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51  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 15, 2015, 02:58:32 pm
1960s

Following Reynolds v Sims, the legislature redistricted.  It had also redistricted during the litigation, but limited by the Alabama constitution (maximum one senator per county; minimum one representative per county) could not provide much relief.  The initial litigation was primarily by people in Jefferson County which at the time was entitled on a population basis to 6.8 senators (and had 1), and 20.4 representatives and had 21.  At the same time, Lowndes which had a population equivalent to 0.17 senators and 0.51 representatives, had one senator and two representatives.

After the district court had made its initial rulings, Jefferson had its number of representatives increased to 17.  The plaintiffs did not have enough money to appeal the decision.  But a (white) probate judge, Bernard Reynolds from Dallas County, appealed the decision, concerned that the (white) voters in Dallas County being swamped by black voters from Lowndes County.  This enabled the original plaintiffs to cross-appeal and get a much more sweeping decision from the SCOTUS, and gave the case its Reynolds name.

The senate apportionment in the Alabama constitution that fundamentally conflicted with OMOV was the requirement that each senate district elect one senator.  If a senate district could elect more than one senator, then county lines could be preserved.  The legislature reapportioned giving multiple senators to Jefferson (6.80 quotas, 7 senators), Mobile (3.37, 3); Montgomery (1.81, 2).  The other counties with more than one quota at the time were Madison (1.26), Tuscaloosa (1.17), Etowah (1.04), and Calhoun (1.03).   The district court that considered the senate plan in Sims v Baggett was somewhat concerned that Madison had only one senator, and a 26% deviation, but felt it could be mitigated by apportioning additional representatives to the county.  The district court approved the senate plan, and noted that the the largest district was only 1.45 times the population of the smallest.  It had been about 33 to 1 previously, so this was a significant improvement.

The court at the same time rejected the House plan, both because it had combined smaller counties in multi-member districts.  For example, Elmore, Macon, and Tallapoosa had 3 representatives, though the population of the three was not grossly dissimilar, ranging from 26K to 35K, with the apparent intent of preventing election of a black representative from Macon.  Mobile, though entitled to slightly more than 10 representatives was granted 9. 

The court also said Madison should have a 5th representative to compensate for being underrepresented in the senate.  Madison was entitled to 1.257 senators, and 3.772 representatives.  If considered independently, this would mean 1 senator (25.7% deviation) and 4 representatives (-5.7% deviation).  The courts logic appears to give Madison 7.544 representation units (out of a total of 210), round this to 8 representation units, and give Madison one senator worth 3 representation units, and five representatives worth one representation unit each, for a total of 8 representation units.  This could be considered a form of weighted representation in the legislature via a composite of senators and representatives.

52  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 15, 2015, 10:06:40 am
Have you made graphs of deviation vs BVAP for the plaintiff's map and your offering?
I didn't draw individual districts, so it makes it difficult to compare.  Looking at the districts that split counties, I didn't see much variation based on BVAP, for example in the Birmingham districts, or the Mobile districts.  There is some variation in that blob east of Birmingham, with Shelby districts having a deviation above 4%, and BVAP below 10%, and the district on Georgia border having a deviation of 1.4% and 25% BVAP.

It was that area that attracted my attention in the first place.  In the rural areas of the state, the counties have around 8% to 15% or so of a quota, and it is pretty easy to draw whole county districts.  But you get into some pretty substantial populations in the Gadsden, Anniston, Talledega area.   But the boundaries were drawn so squiggly that I was curious as to why.  And I still don't know.  It might make sense if you were trying to get some districts up past 30% BVAP, but not to differentiate into 18% and 8% districts.  The Talladega district in the Plaintiff's plan is 25% BVAP, and made of whole counties.

In the 2001 map, the Talladega district had 35% BVAP in 2010.  The Alabama River splits into the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers past Montgomery, and there is a tapering out from the Black Belt as you head north.  But the area is now somewhat separate because of the growth of the Montgomery suburbs in Elmore and Autauga counties.  Talladega County is now split among four districts.  One of the main effects of the 2012 redistricting was to reduce the BVAP% of districts in the 25% to 35% range.  For the most part this was not done by pushing the percentage higher in the eight majority black districts.  They had already been drawn in a way that produced a large variation from neighboring districts.

The plaintiffs remand plan was primarily a litigation tool to demonstrate that you really didn't need to go to a 1% deviation limit.  But it was also an effort to do a do-over, to make some changes that had nothing to do with using whole counties.

If you are going to emphasize whole counties as a fundamental principle, second only to population equality, you need to stick to it.

I like your plan except for the Baldwin-Washington connection. However I see that the plaintiff's map has that, too, and essentially it is in the current map as well.

The Baldwin-Washington district is SD-22, the last Birmingham-area district is SD-20, and the Tuscaloosa district is SD-21.  SD-24 and SD-23 are to the north, SD-25 and SD-26 are in Montgomery, and SD-27 and SD-28 are along the Georgia border.   SD-29 is in Dothan and the districts are numbered through SD-35 in the southern part of Mobile County.

So it appears that SD-24 and SD-23 have been pushed westward and expanded southward, forcing SD-22 to the south and SD-21 to the north (and SD-24 has ended up west of SD-23).  Meanwhile, SD-30 was shifted through the Black Belt so it is now north of Montgomery, which has enabled SD-22 to also extend to the east.

So Washington is more like the last outpost of the traditional district.  Mobile is growing a bit slower than the state, so that in the 2001 map, there was a portion of SD-22 that extended southward along the Alabama-Mobile river to the city of Mobile.   Meanwhile Baldwin has been growing faster than the state, and is now contributing about 1/3 of the district, and the current senator is from Bay Minette.  The current district with the very irregular boundary across Choctaw, Clarke, Washington, Monroe, and Conecuh appears to be an attempt to put the majority black areas in the districts to the north, but keep areas with significant black population (perhaps 20-30%) in the district.
53  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Is Ted Cruz constitutionally eligible to be President? on: June 14, 2015, 10:47:28 pm
While the answer is obviously yes, he isn't by the standards of many birthers, thus creating a bit of a conundrum.
No he's born in Canada
He was born in Canada to an American citizen mother, which makes him a natural-born US citizen. If Obama had been born in Kenya, he would also still be eligible for the same reason.
Not true.  The American-citizen parent must have lived in the United States for at least 5 years after the age of 14.  Obama's mother had not qualified to transmit citizenship to her children.
54  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: San Antonio mayor on: June 14, 2015, 10:25:49 pm
Leticia Van De Putte, the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, and former state senator, has finished first in the race for mayor of San Antonio, and will face Ivy Taylor in a runoff next month,  Taylor is acting mayor, having been appointed after Julian Castro departed to become HUD Secretary.  At that time, it was believed that Ivy, a member of the city council, would not run for a full term.  Mike Villarreal is a former state representative,  Villarreal and Van De Purtte resigned their legislative positions to campaign, triggering 3 special elections.   Tommy Adkisson is a Bexar County commissioner, and in the 1980s, a state representative.

The other 10 mayoral candidates liven up race.


 Leticia Van De Putte.  .  .  .  .  .  .     25,982   30.43%
 Ivy R. Taylor .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     24,245   28.40
 Mike Villarreal  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     22,246   26.06
 Tommy Adkisson.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      8,344    9.77
 Paul A. Martinez .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      1,877    2.20
 Cynthia Brehm .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      1,497    1.75
 Douglas S. Emmett.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        221     .26
 Michael "Commander" Idrogo.  .  .  .  .        221     .26
 Cynthia T. Cavazos  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        201     .24
 Raymond Zavala.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        196     .23
 Rhett Rosenquest Smith .  .  .  .  .  .        111     .13
 Mama Bexar .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        103     .12
 Gerard Ponce  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .         97     .11
 Pogo Mochello Reese .  .  .  .  .  .  .         29     .03


Note that "Bexar" is pronounced like "bear" if you don't pronounce "bear" like "bare"

Results from runoff.


 Candidate                                    Total    Pct.         Early      Elect. Day
 Ivy R. Taylor .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     50,659   51.70        34,070        16,589
 Leticia Van De Putte.  .  .  .  .  .  .     47,328   48.30        30,813        16,515


Based on the early voting, I suspect some folks knew it was over several days ago.  The groups who would be likely to turn out based on last minute to a "get out the vote" appeal, Republicans and blacks, would tend to support Taylor.  So Van De Putte would have to identify her voters AND get them to vote.
55  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: President of Spokane NAACP outed as white imposter on: June 14, 2015, 01:13:54 pm
EDIT: Also, passing her adopted brother off as her "son" is just weird.
she legally adopted that brother as her son
Did she?
56  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 14, 2015, 03:55:19 am
Given the proposal by the plaintiffs, I wondered if I could do better.  And I could.



This map has a maximum deviation of 5%.  It divides 5 smaller counties, rather than 8, and divides all the larger counties optimally with the maximum number of whole districts within those larger counties.

Only two districts have an absolute deviation greater than 4%, and 11 have an absolute deviation less than 1% (this assumes all county splits will have equal population).  The mean absolute deviation is 2.0% and standard deviation is 2.4%.

It is likely that there could be 6 majority black districts, and 4 influence districts.
57  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 11, 2015, 04:10:03 pm
As part of their remand brief the plaintiffs offered this map, which reduce the number of county splits, while keeping districts within 5%.   It must be remembered that one of the plaintiffs drew the structure of the current map in the 1990s litigation, and then helped underpopulate the black majority districts in 2000 (when 16 of 35 districts had deviations between 4% and 5%).   When the Republicans updated the districts in 2010, they reduced the maximum deviation, rather than risk complaints of racial gerrymandering if some black majority districts had much surplus.



The plaintiffs now argue that the 1% threshold had discriminatory intent.  The district court dismissed that complaint.   The SCOTUS ignored the thrust of that complaint and said that it would simply be a matter of course to equalize population.  On remand, the plaintiffs offered a 5% plan which they said (better) respected the provision against county splitting in the Alabama constitution.  The district court has now dismissed the 1% threshold complaint on remand.

The map below is a stylized version of the map proposed by the plaintiffs.

n le

It splits 8 counties with a population less than a quota in population, and splits two larger counties non-optimally.  An optimal split is when a county with population in excess of quota, is given as many whole districts within the county, with the excess placed in a single district.  Thus Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Baldwin are optimally split since they have one district in the county, and the remainder in a single district that extends into adjacent counties.  In addition, Jefferson (5), Mobile (3), and Lee(1) have close to a whole number of quotas, and have that many districts.

Shelby has a population equivalent to 1.429 quotas, but is split between two districts, rather than having one district of its own.  Madison has a population equivalent to 2.452 quotas, but has one district of its own, and parts of two others, rather than two of its own.

