Archive for the ‘Sander Levin’ Category

2011 Michigan Redistricting: Gerrymanderliscious

June 22, 2011

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, but I figured this topic is important enough to warrant a return to the blogging world (even if it’s a brief return).  The Michigan Legislature recently released their maps for the 2011 redistricting.  For reference, here are links to the current boundaries:

Now, those were created by the 2001 Legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and signed into law under Republican Governor John Engler.

They’re not bad, and look pretty good.  This year, it seems as if the Republican members of the Legislature have gotten a little more ambitious, and a little more creative.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve proposed.  Here are links to PDFs of all 3 maps, and I’ve copied the images below, where I’ll analyze them:

This first map is the proposed Congressional districts:

And here’s a zoomed in image of the Metro-Detroit area:

I’ll admit – I cringed when I saw the 14th district, and the 11th district isn’t exactly pretty either.  They’ve got some awkward separations, like putting Farmington Hills in the 14th, but keeping Farmington in the 11th; putting Bloomfield Hills in the 11th, while placing Bloomfield Township in the 9th; Southfield Township is placed in the 9th, while Southfield City ends up in the 14th; Clawson is split up; and Rochester Hills is split up.

In an attempt to squeeze Democratic Congressmen Sander Levin and Gary Peters into the same district and force a primary between the two, saving the Republicans from losing a seat, the map has turned into something I like to call gerrymanderliscious.

But it gets even more creative as we move on to the Michigan Senate map:

And again, a zoomed in view of the Metro-Detroit area:

For the most part, this one isn’t too bad until you get to the Metro-Detroit area. District 1 is incredibly awkward, as is District 6. But the really weird ones are 14 and 25.  You can’t see it on my uploaded images, but if you view the original map at 100% zoom, you can see that Springfield Township and Waterford Township just barely overlap for the 14th to be contiguous.  As for the 25th district, I’m guessing they’ve just connected them along a strip of County Line Road, but I’m not positive.

So that brings us to the state House of Representatives:

And again, a zoomed in view of Metro-Detroit:

And a zoomed in view of Grand Rapids and the southwest corner of the state:

The House map isn’t too bad, other than more awkward county splits than I’m really comfortable with. The Grand Rapids area looks pretty decent, although 86 is a bit wacky. And Metro-Detroit looks pretty good with the exception of the 13th.

So, by far, my biggest complaints are with the Congressional map, but what was really sad was the Republicans claims that they had to draw the lines like that to abide by the Voting Rights Act, which mandates 2 majority minority districts for Michigan.  That’s just nonsense.  There are plenty of ways to draw the lines so that you have decent looking districts that obey the VRA.

Obviously Democrats Sander Levin and Gary Peters weren’t happy with the maps, but even Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is unhappy with the map, because as of the current proposal, Oakland County, the second most populous county in Michigan, would be represented by people who all live outside of the county.

Now, gerrymandering can be a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing around and making this little beauty for Maryland:

Photobucket

But when it comes to ACTUALLY redistricting, our legislature shouldn’t be drawing crap like this for partisan gain. Doing so takes the focus off of the good things the Republicans have done in Michigan and tells voters, “We know you voted for us in 2010, but we don’t trust you for the next 10 years, so we’re gonna cheat to win.”

Am I advocating that the legislature adopts a plan where we have 14 districts and each one is competitive at a 50-50 level?  Absolutely not; that’d be ridiculous.  The GOP won in a landslide in 2010, so it’s expected that the maps will favor us, but there’s no need to mangle the maps the way they’ve done.  That’s just petty politics, and when the people of Michigan see that, it gives them a bad image of the party.

Race for Michigan’s 9th Congressional District: A Look at Money and Fundraising

June 3, 2008

Alright, after a moderately severe housing disaster last week (who knew flushing a toilet could cause so much chaos), I am back and blogging about THE RACE FOR MICHIGAN’S 9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT!  This week, I will be looking at the money (wishing that some of it were my own).

