The Dems caterwauling about the proposed redistricting plan in the Legislature are onto their final, desperate arguments before it receives an overwhelming majority vote.

Remember that the new plan puts ALL of Bellevue into Congressional District 1, while putting Papillion and LaVista together into District 2. Why, the BRASHNESS of such a plan!

The Dems, led by Heath Mello, argue that Bellevue should be chopped in half — with the “good” half put into District 2, because…well…that’s the way it’s always been and if you don’t agree you’re just playing politics!!!

While he is at it, Mello will next argue that the border lines of the entire state of Nebraska are much, much narrower than they originally were — you know, back when Nebraska was a territory. Mello will propose that Nebraska’s new borders go back to those original borders,

“From the territory of Kanzas in the south, to the Vast Plain destitute of Timber in the north.”

That is, unless you REPUBLICANS have some POLITICAL reason for NOT having these borders. (All of this followed with a “Hmmph!” and an upturned chin.)


And now the OWH reports that state Senator Brenda Council is arguing that the new proposed district map will violate federal law, because it would “move” 8,000 minorities out of the 2nd District into the 1st. And that, says Council, would trigger a lawsuit! With lawyers! And judges and stuff!

Um, well, except that it wouldn’t.

See, courts have said you can have an “influence district” if the minority population within a district hits 30-33%. State Senator Council argued that since the 2nd Congressional District has a 25% minority, it’s close, so the legislature should be concerned about a legal challenge.

The problem with that argument is that you do not aggregate all minorities to get a “total percentage”– you consider them separately. No individual minority population exceeds 10% by much, when considered separately. The courts don’t aggregate minorities, so they don’t come close to getting there. Oh, and Senator Council knows that.

By the way, we also find it interesting that the same people who are now arguing to keep minorities together in the Congressional District, wanted nothing to do with that when the plan was for a majority Latino legislative district in South O.

Gee, wonder if politics has anything to do with that…


Oh, and yesterday the LJS’s Don Walton wrote the following in his Monday politics column:

Listed among the clients of Maptitude for Redistricting, a software source that includes a feature allowing you to “update historic election results to new political boundaries,” is the Nebraska Republican Party. Hmm.

And then state Senator Jeremy Nordquist repeated that contention on the floor of the legislature arguing against the redistricting plan.

Except, uh, the Nebraska GOP was a client — back in 2001. (That would be TEN years ago, for those of you who didn’t do well in Algebra.) They have not been one since.

Once Walton found out about this, he had it deleted from the online version of his column.

And he Tweeted — his very first Tweet, as near as we can tell — that:

LJSdon Don Walton
Nebraska GOP not currently a client.
LJSdon Don Walton
My bad. Guilty as charged. I had an old list of Maptitude clients and did not realize it.

But then he wrote this in his story about the redistricting argument:

“During the debate, Lautenbaugh said a Journal Star column item stating that the Nebraska Republican Party was listed as a client on a redistricting mapmaking software site was misleading and inaccurate.

The party was listed as a client on the site of Maptitude for Redistricting, but Lautenbaugh said the Nebraska GOP has not been a client since 2001.”

Now note that Walton only says that “Lautenbaugh said” that it was inaccurate. Not that it was “in fact” inaccurate.

And Walton did NOT add a retraction in the updated version of his column — just a deletion.

And as near as we can tell, there is no retraction or correction in today’s LJS — print or online version. (If we are wrong, we would be happy to correct that.)

So those old-fashioned folks with ink-stained pinkies who get their news via the fish-wrap version of the LJS have no idea that Walton, and whomever else provided that information, were wrong, or at the very least misleading about the implications of that bullet point. Maybe they should get one-a those TV-typewriter thingies already.

Wonder if that would have been the case if the same had been done to a misrepresentation about Senator Ben Nelson.

If we may quote Walton,



  1. Jerry Mander says:

    Federal requirements for redistricting are equal population, compact and contiguous boundaries. Outside of that, unless one can demonstrate that discrimination occurs as the result of the boundary shift, outlined in previous court cases – just about anything goes!

    You can scream, yell, cry and even sue all you want (and many states do), but at the end of the day, unless you can demonstrate discrimination or the ‘intent’ to disenfranchise voters, you’re gonna lose. As our illustrious President noted, “elections have consequences”.

