Meet Tom Hofeller, a reclusive long time GOP redistricting consultant. He does not live in North Carolina. He has no stake in the outcome of our elections. He does not have to live with the consequences of his actions… but you will certainly have to.
He is the man who is, in effect, deciding the outcome of elections in North Carolina for the next ten years.
With public money, Hofeller was hired by attorneys representing GOP leaders in the NC General Assembly to create redistricting maps for our state. The districts he has drawn do not factor in county or town borders, thus making it harder to advocate for regional issues. They do not take into account the added cost of multiple ballots for boards of elections or the confusion it will cause for voters – one town, Durham, now has four different congressional districts meeting within its borders. Some of the new districts are ridiculously shaped, making it impossible for people to tell which district they are in, even when they are looking at a map. In short, Hofeller drew the maps to hit Democrats against each other for reelection while packing more Republicans into districts where the GOP needs help from voters on their side. The maps were drawn for one reason and one reason only: to rig the system and virtually guarantee that the GOP keeps control of the state House and state Senate while dominating congressional elections for the next decade.
We believe that the voters of North Carolina should decide the outcome of elections in our state. We believe that redistricting should be above partisan manipulation. We absolutely reject the idea that bad practices by our leaders are okay because they have been done in the past. The current maps are unacceptable. But what we want to know more than anything else is this:
Who is Tom Hofeller and why is he deciding the outcome of our elections instead of NC voters?
In the face of rising unemployment, Senate Pro Tempore Phil Berger still insists that the 2011 State Budget, which forced layoffs for thousands of teachers, teacher assistants, college faculty and other state employees, is going to create jobs.
Berger: “We’re confident the tax relief in our budget will continue to help job creators* put people back to work.”
The effect of the state budget on the unemployment rate is clear. Public employee layoffs have pushed the unemployment rate above 10%, despite increases in private jobs. And a new study from the NC Budget and Tax Center suggests that the 2011 State Budget will cost North Carolina 30,000 jobs in the mid-term!
It might be time to ask Phil Berger exactly when he plans to create all the jobs he promised North Carolina in January. His email address is Phil.Berger@ncleg.net.
*Note: “job creators” is the new rightwing buzzword for “really rich people”…. see more here.
Given her record and interesting stances on the issues, perhaps we should be glad U.S. House Representative Renee Ellmers speaks to her constituents at all. Nonetheless, while she has spoken at events where people must pay to attend — like a private lunch for a federation of retired federal employees willing to pay $15 a head to hear her speak — she’s still not held a free town hall for her constituents since the August recess.
News flash: you work for them, Renee. They pay your salary. Citizens have a constitutional right ─ no, make that, a duty ─ to question their elected officials. Shame on you for trying to avoid people who quite rightfully want to discuss your performance in Congress. Yes, some of them will very likely disagree with how you have voted and what you have proposed, but that comes with the territory. You represent everyone in your district, not just the people who agree with you. They all deserve to have a say. So, come on, leave the rubber chicken circuit behind and open your doors to your district. Until then, we can only hope the voters of her district will join us in asking her every time she turns around:
WHEN ARE YOU HOLDING A FREE TOWN HALL MEETING, RENEE?
Fun Thing You Can Do: Post all the things you’d rather do with $15 than pay to hear Renee Ellmers talk. Keep it clean, folks, keep it clean: