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Poll
Question: Which is the fairest map of them all?
Map 1   -1 (14.3%)
Map 2   -2 (28.6%)
Map 3   -2 (28.6%)
Map 4   -1 (14.3%)
Map 5   -0 (0%)
Map 6   -0 (0%)
Map 7   -1 (14.3%)
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Total Voters: 7

Author Topic: CA CD Wine Country Map Quest poll  (Read 4183 times)
muon2
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« Reply #100 on: April 28, 2012, 04:07:00 pm »


The problem with the 20% or 10% or 5% CD rule, is that CA has some huge counties, and some tiny ones. Suppose that LA County has exactly 15.5 CD's in it. So LA County must chop out in three places to get each of the chopping CD's down below a 20% chop, generating one more chop, and precluding LA County from being a walled county of course, with but one chop out. And suppose that LA plus San Bernardino has 17.5 CD's. Now to meet your rules, the San Bernardino CD needs to cross Luther Pass to take a bunch of small Sierra Counties, so that its excess after swallowing whole counties gets down below 20%, creating a disgusting CD that no one could possibly praise - or tolerate.  It just won't work. We cannot have such a rule. The Midwest with a lot of counties, more equal in size, and lots of handy small ones, allows perhaps for such a rule with some constraints that are tolerable. CA does not.

In addition, a CD being bisected by two counties is fine if it is in a metro area. Nobody cares if half of CA-35 were in LA County suburbs, and half in SB suburbs. It is one urban mass.

You may have missed my suggestion to this problem. The first thing to note is that the Victorville-Tahoe district was a result of the wall selection, not the 5%/20% rule. My wall map was made by dividing the state into compact regions where there is minimal deviation in each region from a whole number of districts. This insures a maximal number of county splits that involve these minimal population shifts.



Subregions use the 5%/20% rule. When the red region is subdivided, it can't avoid the aforementioned Owens Valley CD. That was a product of the walls.



As I suggested earlier, one reasonable procedure is for the Commission to reject the initial wall proposal with instructions for what should be done to generate a different wall map, with presumably greater deviation. This would mirror the IA process where the legislature can reject up to two maps that were drawn by strict rules involving counties, population, and compactness.

So since you've seen where the walls lead, give me as your neutral drafter instructions about the how the walls are defective, and what instructions should guide my redraft. Smiley
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« Reply #101 on: April 28, 2012, 04:07:31 pm »
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No I am not obsessed with W. Sacto, but I am obsessed with one line crossing or the other having two different chop counts.

Quote
What that implies is that small counties have an ideal chop count of zero, but large counties can do no better than one. It doesn't really work ...

Why won't the above "work?"  Sure if a county has 1.5 CD's of population, it will have a chop - maybe two if it is a throughway, rather than walled (like SF).
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« Reply #102 on: April 28, 2012, 04:19:54 pm »
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Your 20% rule would force the crossing yes, if the wall is "wrong."  Without the 20% rule, it would not. So why do we need these regions based on population, just to prop up a 20% rule that does not to me seem to be that important - not nearly as important as chopping up a county. The regions of CA should be based on geography and urban versus rural and the central valley, and so forth, not based on what will cause your 20% rule to avoid creating a cf. Do you agree with me that your 20% rule (5% is just too terrible to contemplate) in my hypo will create an extra chop if LA County has 15.5 CD's of population?

My main problem with the SLO/M wall, is that it cut up the Santa Cruz area. Secondarily, it made things considerably more difficult and less clean down south. The former should require a finding, or simply be banned, if another wall would avoid it. On the second, it is a judgment call. There can be only so much micro management. And if a Ventura County wall creates a 20% "problem" for SLO, but avoids a chop of Santa Cruz metro, that is well worth it. The primary purpose of walls come to think of it beyond crossing the sierras, is to avoid ugly muni/metro chops come to think of it. And no region should force a CD to get too big or two erose, or go too far afield.

Or am I still misunderstanding you?
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« Reply #103 on: April 28, 2012, 07:29:43 pm »

Your 20% rule would force the crossing yes, if the wall is "wrong."  Without the 20% rule, it would not. So why do we need these regions based on population, just to prop up a 20% rule that does not to me seem to be that important - not nearly as important as chopping up a county. The regions of CA should be based on geography and urban versus rural and the central valley, and so forth, not based on what will cause your 20% rule to avoid creating a cf. Do you agree with me that your 20% rule (5% is just too terrible to contemplate) in my hypo will create an extra chop if LA County has 15.5 CD's of population?

My main problem with the SLO/M wall, is that it cut up the Santa Cruz area. Secondarily, it made things considerably more difficult and less clean down south. The former should require a finding, or simply be banned, if another wall would avoid it. On the second, it is a judgment call. There can be only so much micro management. And if a Ventura County wall creates a 20% "problem" for SLO, but avoids a chop of Santa Cruz metro, that is well worth it. The primary purpose of walls come to think of it beyond crossing the sierras, is to avoid ugly muni/metro chops come to think of it. And no region should force a CD to get too big or two erose, or go too far afield.

Or am I still misunderstanding you?

Yes and no. I could go into detail, but I don't think it's worth another go around. What I sense is that you want standards that can constrain the commission from doing the things they did, but those constraints may also prevent you from having a free hand. The MI standards can be pretty well twisted to partisan intent, so they aren't strong enough in MI, let alone in CA where the lack of townships really opens the field up.

When it comes to regions defined locally, the ones on this forum seem just as fluid to me as the commission's work. In IA they aren't shy about slicing the Des Moines metro any given decade even though it can easily fit in a single CD. Why? Because the constraints that forced the split pays dividends to the public in its political process.

What hard constraints can you stand? Hard in the sense that there needs to be solid justification from the commission that a constraint must be overridden.
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« Reply #104 on: April 28, 2012, 08:12:44 pm »
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I would still like to know where my criticisms of your 20% CD rule are off base. Second, is our difference on the chop count, that you don't think CA-05 going into SF should count as a chop, while I do, although obviously a permissible chop? Do you see my point, that no chop rule could sell intuitively that says that one chop into W. Sacto is OK, but another into Yuba City is not? 

As to walls, the Sierras are an impenetrable wall. In a pinch, you might be able to append Mono County to a Sierra foothills CD (but I really cannot imagine how it could ever be justified), but basically Inyo and Mono go with Socal. Alpine preferably should not, but it could. Softer walls, but walls of some sort, would be a Bakersfield CD not going into Socal, except if it is in Kern, and the Central Valley based CD's not going to the coast.  Lake and San Benito and Napa are flex counties. 

What I am opposed to is regional walls based on population solely for the purpose of meeting your 20% CD (or 5% CD rule).  I don't think I can be persuaded on that, or that it would ever sell in CA. But you can try. If  a wall constraint for a regional approach has some other purpose, maybe that has merit.

In general, I think, what is crossed should be left up to the Commission if there is a road etc.  What I am more concerned about is if your rules force maps that would render any recommendations made on a fix for how CA does it, subject to the kind of criticism, that would cause folks not to take the work product produced seriously, and now we are looking for dams to mitigate that potential for derisive criticism. Nor do I really see a public policy reason why a CD as opposed to a county, cannot be bifurcated, that has much that is compelling about it. It seems to me more like rounding error issue. Maybe what drives you is simply to limit the amount of Commission discretion, to make the game or how to game more difficult. I doubt we need to go quite that far, if we have the right procedural fixes.
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« Reply #105 on: April 28, 2012, 08:34:58 pm »

I would still like to know where my criticisms of your 20% CD rule are off base. Second, is our difference on the chop count, that you don't think CA-05 going into SF should count as a chop, while I do, although obviously a permissible chop? Do you see my point, that no chop rule could sell intuitively that says that one chop into W. Sacto is OK, but another into Yuba City is not? 

As to walls, the Sierras are an impenetrable wall. In a pinch, you might be able to append Mono County to a Sierra foothills CD (but I really cannot imagine how it could ever be justified), but basically Inyo and Mono go with Socal. Alpine preferably should not, but it could. Softer walls, but walls of some sort, would be a Bakersfield CD not going into Socal, except if it is in Kern, and the Central Valley based CD's not going to the coast.  Lake and San Benito and Napa are flex counties. 

What I am opposed to is regional walls based on population solely for the purpose of meeting your 20% CD (or 5% CD rule).  I don't think I can be persuaded on that, or that it would ever sell in CA. But you can try. If  a wall constraint for a regional approach has some other purpose, maybe that has merit.

In general, I think, what is crossed should be left up to the Commission if there is a road etc.  What I am more concerned about is if your rules force maps that would render any recommendations made on a fix for how CA does it, subject to the kind of criticism, that would cause folks not to take the work product produced seriously, and now we are looking for dams to mitigate that potential for derisive criticism. Nor do I really see a public policy reason why a CD as opposed to a county, cannot be bifurcated, that has much that is compelling about it. It seems to me more like rounding error issue. Maybe what drives you is simply to limit the amount of Commission discretion, to make the game or how to game more difficult. I doubt we need to go quite that far, if we have the right procedural fixes.

My frustration stems from the fact if you want a procedure where all choices are discretionary or the end map justifies the means, I don't think my skills can help.

I offered two common models for counting chops, and you picked the one you thought made the most sense. But when I applied it uniformly, you didn't like the result. We can pursue your suggestion, though I think it's a posteriori thinking, but I suspect as we get to some other part of CA, you'll find it has flaws. I know that it does when applied in other states. Any count by CD can be morphed to a county method and vice versa. That's a mathematical theorem.

