MINUTES OF THE
REDISTRICTING PUBLIC HEARING
Wednesday, June 7, 2001 - 6:00 p.m. - Room 129 State Capitol
Sen. Michael G. Waddoups, Chair
Rep. Gerry A. Adair, Chair
Sen. Ron Allen
Sen. John L. Valentine
Rep. Patrice M. Arent
Rep. Chad E. Bennion
Rep. Ron Bigelow
Rep. Jackie Biskupski
Rep. Katherine M. Bryson
Rep. Don E. Bush
Rep. Brent H. Goodfellow
Rep. Loraine T. Pace
Rep. Jack A. Seitz
Rep. Glenn L. Way
Sen. Beverly Evans
Sen. Pete Suazo
Rep. James R. Gowans
Rep. Thomas V. Hatch
Rep. Wayne A. Harper
Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff
Mr. Stewart E. Smith, Redistricting Team Manager
Mr. John L. Fellows, Associate General Counsel
Mr. Mark D. Andrews, Research Analyst
Mr. John Q. Cannon, Research Analyst
Mr. Jerry D. Howe, Research Analyst
Mr. Richard C. North, Research Analyst
Mr. Mark J Allred, Technical Support
Mr. Joseph T. Wade, Research Analyst
Ms. Alicia Gambles, Legislative Secretary
Note: A list of others present and handouts distributed are on file in the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.
1. Call to Order - Chair Waddoups called the public hearing to order at 6:15 p.m.
2. Introduction to Redistricting
Mr. Stewart Smith, Redistricting Team Manager, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, presented an overview on the Redistricting process. He indicated Utah's and the nation's growth trends and population changes. Mr. Smith also explained how the legislature would equalize the population in each district by redrawing the district lines.
3. Public Input/Comments
Mr. Keith Sorensen, Vice Chairman, Taylorsville City Council, stated that the population of Taylorsville is slightly under 60,000 which is perfect for being divided into two House districts.
Mr. Mike McCarty expressed his concern that the state might become homogenized and indicated that the residents in Rose Park and Glendale have no voice when voting in a congressional race. He asked that boundaries be recognized, citing that Salt Lake County is much different than Utah or Davis Counties, with different views and needs. He asked that stability be restored to Salt Lake County.
Mr. Morris Mower, Salt Lake City resident, stated that the representative currently serving in the Second District needs to be a representative of Utah, not just Salt Lake City. He stated that rural Utah needs to be heard.
Mr. Boyer Jarvis stated that it is in the best interest of the state to have the metropolitan area located in a district where that representative is close to the people and can represent their interests adequately. He urged the committee to keep all of Salt Lake City in one congressional district. He suggested that the same principle apply with all districts wherever it is feasible.
Rep. Bigelow commented on the public hearings and indicated that the rule that everyone be heard without interruption still applies.
MOTION: Rep. Goodfellow moved to direct staff to collect the editorials from the various newspapers in the state on Redistricting and make those a part of the record. The motion passed unanimously with Rep. Biskupski absent for the vote.
Rep. Arent requested that copies of the editorials be provided to committee members.
Mr. Lou Garrett, professor of Political Science, University of Utah, asked the committee to think about the principles that are leading the committee in the redistricting process. He indicated that equality of population is number one. He stated that equality is not the same everywhere and that fairness is important to a democratic system that people have confidence in.
Mr. Ray Drehl, Murray resident, stated that the best government is a government closest to the people. He urged the committee to not split up Salt Lake County.
Mr. Alex Nibley, Draper resident, stated that politics does violence to the basic constitutional principle set up when the House and Senate were established. He asked how the people are to be best represented on a national level and indicated that the House was set up to represent narrow communities, rather than a broad constituency. He asked the committee to do what the founding fathers intended and keep communities of interest together.
Mr. Charles McDowell, Salt Lake County resident, stated that there is no representation of the democratic office. He said this is gerrymandering in a huge way.
Mr. C.T. Griffith, Murray resident, stated that he is part of a rural district, but has common interests with the average citizen in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County.
Rep. Bigelow stated that in the legislature there is a code of conduct which is, "When someone speaks, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, they have the right to speak without being interrupted, either by those who support him or by those who oppose him." He stated that the rules are clear and the intent is not to stifle, but to respect those who are speaking.
Rep. Arent stated that she is a Democrat from Salt Lake City and that the rules referred to apply to all legislative meetings not just this one. She stated that the desire of the committee is to proceed in an orderly fashion and give everyone an opportunity to speak.
Mr. Larry Young said that the issue of communities of interest and adjusting legislative units as little as possible to meet the redistricting needs are very important. He stated that interests drive the way redistricting is applied. He urged the committee to move boundaries as little as necessary and keep communities of interest together as much as possible.
Ms. Von Allen, Art Professor, Brigham Young University, Sugarhouse resident, said that she would like to see the Second District stay solidly urban and respect communities of interest.
Ms. Denise Taft, Bluffdale resident, said that an option for redistricting would be to include people on the committee that are not part of the legislature. She stated that everyone in the community wants someone to believe in and feel represented by.
Mr. JoAnn Griffiths, Murray resident, stated that the congressional districts should not be changed.
Mr. Andrew Land Stillman, Salt Lake City resident, said that the rural districts should not be mixed with urban districts and that Salt Lake City would like a representative from the city to represent their interests.
Mr. Stewart Jocanis stated that the congressional plans that have been presented should be discarded. He said that everyone deserves to be represented and able to vote.
Ms. Debbie White, Board of the National Urban Education Association, stated that the urban needs in the schools are not being addressed. She suggested that the urban issues be focused upon, while addressing rural issues.
