Pignanelli and Webb: Prop 4 sounds good, but flaws abound

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  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Oct. 29, 2018 9:34 a.m.

    Which parties in Utah seldom have primaries. The minority parties. This means three members will come from minority parties.

    If democrats make up 25% of the voters in Utah, They should be limited to only one member of the group. That would make the group un biased.

    Take biased gerrymandering out of federal elections. Have the whole state vote for the state representatives. That is the most unbiased democratic solution to gerrymandering.

    Anything else is gerrymandering with bias.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 25, 2018 12:09 p.m.

    @2 bits,

    This is an old article and you may not even see my replay. But, you are telling me to "swallow my pride" and register with the republicans just so I can vote in their primaries.

    That to me is as abhorrent as signing up to be a member of the KKK just so I can internally work against their racism. Or, that I should join MS-13 so I can give them constructive criticism of their chosen gang activities.

    I am NOT going to register and become a member of a group that is so abhorrent as to vote for Trump. Equally, I cannot register and become a member of a group that is so abhorrent as to vote for Clinton (though I did caucus for Sanders, even though I didn't like Sanders that much).

    Even the local elections field candidates that are abhorrent. No, I cannot in good conscience become a member of those political parties; just so I can play their game.

    A better system would be to disallow the choosing of candidates based on party at all; rather parties should only chose their "platform" and candidates indicate which platform they would like to adhere too. Everyone should be allowed to vote in the primaries so that candidates represent people rather than represent parties.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 1:47 p.m.

    Districts are not redrawn every year.

    According to Ballotopidia "Redistricting in Utah"...

    "District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States census. The federal government stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity"...

    Google "Federal requirements for congressional redistricting"...
    These laws are the same in every State (including Utah).

    Rs out number Ds in our State. There's no getting around it. It's not even close in most parts of the State (SL County being the only exception).

    We could carefully carve out a district for Ds in SLC. But that would be "Gerrymandering", wouldn't it?

    I think that's what Ralph Becker and the backers of this resolution want. Not districts impartial to party demographics. But one district they can win. Carefully drawn to give D's (the minority in all but one city) the majority

    The minority always sees district lines as unfair. Always. Utah or elsewhere.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 12:02 p.m.

    RE: "The only fair way, but probably more expensive, is for the people to decide the boundaries. 6 months before each election"...
    That's the most unstable plan I've ever heard.

    Congressional Districts (which is what we are talking about here) do not change frequently. Certainly not months before every election. That's just crazy. You wouldn't even know what district you live in till months before the election. No time to mount a campaign for office. Campaigns take years to pull together. Convention, hire staff, campaign for the party primary, campaign for the general election.... Drawing lines just 6 months before each election is crazy talk.

    The add for Prop-4 says the lines change every year, but that's baloney. Last time I remember was 2010 when the US Census gave Utah another HOR seat.

    6 months before very election is crazy.


    RE: "I don't understand how a voter in Sandy has anything in common with a voter in Kanab"...
    I do. Freedom. Liberty. Civil rights. Justice for all, etc...

    Those are things they have in common.

    We don't send people to Washington to do local things (kanab vs Sandy). That's what local elections are for.

  • Susan Storm Sandy, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 11:22 a.m.

    I feel like my voice doesn't count. I'm a moderate and I feel like my voice is constantly drowned out by ultra conservatives.

    Being extreme gets us no where. I want every race in Utah to be competitive because that ensures that the person running needs to listen to the majority and not the rabid base.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 11:20 a.m.

    Boundaries need to make sense.

    I don't understand how a voter in Sandy has anything in common with a voter in Kanab.

    Their lives and issues are completely different.

    Group the city together, and the rural parts of the state together. It just makes sense.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 10:50 a.m.

    RE: "I am very informed, but I cannot vote in "primaries" because I refuse to sign up to be a member of a political party"...
    I suggest you just swallow your pride and register so you can vote in Republican Primary. I did. I don't consider myself a Republican, but I don't regret doing it.

    You will get emails and information from them, but you don't have to read it.

    Just register.

    I have no problem with Rs wanting Rs to pick who wins the R-Primary. That makes perfect sense to me.

    The alternative make Zero sense to me (Ds or others pick who wins the R-Primary).

    Independents like me and you can vote in the R-Primary if we want. You just have to swallow our pride for 2 seconds and register. You only have to do it once. It's painless. It has changed nothing for me. Just do it.

    You have to register to vote in the General Election too (regardless of party affiliation). Nobody complains about having to register to vote in that election. I don't see why people balk at having to register for the Primary. Both are super easy and no declaration of allegiance is required. Just do it.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 8:34 a.m.

    The only fair way, but probably more expensive, is for the people to decide the boundaries. 6 months before each election ( or every other election ) provide a map of demographics, showing voters, party affiliation or 'none', and each party provide their districting proposal and let the voters decide. Any 'independent person could provide a proposal to be on the ballot, if they obtain 'X' amount of signatures.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2018 8:11 a.m.

    I voted against prop 4. If the opposing party does not like current redistricting, let them win the next election and draw the lines as they please. I have never liked the idea of unelected committees making our decisions.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 2:14 p.m.

    This isn't "insulting" or "statutory degradation." That's ridiculous inflammatory rhetoric on Pignanelli's part. Calling it "apartheid" is far enough into the realm of abuse that I'm astounded an editor let this fly. It'd be only one step further down that road to compare Jeff Wright to Hitler and equate disqualification from the redistricting commission to being sent to the gas chambers.

    Having a conflict of interest doesn't mean you're an unperson, it just means you should not be tasked with making an impartial decision. We expect all kinds of ethics rules to help establish such separation. Judges have to recuse themselves from decisions affecting their interests. The principle is nothing new and nothing degrading.

    Requiring that three commissioners haven't voted in primaries does seem silly, and 'measures of partisan symmetry' could be interpreted badly. (Nationwide, because Democrats self-sort into heavily urban districts, any 'partisan symmetry' that asks for proportional-representation results from our single-representative-district system would have to be badly gerrymandered.) But I don't think most of Pignanelli's or Webb's concerns are real or worthy of discussion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 1:28 p.m.

    Prop 4 sounds good on the surface, but the more you look into it... the worse it sounds.

    What first made me suspicious of this plan was... they trotted out a grainy video of Ronald Reagan saying something that seemed like he supported them.

    When somebody feels they need to trot out Ronald Reagan videos (Liberals or Conservatives)... I get very suspicious of what they are trying to sell me. It's a red flag.

    Anybody trotting out Ronald Reagan at this point is trying to pander to Utah's Conservative majority. That's a sign they are trying to manipulate us. So I looked into it more.

    The people leading this drive would not agree with Ronald Reagan on anything. So them trotting out the Ronald Reagan video becomes extra suspicious, and manipulative.

    Ralph Becker just wants impartiality? Hardly.

    We all know what Ralph Becker wants, and it's not impartial.

    So while I think Gerrymandering and being manipulated by Rs is not a good thing, I think being manipulated by Ds is also not a good thing. So I'll probably be voting no on this one. Just because of who's pushing it.

    District lines will always be questioned by some. Even if we pass this.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 1:02 p.m.

    @RiDal and DN Subscriber,

    Both of you presume that not voting in a primary election means uninterested or uninformed persons. That is simply not true.

    I am very informed, but I cannot vote in "primaries" because I refuse to sign up to be a member of a political party. (I get that the democrats here hold open caucuses; but republican's carry 90% of the state; and they close their caucuses and primaries on the occasion they hold primaries to only republicans.)

    By disallowing those voting in primaries that opens at least half of the commission to people like me, independents who are not part of a political party. That is what absolutely need, otherwise the appointees will be appointed based on party affiliation; and will be expected to gerrymander in accordance to their party affiliation.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 10:09 a.m.

    Vote for four. Ignore the people arguing that the perfect is the enemy of the good. I find it funny but not at all surprising to read the most partisan people who post here are on the desnews are afraid to give up the silly gerrymandering which assures them at least one extra extremist in congress.

    I will say it again. Vote for #4 and lets work for more sane political boundaries.

  • The Great Helmsman Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 9:59 a.m.

    RiDal - Sandy, UT:

    "In other words, the commission is comprised of people who are so uninterested and unaware that they have not voted in four years ??!?!"

    That is one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is a commission comprised of people who haven't lined their pockets with lobbyist money for four years.

    I prefer the latter.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 9:56 a.m.

    So Pagnanelli's number one reason for not liking Prop 4 is because his mom would be excluded?

  • rok Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 8:50 a.m.

    Just pick people from out of state who know nothing about the demographics of the state. Better yet, just have a computer program take the population of each zip code and just add another adjoining zip code until the number of people needed to create a district is reached and then it starts on the next district.

  • goodnight-goodluck Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 8:04 a.m.

    Because the charade the legislature conducted in 2011 was so transparent a process that saw four? months of statewide meetings dozens of proposed maps from citizens as well as legislators.
    And at decision time the republican delegation trots out a map no one had ever seen and ask all in favor, the super majority said aye and they're districts became safer for ten more years.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 7:39 a.m.

    "The proposition merely says 50% of the commissioners cannot have voted in a primary election in the last four years. "

    In other words, the commission is comprised of people who are so uninterested and unaware that they have not voted in four years ??!?!

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 7:38 a.m.

    The idea of an "unbiased commission" is a hopeless myth. No one is really "unbiased". The best we can hope for is "fair". Fairness is created by the election itself. When the other party creates the boundaries, your party calls it "gerrymandering". When your party creates the boundaries, you call it "restoring fair boundaries". But both parties say that. Don't want gerrymandering?....make sure you vote for your party! Simple, huh!

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 8:56 p.m.

    A very bad proposal, with huge political overtones camouflaged with the cloak of "impartiality."

    Having someone on the commission who has not bothered to vote in any of the last 3 primary elections guarantees members who are clueless about political issues, or deliberately fail to vote to ensure they can play the game. Be wary of anyone who proclaims themself to be "non-partisan and impartial" and worthy of being on the committee, they are likely neither.

    No one will ever like the boundaries, regardless of who draws them. Letting an unaccountable bunch do it in secrecy, following vague guidelines is even worse than letting legislators fiddle with crayons on the maps.

    No, having computers draw the maps is not any better. Someone has to program them, and they can set them to whatever partisan goal they want.

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 8:10 p.m.

    Heaven sake, P & W! We have the most populous and important city in the state carved into 4 ridiculous districts. I happen to live in Holladay, which is now in the 3rd district, which used to be the Utah County district of Jason Chaffetz, who was so surprised that his "constituents" didn't agree with him at a town hall. My neighbors up the hill are in the 4th district.

    An relatively independent commission could only do better than the very partisan legislature that made this mess after the 2010 census. Salt Lake County, or at least most of it, deserves its own congressional district for geographic reasons alone. Carving this space up is the worst example of gerrymandering. We can and will do better. Perfect cannot be the enemy of good, so stop nitpicking, P&W. Vote for fairness, vote for proposition 4.

  • jpc53 Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 5:33 p.m.

    What I love about Utah is that we pass these propositions then the legislature gets to override them. Why do we bother?

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 2:46 p.m.

    Proposition 4 is bad. When it comes to politics, no one is truly independent in their judgment. We should leave it to the legislature to draw boundaries. At least they are subject to a vote at election time, while an "independent commission" is never directly answerable to the people.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 1:44 p.m.

    Prop 4 will not make things worse. That's simply not possible.

  • Kathy Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 1:21 p.m.

    I’m not sure why Pignanelli and Webb are so insulted by the Redistricting Committee creating rules to make sure those on the committee are as non-partisan as possible. For example, not voting in a recent primary is a good measure of a one’s level of commitment to party lines yet Pignanelli and Webb find it particularly objectionable. Ironically Pignanelli and Webb use inflammatory language such as “political apartheid” and “statutory degradation” to describe a process that is built on fairness and supports voting rights. I can only assume that as a political consultant it is in Webb’s personal interest to keep the current districts in tact. And as a lobbyist Pignanelli interests are best by maintaining the status quo.

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 1:06 p.m.

    Proposition Four seems better than what exists now. Insisting on perfection only allows the current process to be engrained for years to come. The composition of the Commission appears to winnow out a lot of people who are politicians, good and bad so what we have left are actual somewhat average citizens of Utah which in other words are people closer to the residents of Utah. Let the Commission figure out in good faith what the rest of the details mean. With good intent there are ways to bend bad rules. Let's something done now to improve our state elective boundaries now before the 2020 Census. From here on, it will be nearly impossible to get any changes done for at least a decade.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 11:47 a.m.

    I voted for Prop 4, only because it is a step in the right direction. It certainly is better than what we have. But, still very flawed.

    What I would like to see is an independent commission; who when convene to redistrict are not allowed access to any statistical data except population.

    The best way to take politics out of it; is to disallow them to review any other data such as voter registration records, historical voting results, business data, socioeconomic data and much more; that they currently review when making their decisions which always come down to gerrymandering.

    If the commission was given only access to population, and nothing else; then they could unbiasedly draw district boundaries based on population (which is what the Constitution requires).

    Then it wouldn't matter if they had other political leanings; they couldn't do anything nefarious.

    But, given that they aren't going there; the prop is better; they shouldn't have people who are lobbyists, in fact lobbying should be outlawed completely (it changes our democratic-republic into a plutocracy); and others mentioned obviously show biases as well.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 11:37 a.m.

    "To their credit, legislators deeply respect the will of the people through initiatives"

    Aren't these the same legislators that are saying they're going to do something different on medical marijuana?

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 11:31 a.m.

    Don't let perfect stand in the way of good enough. Prop 4 is a solid step in the right direction. We have to get to a system where the contestants are not also the referees. The current situation in Georgia where Kemp is both a candidate and running the election is simply unconscionable.

  • The Great Helmsman Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 11:02 a.m.

    My goodness, how hard is it to understand the concept of “independent?”

    The proposition merely says 50% of the commissioners cannot have voted in a primary election in the last four years. Not be a former lobbyist, principal of a business that employed a lobbyist, a political candidate or appointed to any public office.

    The other three can be all those things!

    Can you please understand that a lobbyist, or political candidate or someone appointed to a public office might be beholden to a party, benefactor or ideology that would color how they want congressional district boundaries are drawn?

    As it stands now 100% of the politicians gerrymander the lines in Utah to perpetrate the one party state.