The plan also has a 5-district area east of Birmingham, extending from Marshall to Bibb and Chambers counties.  In total, only 6 (of 35) districts comply with the Alabama constitutional requirement that no counties be split.
58  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Standing in the Poolhouse Door: Police Brutality in White Suburbia on: June 11, 2015, 06:41:59 am
Actually, yes, it is a community pool - it is for the use of people who live in the neighborhood (and their guests) and is paid for by their HOA fees. This was not going on in someone's backyard. From what I've read, it sounds like someone who lives in Craig Ranch was having a party at the pool and invited a bunch of disproportionately black guests who do not live in that subdivision. This caused other residents who were at the pool to completely lose their $#!@ and somehow a fracas ensued.
The pool requires card access.  Community residents may pay $10 for the card.  There is another card available for free, that does not entitle one to pool access.

Pool parties may be held at the pool, if guests are limited to 20 persons, and a security deposit (refundable) and cleanup fee (non-refundable).

A resident of Craig Ranch, who styles herself as a party organizer, organized a free party, hired a DJ, and "invited" via social media including an implication that the pool was available.  She handed out flyers to a future event that she was "organizing" and charging admission for.  After several hours "guests" began to jump the fence into the pool area.


Except none of this really matters, because the cops were called over the altercation that took place outside of the pool area. In addition, the harassment and violence on behalf of the cop occurred outside of the pool area. At the very best, it can only be claimed that the cops heard about this after they got there, and then began to harass anyone wearing a bathing suit and who didn't seem to "belong" in a $450,000/home community (see: black)...except when we see the video, we can see that the real common denominator is the cop harassing black people wearing all forms of clothing within close proximity to where the cop decided to do a barrel roll.
Alternatively, the first police call occurred when the "guests" began to jump the fence into the pool area, and when the initial officer found he was vastly outnumbered called in backup.  This sounds a lot more plausible.

The incident occurred at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool.   The developer of Craig Ranch developer describes that neighborhood as single family in the 150s (and as being built out).   On the Collin County appraisal district site, I found a house appraised at $200,000, but $40,000 of that was an increase in the last two years.  From 2004 to 2015 it had only increased in value from $150,000 to $160,000.

The area (Collin County, Census Tract 305.17) is 65% Anglo, 12% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 9% Black, and 4% other.
59  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 10, 2015, 03:41:03 pm
This map is based on a more liberal interpretation of the Alabama Constitution, or would be an attempt to harmonize the Alabama Constitution and the US Constitution.

In 1880, Jefferson County was the 20th most populous county in Alabama.  By 1890 it was the most populous.  In 1901 when the current consitution was written, it would have been the only county clearly entitled to have more than one senator.  Mobile and Montgomery had a population somewhat more than a quota, but hardly enough that would challenge representational ideals of the time.

Jefferson County grew significantly during the first half of the century.  By the time of Reynolds v Sims, Jefferson would have been entitled to almost 7 senators (since 1960, Jefferson has gained less than 4% in population).

The constitution requires election of only one senator per district, and the splitting of a county between districts.  The election of only one senator from a single-county district is what causes the OMOV violation.   So the Alabama Supreme Court could overturn that restriction.  From a 1901 perspective when the constitution was written, the concern might well have been more about a county being chopped into two districts.  Two halves do not make one whole, particularly if the senators are from other counties.

The Alabama Supreme Court overturns the limit of one senator per district, and the associated requirement that the number of districts be the same as the number of senators.  It maintains the restriction on dividing counties and that districts be composed of contiguous counties.  It interprets the requirement of district population equality to mean average population per senator from the district equality.

The following plan is based on apportioning the 35 senators among the 8 counties with a population greater than one quota, and the aggregate population of the other 59 counties.

The large counties are collectively entitled to 17.807 senators, and are apportioned 18 senators using a list method utilizing the harmonic mean.  This is done with the goal of keeping the population per senator as near the average as possible.  It results in the smaller counties typically having a population greater than the quota.  This is exacerbated by some districts in the northern part of the state having a population below a quota (eg Morgan, DeKalb-Jackson, and Calhoun-Cleburne-Clay).

Weighted voting would be quite workable in this case.  Initially, the senators from a multimember district might have been elected at large, later switching to election from subdistricts.



21 (sub)districts have a population within 10% of the ideal;
6 are within 20%;
7 are within 30%;
1 (Baldwin) is within 40%.

The standard deviation is 12.0%.
60  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Standing in the Poolhouse Door: Police Brutality in White Suburbia on: June 10, 2015, 02:51:39 pm
Actually, yes, it is a community pool - it is for the use of people who live in the neighborhood (and their guests) and is paid for by their HOA fees. This was not going on in someone's backyard. From what I've read, it sounds like someone who lives in Craig Ranch was having a party at the pool and invited a bunch of disproportionately black guests who do not live in that subdivision. This caused other residents who were at the pool to completely lose their $#!@ and somehow a fracas ensued.
The pool requires card access.  Community residents may pay $10 for the card.  There is another card available for free, that does not entitle one to pool access.

Pool parties may be held at the pool, if guests are limited to 20 persons, and a security deposit (refundable) and cleanup fee (non-refundable).

A resident of Craig Ranch, who styles herself as a party organizer, organized a free party, hired a DJ, and "invited" via social media including an implication that the pool was available.  She handed out flyers to a future event that she was "organizing" and charging admission for.  After several hours "guests" began to jump the fence into the pool area.
61  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Lower Federal court tosses VA Congressional map again on: June 10, 2015, 02:29:03 am
The Alabama case was about packing, and that packing could not be justified by the erroneous and now defunct reading of Section 5 about retrogression. I am not predicting what SCOTUS will do, or even if it takes the case, but the packing here is far less severe than in the Alabama case.
I'm not sure that is true.  The districts in Alabama were already "packed" and grossly underpopulated.  The old districts were drawn in the 1990s by one of the plaintiffs in the current case.  The legislature deliberately attempted to keep the black percentage at the level it already was in the black majority districts.

