Thursday, July 21, 2016

Battle steps up over reapportionment reform; a little closer to Supreme Ct

Kicking out the old lege for a new and better (more sympathetic in a politically-partisan way) one seems to be the strategy for reapportionment reform. Photograph provided by state of Illinois
Now, the fight can get really ugly as political interests upset with the current partisan structure of the Illinois General Assembly go about trying to force a change to a legislative body more in line with their vision of the way things should be.

For a Cook County judge on Wednesday used her authority to reject all those petitions put together by allies of Gov. Bruce Rauner to force a referendum question on the Nov. 8 ballot about how the General Assembly’s district boundaries are drawn.

FOR CURRENTLY, THEY are put together in a way that results in the General Assembly having Democratic majorities that give significant influence and control over the legislative process to lawmakers from Chicago.

They are the reason that Rauner has been able to get nowhere with his desires to impose a series of anti-organized labor initiatives meant to undermine the influence that unions have over state government.

They also are the reason why Rauner will continue to accomplish nothing, so long as he continues with such a legislative agenda.

He could try to go district by district in the upcoming elections and toss his money at candidates who might align themselves with him in hopes of undermining the veto-proof majorities that now resist him.

OR, HE CAN try to toss out the current Legislature and build a new one more in tune with his image. Which is what this referendum question is about – no matter how much Rauner will claim he’s leading a bipartisan political effort.

I realize there are some good-government activist types who have signed on with Rauner because they’re desperate enough for any form of change in the status quo. But I wonder how little influence they will wind up carrying if this measure were to finally go through.
Reconfiguring this jumbled mess of the Chicago area is the goal of some involved with reapportionment reform, while others are eager to preserve it
When it comes to redistricting, I’m aware that partisan politics is a part of the process. I have no doubt that if different people were put in charge (ie., Rauner allies), the resulting district boundaries would wind up favoring their interests.

There is an inherent bias that occurs in the process. Which is why I’m wary of anyone who claims they’re going to impose real reform. Define reform!

EVEN THOSE PEOPLE who would say we ought to create a computer program that puts together boundaries, so as to take the human element out of it. I’d question the biases of the people programming the computer!

I do sense a certain self-righteous tone to the people arguing for the referendum – who largely are ones who couldn’t win at the ballot box so they want to kick the box over and ignore the results of the electorate.

It’s almost as though they think this is 1980s Chicago and the City Council, where the boundaries of wards had been put together in a way that created the 29-member majority that openly thwarted Harold Washington’s mayoral desires.

It took a special redistricting to create more equitable districts to break that stranglehold against the mayor.

IN THIS CASE, I feel like it would be the interests of people who would have opposed Washington trying to get back the control they used to have. I’m skeptical of the whole process.

Which is why I’m not bothered by the ruling of Judge Diane Larsen, although I can already hear the criticisms of it by the partisan ideologues pushing for the redistricting change – she’s a Cook County judge, which makes he biased.

Similar to how when a Cook County judge ruled that state officials could not be paid their salaries while there was a lack of a budget, the ideologues went and got another court outside the Chicago area to issue a contrary ruling so they could follow that one.
The gang at Second and Capitol in Springfield will likely have to resolve this legal issue
The Illinois Supreme Court eventually ruled in a way indicating that Cook County’s court likely got it right, and this is another case that ultimately is going to wind up before the state’s high court before we can get resolution.


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