Don Gaetz, Will Weatherford chastise League of Women Voters for not ‘participating constructively’ in redisticting

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I don’t know if anyone on this coast or in Tallahassee noticed this strongly-written op-ed penned by Sen. Don Gaetz and Rep. Will Weatherford.  The leaders of the legislative redistricting process summarily dress-down the League of Women Voters for not ‘participating constructively’ in redisticting, (while) accusing the Legislative of stalling.

Gaetz and Weatheford then go on to ask, “if the Legislature is ahead of schedule, who is stalling?” According to them, it’s the League of Women Voters.

“In fact, two months ago the league informed us that neither the league or its affiliates would submit proposed redistricting maps.

Ten years ago, the league did submit redistricting maps for the Legislature to consider, so the opposition this time seemed strangely out of character. What we would expect is what we saw in Georgia. There, the League of Women Voters not only prepared and publicized its own redistricting maps, it organized a “Map Fair” at the Georgia State Capitol to encourage members of the public to present their own alternative maps.

Why this time around does the League of Women Voters of Florida continue to bat down the Legislature’s attempts to involve Floridians in the redistricting process? At meeting after meeting, we reiterate that the public’s submissions will be considered first in the committee process. Yet league spokespersons continue their rhetoric, suggesting that the only maps worth considering are those drafted by the leadership of the Legislature. There is simply no way that the league could take such a position on redistricting or any other issue, unless politics is driving their decisions.”

Gaetz and Weatherford end their chastising with some strong words for the little ol’ ladies of the LWV:

If the league wishes, for partisan purposes, to abandon its stated mission of encouraging “active participation in government,” and instead wants a select few members of the Legislature to draw redistricting plans in a smoke-filled room without any prior public input, the league’s prepared scripts should say that. If not, the league needs to submit ideas, submit maps, or stop actually stalling the process for citizens who want to participate in the work of drafting districts that will be the foundation for Floridians’ representation in Tallahassee and in Washington for the next decade.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.