An exception is the one majority black senate district that had dropped to 51% black, and was only 5% underpopulated.  I think that the reason was that it included about half of Auburn, which is only 13% black, and a college town.  The map proposed by one of the plaintiffs in the case, pushed the district up to 60% black.  The legislature did the same.  That is, the one district that had its black percentage significantly increased was the one where the majority black status was in jeopardy, and where one of the plaintiffs in the case, and the author of the map that created the districts in the first place, would also have jacked up the black percentage.
62  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Lower Federal court tosses VA Congressional map again on: June 10, 2015, 01:11:50 am
I am confused.  If the ruling is VA-03 isn't VRA-protected because Richmond is too far from Hampton Roads, wouldn't the resolution be that a majority-black district in the area is no longer legally necessary.  And the remedy would presumably be a compact Richmond/Henrico CD 4 and compact Hampton Roads CD 2 and CD 3, while leaving CD 6-11 alone and modifying CD 1 and CD 5 as little as possible?  Now, legislative R's wouldn't draw this, but McAuliffe will presumably veto anything short of this.  Why is everyone assuming that Richmond to Hampton Roads is still kosher?
Conceivably, VA-03 is Section 5 protected, because Virginia was a covered jurisdiction in 2011.

Section 2 probably does not require drawing VA-03.  When it was first created it had a BVAP over 60%.  This was overturned because it was picking up geographically dispersed areas to maximize the black population.  One of the judges at the time said he didn't think that the Gingles test could be met.  The solution was to remove Portsmouth from the district, which might have been the only whole entity in the district, and was majority black then as it is today.  So it is OK to pick up random bits of territory so long as you don't pick up too many blacks, or as the legislature did in 2011 make it state policy to not pick up random bits of territory.

Presumably McAuliffe will veto anything the legislature passes.  All they can do is build up the record for when the district court impose their map.  If the judges go crazy, then the SCOTUS will overturn.
63  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: One person, one vote: SCOTUS to tell us what it means on: June 09, 2015, 10:30:45 pm
Calculation of HCVAP in Yakima

There were two ways of calculating the HCVAP offered by witnesses for the plaintiffs and the defense.

The districts being created are defined at the census block level.  This is partly due to to magnitude of the districts (about 13,000 persons each), and also the intricacy with which they were drawn, splitting almost all election precincts to barely get the HCVAP level to 50% in a couple of districts.

The census (PL 94-171) produces exact counts for ethnicity and race, and age (18+/18-).  The census does not have a citizenship question.

The American Community Survey (ACS) is based on sample data.  The data is collected on a monthly basis at a roughly 1/450 rate, and then summed over 5 years (60 months) to produce about a 13% sample, adequate to produce estimates, with reasonable errors, for small areas such as block groups, which have around 1000 persons.

Starting with a district that includes portions of a block group, from the full count we may determine:

VAP for the block group, HVAP for the portion of the block group in the district, and the relative share.
HVAP for the block group, HVAP for the portion of the block group in the district, and the relative share.
NHVAP for the block group, HVAP for the portion of the block group in the district, and the relative share.

For example, in Yakima, one block group had:

VAP  1748 in BG, 1277 in district, 467 outside district, 73% in district.
HVAP  1024 in BG, 875 in district, 149 outside district, 85% in district.
NHVAP  720 in BG, 402 in district, 318 outside district, 56% in district.

From the ACS, for the BG:

CVAP 1160
HCVAP 430
NHCVAP 730

The plaintiff's expert took the HCVAP for the block group, and multiplied it by the share of the HVAP within the district.   430 x .85 = 367 HCVAP in district.
He did the same for the NHCVAP = 730 x .56 = 408 NHCVAP in district.
He then calculated the HCVAP% in the district 367/(367+408) = 47.4%.

The defendant's expert took the the CVAP for the block group, and multiplied it by the share of the VAP in the district.  1160 x 73% = 847 CVAP in district.
The HCVAP% is then 367/847 = 43.3%.

It is quite likely that there is an error in the estimates due to a selection bias.  The area of the block group that was in the district had, according to the census had a HVAP% of 68.5% (875/1277).  The area of the block group outside the district had a HVAP% of 31.9% (149/467).  The difference in the two areas may have been reflected in the type of available housing.   For example, it might have been more expensive, or owner-occupied, while the other area had more rentals.  Non-citizens might be less able to qualify for that area, particularly if they did not have legal status.  Even if they did, their income might be less.  A family of 6 might choose a lower quality 2-bedroom apartment, over a higher quality 1-bedroom with the same rent.

But the estimate assumed that the ratio of district HCVAP/BG HCVAP is the same as district HVAP/to BG HVAP.  If that is not true, then it would have the effect of increasing the estimate of the HCVAP in the district, while reducing it outside.  In essence, Hispanic adult citizens living outside the district would be swapped for Hispanic adult non-citizens within the district.  There might be a similar effect for non-Hispanics, except the citizenship rate for non-Hispanics is much higher (Yakima has some Asians, blacks, and American Indians, but I suspect that the citizenship rate for blacks and American Indians is even higher than for whites)

Personally, I would have gone back to the census for the VAP, HVAP, and NHVAP, and then classified it as citizen or not based on the ACS.  The statistics for the plan mixed the total population from the census, with a CVAP from the ACS.

