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e_moon60

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Gerrymandering: Texas GOP [Apr. 19th, 2011|07:24 pm]
e_moon60
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[Current Mood |angry]

Thanks to previous redistricting,  GOP politicians in Texas have had a chance to stick it to us again and once more this current redistricting is all about them, and not about fair redistricting...they divide communities, they make districts shapes so much like the original "gerrymander" it's not even close to funny.  (My Congressional district is shaped more like a snake than a rational district.

You can't expect anything else of them, of course.   Last week or the week before, they joyfully announced that they were going to spend over $2 million dollars from the state's development fund and give multiple-year tax cuts to e-Bay so e-Bay would open a facility in Texas...because e-Bay might bring in as many as a thousand jobs.   This at the same time they've chopped education funding so that thousands of teachers are being laid off and school are closing.   State funds for all areas providing service to the public, from parks (including closure of several state parks)  to libraries to Medicaid, MHMR, child protective services, etc. have been chopped because of the GOP created deficit and Perry's refusal to use the funds designated for emergency use. 

What kind of jobs is e-Bay going to bring in?   Even in numbers it's not enough to offset the job losses these other cuts will produce in a cascade, as jobless teachers can't pay for the things they now use--it will impact everything from grocery stores to plumbing contractors and the real estate market may dive again.   (Perry brages about the jobs supposedly created by his "economic initiatives" but they were only about a third in number of the jobs lost in the same period, and many of the "new" jobs were low-paying...as I suspect the e-Bay jobs--should they ever materialize--will be.

But with the GOP in control of the Texas legislature,  with the power to set district boundaries,  they can make districts 150 miles long and a mile wide if it suits them. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: talvinm
2011-04-20 01:24 am (UTC)
Hm. It would probably take a constitutional amendment--on the state level at least--to prevent that, but how, exactly, would it be phrased?

"All points within a district must be within X miles of one another" sounds good in theory, maybe not so much in practice.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 12:13 pm (UTC)
And it would not be suggested/passed by the legislature.
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[User Picture]From: talvinm
2011-04-20 12:22 pm (UTC)
True. Just thinking ahead, and thinking beyond just Texas. I live in a city controlled by a Democratic Machine, thoroughly corrupt. The Mayor's race will be decided by the hotly contested Democratic Primary next month.

I can't complain TOO much, as I do vote Democrat. I can't avoid the corruption, but at least I can choose *which* corruption I will live with. Sad, no?

Still, I am trying to think ahead to how we could create a system that at least makes both parties work harder to corrupt it.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 01:17 pm (UTC)
While I would love to see less corruption in both parties, right now I see the continued dominance of the GOP--fueled by uncontrolled campaign contributions and lobbying by "business" and ever more hostile to the rights of individuals (thanks to the right-wing religious influence) as a far greater and more immediate danger.

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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2011-04-20 12:23 pm (UTC)
Depending on the urban/rural variations in population density this is not practical at all.

Some federal divisions in Australia are larger than neighbouring states...but most of those are unpopulated desert. Conversely some urban divisions are maybe 2-3 Km across.

Better to look at ensuring consistent numbers and a community of interest criteria (although even that becomes problematic sometimes).
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 01:12 pm (UTC)
Redistricting is required to ensure near-equality of numbers, but allows intentional divvying up of "community of interest." The "dumbbell" shaped district that didn't end up in the final plan was intended to do just that--split up Democrats so that they would always be a minority. As in Australia, Texas varies from very dense populations in a few large metropolitan areas to the near-emptiness of the more western, dryer areas. So naturally a Congressional district in west Texas may be huge, while one in Houston or Dallas may be much smaller. But when it's a pinhead in the neighborhood where a Democrat Congressman lives, and a long trail out to a lobe of rabid Republicans in a distant county...that's not OK. When the intent is to frustrate the ability of the opposition to have any representation, that's not OK.
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[User Picture]From: blackbyrd2
2011-04-20 01:49 am (UTC)
The only jobs that ebay can bring are;

Technicians to deal with their servers, if they set up a server farm, which is unlikely.

Accountants and clerical types to deal with fees, ads and basic clerical maintenance of the business. (Isn't TX a fairly expensive state, tax-wise, for corporations? Why would they move their headquarters there? And if they're not, then most of those jobs won't appear. Oh, never mind. I see. Tax cuts over multiple years. There you go then.)

Support technicians (Call center flunkies. I don't imagine eBay uses their own forces for this position. If they do, undoubtedly it will be marginally above minimum wage. More likely, if you're lucky, they outsource to a US company who employs people at barely above minimum wage. I've done this job. It's horrid. If you're not so fortunate, these positions go overseas. See Dell.)

Programmers/developers to grow the online infrastructure.
OK, this might actually be some decent jobs, but does TX have an overabundance of developers? If so, then pay will be below industry standards because of supply/demand. If not, they'll be importing people, either from other states, or from other countries like India, Pakistan, or S. Korea.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 12:17 pm (UTC)
Texas is NOT an expensive state for corporations: there's no state income tax, for one thing. It's also very anti-union and has relatively low wages and extremely lax (if any) regulation. Texas does have an overabundance of software and hardware talent, as the resident (and endemic) tech companies have shed jobs for the past 15 years or so to overseas. (Dell, Apple, etc.)

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[User Picture]From: blackbyrd2
2011-04-20 01:56 am (UTC)
Texas is home to the term gerrymander, isn't it? You'd think someone, somewhere would have written some legislation by now making it illegal for a district to have such convoluted shapes. Maybe lay out some geometrically termed guidelines for the ratio of sides to corners or width to length or something.

I suppose that districting into cohesive political segments makes a certain amount of sense, but you shouldn't be allowed to slice and dice quite so finely, eh?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 12:20 pm (UTC)
Texas was not the state where that term originated, but at least the last couple of redistrictings have been like that. For instance one proposed "district" this time would have united the county east of mine, and the county west of mine with a very narrow strip along the border between mine and the one to the south in a sort of ragged dumbbell shape. That was shot down, at least.
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2011-04-20 09:27 am (UTC)
Given the above you will weep if you ever look at how redistributions work in Australia...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 12:21 pm (UTC)
I'm much more concerned with how they work here, since here is where I live and vote.
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2011-04-20 12:27 pm (UTC)
This makes perfect sense to me. Having said that I seem to recall that there was a referendum proposed for California to adopt something closer to the Australian model so it may have some relevance.

I don't know if that vote has happened yet, or what the result was if it has happened.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-20 01:07 pm (UTC)
We get redistricting after the census, to adjust districts to near-equal population for Congressional districts, but there's no other recourse for bad redistricting than going to court, and districts for state legislatures are different from those for the U.S. Congress.
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[User Picture]From: robinanderson
2011-04-22 01:31 pm (UTC)
Tax cuts for companies do not create jobs. The company either has the jobs or it doesn't and the tax cuts determine where the footprint will be and where unemployed families will follow. It does not guarantee that the unemployed already in the area will be hired. Consumer demand creates jobs and as we saw with Dell, having the company in your city does not mean there won't be huge layoffs in years to come. The GOP is deceiving itself when it says 'tax cuts to corporations create jobs'.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-04-22 02:34 pm (UTC)
The GOP isn't bothering to fool itself...it wants to fool voters so it can stay in power.
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