You referenced minimizing chops and their size. But every serious constraint is rejected. Your proposed standard puts virtually no constraint on a state with as many populous counties as CA. Write it in detail, and I'll draw a map to drive everyone here crazy. I'm left feeling that the next commission will draw whatever it feels meets CofIs it defines, and any loose constraints will be fit to their needs. If they want to tilt like they did this decade, they'll be free to do so. Even worse look at what happened in AZ on the second go around for a commission.

What's a scientist to do? Sad
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« Reply #106 on: April 28, 2012, 08:55:47 pm »

My philosophy for neutral mapping is extremely simple. These are my primary points.

1. Districts should be internally connected according to consistently applied rules.

2. There should be as few county splits as possible, and when a county is split in two one fragment should be as small as possible.

3. Counting splits should maintain parity between small and large counties.

Without these I find little way to avoid gaming the system. These are my next tier philosophical points.

4. The VRA provides an out to any rules otherwise created. I feel strongly about section 2 and I hope SCOTUS will finally provide uniformity to how it should be measured. I am not enamored of section 5 as I find the jurisdictions to be anachronistic.

5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. My sense is that the map with county integrity survives a challenge.

6. Splits larger than that, but small enough to meet state legislative district deviation under SCOTUS rules are next best. This is because I'd like a set of rules that can apply to mapmaking at multiple levels.

Beyond that is implementation.
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« Reply #107 on: April 28, 2012, 09:35:24 pm »
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My philosophy for neutral mapping is extremely simple. These are my primary points.

1. Districts should be internally connected according to consistently applied rules. Sure

2. There should be as few county splits as possible, and when a county is split in two one fragment should be as small as possible. Yes, if we can get a count procedure that does not favor one split over another, due to some nesting preference.

3. Counting splits should maintain parity between small and large counties. No, not if it distorts the count procedure, to force a line crossing one place versus another.

Without these I find little way to avoid gaming the system. These are my next tier philosophical points.

4. The VRA provides an out to any rules otherwise created. I feel strongly about section 2 and I hope SCOTUS will finally provide uniformity to how it should be measured. I am not enamored of section 5 as I find the jurisdictions to be anachronistic. Right.

5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.


6. Splits larger than that, but small enough to meet state legislative district deviation under SCOTUS rules are next best. This is because I'd like a set of rules that can apply to mapmaking at multiple levels.

Beyond that is implementation.

I bolded my comments.
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« Reply #108 on: April 28, 2012, 09:46:28 pm »

My philosophy for neutral mapping is extremely simple. These are my primary points.

2. There should be as few county splits as possible, and when a county is split in two one fragment should be as small as possible. Yes, if we can get a count procedure that does not favor one split over another, due to some nesting preference.

3. Counting splits should maintain parity between small and large counties. No, not if it distorts the count procedure, to force a line crossing one place versus another.


I bolded my comments.

I have dozens of states I've looked at and I've presented detailed rules. Give me your detailed counting rules and your procedure to deal specifically with point 2 given your exact counting rules. I'll test them, though I can say with confidence that any specific count rules will in fact force line crossings in one place versus another.
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« Reply #109 on: April 28, 2012, 09:52:05 pm »


5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.



I bolded my comments.

It's clear to me that you can vary from exact equality up to a range of 1% if the state can show a compelling interest. County and municipal integrity have withstood SCOTUS scrutiny on this point.
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« Reply #110 on: April 28, 2012, 09:52:09 pm »
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I would still like to know where my criticisms of your 20% CD rule are off base. Second, is our difference on the chop count, that you don't think CA-05 going into SF should count as a chop, while I do, although obviously a permissible chop? Do you see my point, that no chop rule could sell intuitively that says that one chop into W. Sacto is OK, but another into Yuba City is not? 

As to walls, the Sierras are an impenetrable wall. In a pinch, you might be able to append Mono County to a Sierra foothills CD (but I really cannot imagine how it could ever be justified), but basically Inyo and Mono go with Socal. Alpine preferably should not, but it could. Softer walls, but walls of some sort, would be a Bakersfield CD not going into Socal, except if it is in Kern, and the Central Valley based CD's not going to the coast.  Lake and San Benito and Napa are flex counties. 

What I am opposed to is regional walls based on population solely for the purpose of meeting your 20% CD (or 5% CD rule).  I don't think I can be persuaded on that, or that it would ever sell in CA. But you can try. If  a wall constraint for a regional approach has some other purpose, maybe that has merit.

In general, I think, what is crossed should be left up to the Commission if there is a road etc.  What I am more concerned about is if your rules force maps that would render any recommendations made on a fix for how CA does it, subject to the kind of criticism, that would cause folks not to take the work product produced seriously, and now we are looking for dams to mitigate that potential for derisive criticism. Nor do I really see a public policy reason why a CD as opposed to a county, cannot be bifurcated, that has much that is compelling about it. It seems to me more like rounding error issue. Maybe what drives you is simply to limit the amount of Commission discretion, to make the game or how to game more difficult. I doubt we need to go quite that far, if we have the right procedural fixes.

