Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2012

Proposal puts part of Lawrence in 1st District

May 17, 2012, 2:00 p.m. Updated May 18, 2012, 12:19 a.m.


Gov. Brownback urges legislators to compromise on taxes, redistricting

Gov. Sam Brownback said it's time to wrap the legislative session up, and urged lawmakers to find some common ground on a tax bill and the redistricting question. He congratulated the Legislature on passing pension reform. Enlarge video

— Ten years ago, the Republican-dominated Legislature split Democratic-voting Lawrence between two congressional districts; putting the eastern part in the 3rd U.S. House district and the western part in the 2nd.

Now, Republicans are trying to carve up the city again, but in a different way. This time they want to put the north and east part of Lawrence into the vast 1st U.S. House district, which is one of the most conservative districts in the country and runs to the Kansas-Colorado border.

The new proposed congressional redistricting map was approved Thursday by Republicans on the House redistricting committee and may be voted on by the full House today.

Under the proposal, the 1st U.S. House District, which includes all of western Kansas and much of central Kansas, would snake over into northeast Kansas, running through Jefferson and Leavenworth counties and wrap around to come into Lawrence.

The Kansas University campus area would be secured into the 2nd district.

Under the proposal, the eastern portion of Lawrence, considered a high-performing Democratic voting area, would be represented by U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, who is considered one of the most conservative members of Congress.

The campus area would be represented by 2nd District U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the proposed map made sense because the 1st and 3rd districts need to border each other so that the 1st, which is losing population, could take in population from the fast-growing 3rd, which includes Johnson County.

But House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, called the proposal “another ridiculous attempt at gerrymandering to protect the incumbent members of Congress.”

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said Republicans were trying to dilute Democratic voting strength.

He noted that earlier in the legislative session, Republicans proposed maps that would place other Democratic areas in the 1st, such as east Topeka and Kansas City, Kan.

“You have to go after the Democrats every time?,” Ward asked. “We are way too concerned about the politicians and not concerned about the voters,” he said. He added, “Douglas County has already had their time in the barrel,” as far as being split between two districts. Most earlier redistricting plans had united Lawrence and put it in the 2nd.

O’Neal denied that he was targeting Democrats. The proposal was recommended by the House redistricting committee on a 9-7 vote with only Republicans supporting it.

State Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, said that since the redistricting proposal will be challenged in court, it was better to give the court as many options as possible.

The 1st needs to expand in area to capture more population, but an earlier attempt to place Manhattan in the 1st was scuttled by Republicans, some of whom said they wanted to keep a proposed federal biosecurity lab in Manhattan in Jenkins’ district to protect federal funding of the $650 million project.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, had said that a split between Huelskamp and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner would jeopardize funding for the project if it were in Huelskamp’s district. Huelskamp has said there is no split with Boehner that would threaten funding of the project.

Redistricting has become one of the most contentious issues this session as moderate and conservative factions of the Kansas Republican Party have been locked in a bitter struggle over state Senate and congressional districts.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Thursday it may take a court to sort out Senate redistricting.

Brownback said he’d like the Legislature to approve congressional and state House maps, and possibly leave the rest to the judicial system.

“I’d like to even see them pass the other maps and leave the Senate and State Board of Education, which is tied to the Senate map. If that’s the one you can’t get, then let’s send it to court rather than all of them,” Brownback said.


gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

Now they're just being stupid. Not that they weren't being stupid before, but this is ridiculous.

chootspa 6 years, 1 month ago

Boy would they be pissed if this plan got a liberal Lawrencian elected in the 1st. Population growth isn't in their favor. They'd be better off keeping Lawrence with conservative areas that are also growing. Idiots.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

True, but another good example of why computers should draw the lines based solely on head count and nothing else.

Scott Tichenor 6 years, 1 month ago

Don't you know? It's all of those folks in Mexico risking their life so they can come to Kansas to vote Democratic, just like Kris Kobach tells us. Our state needs to be protected from these voters who routinely show up in our voting booths.

