Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another thinly-researched Record editorial! (On Corrupt U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown's gerrymandered district and its past and future effects on St. Johns County)

It boggles the mind how strikingly shallow the Record's editorials are these days.

"I hate shallowness." 
-- Hal Holbrook, as Washington Post confidential source Mark Felt, Associate FBI Director during Watergate scandals, in "All the President's Men."

Once again, The St. Augustine Record editorial board shows its awesome ignorance in print:

o No, no one has "qualified" to run for any office yet -- qualifying for local and Congressional races is in June, for judicial and legal offices in May.

o No, Corinne Brown did not just lose in front of one federal "judge," she lost in front of a three judge panel of U.S. District Court Judges, appointed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2284, a ruling against Rep. Corinne Brown that is now directly appealable to the United States Supreme Court by virtue of 28 U.S.C. 1253.  Read the unanimous three-judge panel decision in Brown v. Denzner, here.

Reversal of the Monday, April 18, 2016 three-judge federal panel's order is unlikely to be granted in light of the unanimous Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Supreme Court unanimous decision (8-0) in the case of Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (April 20, 2016).  Read both for yourself.  Use your critical thinking skills.  Don't let the WRECK-IT do your thinking for y'all any longer.  

Three cheers for United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Tallahasee) Judges Robin S. Rosenbaum, Robert L. Hinckle and Mark E. Walker.  

Judges Rosenbaum Hinckle and Walker all heard the evidence for five days, lived with the case and decided the case on the facts of record and the applicable law.  

Not so the tatterdemalion St. Augustine Record, which is talking down to its readers again.   "The bastards!"  (in the immortal words of the late Tennessee Supreme Curt Justice William H.D. Fones, uttered to himself or his law clerks, in chambers, reading briefs).

The fact that reprobate Representative Corinne Brown's new district is only a few miles wider than the old district was long ignores the fact that the new district follows geographic boundaries (counties) and does not involve what courts termed the "bizarrely-shaped" district narrowing at one point to "the width of a highway," with a "finger-like appendage jutting into Seminole County." 

Florida courts, the three federal judges found, rightly found that Brown's district was "designed to create a majority black  district with the intent of assisting the political party controlling the legislature by packing members of the minority political party into District 5 under the guise of benefiting black voters, instead of placing them in other districts where they more naturally geographically fell and were likely to have resulted in districts that would perform for the minority political party…. it was drawn with the unconstitutional partisan intent of benefiting the political party in control and Congresswoman Brown—the lead Plaintiff in this lawsuit—who had 'previously joined with leading [members of the political party in control] in actively opposing the Fair Districts Amendment[s] and redistricting reform.' …...Because the Florida Supreme Court found that an east-west district would still permit black voters to elect the candidates of their choice and would comply with Florida’s constitutional standards, the court ordered the legislature to redraw District 5 in an east-west orientation….Because we have concluded Plaintiffs’ claims lack merit, Plaintiffs necessarily cannot demonstrate the “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” that would entitle them to a preliminary injunction. Siegel v. LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1176 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ First Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction, ECF No. 35, is DENIED. Furthermore, because we have resolved the merits of this case, the Legislative Parties’ Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 51, and the Intervenors’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Verified Amended Complaint, ECF No. 54, are each DENIED AS MOOT. DONE and ORDERED this 18th day of April 2016."
Take that, you unscholarly, patronizing, wretched Record editorial scribblers.

Brown's old district benefitted only Brown and Republicans and was the fruit of the poisonous tree of crooked Republican legislators intentionally violating the Fair Districts Amendments, facts that the vulgarians at the vapid Republican St. Augustine Record ignore. 

It appears that the WRecKord did not read the Brown v. Denzner opinion of the three judge panel.  

Why not?






Unscholarly, smug Republican Machine prejudice in favor of the local Establishment. 

Haste makes waste, Jim Sutton (Record Opinion Editor) and Delinda Fogel (Record Publisher).

Haste makes for lousy editorials, uninformed readers, trite tropes and lazy uncritical thinking.

Yes, Corinne Brown is a big 'ole crook.