My frustration stems from the fact if you want a procedure where all choices are discretionary or the end map justifies the means, I don't think my skills can help.

I offered two common models for counting chops, and you picked the one you thought made the most sense. But when I applied it uniformly, you didn't like the result. We can pursue your suggestion, though I think it's a posteriori thinking, but I suspect as we get to some other part of CA, you'll find it has flaws. I know that it does when applied in other states. Any count by CD can be morphed to a county method and vice versa. That's a mathematical theorem.

You referenced minimizing chops and their size. But every serious constraint is rejected. Your proposed standard puts virtually no constraint on a state with as many populous counties as CA. Write it in detail, and I'll draw a map to drive everyone here crazy. I'm left feeling that the next commission will draw whatever it feels meets CofIs it defines, and any loose constraints will be fit to their needs. If they want to tilt like they did this decade, they'll be free to do so. Even worse look at what happened in AZ on the second go around for a commission.

What's a scientist to do? Sad

What a scientist is to do, is persuade an informed lay person, that you don't have an intuitive unacceptable flaw, or that any rule has such flaws. I don't think either of us have defined the nub of the problem here adequately. I think my quota approach gets it, but maybe not. Is there any count rule, where switching out one chop for another does not change the total number of chops?  If all count rules still cause a count change depending on where the chop is, that makes the quest to avoid that Quixotic, let me know.

Anyway, maybe we can't agree on everything, but it would be nice to understand better why where we disagree. And we agree on some things, to constrain the Commission further, and some things are better than no things, no?  Be happy.

In any event, the chop count is a technical issue, albeit important because the chop count I agree should be a constraining factor. The percentage of CD is a substantive issue, not in my opinion worth the candle of the potential consequences (if you limit the percentage of county taken absent a finding), maybe requiring more rules to avoid the rule causing nutter results. And I still have not got an answer that if LA County as 15.5 CD's, does that force another chop under a 20% percentage of CD rule?  

Lawyers I guess in their deposition like specific answers to specific questions.

Sorry if I am frustrating you.
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« Reply #111 on: April 28, 2012, 09:57:26 pm »
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5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.



I bolded my comments.

It's clear to me that you can vary from exact equality up to a range of 1% if the state can show a compelling interest. County and municipal integrity have withstood SCOTUS scrutiny on this point.

OK, we can suggest doing that then as an option. I have absolutely no objection to doing that, although again I am worried that if we have an absolute minimum chop rule, that might create map distortions. On that one though, maybe if staff can come up with maps that minimize chops using the 1% rule, a finding could say thanks but no thanks, the maps all suck, versus ignoring the 1% flex rule. I am worried however, that it introduces another level of complexity. So it should probably be in an addendum.
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« Reply #112 on: April 28, 2012, 09:58:21 pm »

I would still like to know where my criticisms of your 20% CD rule are off base. Second, is our difference on the chop count, that you don't think CA-05 going into SF should count as a chop, while I do, although obviously a permissible chop? Do you see my point, that no chop rule could sell intuitively that says that one chop into W. Sacto is OK, but another into Yuba City is not? 

As to walls, the Sierras are an impenetrable wall. In a pinch, you might be able to append Mono County to a Sierra foothills CD (but I really cannot imagine how it could ever be justified), but basically Inyo and Mono go with Socal. Alpine preferably should not, but it could. Softer walls, but walls of some sort, would be a Bakersfield CD not going into Socal, except if it is in Kern, and the Central Valley based CD's not going to the coast.  Lake and San Benito and Napa are flex counties. 

What I am opposed to is regional walls based on population solely for the purpose of meeting your 20% CD (or 5% CD rule).  I don't think I can be persuaded on that, or that it would ever sell in CA. But you can try. If  a wall constraint for a regional approach has some other purpose, maybe that has merit.

In general, I think, what is crossed should be left up to the Commission if there is a road etc.  What I am more concerned about is if your rules force maps that would render any recommendations made on a fix for how CA does it, subject to the kind of criticism, that would cause folks not to take the work product produced seriously, and now we are looking for dams to mitigate that potential for derisive criticism. Nor do I really see a public policy reason why a CD as opposed to a county, cannot be bifurcated, that has much that is compelling about it. It seems to me more like rounding error issue. Maybe what drives you is simply to limit the amount of Commission discretion, to make the game or how to game more difficult. I doubt we need to go quite that far, if we have the right procedural fixes.

My frustration stems from the fact if you want a procedure where all choices are discretionary or the end map justifies the means, I don't think my skills can help.

I offered two common models for counting chops, and you picked the one you thought made the most sense. But when I applied it uniformly, you didn't like the result. We can pursue your suggestion, though I think it's a posteriori thinking, but I suspect as we get to some other part of CA, you'll find it has flaws. I know that it does when applied in other states. Any count by CD can be morphed to a county method and vice versa. That's a mathematical theorem.

You referenced minimizing chops and their size. But every serious constraint is rejected. Your proposed standard puts virtually no constraint on a state with as many populous counties as CA. Write it in detail, and I'll draw a map to drive everyone here crazy. I'm left feeling that the next commission will draw whatever it feels meets CofIs it defines, and any loose constraints will be fit to their needs. If they want to tilt like they did this decade, they'll be free to do so. Even worse look at what happened in AZ on the second go around for a commission.

What's a scientist to do? Sad

What a scientist is to do, is persuade an informed lay person, that you don't have an intuitive unacceptable flaw, or that any rule has such flaws. I don't think either of us have defined the nub of the problem here adequately. I think my quota approach gets it, but maybe not. Is there any count rule, where switching out one chop for another does not change the total number of chops?  If all count rules still cause a count change depending on where the chop is, that makes the quest to avoid that Quixotic, let me know.

Anyway, maybe we can't agree on everything, but it would be nice to understand better why where we disagree. And we agree on some things, to constrain the Commission further, and some things are better than no things, no?  Be happy.

In any event, the chop count is a technical issue, albeit important because the chop count I agree should be a constraining factor. The percentage of CD is a substantive issue, not in my opinion worth the candle of the potential consequences (if you limit the percentage of county taken absent a finding), maybe requiring more rules to avoid the rule causing nutter results. And I still have not got an answer that if LA County as 15.5 CD's, does that force another chop under a 20% percentage of CD rule?  

Lawyers I guess in their deposition like specific answers to specific questions.

Sorry if I am frustrating you.

As do scientists so they can test the hypothesis. Wink
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« Reply #113 on: April 28, 2012, 10:02:45 pm »
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My philosophy for neutral mapping is extremely simple. These are my primary points.

2. There should be as few county splits as possible, and when a county is split in two one fragment should be as small as possible. Yes, if we can get a count procedure that does not favor one split over another, due to some nesting preference.

3. Counting splits should maintain parity between small and large counties. No, not if it distorts the count procedure, to force a line crossing one place versus another.


I bolded my comments.

I have dozens of states I've looked at and I've presented detailed rules. Give me your detailed counting rules and your procedure to deal specifically with point 2 given your exact counting rules. I'll test them, though I can say with confidence that any specific count rules will in fact force line crossings in one place versus another.

Can you give me a grand unified theory as to why you are so confident?  This is important. You "win" the argument if you are right, at least up to the point that the chop rules need to take cognizance of the one chop location versus another conundrum, maybe to allow enough flex to do one chop versus another.

I don't think either of us fully understand this yet, sad to say. It's that tough. If one of us did, the grand unified theory could be pounded out on the keyboard.

In the meantime, you want me to come up with chop count procedures that I think might avoid the conundrum, so you can knock them down, leaving me wondering if there is one out there that solves the conundrum, that I lack the imagination to come up with, because there is no grand unified theory readily available to moot all of that. I feel so alone. Sad

In the meantime I am making this hypothesis for you to "test."  LA county with 15.5 CD's under a 20% CD chop rule would force a gratuitous chop, and two if LA county were walled. Do you disagree?
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« Reply #114 on: April 28, 2012, 10:07:27 pm »


5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.



I bolded my comments.

It's clear to me that you can vary from exact equality up to a range of 1% if the state can show a compelling interest. County and municipal integrity have withstood SCOTUS scrutiny on this point.

OK, we can suggest doing that then as an option. I have absolutely no objection to doing that, although again I am worried that if we have an absolute minimum chop rule, that might create map distortions. On that one though, maybe if staff can come up with maps that minimize chops using the 1% rule, a finding could say thanks but no thanks, the maps all suck, versus ignoring the 1% flex rule. I am worried however, that it introduces another level of complexity. So it should probably be in an addendum.

The problem is that if it is optional the courts will disallow it. It must be consistently applied to be a valid departure from exact equality. However, one can exchange tighter tolerance on the deviations for more regions. That was the point of the table I compiled and displayed earlier in the thread. The commission could say we don't like the 4-region plan, can you produce one with more regions (and hence fewer splits) but with greater deviation up to the 0.5% SCOTUS limit? That I can do, but the commission will have to abide by one of the regional plans' strictures or the rule has no validity.
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« Reply #115 on: April 28, 2012, 10:15:22 pm »

My philosophy for neutral mapping is extremely simple. These are my primary points.

2. There should be as few county splits as possible, and when a county is split in two one fragment should be as small as possible. Yes, if we can get a count procedure that does not favor one split over another, due to some nesting preference.

3. Counting splits should maintain parity between small and large counties. No, not if it distorts the count procedure, to force a line crossing one place versus another.


I bolded my comments.

I have dozens of states I've looked at and I've presented detailed rules. Give me your detailed counting rules and your procedure to deal specifically with point 2 given your exact counting rules. I'll test them, though I can say with confidence that any specific count rules will in fact force line crossings in one place versus another.

