Redistricting in TN: As Transparent as a Smoked Filled Room
Last week we watched the Ad Hoc Committee on redistricting present the state house majority’s map proposal. This week we watched them do the same during the House State and Local Government Committee. Through it all something was gnawing at us and that little voice was telling us that something was not quite right. The maps were there. The lines were drawn. But something was missing.
Today, it dawned on us. As members of these newly drawn districts, the public (the public, by the way, the ad hoc committee said was invited into the process), have no way of knowing what district they are in. The maps posted online don’t go down to the street level.
So the ad hoc committee and others in charge of the redistricting process can say that the public is invited to be involved and can post all the House Redistricting comment lines they want – a comment line which is out of order at the moment – but there is nothing for us to comment on. How do you know which district you’re in if you can’t see it on the map?
When can we have more detail? According to the Speaker of the House Beth Harwell’s office, “We don’t have that information.” And according to Doug Himes office, the information will be available after the maps are “approved and voted on.”
This has the TNCA watchdog’s dander up.
With the free technology available to us that allows you to see your house on The Google, none of this make sense. As a matter of fact, when Metro went through it’s redistricting the Metro Planning Commission made street-level maps available for anyone to see at nashville.gov. They also held public meetings for public comment.
Yesterday we were planning on making a statement about the redistricting process as we move forward, stating that both parties should reconsider the process, remove partisan politics, and allow the citizens to not just submit their own maps through their representative or online, but to be able to have a seat at the committee table so they can participate in the process from start to finish. Today, we just want the public to be able to see their new districts they had no input in drawing and make comments.