The Census Bureau will perform a custom tabulation from the ACS data for a fee, and so long as confidentiality is not at risk.  The data is tied to a census block, so given a definition of an area in terms of census blocks, it should be fairly trivial mechanically to produce a custom tabulation.  There might be an unwillingness to do so for very small areas, or where there are small tweaks, where an inference could be made.  But the census bureau already produces ACS data for irregular areas such as congressional district, legislative districts, places, school districts, and urban areas, which don't necessarily align with block groups.  That is, while it produces estimates for block groups, the estimates for other areas are not simple aggregations of block groups.
64  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: New NOAA Research Puts Global Warming 'Hiatus' in Doubt on: June 09, 2015, 04:24:20 am
Interestingly...warming in California is positively correlated to county population size!

Humans emit CO2.
65  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: One person, one vote: SCOTUS to tell us what it means on: June 09, 2015, 03:53:36 am
Montes v City of Yakima is an interesting case.  Yakima is about 40% Hispanic.  It is about 30% HVAP.  It is about 20% HCVAP.  And it appears to be about 10% Hispanic Voter.

A federal court has just ordered that the city council be elected from single-member districts.  The current city council has 3 members elected at large by position, and 4 members elected from single-member districts.  However, only the primaries are by district, with the general election of the district members being at large.

As part of their demonstration that Hispanics meet the first prong of the the Gingles test it was necessary to calculate the HCVAP percentage, which the plaintiffs did using the census in conjunction with the 5-year ACS, which provides citizenship data to the block group level.  The districts were drawn at the census block level (almost all election precincts are divided in creating the model districts).  Thus it was necessary to allocate the block group data to the census blocks within each block group.

The plaintiffs drew two districts among seven that barely had a majority HCVAP.  The defendants (city council) then got the plaintiff expert to calculate the CVAP in each district.  The districts range from 57% of the average district to 123% of the average, which is at least a 65% deviation range in CVAP.  The plaintiff's expert also drew a map that equalized CVAP, which as you might expect produced districts with a wide variation in population.

The city argued that the the plaintiffs failed the Gingles test because they ignored traditional districting criteria such as OMOV.  The district court ultimately decided that according to 9th Circuit rulings, that only total population can be used.

Incidentally, Judge Kozinski's dissent in the 9th Circuits decision in 918 F. 2d 763 Garza v. County of Los Angeles is a quite interesting read on the issue.
66  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Lower Federal court tosses VA Congressional map again on: June 08, 2015, 10:57:39 pm
Agreed that it will probably be closer to what RRH has, but regardless the new map will be drawn by the courts as Governor McAuliff will likely veto any map coming out of the legislature and you really never know what will come out in a court drawn map.
All we know is that federal courts rather religiously follow the least change rule, so I would expect that they just giggle the lines a bit to get down to close to 50% BVAP, and presumably while giggling, get the CD a bit less erose, and/or reduce the chops. That RRH map is on the right track more or less.
The 3rd is interesting.  The original version was about 65% BVAP, and included a wing that swept north from Charles City almost to the Potomac.   The rural counties are not overwhelming black, so it appears the intent was to just pick up some population without getting into some 80% white areas, or perhaps to hide the fact that there actually very few people along the James between Richmond and Hampton Roads.

In the opinion, one of the judges said he did not believe the Gingles test could be satisfied at the congressional district level.  The remedy removed most of the rural counties and Portsmouth, the blackest city in the district.  Skipping Portsmouth, but including parts of Norfolk, Hampton, and Newport News hardly makes the district compact.  I think it survived because no one challenged the district.

In later iterations it was challenged because it was taking too many black voters from VA-4.  This time, the legislature made a real effort to eliminate county chops, but this hurt them in the case of VA-3 because almost all of chops were related to VA-3.  There is no way to avoid chopping Henrico and the city of Richmond, so the map looks pretty reasonable.

I couldn't find anything about a special session of the Virginia legislature, but maybe they are waiting until after the primary, which is tomorrow.   The legislature may call itself into session, but this requires a 2/3 majority.  I suspect that McAuliffe will demand too many changes, so if there is a special session it will propose a minimum change map, that develops a very clear public record that it is to maintain the existing map, while remediating the problems caused by the USDOJ and Section 5 of the VRA.

Maybe they can get Bobby Scott to say which voters he wants to dump.

67  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 08, 2015, 10:16:36 am
This is the order of the district court on remand of Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v State of Alabama.

It says that the court will only consider whether race predominated in the drawing of the 28  majority black House districts, and the 8 majority black Senate districts.

The SCOTUS said that the district court might reconsider other issues, which the SCOTUS did not address.  The district court said it will not reconsider:

(a) Whether the use of the 1% deviation violated One Man, One Vote;
(b) Whether it was unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.
(c) Whether the interaction between the districts and the local legislative system1 violates equal protection.
(d) Whether there were violations of Section 2 of the VRA.

So the lower court decision is going to be very focused.  At most some very minor changes to senate districts will be required.

1 County governments in Alabama are particularly weak, and local legislation is performed by the legislature.  As might be expected, the legislature is typically deferential to the legislatures from the county.  And in Alabama, there are formal committees with subject matter authority for local legislation for the larger counties comprised of the members that represent parts of the county.  In Jefferson County, there are three majority black senate districts in the county, and parts of five others.
68  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 08, 2015, 03:06:30 am
In one of their post-remand briefs, the plaintiffs argue that by adopting the 1% deviation criteria, the legislature had violated the Alabama Constitution's provisions that senate districts not split counties, since such a narrow band caused additional counties to be divided.  Since the SCOTUS has permitted a deviation of 5% to comply with constitutional requirements such as respecting political boundaries, the plaintiffs claimed that the legislature's use of a 1% violated OMOV.