Can you give me a grand unified theory as to why you are so confident?  This is important. You "win" the argument if you are right, at least up to the point that the chop rules need to take cognizance of the one chop location versus another conundrum, maybe to allow enough flex to do one chop versus another.

I don't think either of us fully understand this yet, sad to say. It's that tough. If one of us did, the grand unified theory could be pounded out on the keyboard.

In the meantime, you want me to come up with chop count procedures that I think might avoid the conundrum, so you can knock them down, leaving me wondering if there is one out there that solves the conundrum, that I lack the imagination to come up with, because there is no grand unified theory readily available to moot all of that. I feel so alone. Sad

I have looked at many models over the years, and I gave you two that have wide acceptance because they embody some degree of parity. As you could see in my example, the two models I described gave two different interpretations of a swap of split locations. In my experience, that is true for every model I've seen, which is why political scientists look to parity as a way to judge instead.

I'm sincere that if you have a counting method that I can't knock down I'd be overjoyed, but my experience in this subject makes me very skeptical of such claims. I've looked at models that are probably like what you describe. What I suspect yours will do is to favor pie-slicing into large counties to keep small counties intact, but I can't say that with certainty without a model to test.
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« Reply #116 on: April 28, 2012, 10:17:17 pm »
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5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.



I bolded my comments.

It's clear to me that you can vary from exact equality up to a range of 1% if the state can show a compelling interest. County and municipal integrity have withstood SCOTUS scrutiny on this point.

OK, we can suggest doing that then as an option. I have absolutely no objection to doing that, although again I am worried that if we have an absolute minimum chop rule, that might create map distortions. On that one though, maybe if staff can come up with maps that minimize chops using the 1% rule, a finding could say thanks but no thanks, the maps all suck, versus ignoring the 1% flex rule. I am worried however, that it introduces another level of complexity. So it should probably be in an addendum.

The problem is that if it is optional the courts will disallow it. It must be consistently applied to be a valid departure from exact equality. However, one can exchange tighter tolerance on the deviations for more regions. That was the point of the table I compiled and displayed earlier in the thread. The commission could say we don't like the 4-region plan, can you produce one with more regions (and hence fewer splits) but with greater deviation up to the 0.5% SCOTUS limit? That I can do, but the commission will have to abide by one of the regional plans' strictures or the rule has no validity.

What is wrong with saying that a 0.5% population variance does not count as a chop, so any excess chop within the 0.5% does not count as exceeding the minimum?  And maybe the absolute minimum chop number should be preferred absent a finding that the forced map or maps suck. Bear in mind here, that the Commission is not made of political pros, so these procedural rules should have more bite than if the Commission were made of partisan pros who know how to game to the max - as opposed to being gamed.

Anyway, isn't this 0.5% thing a side issue to what we are discussing?
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« Reply #117 on: April 28, 2012, 10:43:59 pm »


5. Splits small enough to allow a state to avoid exact equality to minimize county splits under SCOTUS rules are best. This allows a state to create two maps, one with county integrity and one with the split as AR did in 2001. When it is clear that one can vary population, then sure you would to avoid chops within the variance constraints. Until then, a chop is a chop. I think when it comes to the size of the chop, for a chop rule, the percentage of a county taken is sufficient. Otherwise focusing on chop size by the size of a CD, you might force an extra chop or crazy CD's without a further overlay of rules. We need to try to minimize the rules where possible.



I bolded my comments.

It's clear to me that you can vary from exact equality up to a range of 1% if the state can show a compelling interest. County and municipal integrity have withstood SCOTUS scrutiny on this point.

OK, we can suggest doing that then as an option. I have absolutely no objection to doing that, although again I am worried that if we have an absolute minimum chop rule, that might create map distortions. On that one though, maybe if staff can come up with maps that minimize chops using the 1% rule, a finding could say thanks but no thanks, the maps all suck, versus ignoring the 1% flex rule. I am worried however, that it introduces another level of complexity. So it should probably be in an addendum.

The problem is that if it is optional the courts will disallow it. It must be consistently applied to be a valid departure from exact equality. However, one can exchange tighter tolerance on the deviations for more regions. That was the point of the table I compiled and displayed earlier in the thread. The commission could say we don't like the 4-region plan, can you produce one with more regions (and hence fewer splits) but with greater deviation up to the 0.5% SCOTUS limit? That I can do, but the commission will have to abide by one of the regional plans' strictures or the rule has no validity.

What is wrong with saying that a 0.5% population variance does not count as a chop, so any excess chop within the 0.5% does not count as exceeding the minimum?  And maybe the absolute minimum chop number should be preferred absent a finding that the forced map or maps suck. Bear in mind here, that the Commission is not made of political pros, so these procedural rules should have more bite than if the Commission were made of partisan pros who know how to game to the max - as opposed to being gamed.