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 1 month ago

It's true. Dead illegal immigrant Acorn workers are voting on a constant basis, you can tell by how suspiciously high voter turnout statistics are. I saw the James O'Keefe video, but didn't take the time to Google "James O'Keefe + voter fraud video + debunked", so I believe it.

preebo 6 years, 1 month ago

It's called gerrymandering. Look at Texas. That's the model the heavily Republican Legislature is going for.. They intend to completely render the Democratic minority ineffectual. Any proposal is going to have large urbane centers (historically more liberal) surrounded by geographically larger rural swaths (historically more conservative). This is political long game strategy at its most blatant.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

You beat me to it. My comment: Can anyone in Topeka spell G-e-r-r-y-m-a-n-d-e-r-i-n-g?

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 1 month ago

You call it gerrymandering? I call it jobgettering.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh, we're definitely getting jobbed.

Mark Kostner 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, Lawrence has a lot in common with the cactus, sage, yucca, cholla, and tamarisk studded canyons and mesas of Southwest Kansas.

newmedia 6 years, 1 month ago

Baker wetlands. But I assume that is still in the 3rd.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

5 frogs = 3 votes, just like the compromise between Southern and Northern states reached during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

Good grief, it is just never going to end.

gccs14r 6 years, 1 month ago

Sure it will--as soon as the courts draw the boundaries. I don't know why anyone is surprised (me included), since the KS legislature has had to be court-ordered to adequately fund K-12 ed. They're like a bunch of unsupervised children, opting to make mud pies when they're supposed to be doing math homework.

dinglesmith 6 years, 1 month ago

Making mud pies implies that they're just ignoring their work and doing something creative. I think jabbing others with pencils and hair pulling is a better analogy.

James Nelson 6 years, 1 month ago

You know, its real hard to have to believe that leaders of the republican party in Kansas have felt compelled for a long time now to behave so dishonestly. These maps they keep submitting completely ignore the guidelines. How in the world do they continue getting re-elected showing such little respect for the electorate? Does the average republican voter in Kansas really appreciate dishonesty and dirty tricks?

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

"How in the world do they continue getting re-elected showing such little respect for the electorate?"

Because socialism! Also Gays and Immigrants.

Mike1949 6 years, 1 month ago

The answer to your last sentence is YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

average 6 years, 1 month ago

"House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the proposed map made sense because at some point the 1st and 3rd districts would have to be touching so that the 1st, which is losing population, could take in population from the fast-growing 3rd, which includes Johnson County."

This is the same guy who said "well of course we have to split a city", when the Senate had already passed a redistricting proposal that didn't split any cities. King of the bald-faced non-sequitor.

tolawdjk 6 years, 1 month ago

Never knew the House was so full on non-ecluidian mathmaticians and fractilists. Honestly, if you factor in the curviture of space-time and use string theory, it all makes perfect sense.

Of course that would all require Mike O'Neal to be a closet intellectual.

And we can't have that.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

"O'Neal denied that he was targeting Democrats." O'Neal is a rude, gutless liar. At least have the decency and the guts to tell the truth. If they weren't gerrymandering they would just move the borders east and Manhattan would be with western Kansas. Aren't the people in his district sick of his lies and nasty "humor"? Do they like people who lie? What a crock!

Instead of playing with borders, maybe the Republican candidates in these districts should try and represent people, and not lie. Maybe they would win even in Lawrence. Ever think about running on your integrity and willingness to work with people? Or is that just too moral for your type of "christianity". You know the muscular Jesus, who didn't believe in love thy neighbor and believed in judging people. Not the wimpy Jesus in the bible.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

Has a specific portion of a small city ever been targeted in such a manner before?

O'neille and the GOP relish in poking at east Lawrence, in their minds a pit of liberalism, gay sex, and atheism.

While I am sure it is loads of fun for conservatives, it is disgraceful that a house leader would trivialize his duties by making them a mean spirited joke.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

And how can Republicans call themselves fiscally responsible? They are spending time on ridiculous maps that will be taken to court. They aren't running the state, except into the ground, not unlike their hero CEO's run companies into the ground. Do you know how much this stupid overtime is costing the state? Almost $35,000 per day. O'Neil might actually have to go do some real work, instead of doing stupid things in Topeka. People in his district, you need to fire this joker.

Mike Wasikowski 6 years, 1 month ago

This has to be one of the dumbest House redistricting proposals I've seen yet. It might even be dumber than the proposal that would have put Wyandotte County into the 1st District.