Section 200 of the Alabama Constitution states:

"... divide the state into as many senatorial districts as there are senators, which districts shall be as nearly equal to each other in the number of inhabitants as may be, and each shall be entitled to one senator, and no more; and such districts, when formed, shall not be changed until the next apportioning session of the legislature, after the next decennial census of the United States shall have been taken; provided, that counties created after the next preceding apportioning session of the legislature may be attached to senatorial districts. No county shall be divided between two districts, and no district shall be made up of two or more counties not contiguous to each other."

So the requirements are:

(1) Population equality to the extent possible;
(2) No splitting of counties between districts;
(3) Multi-county districts must be formed from contiguous counties.

The constitution has not been modified since Reynolds v Sims, which was based on the malapportionment of the Alabama legislature.  In particular, it was the 2nd provision which prevents division of larger counties that caused the SCOTUS to rule in that case (plus the fact that Alabama had never redistricted under terms of the 1901 constitution).

If the Alabama Constitution were followed, the senate map might look like this:



Eight counties, Jefferson (4.822 quotas), Mobile (3.024), Madison (2.452), Montgomery   (1.680),
Shelby (1.429), Tuscaloosa (1.425), Baldwin (1.335), and Lee (1.027) have a population of more than one quota, and thus would have their own senate seat.

Collectively, they have 17.193 quotas.  Distributing the population of the remainder of the state among the 27 remaining districts, results in a new quota that is 66% of the original quota.  An additional 6 counties exceed this reduced quota, Morgan (0.875), Calhoun (0.868), Etowah (0.765), Houston (0.744), Marshall    (0.681), and Lauderdale (0.679), and are also given their own senate seat.

The 14 largest counties have a population equivalent to 21.804.  Distributing the population of the remaining 53 counties among the 21 remaining districts, gives a new quota that is 62.8% of the original quota.  This is the ideal size of the remaining 21 counties.

Under the above map, an additional 6 counties have a single-county district, because their population is near the ideal size, or there are very small adjacent counties to be added to them.  These counties are Limestone, Cullman, St. Clair, Talladega, and Elmore.

Two relatively large two-county districts are DeKalb-Jackson and Walker-Blount.  They were joined to avoid a district population with less than half of the original quota.  While they are large relative to the other small county districts, they are still less than the original quota.

Three districts are majority black.  Based on their largest county they are Dallas (63% black), Montgomery (52%), and Russell (55%).

While the map would not pass muster under OMOV, they could conceivably be used with a weighted voting scheme.  The very large Jefferson, Mobile, and Madison districts would likely be a problem.
69  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: New NOAA Research Puts Global Warming 'Hiatus' in Doubt on: June 08, 2015, 12:02:13 am
Co2 emissions have exploded since 2000.  Global warming, by 7 sets of data, stopped.  By one new set, has continued at the rate of 1950-2012...but still far slower than 1975-1998.
Are there some charts of the increase of CO2 emissions over say the last century or so?  What about atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

If there is causality between CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperature increases, shouldn't there be correlation.



There has been an absolutely enormous growth in carbon emissions globally from human activity since 2002.
What was the cause of the jump post 2002?  Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol?

I was looking at the Wikipedia page on the Kyoto Protocol, and it had a chart showing the relationship between pledged changes in CO2 emissions and actual changes, and they were all over the place.  A curiosity was the Baltics, which have had massive drops (50%), presumably due to decommissioning of coal-fired plants.  Meanwhile building of a nuclear power plant in Lithuania and Kalingrad have stalled, and Lithuania's former nuclear power plant was decommissioned in 2009 as part of their EU accession.

So did they switch from using coal imported from Russia, to using electricity imported from Russia or what?


This is the absolute rate of growth in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. 

While co2 emissions ballooned 2003-2012...the rate of change in atmospheric co2 concentrations did not increase.  The relationship has a disconnect.

This would argue increased uptake of co2 by the biosphere or by the oceans. 

In order for the oceans to do this, they would need to cool significantly...since cooler surface waters increase co2 uptake.

But the geniuses at NOAA are arguing that the ocean warming is what was under estimated in the past 15 years and where they adjusted so they could say the pause never happened.  They want their cake and they wanna eat it too.

I wouldn't expect a dogmatist like evergreen to figure this out.  Simple google searches and a working knowledge of climate just isn't feasible...so snarky post edits are all he/she has.
What is the global CO2 concentration?  (ie your charts show the first derivative).
70  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: New NOAA Research Puts Global Warming 'Hiatus' in Doubt on: June 06, 2015, 08:51:27 pm
Co2 emissions have exploded since 2000.  Global warming, by 7 sets of data, stopped.  By one new set, has continued at the rate of 1950-2012...but still far slower than 1975-1998.
Are there some charts of the increase of CO2 emissions over say the last century or so?  What about atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

If there is causality between CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperature increases, shouldn't there be correlation.
71  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Gerrymandering is not what's wrong with American politics on: June 06, 2015, 08:29:53 pm
I don't agree that the Midwest is necessarily biased against Democrats. I think it's just that Republican gerrymanders are able to severely exacerbate any slight partisan leaning in terms of geography.