Anyway, isn't this 0.5% thing a side issue to what we are discussing?

Nothing is wrong with that at all. It would be my preference, recognizing that one could generally remove them and still be within the required range in federal court.

As part of a counting method it is not a side issue. If it is part of the counting method then it favors creating regions of whole counties that can take advantage of that rule. A good example of how that comes into play is when you expand to 5% then look at states like OH or KY that have that as part of their mapping rules for the legislature.

I'm still reluctant to say we have these rules, but if you don't like the result you can chuck them. There can be a veto provision, but the veto shouldn't lead to wide open mapping. That just invites trouble. A veto should be tightly constrained, with a backup set of rules (such as my suggestion above) that kick in during a veto.
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« Reply #118 on: April 29, 2012, 10:23:09 am »
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OK, I went the uber nesting route for Sacto, and using the county based chop count method, I come up with the same number of chops: 3 in Sacto, and 2 in Sutter and El Dorado, in lieu of 2 in Yolo and Placer, so I guess I need your help Mike seeing a map using the county chop count method that loses a chop. I did my best and failed. Thanks.

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« Reply #119 on: April 29, 2012, 12:04:42 pm »

OK, I went the uber nesting route for Sacto, and using the county based chop count method, I come up with the same number of chops: 3 in Sacto, and 2 in Sutter and El Dorado, in lieu of 2 in Yolo and Placer, so I guess I need your help Mike seeing a map using the county chop count method that loses a chop. I did my best and failed. Thanks.



I would count Sacto here as 0. It's as ideal as it gets, so it counts like a county entirely in a district. I am assuming you aren't counting that way.

I take it you are counting all nested and fractional pieces of Sacto the same. That means Sacto can never have less than three, but small counties can have zero then jump to two with the first split? Is that the method of counting you propose?

If you say that small counties count as one as well since they are served by at least one CD, then you have my second counting method.

In order to take advantage of an uberpacked county, one sometimes needs to shift some other pieces to make the extra chop go away. That's what I was trying to demonstrate in this map. I shifted your Sutter chop into Butte, which already had one and that's when the extra from Sacto vanished.

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« Reply #120 on: April 29, 2012, 09:33:55 pm »
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Thanks for the map Mike (horrible as it is Tongue). Does the chop count change with your second count method? You have now tri-chopped Butte, so that counts as three.
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« Reply #121 on: April 29, 2012, 11:05:17 pm »

Thanks for the map Mike (horrible as it is Tongue). Does the chop count change with your second count method? You have now tri-chopped Butte, so that counts as three.

With the second method your signature, your two packings, and my version would all count the same. Consider the counties with changes: Sacto+Yolo+Placer+Sutter+Butte+El Dorado. The total for these is 11 for all four maps. Counting CD 1 in Butte, there are six counties and 6 CDs, and 11 is the optimal number for for this arrangement.

In general the optimal number equals the total number of counties plus the number of districts minus one. You can test your map to see if it passes with this method. If not, we can look for a defect. In either case you may want to review my example for both methods and see if you are comfortable with the second counting method, since your initial reaction was to select the first counting method.

If you are comfortable with counting method two and if you are still agreed to the suggestion that chops equal to less than 0.5% of a district don't count, I can see what optimization that might lead to. There's still the question about encouraging smaller chops for chops over 0.5% of a CD, and if there is a workable threshold.
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« Reply #122 on: April 30, 2012, 10:34:03 am »
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My concern about a .5% chop not counting as a chop is that it will force twisted sister maps. I suppose staff could come up with the options using that escape hatch to get a minimum chop count, and the Commission could say that they all suck - in other words the Commission could veto the maps with a supra majority vote, just like is required to pass a map. Then you go back to the minimum chop rules.  That plus the supra majority, with a majority from each party, should preclude anything approaching a Michigan style gerrymander.

I still strongly reject however banning the percentage of CD that chops limitation rule.  The 20% limitation of a county rule that is chopped is sufficient, and the Commission should have the power to override that with a finding as well (e.g., it is OK to have a more than 20% chop of SLO in my signature map on the grounds or protecting the Santa Cruz metro area, with a wall on the Ventura County line, because wall placement elsewhere does lead to a SC chop or a crossing of the Tehachapi 's, or over Luther Pass).

I am pleased that counting the number of chops per county method does not bias where the chops are apparently.  Whew!  Smiley
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« Reply #123 on: April 30, 2012, 12:58:54 pm »

My concern about a .5% chop not counting as a chop is that it will force twisted sister maps. I suppose staff could come up with the options using that escape hatch to get a minimum chop count, and the Commission could say that they all suck - in other words the Commission could veto the maps with a supra majority vote, just like is required to pass a map. Then you go back to the minimum chop rules.  That plus the supra majority, with a majority from each party, should preclude anything approaching a Michigan style gerrymander.

