• WisPolitics

Check AdWatch for the latest campaign ads


Thursday, February 23, 2012

 3:59 PM 

Barca testifies Dems shut out of redistricting process

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, testified the redistricting in his area created "astonishingly" different districts.

Barca's new district combines the cities of Racine and Kenosha, communities that had been in separate districts for 100 years. He noted that the newspapers in the communities editorialized against the redistricting plan, and civic and local political groups railed against it.

In many areas of the new district, there are competing interests. The Racine-based Senate district previously in place has gone back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans. No state senator from Racine could be elected to the new district because of the population distribution, he said.

Barca testified Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature, would not give minority Dems money to work on redistricting. Previously, both parties had been given taxpayer money to hire outside attorneys to help draw maps.

"We never got to the point where we felt we had adequate resources to draw a map and advocate for it," Barca said, adding it would have cost more than $500,000 to draw a valid plan.

He said he was unaware at the time that the Republican maps were being drawn up in law offices outside the Capitol. He also said he did not know that Republican lawmakers had to take a secrecy oath regarding the plans, something he ssaid had never happened before.

Normally, the ward lines drawn by local government are the basis for the redistricting, but this time they the state map was done before those of the local communities, he said.

Dan Kelly, a lawyer for the defense, noted that the Democrats had access to a computer that could be used to draw redistricting map and he allowed Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, to put it in his office.

"That was because, as you said, he likes to draw maps like other people like to go to the gym," Kelly said.

Under questioning by Kelly, Barca acknowledged that other members of the Democratic caucus were not happy with Kessler drawing a map. Barca said he told Kessler not to draw one.

Kessler, a former judge, has been involved professionally in drawing redistricting maps in Wisconsin and in other states. Barca said Kessler and all the other legislators were involved in the state budget adoption.

Rich Judge, Barca's chief of staff, wrote in an email to his boss that the Democratic caucus needed to keep its plans secret. Barca said there was a difference between keeping the caucus startegy secret and keeping the redistricting map from the public.

Questioning of Barca was to continue after a 15-minute break.

UPDATE: 4:44 p.m. -- Following the break, Kelly noted that Barca talked emails about the GOP plan being an "abuse of power," unconstitutional and not in the best interest of the public before it was introduced.

Barca said his comments were based on rumors and his fears of what the GOP was creating.

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller warned Kelly that some of his questioning of Barca was "wasting time."

"As you know this case will come to a close at 6 p.m. tomorrow," Stadtmueller said, adding that Kelly's team was "cutting itself very short" with regard to the witnesses it could call and the time it would have to make its arguments.

Myer, the UW redistricting expert was recalled to the stand.

-- By Marie Rohde

Labels:


Back to Election Blog main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

Election Blog site feed
Advertisement
Advertisement

wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us

ABOUT THE BLOG

Updates from WisPolitics.com on primary and general elections in Wisconsin.

Editor: JR Ross
Reporters: Andy Szal, Jason Smathers

· Election Blog site feed

ELECTION LINKS

· Campaign ads
· Audio archive
· Government Accountability Board (state elections)
· Federal Election Commission (federal elections)

ARCHIVE

· February 2007
· April 2007
· February 2008
· March 2008
· April 2008
· September 2008
· October 2008
· November 2008
· February 2009
· April 2009
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· September 2010
· November 2010
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications