Tea Party Calls for Redistricting Chair's Head: Republican and Democratic Commissioners Support Her (w/Addendum)

Scott-Freeman.jpg
Republican AZIRC commissioner Scott Freeman supports Mathis, though the Tea Party wants her removed

Despite calls from Tea Party activists and some Republicans for the resignation of Colleen Mathis, chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, both Republican commissioner Scott Freeman and Democratic commissioner Jose Herrera expressed support for the embattled Mathis Thursday night.

After a nearly-three hour public hearing at Phoenix's South Mountain Community College soliciting comments on Arizona's yet-to-be-redrawn political map, I buttonholed Freeman and Herrera, asking them about the controversy drummed up by Tea Party-types regarding Mathis' omission of her spouse's career as a lawyer on her application. 

"I support her," Freeman said of Mathis, who along with Republican Richard Stertz was not present at the meeting. "I'm confident she's trying to do the right thing. And I want to try to help her as much as I can."

Herrera stated that he has not agreed with Mathis on all issues, but he thinks there's no reason she should step down or be removed.

"If you do something egregious, there are reasons why [you] would be able to be removed," he explained. "But she's done none of that."

He added, "She's a true Independent, and she has the toughest job on the commission. Tougher than mine, that's for sure."

Mathis, a registered Independent, was chosen unanimously to be the chair by the four appointees to the commission, two GOPers and two Dems. 

Her husband Chris has worked for and donated to Democrats, though he has also worked for and given money to Republicans. His most recent bio on the Martindale.com directory of lawyers notes that he was once a legislative assistant to former U.S. Senator from Nebraska Chuck Hagel, a Republican.

Mathis listed her husband's name on her application, but failed to mention his occupation as required, an oversight that's been exploited to question her vote with the majority in a three-two decision hiring the DC firm Strategic Telemetry as consultant on the mapping process.

Tea Partiers and Republicans such as state Senator Frank Antenori have called the choice of Strategic Telemetry inappropriate as the company has worked for Democrats, as well as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, currently an Independent.

During Thursday's open forum, several in attendance raised these issues, objecting to the hiring of Strategic Telemetry, and offering the choice as evidence of corruption.

Also yesterday, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a probe of Strategic Telemetry's selection. This, in a vaguely-worded statement that could be interpreted as a sop to the Tea Partiers or a form of intimidation, depending on your point of view. 

The two Republicans on the commission voted against the choice of Strategic Telemetry, but nevertheless gave the company high marks. When I asked Freeman if he believed the commission needed to revisit the selection, he downplayed the idea.

"We're never going to make everyone happy," Freeman told me. "Even if we had picked a different mapping consultant, we'd have a whole different slew of people complaining or raising concerns."

Freeman also stated that the commission had asked Strategic Telemetry to do its work in Arizona, rather than DC, which was one kvetch critics of the choice had.

Asked about the AAG's investigation, Freeman simply said that he would cooperate with it. 

Herrera said he welcomed the AAG's probe and believed it would vindicate the commission's actions.

Overall, the meeting was not the Tea Party takeover hoped for by right-wingers. The majority of commenters didn't mention the controversy at all, instead voicing concerns about the need for competitive districts and why certain districts should change or remain the same.

Kelly Townsend of the Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots was one of those who demanded Mathis' resignation, but her demand was met with a large chorus of boos mixed with a smattering of applause.

Which may indicate that South Phoenix, with its large minority population, is not the best place to hold an impromptu Tea Party rally.

Addendum: I should point out that Townsend sounded like she was calling for Herrera's resignation last night, but when I spoke with her afterward, she stated that this was not the case, and that she in fact wanted Mathis to resign. She later went up to Herrera and apologized if she gave the wrong impression.

You can watch the video of last night's meeting, here. Townsend was definitely booed, and from where I was standing toward the back, it sounded like there were more boos than applause. But in the recording, you can even hear some cheering from the Tea Party faction along with the applause. 

When Steve Muratore addressed the commissioners, he made light of the fact that Townsend seemed confused, and seemed to believe Chairman Mathis was seated at the table with the others. But Mathis was not present that night.

Speaking with Townsend later, I found her to be a very pleasant and friendly woman, who in profile bears a resemblance to Jodie Foster. I mentioned this to her in passing, and she said she used to get that a lot when she was younger. Apropos of nothing, I know, but I could not help but like her, despite the ideological chasm between us.

Note: For detailed coverage of the AZIRC, I highly recommend Steve Muratore's Arizona Eagletarian blog, at stevemuratore.blogspot.com.


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123 comments
Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Let's hope Ron Harders (http://www.facebook.com/ronald... comments on this article like he did the blog post where he essentially made the announcement that constantly being called a "tea bagger" only motivates him further to want to kill the people who call him that.

Dsfweraew
Dsfweraew

They are so niceplease plut: www . yessoso . com

Reggie VV
Reggie VV

Tea party patriotism is an oxymoron.  The Tea Party baggers only care about their own selfish interests, and have been deluted by hate for Obama, the propaganda of the NRA, and the lies of ALEC and  Norquist.  There is no Country to them, only their extreme views.  They wave the flag, but deny basic rights to anyone, they wave the Constitution without knowing a thing about how it came about.  Washington himself would repudiate Tea party baggers, just as he did in his day.  And Washington's critics sounded like Tea Party baggers.

Kcarson
Kcarson

"Apropos of nothing, I know, but I could not help but like her, despite the ideological chasm between us."

Bloody good show! Not only is this good reporting, as it brings to life the exchange by personalizing, even better, one of the participants, it also demonstrates a mature mind, in you, that recognizes people can disagree on politics, without suffering the loss of their humanity in the eyes of their opposition.

Well done!

JPD
JPD

RY, angry bitter people are more like JesusHChrist who talks out “its” rear as “its” pucker string is why loose from over use. Love it when a whack job is in the corner and they know they are wrong, just an immature name caller. Must be related to Mathis somehow! And you RY, sure it's not KY? What vile threats and ideas, you sound like all the other moron mental midiget!   

JPD
JPD

To be perfectly honest, republicans also have the same propensity as democrats. Arizona Procurement laws concerning letting of contracts were violated by the IRC, this was obvious from the get go. Now, because Mathis behaved in a wanton and/or reckless manner, or if she is claiming she was oblivious to legal protocol of disclosure which would be grounds for voiding the contract, she is inept. Bone up on procurement procedures (law) and hold Horne’s feet to the fire. This should be interesting. Also, Horne is being pressured to look at the Quartzsite issue. 

RY
RY

Those Tea Party folks are a bunch of angry bitter people.  Some can be compared to domestic terrorists.  The vile threats and ideas.. no wonder they are on the FBI watch list.

Combinder
Combinder

No party power here! No R's and D's. People are protected but need to fight for rights. When was Hererra given power from the people to admonish them?

Representative government is guaranteed in the United States Constitution under Article 1, Section 2. The specific purpose, and the subsequent redistricting, of the decennial census requirement in the Constitution was to ensure true and fair representative government.”

Jim_AZ
Jim_AZ

ALL district lines should be square. Districting by demographic Should be illegal. By definition, it is BIASED, and therefore denies equal protection, and fair representation. Butt heads. Crooks. Cheats. Mealy mouth dogs.

Kathy Ozanne
Kathy Ozanne

You should try to be journalists.  I was at that meeting, and the first time we applauded, we were told not to do it in order to 'save time and let everyone speak'.  When Kelly got up and said what she has a First Amendment right to say, applause and booing broke out.  We were reminded that the police were there.  Gee, don't express yourself or we'll round you up?  Shades of the Quartzite town council?

Oh wait.... this is the New Times.....journalism doesn't matter.  Kind of like Conor with one N at the Atlantic. 

HwitBera
HwitBera

I'm not familiar with the "FB" commentator personally, but from the little he/she writes, what data she/he seems to include and exclude, and the descriptive language he/she uses to build up or tear down individuals and/or groups I get the impression that she/he is definitely from the leftist/progressive school of thought.  As such, his/her opinions will carry weight with those of that bent whether correct or otherwise.  The reader needs to read between the lines and discern the derision which the writer has for anyone with a different opinion on any subject he/she deigns to cover.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

And that, my friend, is the sign of political maturity. I remember Shelby Foote, the renowned Civil War historian, saying that our genius as a people is based on our ability to compromise. Ultimately, the fail to do so results in civil strife.

JPD
JPD

RY, angry bitter people are more like JesusHChrist who talks out “its” rear as “its” pucker string is why loose from over use. Love it when a whack job is in the corner and they know they are wrong, just an immature name caller. Must be related to Mathis somehow! And you RY, sure it's not KY? What vile threats and ideas, you sound like all the other moron mental midiget!   

JesusHChrist
JesusHChrist

Herrera was appointed by a legislator, just like the others. Save for the independent, voted to be the chair by the rest. 

It's in the AZ constitution, bitch. Passed by Arizona voters in Y2K. You got a problem with states rights, asshole?

http://www.azsos.gov/election/...

Guest
Guest

Unless of course you're a commie.  Then according to the Alinsky method you must make everybody else the enemy.

Ron

Goober aka JPD
Goober aka JPD

You two play the victim card well, keep reading SPLC. Myself as a “lying chronic whining delusional greedy birther tea bagging bitch, ignorant right-wing nut job cockroach Nazi adolescent Goober” I choose to not to be a victim.  mikefrombisbee “Cowards and bullies” classic oxymoron - which is it?    

Goober aka JPD
Goober aka JPD

Colleen Mathis lied by omission on her application to get onto the commission by not disclosing that her husband was a paid staff member of Democrat Nancy Young Wright's campaign when she submitted her application. She admits that this was a mistake, says "she forgot". It is likely that would have disqualified her  from getting on the commission.Destroyed documents which are subject to public records request- this is a violation of open meeting laws. These were the scoring sheets that eliminated three firms from being considered in the award of the mapping consultant contract. All 7 score  cards were shredded and there is an affidavit of that by a witness.  Bid Rigging admitted to by Commissioner Herrera - that he intentionally scored Strategic Telemetry high (all three gave them a perfect score even though they did not meet the RFP requirements, did not have the experience, and were twice as expensive as any other bid). The  reason given by Commissioner Herrera was that he was afraid that had he not scored them so high, some other company would have gotten the contract.Vote Trading Ms. Mathis called Republican commissioners to get them to vote for Strategic Telemetry in exchange for her votes for something they might want on the mapping portion. This conversation happened on cell phones in the parking lot after the end of a meeting. This violates, at the least, open meeting laws. An affidavit was filed with the County Attorney attesting to theState Procurement Officer walked out and submitted a letter stating that the selection process for Strategic Telemetry was in violation of state procurement operations.Proposition 106 was passed to keep from backroom dealsbut that is exactly what has happened on the commission. More than half their time has been spent in Executive Session so the public could not see these back room deals being made. This is in violation of the open meeting laws that say that decisions must be made in the open so the public can see what is going on.The people have gone from paying legislators to draw the lines to paying 9 million dollars to 5 people who are not accountable to the taxpayers. 

JPD
JPD

What's wrong Christ, that's it, "Bullshit"? 

RY
RY

Mental Midiget?   Look who's name calling?

JesusHChrist
JesusHChrist

"Then according to the Alinsky method you must make everybody else the enemy."

Spoken like Glenn Beck's mynah bird.

Bobby
Bobby

Humiliation from you, Mikefrombisbee? That's a good one.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Bobby, why don''t you mosey on over to the Newtimes kinky personals and find the other sado-masochists? This is PUBLIC humiliation and I don't think it's good for you in your current mental condition.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

You didn't take my advice to seek medical help, did you? Poor thing. There's still time before you get so angry at the rest of the world that YOU decide you want to be on cable news like your Norwegian soul mate.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Oh, Bobby, you never learn, do you? Either to think before you type or to spell properly ? Do you know what a Goober is?

Bobby
Bobby

Goober? Racist term Mike thinly veiled to. What happened to your firm belief in Multiculturalism? Phony

Bobby
Bobby

Goober is a racist term MIke, What happened to your belief in Multiculturalism?  Yeah, just what I thought from a phony.

