Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Redistricting Hits North Louisiana - Illegal Aliens, Women, and Minorities

We it is that part of the decade where political lines are redone and people are taking note. A series of meeting are happening across the state and Shreveport/ Northwest Louisiana just had theirs. See Northwest La. residents take on redistricting via the Shreveport Times.

A few comments:

Much of the discussion centered on ensuring minority representation as boundaries shift. Of particular concern was what will happen as Louisiana goes from seven to six seats in Congress, plus what will happen to state senate and representative districts.
Local attorney Shante Wells echoed several commenters in saying blacks are underrepresented at every level of government. The 2010 census shows 32 percent of Louisiana's population is black.
"There are six seats. One third of six is two. However, there is only one African American representing Louisiana in Congress," Wells said. "I would ask that you would also consider drawing a second majority minority congressional district

Of course the problem is with that is order to make such a district it is very likely to viewed as illegal!! Until I start seeing some realistic maps that show this proposed new minority district we have no idea if it would meet Supreme Court guidelines. The fact that I am not seeing a lot of maps makes think this is a lot of hot air. Of course there are good reason why the black community might not want another minority district. That is it has the very real effect of diluting black political power elsewhere in all the other districts.

Former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Lang, of Natchitoches, said Louisiana doesn't have to lose congressional representation. The census was unconstitutional, he said, because it counted 20 million illegal immigrants.
"If you take the census down to U.S. citizens — 288 million — we do not lose that congressional seat," Lang said. "It's outrageous that this has not been challenged

I have posted on this before but I think the legal argument he has here is very problematic. However the real problem is not illegals but about three decades of population migration out of the State. We don't have a ton of illegals to count here in Louisiana because well why would they come?

Lloyd Thompson, president of the Shreveport branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, said legislators should keep blacks enfranchised in light of growth in DeSoto Parish.
The area south of Shreveport grew by 4.56 percent, according to the count.
"Continue those minority districts that's in place," Thompson said. "But look at Red River, Bienville and DeSoto as (possible) minority districts

Now this is interesting and I wish the Times's Reporter had gone into more detail here on the background. Such a State Legislative District might be doable. I am not against all "minority" districts to say the least. However as I mentioned above such districts are not all just a positive with no negatives for minorities or good Government.

Putting as many Blacks who generally vote Democrat in a district while making the other districts around it whiter (and PERHAPS) more Republican friendly is an issue that needs to be discussed more honestly. Minority districts at times seem to have the evil of causing less coalition building on the whole. One needs to bring to up in the whole balance of things this is a good thing.

Also there is the added problem that in the black community the "smoke filled backroom" of political leaders choosing the person running still is powerful. Much less than the white community where it appears to me to be much more of a free for all no matter what the party bosses and others say. Not that we don't see spirited contest in the black community but the influence of the "backroom" is still felt more than there.

I can think of the District in North Louisiana currently held by REP Gallot. When the Rep that represented the district tragically died in an automobile accident the entire Legislative delegation came up for the funeral. The black legislative caucus also did a bit of informal side business of approving an heir. That was Gallot. I like Rick Gallot but the "backroom" pretty much sealed the deal for him.

Jackie Lansdale, president of the Caddo Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel, spoke more generally. Women need better pay and representation, she said.
"In order to do that, I think you have to look like us," Lansdale said. "There is another minority that you must consider out there, and that is the women of this state."
State lawmakers must move certain representative boundaries to ensure populations in each are similar. Legislators also must reapportion populations for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Public Service Commission, the Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court districts

Well no doubt about that. Though it seems we have had a lot more women running lately. They seem to reflect the diversity of the female population quite well in outlook.

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