Voices Empower
 

Gov. Perry Seemingly Let Texans Down


It is ironic that yesterday on May 18, 2011, a national push emerged on talk radio and among conservative blogs to bring Gov. Rick Perry out into the national political arena as a possible candidate.

Meanwhile, back home here in Texas, Gov. Perry seemingly let every conservative Texan down by refusing to veto the Texas State Board of Education redistricting map (Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120). 

We Texas parents, grandparents, businessmen, and citizens did our best to get Gov. Perry to listen to us because the future of our public school children is at stake.

 We conservative Texans across this state stood shoulder-to-shoulder in agreement that Sen. Seliger’s rogue map (E120) is a deliberate attempt to try to hamper any efforts to elect conservative SBOE members for the next ten years.   

In two weeks’ time, we grassroots citizens mounted an SBOE petition campaign.  The official tally as of yesterday was 6,800 unique signatures.  

DONNA GARNER - Educator for 33 years and was appointed by President Reagan, Now Activist Writer

On 5.4.11, twenty-four conservative leaders from around the state drove to Austin on our own time and at our own expense to film a series of three YouTubes in which we pleaded, “Gov. Perry, please stand with us. Please veto Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 map and call a Special Session.”  These three YouTubes were shown widely all across the country.

We twenty-four leaders also met with the Texas Attorney General’s Office to alert them to the problems with Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 SBOE map.

Multiple hundreds of concerned Texans also called and e-mailed Gov. Perry’s office to voice their disdain for Sen. Seliger’s rogue map E120.

By early yesterday morning, Texas Legislators had made it clear that they believe a Special Session will have to be called to pass the budget. Why could Gov. Perry not have included the SBOE redistricting map in that Special Session? 

If Gov. Perry had vetoed the map and sent it back to the Legislature, undoubtedly even the left-leaning Republicans would have realized that their Republican Governor was highly dissatisfied with E120.

Surely all Legislators would have begun to scrutinize the SBOE map issue more carefully and would soon have realized that E118 — the map much preferred by the majority of the SBOE members — had never even been allowed to come to the floor for debate.

With the public pressure that we grassroots Texans could have mounted, I believe the Legislators would have insisted that they take a careful look at the SBOE-preferred E118 map; and in doing so, the Legislators would have realized that E118 is by far the better map and the one that could pass court challenges.

I called the Governor’s office three hours ago to ask for an explanation as to why Gov. Perry refused to veto HB 600 (SBOE/E120 redistricting map).  According to the staffer, the person with whom I need to talk is out of the office.  I left a message but have received no phone call.

Rumor has it that a possible lawsuit may be mounted over Seliger’s rogue E120 because of its obvious gerrymandering of Midland County to hurt Republican conservative Charlie Garza’s chances of being re-elected in 2012.  This pending lawsuit and the legal ramifications surrounding it might be the reason that Gov. Perry let E120 become law without his signature yesterday.  Gov. Perry may be privvy to information that we citizens do not know.

One piece of misinformation that seems to be floating around and that I need to correct is that E120 does not go into effect immediately. Because E120 did not receive a two-thirds majority of all the members elected to each house, the law does not go into effect until 90 days after the last day of the legislative session.  That would put it around Aug. 31, 2011. 

I believe around that same time in August is the deadline for the Texas Attorney General’s Office to finish its investigation of SBOE Member Thomas Ratliff, a millionaire lobbyist for clients such as Microsoft that do business with the SBOE and the Texas Education Agency.  This is a direct conflict of interest and is a violation of the Texas Education Code. 

I  personally believe that Thomas Ratliff (in business with his powerful lobbyist daddy Bill Ratliff who used to be a Texas Senator and Lt. Governor) colluded together with the left-leaning Republicans in the Senate and House to help draw Seliger’s rogue E120. (Please see details as published in my open letter to Gov. Perry.)

To those conservative Texans who stood together against the SBOE redistricting map (E120), I say, “Thank you for standing firm. We did our best, and we are very sorry that Gov. Perry seemingly chose not to stand with us.”  

ACTION STEPS

No Pledge Card for Struas - OUST STRAUS once and for all!!

1.  We need aggressively to locate good, solid conservatives to run against Speaker Joe Straus, Rep. Solomons, and Sen. Seliger in 2012.  These three men must be held accountable for their actions regarding the SBOE redistricting map and also the House redistricting map.  These three RINO’s refused to allow an alternative House redistricting map (Nixon/Trainor) to come to the floor for debate; and once again, a map was passed that targets conservative leaders — Rep. Wayne Christian, Rep. Erwin Cain, and Rep. Dan Flynn.

2.  Please join with me in exposing Thomas Ratliff’s underhanded actions as a member of the SBOE. Tell your friends and neighbors so that whenever Ratliff speaks, everyone will know what lies behind his words.

3.  It will be up to each individual to consider his position regarding Gov. Rick Perry and his decision yesterday.  I do think, however, that in light of 2012 elections, we owe it to voters across the nation to let them know what happened in Texas yesterday.

In an effort to offer clear communication, I am releasing my letter that I sent to Gov. Perry on 5.13.11.  Along with this letter, he was also sent the SBOE petition that contained 6,800 signatures.

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 5.13.11

Open Letter to Gov. Rick Perry

P. O. Box 12428

Austin, TX 78711-2428

Re:  Texas State Board of Education Redistricting Map

Gov. Perry, I taught English and Spanish in Texas’ schools for over 33 years; and my passion is to help strengthen the academic achievement of our public school students. 

Because the Texas State Board of Education is in charge of the curriculum requirements for K-12, we must make sure that the people elected to the SBOE have the right philosophy of education.  This makes it imperative to have an SBOE redistricting map that honors those who have a conservative (back-to-the-basics) belief system.  

The SBOE/E120 redistricting map was deliberately drawn to disadvantage conservative SBOE members and  to discourage pre-announced conservative candidates from being elected (e.g., Randy Rives, Don McLeroy).  

We believe the best option would be for you to veto SBOE/E120 and to call a Special Session.  Since the legislature has a perfectly good alternative SBOE map (E118), we believe that if that map and its accompanying data were allowed to be presented for debate, the members could settle on that map in less than one day of deliberations. 

Below are excerpts from the articles that I have sent out to my extensive e-mail list to explain to them the background behind SBOE/E120.  I worked with your staff yesterday to make sure that I understand the options that you have as Governor, and I have enclosed that information below. 

5.12.11 — GOV. PERRY’S OPTIONS

Annotation:

Texas. Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. Guide to 2011 Redistricting. Austin: July 2010, p.10.

The rules for Senate and House redistricting maps follow one set of rules. The rules for Congressional and Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting maps follow yet another set of rules. One big difference between the two sets of rules is that the Congressional and SBOE redistricting maps do not ever go to the Legislative Redistricting Board.

TEXAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION RULES

Redistricting bills follow the same path through the legislature as other legislation.

Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) redistricting bills may be introduced in either or both houses.

Following final adoption by both houses, the SBOE redistricting bill is presented to Gov. Perry for approval.

(1)  Gov. Perry may sign the bill into law.

(2)  Gov. Perry may allow it to take effect without a signature.

(3)  Gov. Perry may veto it.

If the SBOE bill is vetoed and cannot be overridden with a 2/3 majority in each of the two houses, Gov. Perry may call a special session to consider the matter; or the matter may be taken up in state or federal district court.

The final SBOE plan is filed with the Texas Secretary of State and is subject to federal preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The plan adopted, in most cases, becomes effective for the following primary and general elections, pending preclearance and judicial review.

EARLY EFFORTS TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE LEGISLATURE

On 4.6.11, I drove to Austin to meet with Rep. Todd Hunter, an influential and approachable member of the House.  My purpose was to take to him a document that would communicate clearly what the majority of Texas State Board of Education members preferred to see on the upcoming redistricting map. After a cordial meeting, Rep. Hunter said I needed to share my document with Sen. Seliger which I did on 4.7.11.  These dates are significant because they prove that the majority of the SBOE members did submit clear input to Sen. Seliger:   

4.7.11 — MY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SEN. SELIGER 

Sen. Kel Seliger, these are the recommendations that we grassroots citizens badly want to see reflected in the new Texas State Board of Education redistricting map:   

[In looking back, I believe that Sen. Seliger may have used this document that I sent to him to make sure SBOE/E120 would produce the exact opposite results. – Donna Garner]

1.  Midland must be kept in Charlie Garza’s district (District 1). He is a Republican living in Democrat-strong El Paso.  Charlie needs Midland where he has already developed solid relationships and good name recognition.  We Republicans must not lose that seat.   

2.  Odessa needs to be kept in Bob Craig’s district (District 15) because he already has name recognition there.  Bob Craig is a Republican.  

3.  David Bradley’s District 7 and Barbara Cargill’s District 8 look to be well drawn on the new SBOE redistricting map (http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/ – CSHB 600).  Both David Bradley and Barbara Cargill are Republicans. 

4.  Because there has always been a competitive spirit between Tarrant County (where Pat Hardy lives) and Dallas County (where Mavis Knight and George Clayton live), the people of Tarrant County do not want two people (Clayton and Knight) from Dallas representing them on the SBOE as is found now in the CSHB 600 map.  Pat Hardy’s district is 11; George Clayton’s district is 12; Mavis Knight’s district is 13.  Pat Hardy and George Clayton are Republicans.  Mavis Knight is a Democrat. 

3.  Ken Mercer’s district (District 5) needs to be centered between Bexar and Travis Counties where he has good name recognition.  Again, we must not lose this seat to a Democrat.  Ken Mercer is a Republican. 

4.  Gail Lowe (District 14 – where my husband and I live) needs to keep her two biggest counties – Denton and McLennan – where she has good name recognition.  Gail has developed a sound relationship with the most successful charter school in McLennan County — the Rapoport Academy; and she has even been endorsed twice by the normally liberal Waco Tribune-Herald.  People on both sides of the aisle in McLennan County speak favorably about Gail; and this helps us to keep this seat safe for Gail, a Republican.    

5.  Terri Leo’s district (District 6) needs to keep the precincts where she lives, works, has strong relationships, and high name recognition. We do not want to lose this seat to the Democrats. Terri Leo is a Republican.  

6.  It is vitally important to make sure that the SBOE map helps to keep a Republican in the SBOE seat that includes Democrat-dominated Travis County.  (Marsha Farney is in District 10 and is a Republican.)  

7.  The grassroots citizens of this state are very concerned about the inordinate amount of power that Thomas Ratliff seems to wield among legislators.  He has only been on the SBOE for one Board meeting (January 2011), yet he has been testifying in front of the Senate Education Committee and the Redistricting Committee.  He has not declared himself to be a registered lobbyist, but he is definitely not representing the SBOE in any official capacity.

The new SBOE redistricting map appears to reward Thomas Ratliff by giving him close to the very same district that his political father, Bill Ratliff, had.  This looks very questionable to Texas voters, particularly because of Thomas being a registered lobbyist for Microsoft and other education-related entities that do business with the TEA and the SBOE. 

Many Texas voters believe that Thomas Ratliff is in direct violation of Texas Education Code,  Subchapter A, Section 7.103 (c); and they also know that the SBOE has directed Gail Lowe (chair) to request an opinion on this matter from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott:  

(c)  A person who is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code, by virtue of the person’s activities for compensation in or on behalf of a profession, business, or association related to the operation of the board, may not serve as a member of the board or act as the general counsel to the board.

In conclusion, we grassroots citizens support the achievements that the Texas State Board of Education members have accomplished particularly in the area of the adoption of new English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR), Science, and Social Studies standards (TEKS).   

These standards will help all of our Texas public school students to achieve academic excellence if implemented appropriately and if taught with fidelity.  

We expect the Texas Legislature to reward the SBOE leaders (those on the Board during the adoption of these news standards) with an SBOE redistricting map that will help them to get re-elected if they so desire.  We also want the newly elected Board members who support the new adopted TEKS to be successful in their 2012 elections.  

REDISTRICTING EXPERT, PAT O’GRADY 

Somewhere during this interval between 4.6.11 and 4.14.11, Pat O’Grady was brought in to help draw the SBOE redistricting map. O’Grady had been the one to draw the 2000 SBOE map that had successfully gone through all court challenges.  O’Grady is a proven authority on the Voting Rights Act and on other redistricting laws.  

HOUSE ACTION 

On 4.14.11, Rep. Burt Solomons (known as one of 11 lieutenants for Speaker Joe Straus and appointed by him as the chair of the House Redistricting Committee) sent the SBOE map (E111) out of his committee and over to the Senate Redistricting Committee. [Solomons knew full well that the SBOE map would be coming back to the House eventually, and he could do his damage at that time.]  

E118 COMES ON THE SCENE

On 4.19.11, I received word from the SBOE that two improved maps had surfaced — E118 and E119.  E118 was better for Ken Mercer and Gail Lowe because it kept Mercer’s district a compact Central Texas district. It restored more of Lowe’s original district and restored Pat Hardy’s original area. It kept Tarrant County split between Pat Hardy and Mavis Knight, rather than dividing Tarrant three ways, with a representative from Dallas (George Clayton).  E118, which George Clayton supported, kept George Clayton in Dallas County, Rockwall County, and southern Collin County.  

David Bradley and Barbara Cargill were satisfied with E118, but I was not able to get input from Terri Leo (who was deeply involved in TAKS testing because she is a Special Education teacher) to find out whether E118 or E119 contained her home, the place where she works, the places where she frequently does business, and where she has achieved high-name recognition.   

E118 worked better for Charlie Garza, but E119 retrogressed Garza’s District 1.  Knowledgeable people said that E119 would probably be thrown out by the Department of Justice. 

Districts 2, 3, 4 and 13 were virtually unchanged in E118, as compared to the House engrossment map.   

Marsha Farney had avoided working with the conservative SBOE members on a map, but I found out later that she was not worried because she had someone in the Lt. Governor’s office with whom she was working to give her a “dream” district. 

ENTER SEN. SELIGER 

Sen. Seliger is the left-leaning chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee who has only a 56% rating by Young Conservatives of Texas.  He was appointed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.  Fifteen minutes before Seliger’s committee was to meet on 4.27.11, he suddenly produced rogue map E120 even though a gentleman’s agreement had been struck between him and the SBOE members that he would present E118 because the majority of the SBOE members preferred it:  

5.4.11 — SBOE MEMBERS TELL ALL

Excerpts: 

District 5 – Ken Mercer (R – San Antonio)  

My concerns are twofold.  First, the input of the conservative members of the SBOE map E118 was purposely ignored by Sen, Seliger even though I personally called Seliger’s office as did a multitude of conservative groups to support map E118.    

Absolutely no SBOE members nor organizations called to support Seliger’s rogue 120 map because that map was not even available when Seliger began his public hearing at 8:00 A. M.  

Suspiciously, lobbyist and SBOE Member Thomas Ratliff arrived at Seliger’s Redistricting Committee meeting to testify FOR map E120 when that map had never been posted for public viewing.   

In District 5, I now lose most of the conservative precincts of Travis County which I represented; those went to Marsha Farney in District 10. [Farney has only been seated on the SBOE for two meetings, and she has already exhibited moderate-to-left-leaning tendencies. – Donna Garner] 

Suddenly and without any explanation or discussion, I was pushed into new areas and far northern counties — all because two Republicans did not want the east Texas conservative Republican base of Aggieland / College Station in their SBOE districts [Thomas Ratliff and Marsha Farney – Donna Garner]. 

Both Republican voting strength and my name ID in District 5 is decreased; and the lone Hispanic Republican on the SBOE, fellow Conservative Charlie Garza, became the primary target and #1 victim of “the RINOfaction.” 

Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 map severely punishes conservative Charlie Garza, the lone Hispanic Republican  on the SBOE. At the same time, E120 rewards two RINO’s, Thomas Ratliff and Bob Craig.  What message does that map send to conservative Hispanics about the Texas GOP?  

District 1 – Charlie Garza (R – El Paso)

Prior to April 28, 2011, several maps were introduced to redistrict the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for the next ten years.  All SBOE seats are open in 2012.  Neither the House Redistricting Committee nor the Senate Redistricting Committee asked for any input from the lone Hispanic Republican (me) on the SBOE. Given that the state holds a majority in both houses, you would think that prudent.  

Districts 1, 2, and 3 (under E118 or E120) ALL have higher numbers than was deemed acceptable in 2002.  If one analyzes that data it is clearly evident that the Hispanic percent population in District 1 was 72.7%.  So why is that NOT the starting point for retrogression measurement, rather than the 76.9% that was used? 

So all of this extends the question of just what is retrogression, what is the baseline, and “how much is enough”?  With multiple conflicting goals of various Voting Rights Act (VRA) decisions, the mathematics are such that you cannot satisfy all goals simultaneously.  The primary goal was (and hopefully is) “one man one vote.”  E120 is woefully pitiful in this regard, particularly as compared to E118.  

[One-Man-One-Vote -- OMOV -- means that ideally districts should all be about the same size so that each citizen has the opportunity to have the same amount of access to his elected official. -- Donna Garner]  

Sen. Seliger determined that the “fix” to my District 1 was to remove “the white counties.”  The end result under the Seliger plan is that District 1 is now approximately 60,000 less in population than the number of people needed to give me an opportunity at being re-elected in 2012.  

On April 28, I initiated a call to Senator Seliger’s office and asked to speak to someone who was working on the SBOE redistricting plan.  In my conversation with a staffer, I expressly asked why I had not even been given a phone call by a fellow Republican since Sen. Seliger’s plan had changed SBOE District 1 more than any other district in the state. Moreover, I requested to know why Odessa (Ector County) and Midland (Midland County) had been switched. Especially when I already have name recognition in Midland! 

Approximately two hours later in a fit of anger, Sen. Seleger called me. I stated to Sen. Seliger that I had numerous concerns with the way he had conducted the Senate Redistricting Committee meeting the day before (4.27.11):   

(1) He had given the public no opportunity for debate. 

(2) I believe his actions violated the Open Meetings Act.  

(3) The only map Sen. Seliger presented to the Senate Redistricting Committee was E120 which did not comply with the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Section 2 since I would become a victim of  Congressionally-mandated and judicially-enforced “;racial packing.”  

(4)  Map E120 would also diminish the opportunity for Hispanics to have an effect on other districts by packing them into District 1. 

As stated by The Lone Star Report on 2.18.11, the Voting Rights Act is not “a right to have members of a protected class elected in numbers equal to their proportion to the population.” Section 2 is not intended to create racial quotas among elected officials.  In fact, that is expressly forbidden by law.  

Likewise, Section 2 does not require states to create the maximum number of districts possible in which the majority of the population is composed of members of a minority group. The Supreme Court has specifically rejected the establishment of a rule that would require governing bodies to maximize the number of so-called “majority-minority” districts. Instead, the purpose of Section 2 is to ensure that minority groups have the same ability to participate in elections and affect their outcomes as do other members of the electorate. 

Before I had an opportunity to continue, Senator Seliger became argumentative and told me that the district in any map but his map would retrogress and that he had checked this with his attorneys. I responded by telling him that he was wrong especially since to my knowledge no definition exists on what retrogression is! 

Instead of debating the merits of retrogression, Sen. Seliger continued to scold me as if I were a child.  

When I tried to bring up the Open Meetings Act, Sen. Seliger, he said he would deny this allegation to any member of the media if the question were asked.  

If the Republican Party truly advocates for a more inclusive big tent that includes conservative Hispanics, the Republican Party needs to address my grievous concerns right now while the SBOE redistricting map is being drawn.  

District 14 – Gail Lowe (R – Lampasas)

The Solomons’ House map (E111) is particularly bad for me because my four most populous counties are given to four other board members: 

1. I lose Wichita Falls area to Bob Craig. 

2. I lose Wise and Denton (my most populous) counties to Pat Hardy. 

3. I lose Grayson County (Sherman-Denison area) to Thomas Ratliff. 

4. I lose McLennan County (Waco– my second most populous) to Marsha Farney. 

My Central Texas district would wrap around the Dallas Metroplex area to the east, instead of to the west as it is now; and I would pick up 7 new counties. Most of my population would come from these counties that I have never represented before — 80 percent of my population would be new to me.  

This map completely destroys my voter base and the areas I have represented since 2003. 

