One look at the new State Senate districts in Tampa Bay & it’s clear why there should be a special session on redistricting

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Senate President Mike Haridopolos indicated Monday that he expected lawmakers to have to return to Tallahassee to redraw at least portions of the redistricting proposals being considered by the Florida Supreme Court.

Haridopolos first made the statement in response to a question about whether he would support a special session to work on personal-injury protection legislation if that effort falters in the session’s final days.

“We’re going to be here for an extraordinary session, in my guess, given the give and take last week in the Supreme Court,” Haridopolos said, referring to the oral arguments about the maps.

Well, all it takes is one look at the re-drawn State Senate districts in Tampa Bay to realize, yes, there should be a special session on redistricting.

The State Senate district in North Pinellas, drawn presumably, for Jack Latvala is fine.  But why is there a State Senate seat stretching from the Gulf Beaches to downtown Tampa?  Why is another State Senate seat divided among four populous counties, other than to placate narrow, minority interests?

For goodness’ sake, there are voters who live on St. Petersburg’s Fifth Avenue North in the same district as voters miles away in South Tampa, rather than with voters living around the corner on Fifth Avenue South.

I don’t care what Amendment 5 says or doesn’t say.

I don’t care what “retrogression” might mean.

Seats that look the ones drawn for Tampa Bay simply do not stand up to scrutiny. That’s why, you’re damn right, there should be a special session on redistricting.

In fact, Haridopolos can already see it coming: “Historically, the courts have not thrown out the whole map, but sections of the map, and I wouldn’t be surprised — and that’s why I’m anticipating it,” he said.

A ruling in the case is due by Friday.

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.