If you're like me, you kind of fudged your way through Amendments 5 and 6 in the last election. Oh, you knew they were important, and you checked out the very well done Fair Districts Florida website to learn all you could. (Click here to read about Fair Districts Florida, why it's a good thing they were successful in having Amendments 5 and 6 pass, and find the link to the ballot language that passed). For the record, here is the far less impressive Florida House Redistricting Committee website. Sorry, guys.
I should have known a dude as ambitious as Peter Schorsch of Saint Petersblog would come up with a good website to track what's happening with redistricting here in Florida, and he has: Inside the Lines.
“Inside the Lines” offers the latest news, commentary and information on Florida’s reapportionment process, which is in the initial stage of a two-year process, culminating in the redrawing of the state’s Congressional and Legislative district boundaries.
Follow them on Twitter @insidethelines1.
Well, leave it to Peter to fill a vacuum. I mean, come on: who else was doing this?
The usual and increasingly less necessary Peter Schorsch caveats in a moment, but first let me say, I have no idea how the guy does it: he runs Saint Petersblog, of course, on which he's kindly and generously promoted this little blog a lot more than he's needed to; Battleground Tampa Bay, which I think sometimes focuses a bit much on the Tampa side of the bay, but that's me being picky -- it's really quite good; and now he's got this deal. On top of all the other stuff I know he's got a lot going on with respect to politics and campaigns.
You may have strong personal feelings about Peter -- everybody I've met that knows him sure does -- but you have to admit, the guy works pretty damn hard.
I've said it before: Peter's got enemies. In fact, his most recent back-and-forth with Irreverent View's Chris Ingram made the Michael Hussey/Kenneth Quinnell duel look like sunshine and lollipops at Disney.
The apparent object of Mr. Ingram's ire is Michael Cifti, who is running for Tampa City Council. Mr. Ingram has equated Mr. Cifti with, well, squirrel poop. And I gather that Peter has Mr. Cifti as a client. This has... displeased Mr. Ingram, per this post on Mr. Ingram's blog.
What a distraction. A delicious, hilarious, awesome distraction.
Anyway, back on planet Earth, a lot of people will tell you that whatever it is the triumvirate of evil -- Haridoplos, Cannon, and Scott -- decided to merge, downsize, privatize, or cut will be the big news out of Tallahassee. And it'll be big news, but it won't be the big news.
The big news will be redistricting. The budget cuts will hurt, and they'll get a lot of attention -- yes, including from me -- but this redistricting thing changes the face of Florida politics and government for a generation (and certainly has national ramifications as well). Check out the new website, and we'll hopefully learn something together about this complex, but terribly important issue.