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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: TV stations of the 70's on: January 31, 2015, 10:56:02 pm
MINNESOTA
MINNEAPOLIS and SAINT PAUL.  ABC:  5 (Minneapolis, MN).  CBS:  4 (Minneapolis, MN).  NBC:  11 (Minneapolis, MN).  IND:  9 (Minneapolis, MN).

I lived the Twin cities for almost the entire decade, and this list covers the status for less than one year of the decade. Before March 1979, Channel 5 was the NBC affiliate (KSTP), 9 was the ABC affiliate (KMSP), and 11 was independent (WTCN). The 70's really would have been viewed as the time before the switch. I also see that the PBS stations aren't on any of the lists, which would have been channel 2 (KTCA) and 16 (KTCI) in Minneapolis.

Yeah, my data is cobbled together from a lot of different sources I've accumulated over the years.
I went through a period where I didn't have a computer for several weeks, so this was my paper-and-pen project to keep myself busy.  As I said, I was guessing at network affiliations.

The stations viewed in each county comes from a report dated 1972.  The report identifies each station by call letter, channel number, and market.

For city of license and network affiliation, I have a hand-copied list from an unknown date--I thought it was from the late 1970's, but it may have been later.  I also have a list from 1966, which gives market, channel number, and network; the 1966 list does identify 4 as CBS, 5 as NBC, 9 as ABC, and 11 as independent.

As I've been working on this, I've been wondering if I should look up each station's call letters on Wikipedia to see if I could find out more about them, but frankly that just sounds like more work than I want to put in.

I don't know why it would say 1972, since 1972 was the same lineup as in 1966. The change occurred in 1979.

In any case props for all the work you're putting in.
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: TV stations of the 70's on: January 31, 2015, 07:07:33 pm
MINNESOTA
DULUTH.  ABC:  10 (Duluth, MN).  CBS:  3 (Duluth, MN).  NBC:  6 (Duluth, MN).
WALKER.  ABC:  10 (Duluth, MN).  CBS:  3 (Duluth, MN).  NBC:  7 (Alexandria, MN), 12 (Walker, MN).
BRAINERD.  CBS:  3 (Duluth, MN).  NBC:  7 (Alexandria, MN), 12 (Walker, MN).
BEMIDJI.  ABC:  11 (Fargo, ND).  CBS:  3 (Duluth, MN).  NBC:  6 (Duluth, MN), 12 (Walker, MN).
FERGUS FALLS.  ABC:  11 (Fargo, ND).  CBS:  4 (Valley City, ND).  NBC:  6 (Fargo, ND), 7 (Alexandria, MN).
ALEXANDRIA.  NBC:  7 (Alexandria, MN).
SAINT CLOUD and WILLMAR.  ABC:  5 (Minneapolis, MN).  CBS:  4 (Minneapolis, MN).  NBC:  7 (Alexandria, MN), 11 (Minneapolis, MN).  IND:  9 (Minneapolis, MN).
MINNEAPOLIS and SAINT PAUL.  ABC:  5 (Minneapolis, MN).  CBS:  4 (Minneapolis, MN).  NBC:  11 (Minneapolis, MN).  IND:  9 (Minneapolis, MN).
MANKATO and NEW ULM.  ABC:  5 (Minneapolis, MN), 6 (Austin, MN).  CBS:  4 (Minneapolis, MN), 12 (Mankato, MN).  NBC:  11 (Minneapolis, MN).  IND:  9 (Minneapolis, MN).
OWATONNA.  ABC:  5 (Minneapolis, MN), 6 (Austin, MN).  CBS:  3 (Mason City, IA), 4 (Minneapolis, MN), 12 (Mankato, MN).  NBC:  10 (Rochester, MN), 11 (Minneapolis, MN).  IND:  9 (Minneapolis, MN).
FAIRMONT.  ABC:  6 (Austin, MN).  CBS:  12 (Mankato, MN).  NBC:  10 (Rochester, MN).
ALBERT LEA, AUSTIN, and ROCHESTER.  ABC:  6 (Austin, MN).  CBS:  3 (Mason City, IA).  NBC:  10 (Rochester, MN).
WINONA.  ABC:  6 (Austin, MN).  CBS:  8 (La Crosse, WI).  NBC:  10 (Rochester, MN).
MARSHALL.  CBS:  11 (Sioux Falls, SD), 12 (Mankato, MN).  NBC:  13 (Sioux Falls, SD).
WORTHINGTON.  ABC:  9 (Sioux City, IA).  CBS:  11 (Sioux Falls, SD).  NBC:  13 (Sioux Falls, SD).

I lived the Twin cities for almost the entire decade, and this list covers the status for less than one year of the decade. Before March 1979, Channel 5 was the NBC affiliate (KSTP), 9 was the ABC affiliate (KMSP), and 11 was independent (WTCN). The 70's really would have been viewed as the time before the switch. I also see that the PBS stations aren't on any of the lists, which would have been channel 2 (KTCA) and 16 (KTCI) in Minneapolis.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 31, 2015, 04:45:47 pm
Oh, I was mixing up cuts and chops. And you treat a multi-county UCC as one county for this purpose, right?  Anyway, as I think I mentioned before, within UCC's smaller unit chops should count, whether or not you have a macro chop into a UCC. So I was focused on erosity measures within a UCC, which I thought was what we were discussing. And outside UCC's, I am still not persuaded why some state highways should count, and not others, and what to do if there are no state highways between adjacent counties. Is that deemed a chop when two counties with no state highway between them are in the same CD? Or do payed county highways count to avoid a chop?  None of this may obtain to WI or MI perhaps (although some state highways are poorly labeled and hard to find on Dave's matting utility.

Let's back up a moment and start with the simple model, identify shortcomings, and propose solutions. For example, let me take your first question about UCCs.

The simple model says all counties are equal and fewer chops are better. The problem is that there's nothing to dissuade mappers from taking whole urban counties and fingering their districts out to a bunch of rural ones, nor to demote a plan that takes a mid-sized urban area like Lansing and splits it right along the county line. The solution was to define the UCC and add to the chop count when the UCC is split.

Now comes implementation in the chop scoring. The next step simple model would count each county chop and count each multi-county UCC chop then add them together. The modeler now asks if there are problems that are undesirable.

Consider that the implementation has to deal with the following situations: a whole county chop of Clinton from Lansing, a small chop of Clinton, and a small chop of a smaller metro one-county UCC like Calhoun. In the simple UCC application the small chop of Clinton would count twice and the other two examples would only each count once. It seems strange to double count a small chop in Clinton, but not Calhoun. But it also would be strange to double count a chop in Calhoun. It looks like the simple UCC model still is weak.

The next fix is to look at the size of the chop, and if it's small it counts the same for Clinton and Calhoun, and the same as a whole county chop into a UCC. However, if the chop is large but not a whole county then having it count twice doesn't bother me. How large is large? I chose 5% of the quota, and initially treating the UCC as a whole unit is a heuristic that gives the desired result. By all means we should see if it causes consequences worse than the simpler preceding step.

Side note: Chops have nothing to do with state highways. Chops create smaller geographic units (quasi-counties).  Highways are used to find erosity at the boundary of geographic units which may or may not come from a chop.

Second side note: I used 5% of the quota as a threshold for erosity, too. Why? I think the Detroit and Grand Rapids examples illustrate the problem for erosity. I prefer to only keep track of one threshold for both chops and erosity. KISS when I can.

BTW, do my illustrations convince you the the simple erosity model breaks down in densely populated areas?
4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 31, 2015, 01:26:30 pm
"My proposal is the zoom is triggered when the sum of chops in a county exceeds 5% of the quota."

What does that mean? What is the quota? How does one calculate the numerator and denominator?  And when you "zoom," what additional highways are brought into play?  Every highway connector the "center" of each subunit?

The quota is the population of the state divided by the number of the districts as it has been used on a number of threads including the rules for the VA exercise and the flow chart earlier in this thread. Do I need to put the link to those definitions in every post? Tongue

I mentioned two questions. When and how? It is pointless to go into the detail of either, unless you agree that simple doesn't work. If simple does work for you then zooming is irrelevant.

If simple doesn't work I put forward only my answer to when, and it is largely independent of how. When is question about determining what district's erosities need fixing from the simple model. If zooming is needed then how is subsidiary to when, since how is predicated on the situations when it would be invoked. So I need to know what situations I am designing how for.
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 31, 2015, 12:05:05 pm
So I took some time this morning to put together the complete county connection map for MI. As usual this represents all the regional connections defined by a path between seats of county government that follows state and federal numbered highways. When there is more than one path between two counties, the path is defined by the one that takes the shortest time according to Mapquest.

Technically, I-75 jogs into Emmet county for a brief part just south of the Mackinac bridge, so it can't be on a path between Mackinac and Cheboygan. But I-75 also can't be on a path between Mackinac and Cheboygan since the south end of the bridge is in Cheboygan. There is ferry service across the strait and in mild winters it can run all year, but usually it doesn't. So that leaves no possible link, so the map shows the best alternative which is Mackinac to Cheboygan.



To illustrate the problem with the simplest model for chops and erosity, I used Torie's map at the beginning of the thread. I used black lines to accent the quasi-counties created by the chops and white lines to show the connections cut by the district boundaries. White lines are also added to show links between quasi-counties in the same county (I apologize for the color, but I couldn't find one that provided contrast against all the districts).



The simplest model for erosity measures the number of links cut by a district's boundary, called the cut set. The total erosity for the plan is the total of all district erosities, divided by two since each link is shared by two districts. Here are the erosities for each CD in the plan.

CD 1: 10
CD 2: 11
CD 3: 11
CD 4: 18
CD 5: 9
CD 6: 6
CD 7: 5
CD 8: 12
CD 9: 4
CD 10: 8
CD 11: 5
CD 12: 3
CD 13: 2
CD 14: 4
State: 108/2 = 54

Now consider CD 13. Because it is entirely within Wayne and doesn't border Oakland where the principal highway connects the counties it has a tiny erosity of 2. The shape doesn't matter at all. In fact all the CDs in the big three counties have very low erosities in the simple model since they can usually pack into one or two counties so there just aren't many links to cut.

This is why I claim that a reasonable erosity system has to be able to zoom into high-population chopped counties to measure erosity on a municipal scale. The measure has to be such that the erosities are comparable for similarly formed districts on different scales. Perforce that adds complications to the basic model. Denying the claim accepts that the district erosity disparities in the above example are ok.

However, if the claim is reasonable then the questions become when does one zoom to the next level, and how does one apply the measure at the municipal scale. My proposal is the zoom is triggered when the sum of chops in a county exceeds 5% of the quota. It is based on the notion that a single chop of that magnitude represents a substantial departure from equality of population and is a proxy for a chop into a high density area.
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: I think I've found the city with the ugliest municipal boundaries of anywhere on: January 31, 2015, 07:33:35 am
What the f**k is wrong with American cities? Why can't the States implement sane municipal boundaries?

They can in the northeast. But that's because those states established towns as the primary unit of government under the state. Counties were mostly for judicial functions. As villages formed in the towns they were constrained by the town lines. Cities came from towns with special recognition from the state.

Elsewhere counties were the primary government under the state. Cities and villages were separate entities from counties with different functions. In order to provide city services to growing areas in the state, the state allowed cities to annex more territory. In most states the county lines didn't matter for annexation, since it was impractical to deny residents immediately across a county line from a city services such as water or fire protection.

Conversely, states didn't want to force agricultural properties to pay city taxes. That meant city boundaries would sprawl in directions driven only by annexation growth.
7  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 30, 2015, 01:55:44 pm
Maybe move all the posts on this topic to a new thread. It's just using WI and MI as examples. You are constructing a hideously complex system, and the issue is balancing all of this against simplicity. In the end, a much clearer statement of how it all works needs to be set forth, but I am concerned about the gaming. It's kind of a mess really. Just like the weighted voting thing - another nightmare. Smiley

Consolidated, and I've added a link in the OP to our discussion about MI with UCCs, chops and erosity from 2013. Some of the erosity discussions there show how there are a number of ways to view the issue, an each one is going to have a weakness one way or another. That's true for the standard compactness algorithms, too.

The twin problems any system has to deal with is 1) how to construct scoring rules that apply equally well in Wayne county as in western MI, and 2) how to avoid too much gaming of those rules. The gerrymandering in MI is in part due to the codification of a set of rules in the late 1990's that had worked well in the hands of a special master, but when given to a legislature under partisan control turned out not to be so protective. I think that the first problem can only be dealt with using some type of system that allows one to change the scale of mapping elements in different areas based on population, otherwise one is able to get away with all sorts of shenanigans in areas where the natural scale of the rules aren't applicable (eg measuring county erosity on Wayne districts). I think the second problem then requires a number of independent mappers to test what games they might play and then see if the fix is worse than the game.