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LINKS TO ARTICLES WITH EVEN MORE DETAILS 

4.22.11 — “Monumental Attack Against Texas Conservatives” –By Donna Garner 


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4.27.11 — “Every Parent’s Alamo: Update on Texas State Board of Ed. Redistricting Maps” — by Donna Garner

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5.4.11 — A large group of conservatives went to Austin and meet with the Texas Attorney General’s office attorneys.  This is the story of what happened: Gov. Perry “Stand With Us 5.5.11 — In another strange “coincidence,” even though the House has moved slowly on almost every other bill that has come down the pike this legislative session, suddenly, the day after a large group of influential Republicans and tea partiers met with the Texas Attorney General’s attorneys about the SBOE redistricting map, the House unexpectedly brought the SBOE map to the floor, decided to concur with the Seliger SBOE rogue map E120, and sent it to Gov. Perry’s desk for his signature.  Here are more background details:   

5.4.11 — “A Vote for the Record Book” — by Donna Garner

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From Texas for Better Science Education – 5.6.11 

Ten Reasons CSHB600 (Plan E120) needs to be vetoed: 

1.  Of all plans seriously considered, this is the WORST with respect to the principle of “One Man One Vote”.  It has very large (and likely unconstitutional) disparities in the population sizes of the various SBOE districts…far above what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has struck down in the past.  (more details below). The CSHB600 (the rogue plan E120) has a total variation from the “ideal” population per district ranging from -3.78% to +2.07% for a whopping 5.85% violation of the goal of “One Man One Vote”, while plan E118 has a total variation from the “ideal” population of only +/- 1%!  Again, the Seliger rogue plan flaws are breathtaking.

2.  Texas Senators failed to honor a “deal” struck two weeks ago in the House. The supposed deal was that the SBOE would prepare a plan (which they did over 2 weeks ago, plan E118), that the Senate would pass and the House would accept.  Liberal GOP Senator Kel Seliger ignored this, and instead, rammed through a plan at the last minute that had been kept secret from interested parties.

3.  To add insult, just before press it has been discovered that the rogue E120 was finalized Tuesday morning, a full day before the committee meeting, but was intentionally hidden from public view! This is in clear contrast to Legislative Council instructions that clearly state: 

“Under federal regulations for the administration of the voting rights act of 1965, the state seeking preclearance of a redistricting plan from the U.S. Department of Justice is required to submit to the department materials that document the legislature’s consideration of public sentiment in its redistricting decisions and show that recognized racial and language minority groups had a reasonable opportunity to participate in the process.”

There was no such consideration.

4.  Frankly and politically speaking, this plan is stupid for the Texas GOP, as it has been crafted to redistrict out one of the only GOP Hispanics elected to statewide office in 2010–conservative ex-Navy serviceman turned professional educator Charlie GARZA–who won fair and square in an overwhelmingly Hispanic and traditionally Democratic leaning district in 2010.  The Voting Rights Act has never been held by the courts to require a particular party or candidate be preferred by redistricting as CSHB600 does–is this what it has now devolved into?    

5.  Most solid conservatives in the House, in spite of serious political pressure, voted against this terrible plan.

6.  Ask the Governor and his staff to simply speak to the 6 SBOE conservatives themselves!  Under the plan the SBOE submitted, 8 of the 15 explicitly, and 12 of the 15 members agreed verbally that E118 was the best possible all around plan.  Only 1 of the 15 members is known to have even been contacted regarding E120!

7.  Plan E118 has more Hispanic representation in District 1 than even plan E120 has in Districts 2 and 3, underscoring the “bad math” and blatantly political nature of plan E120!

8.  Numerous Conservative and Tea Party groups around the state are absolutely outraged.  One petition drive alone by a Tea Party group has garnished over 500 signatures per day since it’s inception!  

9.   By raising the Hispanic population in District 1 (currently held by Charlie Garza) to over 77.7%…4.5% and 5.5% higher than in districts 2 and 3, respectively,  the CSHB600 map (rogue plan E120) could be considered “packing” of minority citizens into this district–a practice expressly forbidden by law as it dilutes their effective representation.    

10.  In his book “Fed Up!”, Governor Perry himself decries the blunt-instrument use of screaming “Voting Rights Act” (the redistricting equivalent to playing the race card), to justify various political and racial gerrymanders. 

“I see a nation where people are not judged by the color of their skin – as they are today behind the façade of ending discrimination. I see a world where race-based thinking is relegated to the bigot in the corner and not embraced by our nation’s laws in the form of affirmative action [or] flawed incarnations of the Voting Rights Act…”  Fed Up! by Rick Perry, p. 173 

In short, Gov. Perry has an opportunity to act on his convictions above and to help remedy what one political insider described it as the “worse thing I’ve ever seen happen in my political career.”

