Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2012

House committee approves splitting Kansas City, Kan.; Democrats allege ‘gerrymandering’

March 14, 2012


— Republicans on Wednesday approved a congressional redistricting plan that would split Democratic-voting Kansas City, Kan. between the 1st and 3rd districts.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said the proposal, which was pushed by House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, "is the epitome of gerrymandering."

Related document

Congressional redistricting map ( .PDF )

But O'Neal defended his plan as he cast the deciding vote for it when the House redistricting committee was deadlocked 11-11.

State Rep. Michael Peterson, D-Kansas City, said putting most of Kansas City in the 1st, which includes western Kansas, violated the Legislature's rule to maintain communities of interest when re-drawing political boundaries.

Davis added, "This map shifts 25 counties and 640,000 Kansans into a new congressional district when this is completely unnecessary. After 15 public hearings across the state of Kansas where this proposal was presented, not one single Kansan stepped forward to support this and numerous Republicans and Democrats all across the state opposed it."

But O'Neal said simple math dictated the proposal to make Kansas' four congressional districts equal in population. Legislators have to redraw district boundaries to accommodate for population shifts that have occurred over the past 10 years.

The vast 1st is losing population while the 3rd is gaining. "We have to shrink one and add to the other," O'Neal said. Kansas City and all of Wyandotte County are currently in the 3rd with Johnson County.

O'Neal added that splitting a city can be a benefit. He used the city of Lawrence as an example. Lawrence was split 10 years ago between the 2nd and 3rd districts. "Those who don't want to be split, we find out over time, do benefit from having more than one congressman," he said. And, he said, because the 1st needs more population, some city will have to be split. Earlier versions to split Topeka or reconfigure the Wichita-based district were rejected by the committee.

The Kansas Senate has passed a bi-partisan congressional map that would keep Kansas City and Johnson County in the 3rd. But it moves Manhattan, which is currently in the 2nd, into the 1st, which is contrary to what Manhattan officials want.

In the Senate map, Lawrence would be made whole and placed in the 2nd. In the map proposed by O'Neal, Lawrence would be wholly placed in the 3rd along with Johnson County, and the southeast part of Kansas City, which includes the Kansas University Medical Center, and Miami County.


Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

1.try to get extra votes unfairly: to manipulate an electoral area, usually by altering its boundaries, in order to gain an unfair political advantage in an election 2.act of gerrymandering: an unfair manipulation of an electoral area for political advantage 3.manipulated electoral area: an electoral area manipulated in such a way as to give one political party an unfair advantage in an election === Good points, Mr. Davis.

hyperinflate 6 years, 2 months ago

I'd relax. Over time a move like this will end up biting the Jesus-Taliban wing of the Republican Party.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

Is there any video of this? Did this snake-oil salesman really claim that this isn't classic gerrymandering, and keep a straight face while saying it?

TinmanKC 6 years, 2 months ago

I think it would just be hilarious if a liberal from KCK won this proposed district. The current first district folks would go apoplectic

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

It's also a likely outcome, since the population of rural Kansas isn't growing at the same rate as that of KC.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 2 months ago

Man, the GOP has been laying it on thick in every conceivable issue for the past couple of weeks.

It's just one gob-smacking decision after another.

deec 6 years, 2 months ago

Maybe it will end up in court like Texas's chicanery did

Hooligan_016 6 years, 2 months ago

We need more Mexicans. Or I suppose the sheer notion of Mexican voter dominance is enough to make the KS Legislators wet themselves.


chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

It won't. Texas has to get theirs approved because they've got a history of discrimination against non-white voters. Our voter suppression through legislation is a recent move.

deec 6 years, 2 months ago

True, the southern states need pre-approval. However, that doesn't mean any redistricting plan can't be challenged in court. This sort of chicanery is going on all over the nation, and getting challenged all over as well.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 2 months ago

The GOP in this state is comprised of worthless sobs. Isn't it enough to have a 2/3 majority, they have to rig elections too? I suppose the moderates need to be purged from the party. If that happens, the democrats will have a 2/3 majority. Yippee!

average 6 years, 2 months ago

"And, he said, because the 1st needs more population, some city will have to be split."

Outside of the dozen or so plans at the legislative website right now that don't split any cities, yeah, I guess you pretty much have to split some city.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 2 months ago

It's so obvious if it passes the next step will be court and kansas will continue to make the news and people will laugh again.

average 6 years, 2 months ago

Sadly, no. Compared to the maps currently being used in Ohio and recent redistrictings in Texas, Florida, Illinois, etc, this doesn't even come to a full judicial hearing. None of the proposals in Topeka are that insane geometry-wise, and none impact any major minority population (no way to draw a KS congressional district that isn't mostly non-hispanic white) This is even ignoring that most judges in the region are politcally inclined to like it.

texburgh 6 years, 2 months ago

Are you people saying that WaKeeney and Kansas City aren't "Communities of interest?" Don't they share similar characteristics? This move is beyond gerrymandering - that gives it a good name! The truth is this is a deliberate attempt to silence the minority population of Wyandotte County and Kansas City; it is part and parcel of Kobach's campaign to strip poor and minority citizens of the right to vote by putting up as many roadblocks as possible for them. The GOP is sick and tired of all those dark-skinned people voting for Democrats and demanding representation. You can only finally get your oligarchy in place if you can succeed in ensuring permanent one party rule. Totalitarianism under the Kansas Taliban who take their orders from the Koch brothers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm guessing that this extreme gerrymandering was passed in order to make the slightly less extreme gerrymandering to come just a little more palatable.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 2 months ago

This is clearly political gerrymandering, one of the most obvious cases.

I hope O'Nielle understands well the law of unintended cosequences.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

O'Niel was quoted as saying this has nothing to do with politics. You, sir, are a liar. At least be honest.

"O'Neal added that splitting a city can be a benefit." A benefit to the Republican, since they got rid of Democrats. Would you like to give us details how having 2 reps have benefited Lawrence? Especially since they both tend to ignore Lawrence?

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

That should be O'Neal, not O'Niel. My typing skills are challenging today.

chootspa 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a benefit in that I call them both up to tell them my opinions (that they then ignore.)

Niemoller 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey Scott - when are you going to put all the pieces together for us? No abortion No contraception No education No economic assistance

Only have sex if you are married to the opposite sex and have good, high paying jobs and a nice house. Never get a divorce and become impoverished.

lgrant 6 years, 2 months ago

Anthony Hensley drew a map this summer that portrays the very map that the House GOP approved. O'Neal insisted at various public meetings of the redistricting committee around the state that such a map would never be considered. Guess what, that map is what O'Neal voted on to break the tie in that committee and which he now supports. No gerrymandering there. No truth from the speaker, either!

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