8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What are gas prices where you're at? on: January 30, 2015, 12:55:26 pm
I filled up yesterday in Morris, IL at $1.85/gal.

What station was that?  Kickbacks are Us?   Tongue

Look at GasBuddy, most of them in town are down to $1.83 today. Tongue

Last Friday night I filled up for $1.55 at BP on Rt. 6 in Morris. Jumped up this week though. That $1.55 was the cheapest I have ever (at least remember) seen gas.

I drove through two days ago on rt 47, and the best I found, without a car wash discount, was $1.81 in Dwight, so I filled up there.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 30, 2015, 10:07:10 am
The professor in question here did not have a tenured position. He had been offered one by the American Indian Studies Program at UIUC, but his offer letter clearly indicated that his position would be subject to confirmation by the Board of Trustees. That's the typical form of one of these offers.

The professor's behavior during the time between the offer and the meeting of the BoT was relevant to the BoT decision. They are not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the academic departments. The BoT felt that confirmation was not in the best interests of the university. As it was the BoT has now voted twice to not confirm the offer to the professor. A copy of the BoT press release is here.

Well, if they ever are to get another senior hire, they would need to have board approvals in March - at the latest. At this point the university severely damaged its reputation by rescinding an offer at that late stage. It is still, probably,a legal issue to which extent such an unusual behavior is a breach of the implicit contract - there will be many people (department chair, a dean or two, the provost, etc.)  who will have to testify that they assured the guy, board approval was an empty formality. Elizabeth II has the right to veto bills, but if she did, there would be a major constitutional crisis.

Btw, they now claim to have voted against him AFTER he was supposed to have started teaching. They also claim that his statements about Israel are directly related to what he was supposed to teach in the Indian Studies department. This all looks like extremely bad faith to me. If a faculty member is supposed to start teaching before the vote - so, without a contract - as they imply, and if anything he says may be construed as relevant to his job, there is no tenure at UI.

I know many colleagues at other universities who have been offered teaching or research assignments with the understanding that the BoT has the final formal approval, and that might be after the official start date. It's not unique to UIUC and it was also true for me. I also know colleagues who chose to delay their start until after formal approval. That's pretty rare, and when it has happened it was usually because there were some special requests like extensive lab startup costs. Still any person has the right to ask to delay the start until the approval by the BoT. If a department chair says don't worry about the BoT, then that's a black eye for them not for the university as a whole.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Net Neutrality on: January 30, 2015, 09:57:03 am
That would be true if the first time, the money went to build an 8 lane Interstate and the Oregon trail got built instead.
Compared to what came before, it was an 8 lane interstate,  I doubt that there are many here who remember when a 2.4Kbps was a high speed home computer connection.

I very much remember that day. But what concerns me more is how connections through ISPs worked back then. Before the World Wide Web in 1992 most users signed up with a service like Compuserve, the Source, Prodigy, or AOL to connect to the internet (I had subscriptions to all of those at one time). These were private providers and they featured links to their partner services. If you wanted to get to some other website you had to know what you were doing, since the ISP didn't make it easy to go away from their partners.

When the WWW came along with its standardized page format and transfer protocols it became much easier. All you had to do was get to any search engine that was equipped for the WWW and you could easily navigate to other sites beyond those featured by the ISP. Before long the ISPs gave up trying to feature partner sites and those sites migrated to the WWW format. Instead ISPs and search engines switched to an advertising-based model and used page placement ads to cover costs.

What I would not like to see is a return to the pre-WWW days when navigating to non-partnered sites becomes difficult or unusually slow. I prefer to see the internet as a form of a common carrier, recognizing that there is information modification and storage at each end, but that the transaction that moves the data from place to place is more like telephone service than not.
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Professor fired for criticizing Israel files suit against University of Illinois on: January 30, 2015, 09:37:39 am
The professor in question here did not have a tenured position. He had been offered one by the American Indian Studies Program at UIUC, but his offer letter clearly indicated that his position would be subject to confirmation by the Board of Trustees. That's the typical form of one of these offers.