Please take action today-now-sign the petition AND CALL AND FAX Governor Perry. 

Thank you.

 TBSE Volunteers

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 5.6.11 — WHY SHOULD BE CARE WHO GETS ELECTED TO THE SBOE? — by Donna Garner 

Why should we care who gets elected to the Texas State Board of Education?  Here’s why: 

The Math standards are in the pipeline. We need those who believe in back-to-the-basics instead of “fuzzy” to be in charge of these standards.

Also, there is no law that says the SBOE members cannot open up the ELAR, Science, and Social Studies standards and change them.  The left-leaning element would just love to take out all the patriotic, Constitutional, pro-American parts of the Social Studies TEKS.  

Health standards are also coming up soon. Can you imagine what the left-leaning SBOE members if back in control of the SBOE would do to the abstinence part of the Health TEKS?  We would have contraceptive studies in every classroom. Also, if left-leaning SBOE members tied to Texas Freedom Network are able to gain control of the Board, then the whole agenda of TFN would penetrate our schools. Below I have posted an article that contains TFN’s agenda.   

Also, the conservatives on the SBOE have protected the huge pot of gold — the Permanent School Fund.  By law the PSF is supposed to be spent on children’s textbooks forever. If the legislature is allowed to tap into the corpus (assets) of the PSF, the SBOE will lose their our ability to manage the fund in such a way as to make sure it grows and is able to keep paying for children’s textbooks.

If left-leaners were in control of the SBOE, they would beg the Obama administration to put Texas under the Common Core Standards/Race to the Top which is the takeover of the public schools by the feds.  We would have national standards, national curriculum, national assessments, and a national database.  Teachers’ evaluations/rehiring/incentives would be tied to how their students do on those national assessments. That would force every teacher to “teach to the national assessments.”  The Common Core Standards have one main purpose in mind — to force school children to accept the social justice agenda. This goal will be worked into the national curriculum and national assessment questions.  

TFN already “owns” a number of the present SBOE members; if we lost even a couple more conservatives on the Board, TFN and its agenda would completely take over all the decisions that impact every public school classroom in Texas.  Here are links to various articles that I have written on the subject: 

4.20.11 — “Liberals Messing Again — Open Letter to Texas Legislature” 

 

5.13.10 — “More Flailing Around by Texas Freedom Network


 

3.29.10 — “;Tired of Media Bias: Texas Freedom Network vs. Texas State Board of Education


 

9.6.09 — “;Texas Textbooks — Texas Freedom Network Exposed

  

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SBOE DISTRICT NUMBERS AND POLITICAL POSITIONS 

District 1 – Charlie Garza (conservative Republican, new to Board) 

District 2 – Mary Helen Berlanga (Democrat) 

District 3 – Michael Soto (Democrat, new to Board) 

District 4 – Lawrence Allen (Democrat) 

District 5 – Ken Mercer (conservative Republican) 

District 6 – Terri Leo (conservative Republican) 

District 7 – David Bradley (conservative Republican) 

District 8 – Barbara Cargill (conservative Republican) 

District 9 – Thomas Ratliff (Republican-in-Name-Only, new to Board) 

District 10 – Marsha Farney (Republican, new to Board) 

District 11 – Pat Hardy (Republican)  

District 12 – George Clayton (Republican, new to Board) 

District 13 – Mavis Knight (Democrat)  

District 14 – Gail Lowe (conservative Republican)  

District 15 –  Bob Craig (Republican-in-Name-Only) 

 REDISTRICTING TERMINOLOGY

1.  Retrogression  — This is the idea that a district cannot be redrawn in such a way that a protected minority is reduced in numbers (%, actually) from its numbers (%) in the current district.  For instance, a minority district with 53 % cannot be lowered to the 49 % level of minority representation if other conditions are met. In actuality, avoiding retrogression may not be possible in all cases.  For example, if a district’s population is too small based on a new census, (as is District 1), and the surrounding counties have Hispanic percentages LOWER than the current district, then ANY additional counties will DECREASE the overall Hispanic %.

