Blurred lines

k304751[embedit snippet=”nebraska-ppp”]Governor Pete Ricketts handed down another veto yesterday, this time on LB 580, the redistricting bill. He called the idea of a separate board set up to re-draw the Congressional Districts, “unconstitutional, unelected, and unaccountable”.

And he’s probably right.

There has been a recent idea among legislative bodies that they can let someone else make the hard decisions — and then just give them an up or down vote. The idea is that they are just too gosh darn partisan or intractable and this is the next best thing.

And Ricketts makes some solid points that this may indeed be unconstitutional. But it is the “unelected” and “unaccountable” part that makes the difference here. These decisions are SUPPOSED to be hard. They are supposed to invite scrutiny. And they are supposed to be subject to voters hammering those who make a bad decision.

If it is all just, “well, THEY came up with it! What was I supposed to do?” then there is no real responsibility for what happens.

And the idea that, “Well, this new board will be INDEPENDENT! They will only take the interest of the people in mind when they draw the lines,” is bull. EVERYONE is influenced one way or the other. And maybe their influence is not a bad influence. What if it is just the WRONG influence.

Heck, why don’t we just let toddlers draw the lines with a crayon, and let the chips (or cheerios, in this analogy) fall where they may? Who could be less influenced and partisan than a toddler? (Sure, you’re thinking a cage full of monkeys. But I would just remind you what happens when you suggest that a cage full of monkeys is less partisan than the Unicameral…)

So here you have an actual battle set up on the veto override. If everyone stays firm, after the 29-15 vote, you’re looking at one vote to make the difference. And even that isn’t crystal clear.

To his credit, Senator John Murante noted that redistricting does not happen until 2021 in any case, and his goal is to get it right.

When you only have one house in your legislative body, that is a sound principle.

UPDATE: The Governor’s veto has been supported by the present and four past Chairmen of the Nebraska Republican Party, including Dan Welch, J.L. Spray, David Kramer, Mark Quandahl, and Mark Fahleson.


The treasurer ate my homework

The Nebraska Republican Party filed a complaint against Democrat State Senator Rick Kolowski for failing to file his required campaign finance report with the NADC.

Kolowski, a Democrat running for re-election in West Omaha / Millard’s District 31, told the LJS it is not his fault. It is his campaign staffer’s fault.

Kolowski is a former school principal. And though the “dog totally ate my homework and that is why it is over a week late” answer wouldn’t cut it with a Western Civ teacher, he is trying that out on the NADC.

From the LJS:

Kolowski said he gave Beiting the envelope weeks ago, and he put it aside and didn’t get back to it.

“I’m not making excuses for anything, but he just made an error,” he said.

So again, he is not making excuses for something that is his responsibility. He is just saying that he didn’t follow-up on something that is his responsibility. Otherwise, he totally DID do it.

On a side note, this story is in the Lincoln Journal-Star — and not in the Omaha World-Herald — so you can count on 0.00% of Kolowski’s constituents reading it.

It should also be noted that Kolowski is a Democrat, and the Democrats in the Legislature pretty much vote in lock-step on every issue — unlike what the great George Norris hoped for when he planned that “non-partisan” body.

Not that you will ever read or hear that from any of the state’s major news sources.

Wonder if the voters in that district will figure out that means he votes against their interests most of the time.

Kolowski is running against Republican Ian Swanson, who was interviewed on The Wheels Down Politics Show just a few months ago and Republican/Libertarian Peter Mayberry.


It’s up to you

Hey, that New York primary is today!

Get your predictions in now! Give a name or a moniker, and your “educated” guess for percentages.

A few interesting notes:

As some have noted, the moment Ted Cruz made his “New York values” statement, he was doomed. You could argue that without that, Donald Trump wouldn’t have gone over 50% — which makes all the difference in the state’s delegate count.

Think if Cruz or anyone else had made a bad crack like that about Nebraska. Something like, “Some states only think about their college football teams, while others are concerned with the direction our country is going.” Nebraskans would crucify him. And I mean they would actually try to nail him to the Memorial Stadium goal posts.

You think New Yorkers aren’t just as sensitive to this kind of stuff?

So, after your predictions on that, the question is, is New York an aberration, or is Trump now really on board to hit over 50% in other states? Remember when EVERYONE predicted his ceiling was 20%? 25%? 35%?

Can he continue that across the northeast?