 Yes, her district was wrongfully gerrymandered -- but in collusion with Republicans.

Who benefits? ME-publicans, creating sinecures and rotten boroughs.

And no, I don't buy this Me-publican argument that the "county" has reduced "clout" by doubling its number of U.S. Congresscritters. The same uncritical thinkers were arguing that the county would have reduced clout by halving the number of state senators and representatives. That's just plain silliness -- silly even by the standards of St. Johns County Me-Publicans and the sharp-as-a-mashed-potoato-sandwich excuse for political analysis at the MORRIS COMMUNCIATIONS cartel's St. Augustine Record.

Read this editorial -- you tell me if the authors are suffering from acalculia and a lack of analytical and critical thinking abilities:

Editorial: Corrine's fight may yet affect us here in St. Johns County
Posted: April 20, 2016 - 8:48pm | Updated: April 20, 2016 - 11:13pm

At one time Rep. Corrine Brown’s district included St. Johns County. A subsequent redistricting effort carved out her now-famous (infamous?) Congressional District 5. It meanders southwest from Jacksonville to Eatonville, just north of Orlando. The district demographics are predominately black and that was the idea back then. It is the idea that she defends today.

Earlier in the week a (sic) federal judge (sic) [it was a three judge panel, Jim Sutton, appointed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2284 -- pay attention to the stories in your own damn paper!] turned aside Rep. Brown’s lawsuit, challenging the most recent redistricting of Florida’s 27 congressional districts. So it appears that her dominion over that screwy strip of Florida real estate has come to an end — though she can appeal to a higher court, and likely has nothing more pressing to do these days.

This affects us here in St. Johns County because if, for some reason she should prevail in the end, it certainly would trigger another redistricting effort across the state. And, because our congressional district was redrawn in last year’s process, it would surely change again.

There are many who would argue that scenario would benefit our county in terms of clout in Washington D.C. Prior to the latest redistricting, all of St. Johns County was within the then-District 6, which ran from Ponte Vedra Beach south to New Symrna Beach. We were a unified county, politically speaking, and under one representative, Rep. Ron DeSantis. Interestingly, DeSantis came to office originally because of a redistricting effort in 2012 — which left the new District 6 without an incumbent.

Under the newest redistricting map, the northern part St. Johns County will be in District 4 and the southern half will be in District 6. What that effectively does is carve us up, so to speak, with the District 4 power base residing in Jacksonville and the District 6 power base centered Volusia County.

You’ll see how strong that political perk really is when former Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford goes after Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s vacated seat. St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure has qualified (sic) in that race. [Qualification period for "that race" is not until June, Jim Sutton -- pay attention -- more reading and less fishing, please!] But, unless a couple of Duval heavyweights split the PAC money and the votes up there, we stand little chance to win that seat — no disrespect to Commissioner McClure intended.

Most politicos will tell you that the weird district was carved out for her so that the black vote would count and that a black representative would probably prevail. And that’s one side of the truth.

The other side is this. When we redraw one district all of those connected are directly affected too. And that was not lost on the Republican leadership back in 1992. The idea was, if you could box a majority of black voters into that one district, yes, you’d give it away to a Democrat.

But, by stacking blacks into District 5, it diluted black votes all around it, helping to ensure a larger proportion of white, largely Republican votes in adjacent districts. Weaken one district, strengthen four.

What does not make any sense to us, is how Rep. Brown’s newest district was carved up. One of the key elements of drawing congressional maps is that the districts be “compact,” ostensibly to help ensure that the electorate and the electors have as much in common as possible.

Rep. Brown’s current District 5 covers 140 miles down the state, running through eight separate counties. Imagine the differing sets of needs and priorities in a district such as that.

Her new district runs from Jacksonville west to Tallahassee — 156 miles, running through eight Panhandle counties.

Rep. Brown may not be able to argue that the new redistricting map disenfranchises black voters. But she can certainly argue that, if compact districts were truly important to the courts that drew the new maps, they only traded one political affliction/embarrassment for another.

She’d have a valid (sic) point.

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