My colleague, attorney Cliff Arnebeck, testified today on HJR 13, the redistricting reform bill. First of all, Arnebeck raised the key question: “What’s the hurry?” As polls show, the scandal-ridden Republican Party, in serious trouble nationally and in the state of Ohio, is scrambling to create their version of a “bipartisan” state redistricting apportionment board. Unlike Texas under the influence of Tom Delay, we still redistrict in Ohio the old-fashioned way – every ten years following the census. The real focus should be on securing the November 2006 election from the likes of Ken Hackwell.
Arnebeck asked why the Republicans opposed the 2005 Reform Ohio Now (RON) proposal as likely to produce politicians cutting deals in smoke-filled back rooms. Arnebeck is right in insisting that competitiveness should be at the core of any future redistricting and that we should probably wait until after the 2006 or even the 2008 election before we rush a redistricting plan through in what hopefully will be the last totally Republican-dominated Ohio legislature.