The professor's behavior during the time between the offer and the meeting of the BoT was relevant to the BoT decision. They are not supposed to be a rubber stamp for the academic departments. The BoT felt that confirmation was not in the best interests of the university. As it was the BoT has now voted twice to not confirm the offer to the professor. A copy of the BoT press release is here.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: If the 2014 Population Estimates Were an Actual Census Prompting Reapportionment on: January 29, 2015, 08:37:55 pm
Based on my projection to 2020 from the 2014 estimates I put MT at #439. They need about 7K more people than the current projection to get to #435.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 04:32:41 pm
Nelsville is the county seat of Clark County in Wisconsin, not Greenwood, but either way apparently Hwy 29 through northern Clark is not a highway cut  because it does not connect from the Clark county seat to an adjacent county, county seat. That is an example as to why, beyond complexity, picking and choosing state highways to count as cut is problematical, because the WI-03 Clark County jut is an erose feature, and thus the cut of Hwy 29 is a good proxy to pick that erose feature up. Your highway cut metric seems more focused on connectivity between county seats, rather than connectivity in general (hwy 29 does connect to county seats in adjacent counties, so the population around it is connected to those counties, even though Clark's county seat is not in play), and trying to get the best possible proxy for erose shapes. This would be particularly a problem with the county seat is not the largest town or city in a county.

I'm not sure I follow your concern here. My map of WI has hwy-29 connected to US-10 by way of hwy-73 which is entirely in Clark for that stretch. Both Greenwood and Neillsville are on hwy-73 so any path that connects to one of them connects to the other. You can't use hwy-29 to connect Chippewa to Taylor since that would go through Clark, but hwy-64 provides a direct path so hwy-29 is not an issue.

Oh, I see, highway 73 is not an orange line, but still a state highway. Assuming Hwy 29 has nothing to do with the county seat, is cutting it still a chop because it connects the county seats of Marathon and Chippewa, two non adjacent counties?

A chop has to do with the county itself. Then one can ask what connections do the fragments created by the chop have with the neighboring counties as if they were quasi-counties. Once that's done one can assess the cut links that define erosity.

Looking at Clark, it has connections to 5 of its 6 adjacent counties. It lacks a connection to Eau Claire since US-12/hwy-27 dips into Jackson along its path. Now consider a chop that followed the Eau Claire-Chippewa line extended east. That puts all of hwy-29 in the north part of Clark. As a new unit on the map it would have links to Chippewa, Taylor, Marathon, and the south part of Clark. The remainder of Clark in the south would have links to the north part of Clark, Jackson, Wood, and if a secondary path can be considered, Marathon.

Like the pink line in the Kent example, there are two state highway paths that cross the border to Marathon on the way from Neillsville to Wausau. Mapquest says that the one using hwy 29 is fastest so it is the primary link. Once there are two pieces of Clark the question of the use of the secondary highway, hwy-98, comes up.

Either way one resolves hwy-98, there are links established to both parts of Clark. Now it's a matter of counting the number of those links reside on the boundary between two CDs.


I think I should split the chop and erosity conversation off from the MI and WI threads so I'm not responding to similar queries in both. What do you think?
14  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 01:48:03 pm
Nelsville is the county seat of Clark County in Wisconsin, not Greenwood, but either way apparently Hwy 29 through northern Clark is not a highway cut  because it does not connect from the Clark county seat to an adjacent county, county seat. That is an example as to why, beyond complexity, picking and choosing state highways to count as cut is problematical, because the WI-03 Clark County jut is an erose feature, and thus the cut of Hwy 29 is a good proxy to pick that erose feature up. Your highway cut metric seems more focused on connectivity between county seats, rather than connectivity in general (hwy 29 does connect to county seats in adjacent counties, so the population around it is connected to those counties, even though Clark's county seat is not in play), and trying to get the best possible proxy for erose shapes. This would be particularly a problem with the county seat is not the largest town or city in a county.

I'm not sure I follow your concern here. My map of WI has hwy-29 connected to US-10 by way of hwy-73 which is entirely in Clark for that stretch. Both Greenwood and Neillsville are on hwy-73 so any path that connects to one of them connects to the other. You can't use hwy-29 to connect Chippewa to Taylor since that would go through Clark, but hwy-64 provides a direct path so hwy-29 is not an issue.
15  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 01:37:29 pm
I see what you are doing now, and how a chop (other than a micro one?), creates a quasi county that then has independent highways connecting it to adjacent county seats. And apparently state highways to don't go to the county seat of an adjacent county, or quasi county, don't count. Not sure that is good policy, to exclude some state highways that way, and it adds complexity, but at least now I understand the highway cut issue.

Microchops also create quasi-counties. They are chops in all respects, except that they don't add to the chop count (unless the total of all microchops in a county exceeds the 0.5% threshold).

The regional connection rule is that one must be able to trace a path from one node to another on numbered state or federal highways without crossing into a third county. Highways on a border count in both counties. For counties, I used the address of the seat of county government and the point on a state highway nearest it as the node. A case can be made to use the seat of government of the largest city in a county, if that is not the county seat.

So Hwy 29 counts as two cuts, because it goes from one node to another, just not to nodes in adjacent counties? I still think I prefer counting all highway cuts, but in the end it comes down to what is the best proxy for erosity.

We will just have to disagree on whether microchops are penalized. I won't support that. It creates an incentive to have one microchop per county (or more up to 0.5% as you say), so that there are no bigger chops, making a mess of a map. The public square won't stand for it.

I still contend your microchop fear is a non issue. Those microchops are quasi-counties, too, so they tend to increase erosity. If they didn't one would place enough of them to drive the inequality to near zero and drive out competing maps with the inequality tie breaker. When I've tried that I usually find that my erosity rises and I'm left with a Pareto equivalent, but not superior plan.

The original driver for microchops was your concern about sufficient flexibility, since we saw areas of states where the constraints otherwise left few choices. Flexibility cuts both ways, and a set of rules that are too inflexible may not sit well with other parts of the public than the ones who would disfavor microchops.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 11:50:49 am
I see what you are doing now, and how a chop (other than a micro one?), creates a quasi county that then has independent highways connecting it to adjacent county seats. And apparently state highways to don't go to the county seat of an adjacent county, or quasi county, don't count. Not sure that is good policy, to exclude some state highways that way, and it adds complexity, but at least now I understand the highway cut issue.

Microchops also create quasi-counties. They are chops in all respects, except that they don't add to the chop count (unless the total of all microchops in a county exceeds the 0.5% threshold).

The regional connection rule is that one must be able to trace a path from one node to another on numbered state or federal highways without crossing into a third county. Highways on a border count in both counties. For counties, I used the address of the seat of county government and the point on a state highway nearest it as the node. A case can be made to use the seat of government of the largest city in a county, if that is not the county seat.
17  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 11:42:02 am
Chops and Erosity part 3 of 3.

A zoom into Kent replaces counties with cities and townships, and seats of county government with the town hall or city hall. In the map below the halls (nodes) are marked roughly with blue dots and the lines indicate the connections (links) between them. Villages are shown on the map, but they are not considered subunits of the county for redistricting purposes.

Yellow lines indicate connections where the path between units uses a state highway at the boundary, and blue lines are connections made solely with local roads. Yellow lines generally include local roads to get from the hall to the nearest state highway, so what matters is the status of the road as it crosses the town or city line.



One thing to note is that there are a number of nodes that are only connected locally. This includes the cities of Cedar Springs, Rockford, and East Grand Rapids, and the townships of Spencer, Vergennes, and Bowne. These units are considered to be connected by local links, so cutting those links would also count towards erosity. For other local links, scoring can either count them or not, so the calculation will be made both ways.

Here's a zoom into plan A. The chop cuts 8 yellow lines (including the Byron Twp to Ottawa link), and 3 blue lines to locally connected units for a total of 11 cut links. If all local cuts were counted the total would rise to 19.



Here's a zoom into plan B. The chop cuts 9 yellow links (including two to Ottawa), and 5 required blue links for a total of 14 cut links. If all local cuts were counted the total would rise to 20.



Here's a zoom into plan C. The chop cuts 8 yellow links (including one to Ottawa), and 2 required blue links for a total of 10 cut links. If all local cuts were counted the total would rise to only 12.