With a fair map in place, I think Ohio would actually favour the Democrats. Democrats would surely hold a Cleveland-based district, a Columbus-based district, an Akron-based district, and a Toledo-based district. More than likely, they'd hold a Youngstown-based district and a lake-shore district between Cleveland and Toledo. The far Northeastern district and the Cincinnati district would be swing districts, as would perhaps the Appalachian district that would hug the border from south of Youngstown down to Athens. There would also be a Dayton-based district that would probably be no more than R+1. That would basically leave six safe Republican districts. I think Democrats would also have at least six to eight districts in their hands in a neutral year. A fair map in 2012 would have at least sent Betty Sutton back to Congress from the Akron-based district (and Tim Ryan from any Youngstown-based district).
Why should there be a district between Toledo and Cleveland?   And why should you divide the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Cleveland between an Akron-based district and Youngstown-based district?  And why should Cleveland be divided?
72  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 05, 2015, 07:18:34 am
This is the current senate map.  The black percentage is based on the 2008-2012 ACS (I could not find a version where the census bureau has tied census data to the legislative districts created after the census).



For comparison purposes, here are the 2000s senate districts with 2010 populations.



As anticipated, SD-30, the district that linked Autauga via a strip through Lowndes, to Butler, Crenshaw, and Pike, was moved to north of Montgomery.  Butler (41% BVAP) was shifted to SD-23, the Selma-based majority black district, while Pike (35% BVAP) was shifted to SD-31.  This left Crenshaw.  

Rather than maintaining a link through the rural Lowndes (72% BVAP), Crenshaw was linked to a district which, despite appearances, was mostly in Montgomery County.  It is ridiculous to think that you could take a district that was 75% black and entirely in Montgomery County, add 12% population to bring it back up to equal population, in a district that is 75% black and not have it maintain its core.

The plaintiffs had originally claimed that using the 1% threshold for equality was done with discriminatory intent, while the legislature had said it done so to overcome the past practice of deliberately underpopulating certain districts, and not correcting district populations to equality (remember the 2000 plan had 16 of 35 districts with a 4% to 5% threshold).  The were in essence targeting two 1% intervals with an 8% gap between them.

The SCOTUS was too embarrassed to address the claim, and said that it was a given that the legislature would strive for population equality.  The SCOTUS also appears to say that on remand the district court should focus on the majority black districts.

In the Birmingham area, the legislature maintained the basic configuration of the districts, while eliminating a 20% population deficit.  The alternative proposed by the plaintiffs maintains the black percentages in the three districts, while rearranging their configuration.  The district court may tweak the edges a bit, but they are unlikely to order the creation of four 45% BVAP districts, nor order bypassing of mixed areas to get to whiter areas.  And the legislature will be given the opportunity to act in any case.

The two western rural Black Belt districts SD-23 and SD-24 actually split fewer counties than in the old map.  Perhaps SD-24 could be adjusted a bit in the Tuscaloosa area, but nothing of significance.

Since the SCOTUS highlighted SD-26, the Montgomery black majority district, the district court may demand a change.   The legislature could begin by returning SD-26 to its 2000 version, and then moving adding area from SD-25 from the western arm of SD-25 (which is what they did in 2012).  This could clearly be justified on the basis of maintaining cores of existing districts, and communities of interest.

This leaves Crenshaw County isolated from SD-25.  But Crenshaw only has about 14,000 persons, about 10% of a senate district.  Possible solutions:

(1) Add it to SD-26.  The 2000 version of SD-26 would still be underpopulated, but less of a correction would be needed.

(2) Restore Crenshaw to SD-30, which is now based in Autauga, with the linkage through Lowndes.  SD-25 would take a bit more of Elmore.  Lowndes only has 11,000 persons total, so the connector likely only has a couple thousands persons, which can be balanced with a bit of Autauga.

(3) A super counterclockwise rotation.  Crenshaw would be shifted to SD-31 (red), part of Covington to SD-22 (green), shifting SD-23 (blue) or SD-24 (purple) southward simplifying the boundary, part of Pickens and Tuscaloosa to SD-21 (yellow).  The rotation could contnue around the north end of Birmingham or cut across to SD-14 (red).   This plan has the advantage of making the boundaries a bit cleaner, and knocking a few points off the BVAP%.  The senators from SD-31 and SD-22 are from Elba, Coffee County, and Bay Minette, Baldwin County, respectively, so their incumbency is unlikely to be challenged.   The downside of this plan is that more districts would be affected, which is a negative if special elections were triggered.  Alabama does not hold legislative elections until 2018, so they may wish to make only minor changes.  A court might decide that if a district changes by a small amount (say 10% or less of the population) that no special election was needed.

The final Black Belt district is along the Georgia border and east of Montgomery.  Its black percentage decreased from 56% to 51% from 2000 to 2010.   Race-neutral changes to the district risk reducing the black majority to a minority.  Arguably it had to have its black percentage increased to survive as a majority for another decade.  The changes to the district were the hook into Dothan, likely to pick up black voters, an expansion of the hook in Phenix City, also to pick up black voters, and a very intricate re-drawing of the boundary in Lee County, which appears to have the purpose of pulling Auburn out of the district (the 2000 boundary split the district).

An alteration might also provide a solution for Crenshaw County.  If the hook into Houston County were eliminated, the SD-28 could be expanded into Pike County, which is 35% black, and arguably would be maintaining a community of interest.  At the same time, Crenshaw could be shifted into SD-31, followed by adjustments to the north and east of Montgomery, pushing SD-28 out of Lee County.

The final majority black district, SD-33 is in Mobile.  The boundary is not particularly irregular.  If care was taken not to remove any territory from the 2000 district, the district could likely be configured largely on a community of interest basis which would tend to add blacker areas adjacent to the 2000 district.

The SCOTUS appears to have narrowed the case to the eight majority black senate districts.  They made saw the goblet rather than the face in Montgomery County.  This is something that the state can concede and readily "correct" by returning SD-26 to its 2000 configuration, and then increasing its population, by territory that was already shifted into the district.