Hudson Luce 6 years, 1 month ago

I think it's a great idea to put East, North, and Old West Lawrence, as well as WyCo and KCK in the First District. Figure it out...

tecuani 6 years, 1 month ago

You know what would fix this? A law forbidding the legislature from dividing counties when considering districts for federal representation.

Is there a law that says districts have to be contiguous?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

It appears to me that the legality of splitting counties when redistricting appears to be a bit murky area of the law. I'm basing that opinion on the following, which discusses redistricting law in Texas:

Clipped from:

In Kansas, a federal district court found that a congressional plan that protected county lines but had a total deviation of 0.94 percent violated the one-person, one-vote rule. The court adopted a remedial plan that was very similar to the legislative plan but split two counties and had a total deviation of 0.01 percent. *

This case suggests that preserving whole counties at the cost of nearly perfect population equality among congressional districts remains a risky proposition.

  • State of Kan. ex rel. Stephan v. Graves, 796 F. Supp. 468, 470-472 (D. Kan. 1992)

Shelley Bock 6 years, 1 month ago

I would think that under the concept of unity of communities, the grassland around Liberal and the overgrown grass of a yard on E. 13th Street have nothing in common. There are other areas, other communities that have more in common with vast stretches of the present 1st, than does East Lawrence. I would think that argument alone would satisfy members of a Federal judicial panel that East Lawrence needs to be with the remainder of the Lawrence community, somewhere other than in the 1st.

Is Lynn Jenkins that scared of Douglas County? Does she believe her "sterling" record in Congress won't make her, as the incumbent, a lock on Congressional seat?

Maybe, just maybe, Kobach's move towards the Federal Court is preferred the way to go. (although my hands were shaking as I typed something good about Kobach.) I don't think the judges would only approve or disapprove, but they could establish the boundaries themselves. There could be surprises, but if all agree that is the way to go, then so be it.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 1 month ago

I think the time has come for a constitutional amendment that will require a non partisan group, perhaps a University or a Commission, to draw district maps based on predefined criteria. I would suggest the following for US Congressional Districts.

  1. Each Congressional District created be as compact as is possible.
  2. Each Congressional District created include entire counties to the maximum extent possible.
  3. No incorporated cities to be split unless the city's population exceeds that for a Congressional District.
  4. Each Congressional District be comprised of a "community of interest."

This would result in a 2.5 county "Kansas City Metro District", a 7.5 county "Wichita Metro District", a 20.5 county NE Kansas District, and a very large "rural KS District."

I suspect it is very likely that Kansas will have only 3 Congressional Districts in the next 10 or 20 years. This will be much more simple when we look like a Wyoming or North Dakota with only 1 District...

average 6 years, 1 month ago

Interesting, looking at this proposal, it looks like they'd give Fort Leavenworth to the 1st as well. I thought that was one of Jenkins stipulations... that she got both Forts, both research Universities and NBAF (largely because Huelskamp couldn't be trusted with anything but cattle).

manbearpig 6 years, 1 month ago

Are you talking about Tim Huelskamp, PhD?

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

O’Neal seems to say anything, he has no shame.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 1 month ago

I knew it! I knew that at the last possible second, they'd push hard to put Lawrence or at least part of it into the Big First!

This legislature is like a big Monty Python skit gone out of control. It is gonzo politics like the nation has seldom seen. When is Hugo Chavez going to send a delegation to learn from our leadership?

Ken Lassman 6 years, 1 month ago

"Mike O'Neil, meet William Quantrill. Mr. Quantrill, this is Mike O'Neall. I'm sure you both will have plenty to talk about."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

It appears to me that at 50 comments as of 8:45 AM, this story is generating a lot of comments. I'm basing that view on the basis of the fact that on many articles covering international issues, I was the only commenter.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

(But, those articles were not exactly breaking news when they were published on this site.)

theoriginalj3 6 years, 1 month ago

as someone who just moved here from texas, this is jacked up.

i've seen abuse at the redistricting level in texas, but this goes far beyond that. this borders on obscene abuse.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Mike O'Neal became a caricature long ago, so there is nothing surprising in his behavior. His ethics are consistently twisted. Over and over he has proved that justice means nothing to him. You might as well expect a feedlot to smell sweet as expect O'Neal to do the right thing. His mind just isn't geared that way.

What IS inexplicable is the fact that he hasn't been voted out by his constituents. Knowing his behavior in the House, one wonders what he has done in his district to manipulate things in his favor. Whom has he silenced and how? What deals has he made? What are the odds that he is squeaky clean in his district and so obviously oily in the House?

oldexbeat 6 years, 1 month ago

this will let herr Dr. Tim Huelskamp move to a decent city and get a good meal now and then -- whilest he waits for Senator Pat Roberts to retire and give him his Senate seat. Isn't it fun -- Huelskamp has spent more time in Washington than in sw Kansas. Always the case. Wonder where Roberts lives ? (Hint, his duplex in Dodge City is rented to someone else. Do they share bedrooms ? Always a question....) And Huelskamp will say anything to be 'more' conservative.

Cody Ochs 6 years, 1 month ago

LJW doesn't like the space between "kansas" and 'six" (should have been an underscore anyways). You will have to copy and paste this url: six/03-m5_kansassix-douglas.PDF

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

So you're a big fan of extreme gerrymandering, eh?

madameX 6 years, 1 month ago

Does this mean that our main industry will switch from the manufacture of electronics to luxury goods? Is that what everyone is up in arms about?

No, but seriously, this is freakin' stupid.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe our main industry is flipping hamburgers for each other.

Would you like fries with that?

usnsnp 6 years, 1 month ago

Fun to watch grown men and women act like children. They are making a laughting stock of Kansas, what buisness would move to Kansas.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

If our founding fathers had the character of a Mike O'Neal there would be no United States of America.

Where is this country headed when we elect such people as leaders and allow them to make the laws we live by? Surely, we are better than this.

They say that over 90% of the people that win elections are the ones with the most money to spend. If that is true, what good is our freedom when our votes are so easily bought and sold.

I would like to see a day when the right man or woman can get elected without having to worry about buying their way into office because right now in this country, we are not well represented.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

What is your specific problem with O'Neil that he is a conservative? I would have to say wecome to Kansas!

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

What is your specific problem with O'Neil that he is a conservative? I would have to say wecome to Kansas!

hujiko 6 years, 1 month ago

jayhawklawrence made no assertion about O'Neal's conservatism, only his character being less than subpar. Everyone should be concerned with how votes are bought and sold like a commodity - so railing on someone for calling out politicians shows exactly how out of touch you are. Absolutism will never solve our problems. You don't even understand the meaning of compromise because of how entrenched you are in your black and white world. And if anyone confronts you on it, you act as though it didn't happen.

Sad really.

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

Oneal dismisses reality. He lies at the drop of a hat, usually that is not conservative or moderate. It is a matter of character. I don't like liars.

verity 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, we're the ones who are so stupid as to allow our vote to be bought---and what do we get for it? Nothing but the privilege of listening to bad, misleading ads and bad government. Too lazy to do our homework and use a little critical thinking.

Ockhams_Razor 6 years, 1 month ago

I'll have a glass of whatever Silly Sauce they are consuming in the Capitol. That has to be some-powerful Fire Water.

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

Why would a farmer in Lorraine want to be in the same district as an artist in East Lawrence? Talk about people with absolutely nothing in common. This plan has to be a joke.

1arrowheaddrive 6 years, 1 month ago

Moving Manhattan to the first is the most logical map; however, Tim Huelskamp (1st District Rep) is NOT a strong supporter of the biodefense facility in Manhattan. So, the R's have to find away to keep Jenkins representing Manhattan to secure the project. Thus, Lawrence "must" be split to keep Manhattan in the 2nd with Jenkins.

BigAl 6 years, 1 month ago

Do you ever notice how the republicans are against big government unless it is something totally in their favor?

If the tables were turned on this the republicans would be screaming out about The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Socialism and how big government was killing us.

This is a despicable bunch in Topeka. They obviously put party over country.

gudpoynt 6 years, 1 month ago

can somebody explain how keeping Manhattan out of the 2nd "protects" the proposed (as in, not yet built) biosecurity lab, for which funding has already been cut?

Does the not-yet-built facility stand a better chance of having its funding reinstated if Jenkins is representing it over Huelskamp?

"We MUST save the funding that isn't there anymore, for the facility was never built!"

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