Who is giving who money?

I looked at the top 19 industry sectors (information from the U.S. Census Bureau).  In 7 of the 8 sectors that the census bureau and OpenSecrets.org looked at, Knollenberg raised more money than Peters (in terms of percentage, not total.  Total would be unfair to Peters because Peters has raised less than half of what Knollenberg has).

Here’s some information from OpenSecrets.org:

Knollenberg received contributions from the following sectors.  I have highlighted the sectors that appear  on the Census Bureau’s list (the Census has Real estate and Finances as separate.  If they were combined, they would rank 5th, instead of 12th and 8th, respectively):

Sector

Total

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$269,200

Transportation

$238,149

Ideology/Single-Issue

$178,974

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$148,530

Misc Business

$135,050

Construction

$108,200

Other

$87,700

Health

$58,972

Energy/Nat Resource

$54,625

Defense

$33,250

Communic/Electronics

$23,550

Agribusiness

$15,500

Labor

$7,500

Now, let’s look at Peters:

Sector

Total

Labor

$132,500

Lawyers & Lobbyists

$103,921

Ideology/Single-Issue

$81,818

Other

$73,587

Finance/Insur/RealEst

$37,367

Misc Business

$35,943

Health

$15,750

Communic/Electronics

$5,300

Construction

$4,300

Agribusiness

$2,847

Transportation

$1,500

Energy/Nat Resource

$1,168

Or, let’s look at it this way, 41.99% of Knollenberg’s money has come from industries that make up a major  part of the district, while only 26.76% of Peters’ money did.

So, where is Peters’ money coming from?

Well, when we look at specific industries, we see that his #1 contributing industry is lawyers/law firms.  Then come leadership PACS (after retired contributors), then a  whole slew of…

Unions!

Now, no offense to any union members, but unions don’t have the 9th District as their focus.  Unions have gone from advocates for decent rights of workers to greedy organizations that border the category of corrupt organizations.  Take the UAW for example, which is now advocating fair trade because “China sells dangerous toys.”  Bull crap!  The real reason that you’re advocating fair trade is because you need tariffs on imports so that companies don’t ship your jobs overseas.  You want the ability to get paid $30/hour plus great benefits but still retain the right to strike anytime you want a 30 cent raise.  Get a life!  OK, sorry – back on track…

Peters has also received money from some of the most liberal politicians and organizations:

  • $4,000 from Representative Charles Rangel (NY-15)
  • $4,000 from Representative Nancy Pelosi (CA-8)
  • $5,000 NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • $4,000 from Representative John Dingell (MI-15)
  • $2,000 from Representative Sander Levein (MI-12)
  • $4,000 from Senator Carl Levin (MI)
  • $500 from Representative John Conyers (MI-14 – my future Representative after I move.  YIKES!)
  • $4,000 from Steny Hoyer (MD-5)
  • $10,000 from AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater America
  • $5,000 from Victory Now PAC
  • $10,000 from Our Common Values PAC
  • $10,000 from National Leadership PAC

So, we have Peters receiving money from some of the most liberal politicians and PACs in the country – scary.

Is there any hope, Republican Ranting?

Well, there’s always hope up in Oakland County (I’ve given up on hoping for Republicans down here in Wayne County).  Fortunately, Peters is being out-raised by nearly 2-1.  Knollenberg has raised $1,847,146 against Peters’ $750,162.  Knollenberg still has $1,336,212 on hand, while Peters has $644,931.

So, Knollenberg’s got this in the bag then?

Not quite.  Although I think he’ll win, it should be noted that Peters is benefiting from ActBlue, the online  Democratic fundraising site.  He has 1,004 supporters and has raised $228,540.  The online aspect, combined with his being on the DCCC’s RedtoBlue list, could help him where he needs it in the fundraising  area.

Overall, I still think that Knollenberg is doing great and is headed for a victory, but Republicans have to step it up and make sure that they’re supporting Knollenberg, not only at the voting booth but in the check books.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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