The Spot for Politics and Policy, a Denver Post blog, caught my eye yesterday. Republicans did it again — accused others of doing what they’ve been doing all along. It’s called psychological projection and they do it repeatedly.
As The Spot reports, an anonymous blog (yes, another anonymous one from the political right) is spreading a rumor that the Colorado Reapportionment Commission chairperson, Mario Carrera, was lobbied by none other than U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to create Democratic Colorado House and Senate districts.
According to The Spot, Carrera said “he’s been lobbied by plenty of folks, but not by Salazar or anyone representing him.” He said that he had talked to Salazar only once and that was about his business when Salazar was a U.S. Senator.
On August 15th I gave the following address to the Reapportionment Commission.
Mr. Chairman and members of the commission, my name is Kaye Fissinger and I live … in Longmont.
I’d like to speak with you this evening about the gerrymandering of House District 11 and the concerted lobbying of your committee leading up to your decision to adopt the currently proposed maps for House Districts 11 and 12.
Longmont is a community of about 86,500. You were targeted to approve a map for Longmont that leaves about 10,500 of Longmont citizens stranded outside their primary district. To create this type of configuration, the map that you were presented by Republican operatives had to gerrymander out of House District 11 the heart of downtown Longmont. Our civic center is not with the majority of the population as now configured, nor is our library, our economic development center, our Safety and Justice Center, Roosevelt Park, the Senior Center and much of the historic east and west sides of our town, or what is referred to as Old Town.
The local paper in Longmont, the Times-Call, went beyond mere reporting on reapportionment. It served as a cheerleader to promote the map that you have since adopted. The political bias of the publisher and editor printed about six stories on the subject, all slanted to the goals and efforts of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and some of its members, both collectively and as subgroups. The Times-Call even found it “newsworthy” that three Longmont lawyers emailed you promoting the map as it now stands. There is much more to Longmont than these special interests.
The only reason for promoting this currently adopted configuration is to virtually guarantee that a Republican would be elected to this seat. As a close observer of Longmont’s electoral and political landscape, I am confident that this belief is held by Republicans based on low voter turnouts in the most recent local election and not on the percentage of registered voters.
The existing boundaries, or ones that are similar, make for balanced and competitive elections. They also allow Longmont citizens a measure of community and a stronger voice in the legislature regardless of whether they are in House District 11 or 12.
I ask you to reconsider your decision and allow the residents of Longmont and its community features to be more justly and fairly divided.
Republican commissioners Rob Witwer and especially Gayle Berry found it necessary to treat me as a courtroom witness and cross examine me. (That’s OK. I can hold my own with the worst of them.) Gayle Berry, who runs a lobbying company, took the comments directed at the entire commission personally and protested way too much. (Ironically, I had no idea at the time that she IS a lobbyist by profession. Oops. Wrong word. “Profession” implies legitimacy and respectability. Oh, well, sic.)
A different Salazar (Arnold) took Berry to task for her behavior and she went rhetorically ballistic, shouting at him until the pro-tem Chair stepped in to calm the situation.
Lynn Bartels, who writes The Spot, reports that this rumor began weeks ago. It’s been about six weeks since I raised the red flag of lobbying (in the context of the Longmont Times Call and the paper’s efforts to create a Republican House District). Hmmmm.