Thursday, May 19, 2011

Start from scratch or keep as many existing districts in place as possible

Utah Redistricting:

It is still early. I hope we can follow county and city lines where possible. In some cases, that won't work because of numbers. The Congressional Districts will likely be even population wise within 1 person. They have agreed to be within 0.1%. The Rest of the districts (House, Senate, State School Board) will be within 3.5% of the equal population target.

The question is, if you start from scratch, and you like who is representing you, would you be upset to find out they won't be, and you will have two other incumbents vying for your vote? You could end up with no incumbents with everyone new vying for the seat.

Either you start from scratch going with new boundaries, or you keep as many districts as you can and make them larger or smaller to match the population targets. Doing that will totally eliminate some districts. In the past they have kept as many existing districts as possible. What do you want this time?

Your opinion maters. The census numbers will drive the final boundaries. Sometimes that means the person across the street will be voting for someone different than their neighbors.

A few of the lines will not make sense, even if the maps start from scratch - due to fact the US Census Blocks (the smallest pieces in the puzzles) are in shapes that don't make sense and have populations from 0 to over 1000.

So, should we start from scratch, following county and city lines where possible, or keep as may existing districts in place as possible?

For more information, see:

My previous post on Utah Redistricting:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

HB 328 State Government Work Week

Article XVI, Section 7.
[Legislature to enforce this article.] The Legislature, by appropriate legislation, shall provide for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.

Article VII, Section 5, (Executive Power vested in the Governor)

What do you do when both sides have power and don't agree?

I didn't like HB 328 State Government Work Week and agreed that Gov. Herbert had executive power in this area. So does the Legislature. I voted against HB 328 three times including the override vote.

But by attempting to solve it by executive order and by stating that the Legislature didn't have the power to write HB 328 as one reason for his veto, Gov. Herbert didn't solve it, but made it worse.

I am fine with the compromise that the Governor had reached prior to the vote, but the best course of action, since HB 328 didn't take affect prior to Sep. 17, 2011, would have been to create a new bill with the compromise, run it in an upcoming special session, which would have solved both Article XVI, Section 7 and Article VII, Section 5.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Paying for roads and maintenance in Utah

I am OK with the intent that we get to the point that the equivalent of all of the sales and use tax on vehicles and vehicle-related products be used to provide and maintain roads.

I am not OK with building roads and then letting the new or old road fall apart for lack of maintenance.

Keeping the existing tax on gas provides some additional weight for those individuals that put a lot of miles on the roads.

I would rather decrease the overall tax burden than raise it.

I voted for the bill, again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Utah Compact:

1. The 4 immigration bills dubbed the Utah solution are constitutional. The US has power over naturalization/citizenship, not immigration. Prior to case law beginning in 1893, Immigration was and is a State Power. The constitution wasn' changed.

2. The Utah Compact states "Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries — not Utah and other countries." So the 4 bills violate The Utah Compact, not the constitution.

3. There are 4 bills. One that provides enforcement HB 497, one that provides for migrant workers HB 466, one that provides sponsoring HB 469, and one that provides a guest worker permit HB 116. HB 116 was modified to become a combination of others and could be deleted and the 3 bills remaining can function and many believe would work better.

4. With HB 469, you don't need HB 116. Someone here illegally could find a sponsor, go home and come back with permission.

5. If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can't reward those that bypass the line. HB 116 violates that. HB 469 doesn't.

For more Information

Monday, May 2, 2011

Utah Redistricting - not as easy as it looks

Not only does Utah have to create 4 new congressional districts, but because of the numbers from the 2010 US Census, the State School Board Districts, and the Utah House and Senate Districts all will have to be rebalanced.

For an update on what is going on, see:
and also

At the next meeting, the committee will decide redistricting principles.

I would suggest the following for the Congressional Districts:

‎1. I believe the number of people should balance to the last person, which means one of the 4 districts will have one person more than the other 3. While difficult, this is possible to do. (2,763,885 doesn't divide evenly in 4 parts).

2. In creating the 4 congressional districts, I believe we should keep as many counties intact and not split them as much as possible. Based on 2010 census numbers, I believe you will need to split at least 2 counties between congressional districts. You shouldn't split more than 3.

3. In creating the 4 congressional districts, I believe we should keep as many cities intact and not split them as much as possible. Based on 2010 census numbers, I believe you will need to split at least 3 cities.
You shouldn't split more than 4.

4. Based on the above, I believe Salt Lake County could be primarily in 2 districts with small parts in the other 2 districts. With over 1 million people in Salt Lake County, and about 2.7 million people in the state, I don't believe there is a better way.

The above guidelines are ideals, and can be done for the Congressional Districts. For the other redistricting districts, a little more leeway should be given to avoid dividing up neighborhoods, counties and cities all the time. They should still balance closer than 4% of each other, which will require more dividing
neighborhoods anyway.

Further, I would think the following are things to avoid:

To create a "Rep. ________ Only" district in Salt Lake County I believe would be a mistake. Where possible, it would be better that the districts are winnable by both parties and not favor one party. The vote in 1990 for the 3rd Congressional district shows that is easy, as the voters can pull a surprise.

I do not favor trying to use redistricting to make a race unfair. I would rather have at least 2 good candidates running in each race, because the candidate you or I want doesn't always win, and you want someone good elected in office.

Below is an example of a 4 congressional district map I designed prior to 2010 Census Block numbers being available. It isn't perfect, but it is based on the ideas above. To be exact, the number of cities in Davis County falling in the 2nd Congressional District would be reduced and the size of Salt Lake City in the 1st Congressional District would be smaller. The only Cities to be divided would be in Salt Lake County and be larger than 20,000 people.

The software soon being provided to the public will allow better detail and allow selections based on Counties, Cities, and Census Blocks. The number of people in a Census Block vary from 0 to over 1000. You can't go smaller than a census block because we don't know where the numbers of people are any smaller. That may mean you will need to divide a county or city you don't plan to.

If you are tired of waiting, see this previous post for some numbers to start with: