Alaska Redistricting Board is back on record after a long lunch break. So far today, they've had an executive session, a last-minute map rewrite by Marcum (of v.3 map) and a load of public testimony AGAINST that map.

Now they're expected to take some action on the maps.

Previous thread of today's hearing here:

Binkley says the plan is to wrap up the map by the end of today with plans for finalization over the weekend. Then they'll get to Senate pairings next week.

There's some discussion about House District numberings. It's important, it seems, for just identifying the potential Senate pairings to consider over the weekend.

It doesn't sound like the potential pairings would be bound by the ordering of the numbers, though.
Bahnke notes that the ONLY problems they've heard with Borromeo's V.4Best map is the deviations, noting that to get them better they would have to sacrifice compactness. (They're all within the allowable deviations.)
Bahnke asks Marcum what kind of problems she has with v.4Best, but Marcum says it's not her place (as a member of the Alaska Redistricting Board) to criticize other maps...
Bahnke says she's not asking for her personal criticism of the map. She's asking for concrete concerns with continuity, compactness and socioeconomic integration of the v.4Best map.

Marcum says, again, that she hasn't criticized anyone else's map.

Bahnke: Yes, you have.
Binkley: I don't know if this is productive.

Borromeo says she's got "great pause" with different parts of Marcum's v.3 maps: "We're down to the wire. We heard a lot of public testimony that pointed out concerns with your map."
Finally answering something, Marcum says she feels strongly about pairing East Anchorage with Eagle River. She says they should take into account those 4 people who testified in favor of it (one being Allard, another being Reinbold's staff).
Marcum says she feels "very uncomfortable" and "unprofessional" with criticizing other maps.

Borromeo: "You have a problem with interrupting." Goes on to say that the military has a lot of connections beyond just Eagle River, speaking from personal experience.
Marcum: "You just implied that I criticized your map because you're asking for criticism. ... You're getting defensive. ... I'm sorry, I'm a Christian."

Borromeo: "First of all, Christianity has no bearing on what we're doing today."

Binkley interjects. Says they just need to pick the best maps.
Bahnke says they shouldn't get wrapped up in criticism when their job is to pick the best map. She wants to know whether Marcum has any constitutional concerns with v.4.

Binkley: What's the point?

Bahnke: To determine whether there's anything that violates the constitution!
Bahnke says if you're not going to voice a problem with the map, then apparently you don't have a problem with it.

Marcum, apparently getting close to tear: I don't feel it's appropriate to publicly criticize people.
Bahnke: I'm sorry, I don't ask people about their religion.
Borromeo and Bahnke make motions to go into executive session in order to go into executive session to discuss the legality of the proposed maps.
So to sum up, Bahnke wanted to ask Marcum--the drafter of the widely panned v.3--if she had constitutional/voting rights concerns with the v.4 map.

Marcum says it's not her place to criticize someone else's map... because she's a Christian.
The one point Marcum made about the v.4 map--that it didn't integrate the military base in the community like hers did--was met with stiff opposition from Borromeo, who said that it actually was better than the v.3 map.

With Marcum apparently near tears, Binkley cut it off.
After about an hour in executive session, the Alaska Redistricting Board is back. They're not touching Anchorage, yet, but instead are going to the Mat-Su area maps.

#akleg #akredistrict
Per Director Torkelson, there's not a significant difference between the two Mat-Su proposals.

Cantwell gets carved out of the Denali Borough (I think that was at Binkley's direction) and that has the partial trickledown effect of forcing Valdez in with Mat-Su.
Here's the differences between the two Mat-Su area maps.
Bahnke notes that community preferences ≠ socioeconomic connections.

She notes, though, that Cantwell has shown a convincing socioeconomic integration with the Interior district.
So now they're taking Borromeo's Mat-Su area map and adjusting it so Cantell is added into the rural Interior district.
I think that moving Cantwell over seems to be unanimous. I think they're doing that before doing anything else with the Mat-Su at this point.

Now onto the rural districts.
The longer this goes on, the more beers I've had... so just FYI.
Also, mapping and politics aside, I've just really appreciated how blunt members Bahnke and Borromeo are with everything.

Some real "let's just do our job" energy.
A lot of discussion about the boundary between the Bethel district and the Dillingham district. Decisions here have ripple effects in the other districts.
There's some back and forth over the trading of communities in the rural districts. Binkley asks about the standards for deciding if things are good.

Counsel Singer: "f you think that's the best you can get (under the constitutional requirements) if so, I think it's fine."
This is the conclusion they've reached for the rural districts. Bahnke and others agree that the last-minute revisions are an improvement for compactness, socioeconomic integration, etc. (with only a small hit on population deviations)
And here's our first good look at Juneau/Southeast in a while:
Budd Simpson, who's been largely a non-factor in the discussions today, is now presenting this specific version of the map. Says Gustavus is a better fit for 3 than the largely for 2 (the green one).
And to re-up the link for the meeting:…
Ack. I somewhere split the threads. This one continues here:
Things getting a little loony at this point.
.... "Hmmm, yeah, interesting. That looks good."

Meanwhile the Zoom video no longer has the maps...
Looks like things are back now.
Onto Fairbanks! The big discussion point here is just what population will be carved out. Binkley has pushed for the progressive-leaning Goldstream Valley to be the one to get moved out, but testimony has largely been in favor of keeping that paired with the uni and Ester.
But first there's some confusion about where Healy is supposed to go.
Here's the Fairbanks-area map they're looking at currently. Binkley recalls that with the last round, the ruling was essentially that Fairbanks needs to get two House districts and one Senate district.

Sounds like they'd pair 36 w 32 and 31 w 35 for Senate districts/
Bahnke asks whether after today's testimony if they should make any changes over the maps (people deeply opposed to pairing Goldstream in rural Interior).

Binkley says, basically, nah.
They're discussing it a little more. Binkley is pretty wedded to the FNSB's request that the population be taken out in one chunk. He says there's basically not a lot of other options than doing Goldstream Valley.

Eielson and surrounding areas would be the alternative.
Binkley basically says that Goldstream's connection to the university and Fairbanks is moot because "everyone feels connected to Fairbanks."
Binkley says it's fine because there COULD be a representative who's elected from the Goldstream Valley (Cronk currently would be the incumbent here)
Bahnke: Is this our best work?

Binkley: It's subjective.
Binkley says it sure would've been great for the FNSB assembly to have said which population should be carved out.

(FNSB assemblymembers Guttenberg and Fletcher both JUST testified against drawing out Goldstream)
Binkley basically says testifiers who asked to keep Goldstream in Fairbanks districts were wrong+if you zoom out the map it's actually fine because there are two north-running roads out of Goldstream area.

He also says Salcha and Eielson haven't asked to be moved out, either.
The question is, really, whether Goldstream and its roads that basically head into the wilderness is more connected to rural Interior than Eielson (closed base) and Salcha are closer to Delta Junction, Tok, Etc.
Binkley argues that, actually, Eielson is really tightly integrated into Fairbanks because... Fairbanks supports the military.

He cites Former FNSB Mayor Hopkins' work in defending Eielson against closure as reason for its connection.
Counsel Singer notes that everyone's socioeconomically integrated as long as they're inside the same governmental subdivision. He calls it a "fool's errand" says the board cannot decide who's more of a Fairbanksan than another.
Binkley: "I think we're ready to tackle Anchorage."
Re-upping the comparison between the two maps... while they take another bathroom break:…

Binkley: Members can be a little more relaxed, hopefully.
There's was some confusion about the previous tweets. But Borromeo basically sided with Binkley over Goldstream being the area to pull out. Not a lot more discussion beyond that and no more debate.

Onto Anchorage.
Aaaaaand I messed up on the threads again. This one will continue here:
Last note on the Fairbanks thing. I lived in Fairbanks for a long time and the argument that Binkley made--that Goldstream is more integrated with rural Interior because it has two roads heading north out of it--is pretty B.S.

Eielson and surrounding area is FAR more integrated
Far more integrated with Delta, etc... but it's unfortunate that he's being relied upon as the Fairbanks expert. No one else on the board has quite the same knowledge to be able to challenge it, so he gets away with it.
Sidenote from another observer: Anchorage maps aside, it looks like the only incumbents that are currently paired together under the approved maps are....

Eastman and Kurka.
After a pause to get things set up, here's the Anchorage-area maps. On the left is Marcum's v.3 and on the right is Borromeo's v.4:

Bahnke says that after everything, she believes v.4 is the one that best meets the constitutional requirements and the voting rights act.

She moves that the board accepts it. Simpson seconds it for purposes of discussion.

Simpson says "either of the versions" could be used. He says he's not convinced that Marcum's plan is as unconstitutional as the testifiers had suggested.

He says he's happier with the tighter deviations of v.3 (again, the deviation SHOULD NOT be the ruling issue)
Simpson says the v.4 map is more compact (which SHOULD actually be the key issue) but has higher deviation. He says both are "OK" though in terms of compactness.

(Compactness should trump deviation at this point in the process)
Simpson laments that there isn't more time to tinker with the maps.

He says the "clincher" for him is the public testimony and "most legally sustainable" and that's v.4.

Unless there's some really convincing argument from Binkley (who thinks they look equally compact) and Marcum (who authored the plan), then that should seal it.

Borromeo and Bahnke have been firmly in support of v.4.

Binkley says he supports v.3 because they're equally compact to his eye ( 🙄 ) and it's got marginally more compact. Marcum still is on the v.3 train.

Borromeo calls the question to accept the version 4 map.

YEA: Bahnke, Borromeo, Simpson
NAY: Binkley, Marcum

This is the Anchorage-area map that has been approved:
Putting it lightly, that's a significant win for sensible, non-gerrymandered maps. More reflective of the neighborhoods than the very twisty one put forward by Marcum.
And now they're kinda wrapping up on things. Giving the greenlight for staff to start to formalize the final plan.

Marcum is the lone no against the whole thing. (She's likely salty about Anchorage map not coming together)
So it sounds like the new updated plan will be out around noontime tomorrow. We'll likely get some low-resolution screenshots tonight, perhaps.

They're concerned a bit about drafting errors getting it into the shapefiles.
Binkley says the next step will be the pairings for Senate districts. He says that will be the main subject of public testimony when they come back on Monday.

He says to focus on that, not the overall plan.

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More from @mattbuxton

5 Nov
Alaska Redistricting Board is underway. They're currently discussing the Anchorage-area maps. Changes this morning:

-East Anchorage/Muldoon no longer tied to Eagle River
-Split Mountain View out of the Downtown Anchorage district


Watch here:…
Marcum, kinda switching tone from last meetings, says that there needs to be a balance between compactness and population deviation. There had been a lot of focus on getting deviation down to .5% when counsel has said as high as 2% would be unlikely to be overturned.

Muldoon/East Anchorage would be more paired with JBER population than Eagle River by the looks of it.

Still hard to really see what's going on with this form of presentation.
Read 55 tweets
4 Nov
The Alaska Redistricting Board is already underway. They're now looking at the Fairbanks-area maps drawn by Chair Binkley. As always, hard to really get a good, detailed look at it.


Bahnke asks about the decision to put Fort Wainwright in the city districts and not the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Binkley says UAF is integrated with the boro more than city.

Singer: "You don't have to be terribly concerned about socioeconomic integration of the borough."
And there's discussion about where to put Cantwell. Binkley says it should go in the rural Interior district and pretty much everyone agrees based on testimony from Ahtna. It sounds like the trickle-down effect is Valdez DOES end up with the Mat-Su area districts.

Read 6 tweets
3 Nov
APOC has proposed new campaign limits on to-candidate contributions following the court ruling striking down the limit. They argue adjusting the limits per inflation will meet the concerns raised by the case.

Was $500 per candidate per year. Would be $1500.

#akleg #akelect Image
The advisory opinion would be up for consideration (and changes) at the board's next hearing in Jan. 26, 2022.

Until then, it sounds like it's gonna be the wild west.
Oh, and here's a link to the advisory opinion.…
Read 4 tweets
3 Nov
"I'm really married to these deviations," says Alaska Redistricting Board member Bethany Marcum during today's meeting. All less than 1%.

At a previous one, staff warned such a focus creates loads of other problems with compactness, socioeconomic integration, etc.

You can watch along here:

It's frankly kinda hard to track any of this in real-time, but there's a lot of work right now about smoothing out the district boundaries. Marcum says she wants "straight lines and tight deviations."
Highest deviation for the Anchorage area, per Marcum, is .55%. Which is, admittedly, pretty low. She says she can go even tighter, though, with "zig zags" that pop out of one district, across Tudor or other major roads, and grab a few houses.
Read 48 tweets
22 Sep
Dunleavy: "The goal was to make sure the system didn't collapse. ... Alaska's done a very good job."

He says the state's low death rate is evidence of the good job the state's done.

#akleg #akgov
Dunleavy then focuses a bunch on breakthrough cases: "The vaccinations aren't 100% foolproof, we know that now."

(We knew that then, dude)

Dunleavy: "As society goes about their business, there's definitely an emergency going on in the hospitals."

He says the reason hospitals are overstrained is because of burnout akin to what every other industry has experienced in the pandemic.

Read 46 tweets
20 Sep
In opposition to the Assembly's proposed mask mandate: "People are constantly picking their nose and touching stuff!"

"As a nurse, I always respected science but science…" something about the Bible.
Testifier who says the Assembly is ignoring the science: "Deaths are primarily among older people, such as myself. ... Back off the emotion."
Read 6 tweets

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