Bobby
Bobby

Hey,Mr.Mike,"Goober this", as I point to my crotch.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Another incredibly witty, thoughtful well-supported adult response. Are all tea baggers as clever and witty as you two Goobers, or did we just hit the jackpot in this weekly drawing? At least your response had a bit of alliteration, which is not, however, a substitute for logic, supporting an argument with evidence, good sentence construction and good grammar - or good taste. Or good breeding, for that matter.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

You jump to foolish and hasty conclusions which doesn't surprise me in the least. Jihadist values dovetail very neatly with the intolerance of the far right. Try reading again, this time more slowly, for better comprehension.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Another extremely concise, well-supported devastating response. 

Bobby
Bobby

The Ramblings of a demented mind.

JPD
JPD

You agree with islam and their quest to take over the world. You believe in self destructive behaviors. The sad thing is you’re educated and don’t know any better, in fact you sound like a professor who has lost their captive audience. I do agree with you on extremes, left and right that overlap somewhere in the circle of idealisms’. Ethnic cleansing like in Bosnia had been going on for centuries to stop the false religion, actually a cult of islam.        

JPD
JPD

Better than a Turd Taco like you mikeswallowsbisbee.

JPD
JPD

So tell me Lemons why the like button doesn't work for Bobby. New Times censoring?-

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

You are such a wit - I am DEVASTATED by your razor-sharp response.

So THAT'S your justification for it. I see...Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese militarists were all..oh, yeah - right wingers. And ethnic cleansing in Bosnia? Oh, yeah - right wingers. Death squads in Argentina? El Salvador? Guatemala? Wholesale murder and torture in Chile? Racial repression, torture and murder in South Africa? A police state in Spain? The rounding up of Jews for the Germans in Vichy France? And speaking of Cuba, don't forget your good buddy Fulgencio Batista. And who was it who killed his own people - including little children in this country, Goober? Oh, that's right - Timothy and Terry Nichols - the poster children of YOUR side of the political spectrum. They were self-styled, self-righteous patriots - just...like...YOU.

I despise extremists on both sides of the spectrum. Stalin was a monster. So were the Khmer Rouge. And Castro is a left-wing caudillo. We sponsored Cambodian refugees, Goober, what did YOU do? We took in Angolans and Marielitos and Vietnamese and Hmong tribesmen. How about you, Goober? Or do you just talk shit? Yep, that's what I thought.

But ya' gotta 'fess up, Goober, the extremists in America today are on YOUR side of the fence. McVeigh. Nichols. Shawna Forde. Skinheads. The Klan. Nazis. Christian Identity. They're all right wing extremists. And Islamic terrorists have much more in common with your side than the left. They share many of your teabagger values about gays, women, the role of religion in society and the need to suppress multiculturalism.

Bobby
Bobby

Left wingers, have sent millions of more people to their graves than the right ever did. USSR, CHINA, CAMBODIA, CUBA, ..................................Idiot.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

And in other news, an immigrant hating right-wing fanatic commits four-score murders in Norway. Timothy McVeigh, keep the fires in hell well-stoked to ensure a warm welcome for another piece of garbage that will be joining you in the near future.

Kcarson
Kcarson

You actually made sense of that scribble?

I thought maybe some random insult generator was posting, given the complete disconnect between Goober's post and ours.

Good on you.

Goober aka JPD
Goober aka JPD

Actually I did two complete brake jobs yesterday and today I’ll be working on my toys. Yea, I got toys, figured I would enjoy them while I (we) can. Sleep, got all the sleep I needed between your slow responses. Or are we alike?

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Kept ya' up all night brooding about it, though...The inability to compromise is what destroyed your ideological brethren, the Confederates. They, too, were completely convinced of the just nature of their cause and that there was no room for compromise with the other side. How did that work out, Goober?

JPD
JPD

Who's ranting here anyway? The Re-dicking Commies didn't break the rules because they  determined they didn't have to follow the rules. Listen to yourself, need I say more?   

JesusHChrist
JesusHChrist

Your ranting doesn't change the fact that all Mathis neglected to put on the form was her husband's occupation. Yes, her husband is now a registered Dem. (Worked for and gave $ to Rs in the past, but you ignore that.) But that is not a conflict. Why would it be? He's not on the IRC, she is. Moreover, take a look at the form she filled out. Nowhere on that form does it say, "Please state spouse's political affiliation," or anything like it.

