NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
For Immediate Release: August 31, 2011
Contact: Brannon Jordan, (850) 222-3411
GOP Taxpayer-Funded Sideshow Leaves Floridians Wondering: When Will Republicans Stop Fighting Fair Districts?
Tallahassee, FL – After nearly a month of parading across the state, at the expense of Florida taxpayers, the Republican-led Legislature has accomplished absolutely nothing to ease Floridian’s concerns over redistricting. As the charade comes to an end, we’re left with our same initial questions: When will the Republicans stop fighting fair districts? When will they show the public the maps? When will they drop their taxpayer-funded legal fight against thepeople of Florida?
“The GOP fought amendments 5 and 6 tooth-and-nail, but the will of the people prevailed and now it’s time for Republicans to follow the law,” said Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux. “Since these hearings began in June, Republicans have been dragging their feet and refusing to drop their lawsuit against the people of Florida. As this taxpayer-funded sideshow winds down, we remain no closer to seeing the maps nor getting the transparency Floridians demanded.”
Last fall, in overwhelming numbers, Floridians approved amendments 5 and 6. While Fair Districting is now Florida law, Republicans remain intent on thwarting the will of the people by doing whatthey do best: wasting taxpayer time and money.
“We have seen this Republican leadership, led by Senator Gatez, duck and dive from Tallahassee to Tampa blaming everyone and everything – from the actual Florida Constitution to the Census Bureau – for their failure to do their job,” Arceneaux continued.
Floridians from the Panhandle to the Keys have remained tirelessly outspoken throughout the length of the publichearings demanding the maps, demanding taxpayer dollars not be spent to fight the will of the voters, and above all, demanding the process be more transparent. Along the way, newspapers have echoed the same calls.
Read more of the backlash in the wake of the GOP’s redistricting sideshow HERE or view the text version of the attachments below.
Floridians: Stop Fighting Fair Districts
“Where are the maps? … Make a map now, present it to the public now and start a meaningful conversation. … We don’t want fake hearings and meaningless talk.” [Susan Watson, ACLU]
“You’re going to take money out of my pocket to fight something that I want.” [Oliver Gilbert III, a Miami Gardens council member]
“I believe that the voters should be allowed to fairly choose their elected officials, rather than elected officials choosing their voters.” [Tim Ross, Wilton Manors]
“The residents of Florida voted for Amendments 5 and 6, so what’s the problem?”
[Bruce Rockwell, Northeast Florida resident]
“As it is now, this exercise is a total waste of time and money,” [Michele Levy, Orange County League of Women Voters]
“We encourage you to drop your lawsuit. Sixty-three percent of the voters have spoken. We past amendments 5 and 6 last fall. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars to combat this.” [Jamie Shepard, Bay County League of Women Voters]
“It’s a disgrace… You are in self-protect mode trying to prevent fair opposition. You are afraid of us, the voters of Florida.” [Joyce Salomon, Coral Springs]
“The people said they want Amendments 5 and 6 last fall, and it’s absurd for the representatives here to use our tax money to try to overturn what we voted for,” [Benjamin D’Avanzo, Stuart resident]
Newspapers: Stop Fighting Fair Districts
Tampa Tribune: A 26-Meeting Farce “Keeping the map under wraps for as long as possible will make it harder for anyone hoping to challenge an incumbent… Moreover, the Florida House is suing to overturn the Fair Districts vote, essentially using taxpayers’ dollars to fight their will — an outrage.”
Miami Herald: Speed Up Redistricting “It’s hard to take the process seriously when the very people who get to decide are the ones with a vestedinterest in the outcome — the ones who sued to stop voters’ will.”
Orlando Sentinel: Redistricting Hearings Engender Little Trust Among the Public “That’s all thanks to the Fair Districts amendments, which 63 percent of voters backed in November. But hundreds who attended the hearings saw enough there — or knew enough about the redistricting process going in — to make them distrust the proceedings and those running them.”
Sun Sentinel: Lawmakers’ Hearings on Redrawing District Lines Raise More DoubtsThan Hopes “If that wasn’t clear enough following last fall’s vote counting, hundreds of people attended public hearings in South Florida this past Tuesday to demand that state officials uphold the spirit and intent of the amendments… But without maps and detailed timelines, we harbor the same doubts…”
Ocala Star Banner: Redistricting Must Create Level Playing Field for All “In a tight budget year, lawmakers set aside tens of millions of dollars to defend against legal challenges to their redistricting decisions. The lawmakers’ chief opposition will be the millions of Florida voters who decided last year that there must be a better way than the current process to determine who represents them in Congress and the Legislature.”
Ft. Myers News Press: Stop Wasting Money Fighting Redistricting “Lawmakers also should act in good faith to convince a skeptical public they’re not intent on subverting the fair district standards, by quickly putting proposed new maps on display… It’s hard to conjure a more ludicrous use of scarce taxpayer dollars. Drop the suit now.”
Palm Beach Post: Draw the Line on Arrogance “This week, the Legislature’s statewide pretense of caring about what voters want to see in new political boundaries came to Palm Beach County… Apparently, though, the Legislature plans to wait. And wait. And, if possible, wait long enough that critics of Tallahassee’s maps have as little time to respond as possible…”