoconference, Soper went so far as to propose arguments they could use in an upcoming public hearing to aid Republican interests and possibly secure his seat without specifically saying so. The Colorado Springs Gazette first reported his remarks.
“It’s not that I convinced people to do something they weren’t already interested in and weren’t ready to do,” Soper said, noting that he was speaking to a conservative Republican audience.
“They wanted to take part in the redistribution. They wanted to hear what a community of interests is all about. “
People who are not paid to represent their interests before the Commission do not need to register as lobbyists, even if they have certain political objectives.
“Discrimination of Experience”
Denise Torrez is a public school teacher and Democrat from Pueblo. She tried to get average citizens to redistribute, but said it was tough.
“In many ways, when humans are in survival mode … is this really a top priority for a lot of people?” She said. “We have to do it as it is and make it understandable so that the normal person can see how important it is. This is for all of us. “
Shipley said the commission will end up holding more than 30 hearings and while those will affect the final outcome, she said the commission will keep an eye on the hearings.
“Even at our busiest meeting, where 60 people testified in three or four hours, that’s still only 60 people from a given community. And does it represent these people? Does the stepping out of a district chairperson really represent everyone in this community? And obviously we know it isn’t, ”she said.
This year’s redistribution process is causing some Colorado Democrats to pause; If voters hadn’t approved independent commissions, their party – which controls the legislature – would now be in charge.
Nathaniel Minor / CPR NewsFormer Denver Mayor Wellington Webb (left) and current Mayor Michael Hancock (right) speak Saturday, April 24th.
Wellington Webb, well-known Democratic power broker and former mayor of Denver, rejects the idea that ordinary citizens with no political ties are the right path to follow in this process. Instead, he sees the Commission’s efforts as “discriminating against experience”.
“I think there were some underdogs who came in and tried to throw phrases like ‘let’s get the politicians out’. Cards in the past were gerrymandered. ‘ And that was just a bunch of cops, ”said Webb, who was involved in previous redistribution efforts.