The Rs on the commission aren't making a stink about it, why are you? Because you're a self-described "patriot"? Fuck you. Patriotism is the last refuge of a dumbass, and you are it.

What do you think the word "delegate" means, idiot? The letter states that, "As you know, since its inception, the Commission has taken the position that it has independent procurement and contracting authority under Article 4, Part 2, Section 1 (19) of the Arizona Constitution and is therefore exempt from the procurement code. Consequently, the Commission has frequently pursued direction other than that offered by the SPO."

The Commission did not break any rules because it had already determined through its lawyers that it did not have to follow all SPO rules. To do so would have required a lot more time, time the Commission does not have.

BTW, Jean Clark, the State Procurement Administrator, is a woman, not a man. More proof that you don't know what you're talking about and are a typical Tebagger who can't think for themselves and can only bitch based on the talking points handed to you by your corporate masters.

Goober aka JPD
Goober aka JPD

More name calling JesusHChrist(?) getting under your skin? “her husband was a paid staff member of Democrat Nancy Young Wright's campaign” that which Mathis admits as she “had a bias forgetful moment” as a spouse to a LAWYER….. involved (her husband the lawyer as you say) in a political entity, conflict of interest. Mathis is either the liar you seek or she is too dumb as you put it “dumbass” to be chairing the committee. Obviously you lack the depth to understand what disclosure entails.  Yes JesusHChrist, the State Procurement Officer walked, delegating his authority to the commission per A.A.C. R2-7-202 thereby exonerating himself. Giving the commission all the rope they wanted. They are at the end of their rope via the democratic process we all have access to.Obviously you and Mathis are cut from the same cloth as you didn’t catch the fine print in bold letters in the second paragraph to your link: “The Commission shall exercise its delegated authority pursuant to A.R.S. Title 41, Chapter 23 and A.A.C. Title 2, Chapter 7.” Oh you’re an ubama freak so the laws of the land don’t matter. I’m not certain if you know what a tea bagger is based on your processing skills. But you seem to be fixative on it rather than the issues that true Tea Party Patriots champion, or at least the majority of us who haven’t been co-opted by the GOP.  Yes the people rule JesusHChrist just as you say, so JesusHChrist pull your head out of whoever’s ass it got stuck in while they were tea bagging you and slipped. Just read the information you put up, read it, or are you like all the rest of the politicians (all parties) that are too busy figuring their next move out – read it?

JesusHChrist
JesusHChrist

Dumbass, the only thing she omitted on the application form was the fact that her husband is a lawyer. There's nothing on the form that asks for her husband's political affiliation, and she is not obliged to give it. Her husband's name is near the top for the form. And the guy's worked for Republicans -- Chuck Hagel, to name one, and he's given money to John McCain and other Republicans.

The Republicans on the commission rated ST high as well. 

"More than half their time has been spent in Executive Session so the public could not see these back room deals being made." 

An outright lie, especially in the wake of all of the meetings currently going on.

The only times they went into executive session are when rules governing the procurement process or personnel matters dictated that they do so.

The State Procurement Officer delegated authority to the commission. Read it here:

http://www.azredistricting.org...

Lemons is right that TeaBaggers want veto authority over this process. They are liars and they will lose. Because the people rule, not special interest a-holes who call themselves "patriots," but are nothing of the sort.

Goober aka JPD
Goober aka JPD

KY, it's spelled Midget, you're follwoing two clsoe. 

Pit Boss
Pit Boss

Who watches Glenn Beck anymore? His show was taken off of the air because after the elections people realized how when they're caught up in the moment and angry they'll buy anything that sounds like it might work. After the dust settled, people realized how idiotic the guy sounds and got tired of his "socialist this and communist that" routine. His ratings spiraled downward too. A long way from leading a religious-right cult meeting on the National Mall with 60,000 in attendance. 

He was only regurgitating Cleon Skausen's line of B.S. anyway. You tea baggers are the last of a dying breed that was only around for about 2 years. And thanks to you, we'll probably be stuck with Obama for another 4 years. Thanks.

JPD
JPD

Oh so you watch Glenn Beck, worried are you? 

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