I still strongly reject however banning the percentage of CD that chops limitation rule.  The 20% limitation of a county rule that is chopped is sufficient, and the Commission should have the power to override that with a finding as well (e.g., it is OK to have a more than 20% chop of SLO in my signature map on the grounds or protecting the Santa Cruz metro area, with a wall on the Ventura County line, because wall placement elsewhere does lead to a SC chop or a crossing of the Tehachapi 's, or over Luther Pass).

I am pleased that counting the number of chops per county method does not bias where the chops are apparently.  Whew!  Smiley

So let me summarize the proposed rules.

1. A plan shall minimize county CD pieces. All pieces count towards the total, including one for the case where a county is entirely in a CD. (BTW this works against minimizing the number of counties chopped, since a tri chop counts the same as two dual shops, but that may be OK in CA).

2. When a county is split, the plan shall minimize the number of census places split within the county (ie cities). Census divisions that span a place boundary can be counted on either side of the line.

3. Pieces of counties less than 1 CD, or pieces of places between 20K and 1 CD, shall not be split leaving less than 80% of the county or place in one piece. (I don't think we settled on a number here, so I'm guessing, but you suggested that some small communities may need a larger split.)

4. Pieces that are less than 0.5% of a CD shall not count in assessing rules 1 through 3.

5. Violations of the aforementioned rules require a finding based in federal or state law approved by a supermajority of the mapping body.

Are we ready? Remember, I don't want to draw and then change the rules to suit a change. That's what the biased groups do, and commissions can have biases that aren't partisan. Tongue

As an aside, I'm not sure how we want to count the VRA in some areas. For instance, I don't think your Merced-Fresno district would meet standards, since there was a finding that a majority-minority district was required for Fresno, and since a 50% HCVAP district would have been possible by including part of Madera. I estimate that requires 61.5% HVAP or more.
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« Reply #124 on: April 30, 2012, 01:32:17 pm »
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My concern about a .5% chop not counting as a chop is that it will force twisted sister maps. I suppose staff could come up with the options using that escape hatch to get a minimum chop count, and the Commission could say that they all suck - in other words the Commission could veto the maps with a supra majority vote, just like is required to pass a map. Then you go back to the minimum chop rules.  That plus the supra majority, with a majority from each party, should preclude anything approaching a Michigan style gerrymander.

I still strongly reject however banning the percentage of CD that chops limitation rule.  The 20% limitation of a county rule that is chopped is sufficient, and the Commission should have the power to override that with a finding as well (e.g., it is OK to have a more than 20% chop of SLO in my signature map on the grounds or protecting the Santa Cruz metro area, with a wall on the Ventura County line, because wall placement elsewhere does lead to a SC chop or a crossing of the Tehachapi 's, or over Luther Pass).

I am pleased that counting the number of chops per county method does not bias where the chops are apparently.  Whew!  Smiley

So let me summarize the proposed rules.

1. A plan shall minimize county CD pieces. All pieces count towards the total, including one for the case where a county is entirely in a CD. (BTW this works against minimizing the number of counties chopped, since a tri chop counts the same as two dual shops, but that may be OK in CA).

2. When a county is split, the plan shall minimize the number of census places split within the county (ie cities). Census divisions that span a place boundary can be counted on either side of the line.

3. Pieces of counties less than 1 CD, or pieces of places between 20K and 1 CD, shall not be split leaving less than 80% of the county or place in one piece. (I don't think we settled on a number here, so I'm guessing, but you suggested that some small communities may need a larger split.)

4. Pieces that are less than 0.5% of a CD shall not count in assessing rules 1 through 3.

5. Violations of the aforementioned rules require a finding based in federal or state law approved by a supermajority of the mapping body.

Are we ready? Remember, I don't want to draw and then change the rules to suit a change. That's what the biased groups do, and commissions can have biases that aren't partisan. Tongue

As an aside, I'm not sure how we want to count the VRA in some areas. For instance, I don't think your Merced-Fresno district would meet standards, since there was a finding that a majority-minority district was required for Fresno, and since a 50% HCVAP district would have been possible by including part of Madera. I estimate that requires 61.5% HVAP or more.

We are getting close on the rules, but I want to massage them a bit (and of course, only one of us is a near genius, and neither geniuses), so if something comes up in practice that is unanticipated, either of us have a right to say, oh dear, wait a minute. But hopefully that will not happen.  I wonder how many maps given all the constraints would be theoretically possible (putting aside the details of how the interior of a county are chopped up).  Do you have any idea?

That Fresno/Merced CD that I drew is more Hispanic than the one the Commission drew (mine is 58%; theirs is 52.8% HVAP). So that unleashed me, to try to draw a cleaner map. I wonder if there is any commentary on that issue in the Commission's written material, or in the transcripts, all of which will need to be read carefully?  Do you have any idea?  Was it because it was not deemed one community of interest?  Was it because it was impossible to get up to two 50% HCVAP CD's in the area?
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