Counting the chops in Kent would keep plan C in the mix with a lower erosity than plan B or A. Since all three plans have the same chop count, but differ in erosity, the inequality doesn't come into play. Plan C is the lone surviving plan of the three.
18  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 10:23:46 am
Chops and Erosity, part 2 of 3

Since this exercise assumes a public process to produce a map. Someone observes that the population inequality can be reduced without changing anything other than the choice of cities and townships to include in the chop. This results in plan B where CD 2 is +172 and CD 3 is +989, an average deviation of 581, a range of 817 or 0.12% of the quota. It has a significantly lower inequality, but the CDs have the same set of cut regional county links, so at the county scale the erosity is the same. Using inequality as a tie breaker plan B would knock plan A out of consideration.



Another mapper also makes some changes to the Kent chop and comes up with plan C. Here CD 2 is -588 and CD 3 is +1749, an average deviation of 1169, a range of 2337 or 0.33% of the quota. The CD boundaries involve the same cut links as in plan A and B so it would be tied in chops and erosity. The deviations are slightly better than plan A but probably not enough to have a different inequality score overall. The internal boundary of the chop is clearly less erose than either plan A or B. However, since inequality would be the only tie breaker plan C would fall to plan B.



It seems that there should be some consideration for the lower erosity visible in plan C. Even conventional compactness measures might not see much difference between B and C since they would be dominated by the large perimeter of the whole counties and would lack sensitivity to the smaller changes in Kent. The best way to give consideration to the shape within Kent is to zoom in on that county and apply a similar technique to the on used between counties.

An important question is whether to zoom in on all chops to consider erosity. There is already an increase in counted links created by the chop, and that counts towards erosity. Population deviations within 5% of the quota are considered substantially equal by SCOTUS, so it is reasonable to consider chops that partition off less than 5% of the quota small enough to incur only such erosity changes that are due to the link between pieces. Adding the effect of secondary highway links, like the pink line in part 1 would work to penalize chops that were added solely to cover only primary links to reduce erosity.

Removing larger chops would result in districts that were substantially unequal. Such chops will most frequently occur in high-population counties that have areas of high density. Zooming in on only those counties where the chop is substantial provides a mechanism to consider the erosity in those high-density population areas where the boundary will be small compared to county-based boundaries.

This becomes the definition of a macrochop. This is not the opposite of a microchop which functions in all ways like a regular chop in regards to erosity. A macrochop sets a point at which it is worthwhile to zoom into a map to see detail that is relevant to scoring.

End part 2 of 3
19  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 09:36:06 am
As an example of the relationship between chops and erosity, consider CDs 2 and 3 in following plans. In all of the plans the two CDs together are made up of 10 whole counties and exceed the quota for 2 CDs by 1161. All three plans place a chop in Kent county and have 2 CDs for the Grand Rapids UCC, which is the minimum possible.

Suppose in a crowdsourcing exercise to produce a map Plan A is submitted. The deviation in CD 2 is +1854 and CD 3 is -693, an average deviation of 1274, a range of 2547 or 0.36% of the quota.



The county connections for the plan are in the next image. There are blue dots for the 10 count seats, orange lines to show the links internal to CDs 2 and 3, and yellow lines to show the links to counties in other CDs. Those yellow lines contribute to the erosity. A red line shows the link between the two parts of Kent, and since it is split between CD 2 and 3 it is cut as well and adds to the erosity. Using the red and yellow cut links, CD 2 has an erosity of 7 and CD 3 has an erosity of 13.

The path used to form the link between Ottawa (Grand Haven) and Kent (Grand Rapids) follows I-96 roughly where the yellow line is between them. Holland is the largest city in Ottawa, and if it is considered as the node for Ottawa the connection would be along I-196 at Grandville. A longer path than either of those exists that follows MI-6 near the southwestern corner. If the two parts of the Kent chop were treated as if they were individual counties for connection purposes then there would be a link that connects the CD 3 part of Kent to Ottawa along MI-6, and that is shown in pink. If it is counted then the erosity of both CDs increases by 1.



End part 1 of 3
20  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: January 29, 2015, 05:39:53 am
WI was one of the original states for which I posted a regional county connection map back in 2012. All of the links are based on state highways between county seats.



The first Torie map in the previous post cuts 11 links on the boundary between CD 3 and CD 7.

The second map cuts 9 links not counting the chop in Dunn. The chop in Dunn has a link between the two parts which is also cut, bringing the total to 10 that is how it would be judged on the one interpretation (used in the AL discussion). If viewed this way it has one more chop and one less erosity and is Pareto equivalent to the first map.