  2. Mello Running says:

    Apparently, the word from the Legislature today is that Heath Mello is smiling about the 2nd CD map and is considering a run in 2012 or 2014. It was never discussed, but Mello spent most of his life in Gretna and a lot of ties in that community. Put a strong showing in Gretna – the reddest part of Sarpy – together with the Dem base in east Omaha and you have a race. Interesting.

  3. Don Walton's Journalism Teacher says:

    Sheesh, he said he was sorry on Twitter. That’s enough of a retraction, isn’t it?

    Ooops, gotta run, time for a Nebraskans for Peace meeting!

  4. Polly Tics says:

    So, the majority party is drawing up election maps that favor them? What? How can this be? I am shocked, stunned and stupified. What gives them the right, other than being elected, to do such a thing? Who exactly do these elected officials think they are? Next thing you know, they are going to pass laws that favor one philosophical side over another because they have more votes than the other side. How can this be in a democracy?

  5. Ban and Bar says:

    I heard Brenda Council tried to make an argument to redistrict Ameristar and Horseshoe Casino into the 2nd district. I wonder why?

  6. "Must be Mello Yellow" says:

    Bring it on baby! You know, there is a reason you turned your back on Gretna. You don’t believe in anything that the rest of us out here do believe in. You know, things like limited gov’t and keeping your pie hole out of other people’s business and definitely out of their pockets.

    Heath Mello is no better than Jim Suttle and his wife working for and publicly defending that stupid Mayor’s dumb ideas is reason enough to refuse support to Little Heath. His policies rank right up there with Fahey and Suttle. BTW, I wonder what he thinks of the sweetheart union deals his Mayor has been handing out lately?

  7. curb says:

    Don Walton is typical of most news people. They write and opine about things others actually do. They don’t make news, they just report it. It is personally safer for them that way. Many erudite yet personally fearful people are attracted to careers in the news media where they posture themselves as noble beings, until we find them doing poorly the one thing they actually must do, i.e. accurately report news. Then, like Walton, they weasel and dodge as best they can to avoid being held personally accountable for their failure in their own profession. They, who so eagerly turn the hot public spotlight on others, wilt like rotten cabbage under the least bit of heat.

    Hypocrisy? Sure. It is the nature of news to attract the ignoble seeking to aggrandize themselves at the expense of others. Admittedly, bloggers often do the same, but as a hobby.

    With teams of lawyers behind them, news professionals of the fourth estate deem themselves heroic purveyors of truth and justice by pointing out the pus running from the first three estates. Yet that makes the Fourth Estate no more intrinsically noble than an X-ray, emetic or enema, all important for good health but not much to brag about.

  8. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    Good post. It didn’t occur to me how inadequate the “clarification” was until I read your take on it. This all started because some anon. poster over at the Journal Star pointed out on some redistricting software company’s outdated client web page that the state GOP was a client, so I was obviously lying, he said about whether the party was drafting the maps, or some such thing. I’m not sure how that follows, but whatever.

    Then, Walton picked it up as one of his ambiguous, end-of-column bits Monday. At that point, the state GOP became aware of the allegation, and send tweets, emails, etc. to me and others pointing out that the party was not a customer of this company. Then, the company itself sent an email confirmed the party had been in 2001-02, but not since. This was forwarded to many of us in the Leg.

    Immediately thereafter, in a bit of perfect timing, Sen. Nord repeated the allegation on the floor. I was then able to point out the falsehood, umm, vigorously. This was also great because those who had been accusing us of being so partisan kept pointing to the last go-round of redistricting– and how free of partisanship it was– back in the prelapsarian age of innocence that was 2001 (when the party had the software, apparently).

    Hmmm, indeed.

  9. MacDaddy says:

    Walton has no motivation to properly make things right. Apparently at the LJS, laziness is the only thing that’s de riguer. But as we see from Lautenbaugh’s post, live by the internet, die by the internet. Kudos to the NE GOP for being on the ball.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Quit complaining, Lautenbaugh. You should be thanking Walton for diverting attention from your blatant gerrymandering. People may actually have sympathy for you now – not that it will be enough to deliver you from the back bench.

  11. Back Bencher says:

    The way I see it, Lautenbaugh pretty much had his way with you Dems down therein Lincoln and made Senator Heath look like a complete stooge. I can see Scott now after the final vote of his maps smoking a cigar on the capital steps quoting George Peppard,”I love it when a plan comes together”

  12. Sí se puede says:

    Thank you Senor Mello for denying our ability to have a Hispanic majority district. We will remember you at the polls.

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