However the uncertainty usually centers around several items: 

A.  To what is the baseline compared?  For a long time, the prior census from prior districts was used.  If that were still the case today, NO plans regress in any way.  However, if the baseline is the current SBOE districts’ populations compared to any new redistricting plan, then that is a much higher bar to which to hold.  Courts have typically ruled that a small amount of regression in a few districts, depending on the overall provisions in the rest of the plan (including other districts), does not invalidate the entire plan.  However, the courts have been inconsistent on how much regression is allowable.

 

B.  “One man one vote.”  This refers to the ideal district where each person would be represented equally.  In an extreme case, one could have 3 million people in one district but only 1 million in another.  The ideal average would, of course, be 2 million; and any difference from that perfect population would be called a “deviation.”  In other words, deviation is based upon how the district deviates from the idea of “one man one vote.”  The deviation from OMOV (one-man-one-vote)  would occur because some individual voters get less or more of a representative share of the total board or legislature. 

 Note:  Eight out of fifteen members of the SBOE explicitly agreed to E118, and at least 11 were “in the boat” one way or another.  Three of the SBOE members were not contacted because two of the three were known as the instigators of the “against-conservatives-map.”  One Democrat was not available. Let’s contrast this with Seliger’s rogue E120 where at best only three or four SBOE members were contacted, including the same two or three who contrived the E120 map.

 

OMOV is the most important part of redistricting, and Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 map is far worse than the SBOE-preferred E118 map in this regard.  Zero deviation is not generally a realistic goal, but +/- (1%) has been used, and plans with their deviation at around +/- (1. 5%) have been found to be unconstitutional.

 

2. “Packing” is the term used when TOO MANY of the protected minority is put into a single district, thus having the effect of them being less effective in other districts.  Under Seliger’s rogue E120, it looks as if Hispanics are being packed in at 5 percentage points higher than the next highest district and at 17 percentage points higher than a plan submitted that was said to be in compliance (but did not pass).

 

As engineers and mathematicians realize, when two or more criteria or “design constraints” are used, one sometimes cannot completely satisfy all goals.  When a good faith effort is made, as was the SBOE-preferred E118, the courts would likely support that, even with its few warts.  When a poorly transparent effort is made, such as Seliger’s rogue E120, with its serious flaws and political motivations, that would have a much higher chance of being declared unconstitutional.

Footnote:  Thomas Ratliff actually argued for keeping together “communities of interest” — whatever that is.  The Supreme Court of the Unites States (SCOTUS)  has ruled, however, that as desirable as that concept is to some parties, that is not justification for gerrymandering or violating One-Man-One-Vote (OMOV) or for retrogressing in excess.  In essence, Thomas Ratliff was arguing for already rejected legal theory!

It is OMOV (One-Man-One-Vote) issue that makes Seliger’s rogue E120 unconstitutional.

CASE AGAINST SEN. SELIGER’S ROGUE E120

Sen. Seliger’s rogue E120 ignores the cherished “One Man One Vote” principle.  The SBOE-preferred E118 is far better.

Here are some additional observations relating to the Hispanic Department of Justice (DOJ) Districts 1, 2, 3.  We must bear in mind that numerous cases have struck down redistricting plans based on districts being too uneven.  Striving for zero deviation (i.e. “One-Man-One-Vote”) is one of the major goals of the courts — stronger than “retrogression” as that is sometimes mathematically unavoidable as populations change:

 

                    POPULATION    |

                    DEVIATION     |       %Hispanic

District          E118     E120   |      E118     E120

   1            -0.61%   -3.63%   |    74.1%    77.7%

   2            +0.73%   -0.74%   |    72.4%    73.2%

   3            -0.36%   +0.72%   |    72.0%    72.2%

 

ALL…1-15 low    -1.01%   -3.78%

ALL…1-15 high   +1.0 %   +2.07%

All…1-15 range   2.0 %    5.85%

 (font changed to Courier New for the tables…it’s a “typewriter” font that does not use proportional letter spacing.)

Note first that under the “One-Man-One-Vote” principle, E118 is closer to the ideal than E120 in all three DOJ Hispanic districts — District 1, 2, and 3.

 In District 1, this is especially true with the ratio of the E120 % to E118 % being a whopping 5.95 to 1 (i.e. 3.63/0.61)! (Courts have held that even less than 2% can be high enough to be ruled unconstitutional, with 1% or less being a reasonable goal.)  

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