However, depending on how one counts the links, a secondary path between Dunn and Chippewa follows WI-64. If that link becomes active after the chop then the number of cut links rises to 11, the same as in the first. IIRC this interpretation was used in a discussion of MD plans way back when, in part because there was no concept of macrochops. If this view is used, then the second map loses to the first one. It's worth exploring the relative merits of the two interpretations.

I've been putting together a detailed example for MI which I hope will illustrate the counting in a chopped county as well as provide some justification for the crossover to macrochops for large chops.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: ObamaCare cost expectation drops 7% on: January 28, 2015, 03:55:05 pm
I know people that would rather pay the fine than go through the crap that is filing through the site. We can't force people to buy anything. Why should it be required if people don't want it?

Essentially the Supreme Court ruled that you can force someone to buy something.

More accurately they ruled that if you buy certain things you can have your taxes reduced, and they found that the penalty system for the ACA was structured as a tax.

If the structure remains as a tax, I'd rather just see the employer mandate go away and with it classification rules that will be worked around whether it is 30 or 40 hours. Removing any direct employer requirement would likely aid global competitiveness. Employers could still choose to offer to pay premiums as a benefit of employment. A payroll deduction can be used to collect the premiums for those with a paycheck, much as Medicare is already collected. The exchanges can still be used to select plans and options and determine what subsidies are available.
That would cost the government way too much money. Millions of people would see their employers drop their coverage and they would all come over to the marketplace, where most would qualify for a subsidy.

Not necessarily too much money. What I described is similar Sen Wyden's plan for universal coverage from 2007-08. The analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the financial challenges could be addressed. The point is that there is little rationale for tying health care to an employer, and doing so is inconsistent with most of the industrialized world.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Arizona redistricting goes to Supreme Court on: January 28, 2015, 12:31:31 pm
If SCOTUS overturns the AZ congressional law, the easiest fix is probably to have the commission submit the plan to the legislature for an up-or-down vote, and if it is rejected allow up to two additional tries before it would go to the courts. That resolves the constitutional requirement that the legislature approve the plan, but keeps the map-making independent from the politicians. It is the method used by IA for its redistricting.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: ObamaCare cost expectation drops 7% on: January 28, 2015, 09:36:08 am
I know people that would rather pay the fine than go through the crap that is filing through the site. We can't force people to buy anything. Why should it be required if people don't want it?

Essentially the Supreme Court ruled that you can force someone to buy something.

More accurately they ruled that if you buy certain things you can have your taxes reduced, and they found that the penalty system for the ACA was structured as a tax.

If the structure remains as a tax, I'd rather just see the employer mandate go away and with it classification rules that will be worked around whether it is 30 or 40 hours. Removing any direct employer requirement would likely aid global competitiveness. Employers could still choose to offer to pay premiums as a benefit of employment. A payroll deduction can be used to collect the premiums for those with a paycheck, much as Medicare is already collected. The exchanges can still be used to select plans and options and determine what subsidies are available.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Nationwide precinct map project? on: January 27, 2015, 10:00:14 pm
In IL counties can adjust their precincts as frequently as every two years. A new 2014 IL state law requires all counties to submit their precinct maps in electronic form to the State Board of Elections. The larger counties will probably use shapefiles, though the law doesn't say that since some small counties don't have that format. Hopefully the BoE will use the data to create master shapefiles for the public, but that will take some time.
25  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Special elections vs. gubenatorial appointments for Congressional vacancies on: January 27, 2015, 09:14:25 am
For legislatures, I think simply leaving the seats vacant until the next regular election would be reasonable.  It would encourage both the parties and the voters to take the health and ethics of candidates a bit more seriously if they knew it wouldn't be easily filled if there was a problem.  At most, a provision to suspend their participation while part of an executive cabinet if making it easier for legislators to switch to the executive branch by allowing to return to their former function if their term hasn't already expired by the time they leave the cabinet.

Bur who would represent a district that might be vacant for as much as two years? The constituents have the legitimate expectation of a voice in the form of a vote in the assembly as well as an advocate to introduce and promote legislation of interest to the district.

Then they should elect someone who they can count on remaining in office for a full term.  At most your argument is an argument for multi-member districts.

As Ernest implied there can be a change in administration and if there's a change in parties, there's no way to know that a representative might be given a cabinet post. I wouldn't blame the voters for not being able to predict that future.
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