Mr. Robert Gallegos, Chairman, Salt Lake County Voter Registration, said that he is opposed to breaking the Second District. He said that there is an intention to break up those people in the low income neighborhoods so that they will have no power. He said it was a racial, biased approach to neutralize the Hispanic vote. He asked the committee not to combine counties.
Mr. Pete Lister, Student Green Party, University of Utah, stated that by cutting up the districts, the needs of minorities are diminished. He stated that a level of resentment is created by splitting up the minority voice. He asked the committee to be concerned about the state's representation and to not develop resentment within the people who live there.
Ms. Tracey Marafioti, Salt Lake City resident, stated that Utahns are not homogenous, whether they are rural or urban. She stated that she does not want her voice diluted along with those in the rural communities. She asked the committee to think about representing the different communities, racial, class, religious, or political by giving each person the best vote they are able to have in the state.
Chair Waddoups stated that he has been listening to the comments from the public and feels much the same as those who were in opposition to the congressional plan ten years ago. He agreed that, to be fair, Rose Park should be joined with Salt Lake City. He stated that he was committed to being as fair as possible when redrawing the lines. He also stated that most of the members of the committee don't particularly like the plan Congressman Hansen proposed and asked the public to have faith in the process and to give input to the committee.
Rep. Adair read a statement from Leann Stillman, Mayor of Holladay, requesting that the city of Holladay be kept in Congressional House District 2. She indicated that Congressman Matheson has tried to keep in touch with the people who elected him to office. Mayor Stillman stated that she was pleased to work with an elected official who works so hard to support Holladay. She urged the committee to leave the city of Holladay and the geographical boundaries of Congressional House District 2 as they are.
Rep. Arent pointed out that the city of Holladay is not within the boundaries of Salt Lake City, but that they still want to maintain their community of interest within the rest of Salt Lake County. She asked the committee to recognize that not only Salt Lake City be kept together, but that as much of Salt Lake County be kept together as is possible.
Chair Waddoups asked the audience to realize that Salt Lake County must be divided somehow because it has a population of 900,000. In order to meet the one-person, one-vote requirements, there must be at least 144,000 people pulled out of the county into another district. The question is how that will happen.
Mr. Brad Yeates, Salt Lake City resident, stated that there is much distrust of the Republicans in the legislature. He indicated that they are very skeptical that the committee will keep Salt Lake County together.
Mr. John Johansen, legislative representative for the National Association of Letter Carriers, West Jordan resident, stated that the needs of rural people are different from urban people. He encouraged the committee to not use redistricting as a way to silence voices.
Mr. Steve Barbie, Salt Lake City resident, stated that the principles of contiguity and communities of interest are important. He proposed that the southern communities could be moved out of the county to make the numbers match. He asked the committee to keep Salt Lake County together.
Ms. Laura Sanchez emphasized that the issues faced in Price and in Salt Lake City are dramatically different and need to be represented by different people. She pointed out that any redrawing of the districts that do not represent the people, their ideals, their community of interests, and their concerns would be substantially unfair.
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, House District 37, stated that the voters and citizens of Holladay are independent and look beyond party lines. She expressed her concern that the democratic representatives are primarily in Salt Lake County with six being all women and that they might be squeezed out of Salt Lake County. She suggested that a minimal disruption of legislative boundaries be made. She stated that school boundaries are communities of interest and asked the committee to draw boundaries that include schools where people know each other and have the same interests.
Rep. Roger Barrus, House District 18, stated that his area will obviously need to be realigned and that it is in the best interest of those cities if the lines could be drawn to keep the cities intact. He also asked the committee to take into consideration the school boundaries.
Mr. Cameron Drehl, Murray resident, expressed his appreciation for Rep. Bennion taking the time to return his call. He asked that the committee keep neighborhoods together and reunite Glendale and Rose Park with Salt Lake County.
Rep. Afton Bradshaw, House District 28, commended the committee for all the work that is being done. She stated that she is the only elected Republican representative in Salt Lake City, but stated that she strongly disagrees with the plans Congressman Cannon and Hansen proposed and indicated that one of the congressional representatives needs to be completely urban to represent the interests of urban residents.
Mr. Bob Walton, Salt Lake City resident, asked the committee to reunite Rose Park with Salt Lake County. He stated that they deserve their own voice in Congress.
Mr. Aaron Thompson urged the committee to use judgment wisely and let their conscience guide them in the process.
Chair Adair stated that you must believe strongly in the system in order to be in the position of representing Utah citizens.
Ms. Rebby Drehl stated that behind every number represents a person and asked the committee to look beyond the numbers and make sure that they represent the diversity of Utah. She urged the committee to have the redistricting plan make sense and not to combine rural and urban districts.
Mr. Jim Catlin, Salt Lake City resident, stated that Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City want to remain intact as much as possible. He suggested that after the lines are drawn that the political information be made available to show how the parties have changed.
Rep. Cindy Beshear, District 39, asked that Taylorsville be divided into two separate districts.
Ms. Arlene Pattison, Salt Lake County resident, stated that the committee has renewed her faith in her eighth and ninth grade civics courses.
Ms. Sheila Wolf McDonald asked the committee to adopt a community of interest as a principle to abide by while drawing the redistricting plans. She stated that with this principle, ethnic and cultural communities will be able to have a representative voice in their local governments, on their school boards, the state legislature, and in Congress. She stated that the adoption of this principle will also help the state to embrace Utah's diversity with an opportunity for those communities to have a fair and more balanced representation.
Mr. Jim Snow asked that Salt Lake County not be separated and that the committee keep their goal to be fair in the redistricting process.
Ms. Judy Lord, Salt Lake City resident, indicated that to force rural and urban people together would be a mistake.
There being no additional public comments, Chair Adair adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.