And, just because, does Trump have a shot in Nebraska?
Inquiring minds from the campaigns want you, commenters from THE Nebraska political blog, to weigh in.

They are reading.



And what else should YOU be reading?
Well, @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter, that’s what.

And you should get your bad-self updated with every new post as well by Liking Leavenworth St. on The Facebook, and/or subscribing to the email updates, up top on the right.

Because that way, YOU are in the loop!
Giddeyup, and keep an eye on @LeavenworthSt tonight as the results come in.


  1. Sparkles says:

    Really? There’s a reason Pete and pals trot this canard out, after the bill has passed.
    Because it’s pure hooey.

    June 29, 2015 –
    Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Arizona’s voters were entitled to try to make the process of drawing congressional district lines less partisan by creating an independent redistricting commission.

    How about a quick look back at Nebraska’s recent (2011) redistricting (gerrymander) battles –
    Most will recall the bare knuckle Heineman / Lautenbaugh strategy when the districts were last redrawn. A battle that saw Bellevue, Offutt AFB and Columbus each moved from District 2 (Omaha), to District 1 (Lincoln). An odd carving of the map by every measure and a highly contentious, heatedly partisan brawl.
    At the time Lautenbaugh remarked of the redistricting process: “I think it’s meant to be a contact sport.”

    Now to the present –
    Our remarkable Governor actually stated that his veto of the Murante/Mello redistricting reform bill (LB580), was an attempt avert opening the redistricting process to “political cronyism.”

    Yes, you read that right.
    Pete stepped up to the podium, surveyed the attending press and publicly stated that by striking down bipartisan legislation crafted with the sole purpose of distancing state senators from congressional and legislative redistricting decisions, he was taking a stand against the evils of political cronyism.

    So, if any doubt remained, it is now abundantly clear the Governors office and all those within his immediate circle, are wholly devoid of scruples.
    Crass opportunists. Self-serving operatives.

    After contemplating the content of the governors statement the only question remaining.. here, we’ll leave it to you.. multiple choice –
    a) Our Governor is a moron
    b) Our Governor imagines the vast majority of Nebraska’s Republican electorate to be morons.

    Which is it, my Republican friends?

    • Correction & Addition says:

      Hey Sparky, Columbus/Platte County was in the 3rd district. They moved more conservative counties north and east of Lincoln into the 1st district and the more liberal Saline and Gage counties into the third to make up for taking the conservative parts of Sarpy county out of the 1st.

      No one is even mentioning what it means for Legislative Districts. In 2011 they gerrymandered the lines to protect all the incumbents in the Legislature. The Congressional lines were drawn on strictly partisan principles. The Legislative lines were drawn to advantage sitting Senators over the interests of their constituents.

      Murante’s bill is a half measure that produces a distinction without making a difference. If they really wanted to correct the situation they’d be proposing a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the people. The governor may be making a mistake with his veto. Murante’s bill was only going to provide plausible deniability for the parties concerned. They were still going to pull all the strings. A constitutional amendment would actually change the system and the partisans would be permanently locked out of the process.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes he drew his own district – guy couldn’t get elected dog catcher but for his gerryrigging and was waxed in his first small potatoes election – now he is commenting (anonymously) that he may be in the hunt to be GOVERNOR? lofl

    • Clueless, and yet verbose.

      Nebraskans are subject to two constitutions, jackass (no offense; it’s your party’s mascot). I suggest you read Nebraska Constitution Art. III-5, which gives the legislature power to redistrict.

  2. Bluejay says:

    “Think if Cruz or anyone else had made a bad crack like that about Nebraska. Something like, “Some states only think about their college football teams, while others are concerned with the direction our country is going.” ”

    Ted would be right.

    • Sparkles says:

      Speaking of the NY Primary –
      From this morning’s headlines, former Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King (R) of New York –
      “I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I’ll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination.”

      I’m guessing that falls a bit shy of an endorsement.

    • anon says:

      Beat me to it. Ted is creepy, but that is a true statement regardless of who says it. If we paid as much attention to (insert your issue here) as we do to Nebraska football, we might get something done around here. As if land grant universities were founded & funded in the mid-19th century for some goddamn sports program. The NCAA is directly attached to the 3rd rail of INSANITY.

