Response Page - R. Moe / S.
Sviggum Interview - Drawing Legislative District Boundaries
These comments are responses
to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Roger Moe / Steve Sviggum Interview
____ On a scale of (0) no urgency whatsoever, to (10) most urgent,
indicate your feelings about the need to find a new way to draw
legislative and congressional districts.
____ On a scale of (0) most opposed to (5) neutral to (10) most
please indicate your feelings about the Moe-Sviggum proposal to assign
to a bi-partisan group of retired judges.
Chuck Slocum (8) (8)
This necessary reform approach is one of a number that has been
considered over the years; I support its placement on the ballot in
2008. The current legislatively directed system for reapportionment
and redistricting is inherently partisan and self-interested.
Charles Lutz (10) (9)
Joe Mansky (10) (5)
The process the speaker proposes is quite similar to the plan Gov.
Ventura proposed in 2002, except that the Ventura plan included public
I would not make the assumption that being a retired judge makes one
nonpartisan or unbiased. Remember, our judges are all "political".
It's a function of how they get into office. I don't think you can get
politics out of a process that is inherently political. What you can
do is make the political aspects of it, including the biases of each
side, more visible and transparent to the public.
John Farrell (7) (10)
Ina Erickson (10) (10)
Marianne Curry (10) (10)
Our forefathers of the MN Constitution (and the federal Constitution
for that matter) intended that our democratic system be governed by a
citizen legislature, ie., citizens tied to the reality-test of making
a living in the private sector. Instead, what we have today is a
professional legislature comprised of too many representatives who
serve repetitive terms and whose self-interest is to reduce
competition for elective office and to draw legislative boundaries
that maximize their likelihood of re-election.
One serious result is that both parties tend to be controlled by
extreme voices and not moderates who can reach compromise. Hence,
stalemate. We are losing democratic principles of governance as a
result. The primary is one answer. Removing judicial selection from
politics is another. And the third leg is to mitigate gerrymandering
through a more impartial commission to draw legislative boundaries.
In Minnesota, we face another potential threat: the loss of population
relative to other states and the aging of population, ie., loss of
representation in Congress. Watch for fresh water fights in the next
generation. Minnesota has a lot to lose if Lake Superior water is
piped to Reno and Phoenix to support unsustainable growth in the arid
Kevin Dahle (8) (10)
Lonni McCauley (8) (10)
Scott Halstead (10) (2)
I still like the judge appointment for a fixed term and reappointment
after performance evaluation for a maximum of 2 additional terms.
Susan Herridge (7) (10)
Tony Solgård (10) (8)
What I think is most important is keeping alive your proposal to
create 3-member districts in the state house with a proportional
voting method that would not allow one party to win all the seats.
David Durenberger (5) (4)
Tom Swain (10) (10)
The advisory board for the Center for Politics and Governance, which
recommended the redistricting change, must not be confused with the
overall advisory board for the Humphrey Institute.
George Pillsbury (10) (8)
John Nowicki (9) (10)
Wayne Jennings (10) (9)
Ed Oliver (8) (8)
Paul and Ruth Hauge (9) (9)
Steve Alderson (8) (8)
While this is out of my bailiwick, I was interested in the
presentation. THANX for sharing.
Eric Schubert (10) (10)
Thank you for these updates. I greatly enjoy them. I understand there
may be increased collaboration between the Civic Caucus and Citizens
League; I hope that is the case. It seems there could be some good
Ray Schmitz (8) (8)
The interesting point that was almost touched by Roger is the history,
think back to the pre computer days, discussions with town boards,
county commissioners, and in the larger areas, block, precinct
workers. The parties knew the voting history of a family for 5
generations in rural areas and except for new folks in the metro the
same. But because it was not, as noted, on the computer screen it
seems it was less of an issue, remember this also was pre one man and
the entire gerrymander issue was less present. I agree that the
knowledge of safe seats is more on the publics mind today, but is it
really true or just perception, that is, were they less safe 50 years
Judges are not political! O'sure.
Larry and Ann Schluter (9) (8)
Gary Clements (8) (10)
Bob Brown (10) (2)
I reiterate what I said in response to one of your earlier inquiries
that it would be extremely disappointing to see the status quo
position on redistricting. Having been on redistricting and
reapportionment committees I know that it is a rare legislator that
can do the job objectively, and even if some want to others subvert
the process. In 1971 we passed our senate compromise bill 53-14 with
27 Conservatives and 26 DFLers voting yes and 7 on each side voting
no. The bill passed the House easily by a substantial margin with most
of the Republicans and the senior DFLers voting yes, but Wendy vetoed
the bill because he has made a commitment to Marty Sabo to veto the
bill unless ALL of the freshmen DFLers were protected - an impossible
demand if you wanted a bill passed. So legislation went to the courts
and the courts can be even worse - see the legislative districts drawn
by Judge Gerald Heaney in 1972 as the worst example. Districts should
be drawn by computer programs, starting at a corner of the state
picked at random, and using some reasonable criteria (drawn up long
before census data are known) for keeping local units of government
(city or county) whole as much as possible. Taking the human element
out of the process can and should be done.
Clarence Shallbetter (9) (8)
Don Fraser (9) (9)
Matt Kane (7) (5)
Have you looked at Iowa's approach? May be the only state left with
competitive congressional districts.
Robert A. Freeman (10) (10)
Pair of 10s, although I would like to modify second suggestion to
qualify that only judges who have not sought a party designation be
selected for the panel (or words to that effect).
Donna Anderson (10) (10)
It's really important for a bi-partisan group, and perhaps 2-3 others
bipartisan people (not elected officials) on group of retired judges.
Ed Dirkswager (8) (8)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (7) (4)
The Civic Caucus
is a non-partisan,
tax-exempt educational organization. The Core participants
include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and
business. Click here
to see a short personal background of each.
Verne C. Johnson, chair; Lee Canning, Charles Clay, Bill Frenzel,
Paul Gilje, Jim Hetland, John Mooty, Jim Olson,
Wayne Popham and John Rollwagen.