The district court might not or might not find fault with the 3 Birmingham districts and the one Mobile district.  But it is quite unlikely that the court would order adding areas that were not adjacent to the 2000 districts.

Meanwhile, no attention has been paid to the main effect of the redistricting effort.  Before redistricting, nine districts had a population that was between 24-36% black.  After redistricting, this had dropped 9%.  The three districts over 30%, declined an average of 14%.  The gap between the 8th blackest and 9th blackest district widened from 36% to 51% (gap of 15%) to 26% to 59% (gap of 33%).
73  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Mid-2014 county population estimates out tomorrow, March 26 on: June 03, 2015, 09:51:58 pm
CO is projected to add a CD in 2020 bringing it to 8. That can potentially create some interesting shifts. Most of the growth is around Denver and the UCC would be projected to have just over 4 CDs. Without Broomfield it would be very close to 4 CDs, with Denver having one and the suburban counties taking the other three. Growth in Boulder/Larimer at a 1.5% to 2% annual pace causes CD 2 to contract and it should be able to fit entirely on the eastern slope of the Rockies. El Paso will be large enough for a single CD, and Pueblo would shift to the eastern CD.


It's like deja vu all over again.  Colorado did not redistrict after gaining a 3rd representative in 1900, nor immediately after gaining the 4th in 1910.   It did create four districts for the 1916 election.

Denver was the 1st district, and the western slope was the 4th district.

The 4th district was much more purely a Western Slope district, with only Lake and Chaffee in the Upper Arkansas east of the Continental Divide.  Even at its origin, the district was underpopulated, which might have been justified by the physical separation at that date.



In 1922 a small adjustment was made, swapping Jefferson and El Paso counties.



These districts would remain fixed (other than annexations by Denver) until Wesberry v Sanders.  At that time, the 4th district was the 2nd least populous district in the country.

In 1966 these districts were used.



When the 5th district was added in the 1970s, the Western Slope was split north/south, and then was later connected to Pueblo.  But now, 100 years later, it is beginning to look like it did when it had its own district.  And Denver still has its own district.
74  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Alabama Senate redistricting. on: June 03, 2015, 01:10:49 pm
As a first order adjustment we can assume that the Black Belt population can be augmented by the remainder of Tuscaloosa and Elmore counties, that in 2000 were in districts based further north.  If we also adjust the boundary of the Black Belt area southward, to include all of Choctaw, Clarke, Monroe, and Conecuh counties, we can swap Pike into the southern regions.   Elsewhere we align the regions on county boundaries.



Of the three counties in the southern part of SD-30, we can place Butler (41% BVAP) in the Selma-based SD-23, and Pike is now in the southern region.  We would still have Crenshaw (23% BVAP) to dispose of, and the Autauga portion of the district would have to be augmented to replace the loss of Butler and Pike.

The Birmingham region now has a deficit, due to the placement of the entirety of St. Clair in the northeast region.  The Huntsville region still has a sizable surplus.

We can make further adjustments.  We swap Henry (28% BVAP) for Crenshaw (23% BVAP), between the southern and Black Belt regions.   We move DeKalb from the Huntsville to Northeast region, St. Clair from the Northeast to Birmingham regions, and Chilton from the Birmingham region to the Black Belt region.



This results in the Huntsville, Northeast, and Jefferson regions having about the correct population for a whole number of districts.  The Black Belt region now has a surplus, but it is about the complement of the deficit for the northwest region.  Placing a portion of Tuscaloosa that is currently in a Walker-based district that also laps into Jefferson, into the northwest region balances the population of these two regions.

In the Huntsville region we can maintain the current map with one district based in Madison, and another district extending into another county, by sliding the districts about a bit.  Or we could place Marshall and Jackson into a district, and create a second district that is largely in Madison.

In the northeast, there will be major adjustments to accommodate the addition of DeKalb and the loss of St.Clair, but the large surplus in the Huntsville region supports the change.  Making gradual adjustments decade after decade  can lead to grossly distorted districts.

In the Birmingham area we were already faced with the need to expand the three black majority districts outward.  The loss of Chilton from SD-15 may actually reduce the adjustments, since the district had the second largest surplus in the state due to the growth in Shelby County.

Chilton (9% BVAP) is clearly not in the Black Belt, but its inclusion in the region is part of recognizing that the area can no longer support seven districts.  But the area with 6 districts can comfortably support four majority black districts largely comprised of whole counties.
75  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: One person, one vote: SCOTUS to tell us what it means on: June 03, 2015, 10:40:17 am
Sean Trende weighs in telling us what we already knew: changing the count to CVAP would breed more Pub seats. He also agrees with me, albeit without analysis, that SCOTUS is unlikely to go there, but then he also agrees with me, that it was surprising in the first instance that SCOTUS granted cert for the case given the absence of  conflicting decisions in the appellate circuits.
The problem is that the SCOTUS will likely decide that the districts are within the 10% safe harbor, and not recognize that under the fundamental OMOV principle that they are using the incorrect metric.  You might find the same to be the case in Hudson.

The New York case that he linked to is somewhat interesting.  One of the companion cases to Reynolds v Sims was WMCA v Lomenzo, which regarded the apportionment of the New York Senate.  The New York constitution (until 2014) required the senate to be apportioned on the basis of citizen population.  While the SCOTUS found the particular apportionment scheme used in New York to be unconstitutional, it did not find the use of citizen population to be invalid.  But it appears that New York has ignored its own constitution in that regard.
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