  3. repenting lawyer says:

    Sparkles, The Giv. is not an idiot, his side is advantaged by the current system in most States. Dressing it up as wise statesmanship is nonsense’, but that is politics. Doubt even Pete takes his views on Con Law seriously, evenSweeper only gave him a perhaps.

    • Sparkles says:

      I concur, our Gov is clearly not an idiot.
      Problem is, that leaves only one answer to the previously posed multiple choice question.

  4. 6th Year Slytherin says:

    Sweeper: Don’t you mean Republican challenger Draco Malfoy is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Rick Kolowski?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wasnt’ Murante , Lautenbaugh or someone’s legislative aide when the last re-districting plan was drawn? I seem to remember talk of Murante making sure the gerrymandering worked out right.

    • Sparkles says:

      Prior to being elected, Murante worked for five years as a legislative aide to Sen. John Nelson after having managed his 2006 campaign.

      Members of the 2011 Redistricting Committee included: Chairperson Bill Avery, Chris Langemeier, Danielle Conrad, Annette Dubas, Deb Fischer, Scott Lautenbaugh, Heath Mello, Ken Schilz and John Nelson.

  6. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    I was describing the legislative process and legislative service as a whole when I said it was a contact sport. Regarding redistricting, I think I said “Decent people shouldn’t live here– they’d be happier someplace else.” But maybe someone else said that– it was awhile ago. Either way, we went ahead and moved them (or at least their districts) to someplace else, in some cases. And it seemed to work out.

  7. GOP voter says:

    Murante talks a big game about being a Republican. Why in the hell would you give up your ability to draw the lines?????? Why do all the Democrats support your bill Senator????

  8. anon says:

    Align state senatorial districts with county boundaries. Increase the number of adjacent counties until the number of people per district is as equal as popular – one person, one vote. Resulting districts must approximate a regular, roughly uniform shape – squares & rectangles. No hooks, spires or any such geographic oddity that might give the appearance or fact of gerrymandering. Any school kid can do this, and damn the political parties to HELL. This has been a joke on this continent for 400 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      But what happens in Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster counties? Douglas alone has 14 districts

      Plus, voting precincts are based off of the census tracts.

  9. The Eye Ball says:

    New York State is a joke. Trump took more in Florida compared to what he will get in New York.
    If Trump gets 50 percent statewide, he gets 14 delegates.
    Off the 27 CD, anyone getting 20 percent or more will get a delegate. If Trump gets 70 delegates, he is lucky.

    • Sparkles says:

      Estimate of delegates gained, as of 3:30am, 98% of precincts counted –
      90 delegates – Trump
      5 delegates – Kasich
      0 delegates – Cruz

      And due to “New York values”, these 90 are likely to be delegates excreTED won’t soon steal, bribe or otherwise cajole into changing their allegiance.

      Pass the popcorn, please.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Saw a new mailer with a photo of Chip Maxwell. I thought it was a negative ad hitting Maxwell because Chip’s face is in grainy B&W with steroidal pallor, oversized collar and a Nixon-like five O’clock shadow. It was actually Maxwell’s own ad.

    Its title, “NATIONAL SECURITY FIRST”. Chip’s text says a Congressman’s “first duty is to ensure the safety and security of our country.”

    Does Maxwell know he is running against a general?

    Chip is well educated. We try to give him the benefit of the doubt. Did he mean financial security? Emotional security? Nope. His mailer includes a photo of a US infantryman. He meant military National Security, the kind run by generals.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Once he (Bacon) is elected he’ll have the most military experience of anyone in the House.” So says a new Bacon campaign pitch.

    If true, that seems significant. For that last thing federal lawmaking needs are more lawyers with no background other than practicing law. Basically, lawmaking is to lawyers what automotive design engineers are to Jiffy Lube guys. Really.

    Lawmaking is about everything except law, as that is what new laws impact, i.e. everything else And among that “everything else” you need experts with executive experience, not just people who dipped their toe in the subject.

    For example, for lawmaking on issues involving education, finance or the military, you need expert education executives not just classroom teachers; you need expert financial executives not just bank managers; and for military issues you don’t need just any solder, even one with a medal for heroism, because lawmakers don’t create laws that govern heroism but rather govern complex military policy on which everything depends.

  12. Val Budentine says:

    Has any one here seen my good friend Bobby Kerry. If you see him have him call me at my house where I’m Deb Fishers neighbor has soon has he can. Did I mention Deb fisher is my neighbor?

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