Like the Mayor, the
In addition to diversity, there must be safeguards to prevent commissioners from acting as proxies for incumbents or party operatives. Rules that we like include barring ex parte contact between commissioners and party officials and restricting who may serve on the commission (no lobbyists, no current elected officials, etc). Insider dealing can also be thwarted by conducting all meetings publicly and allowing citizens to submit their own plans and air grievances with the committee.
Finally, any redistricting commission should have enough guidance to avoid mischief, but enough leeway to balance competing interests. Competition, which is typically the primary objective of reformers, is a worthy goal, but reasonable people may differ about how high of a priority it should be. Should it trump the ability of minority groups to elect candidates of choice (we think not)? Or ignore general compactness standards (maybe so)? Juggling these criteria is a difficult task; the same criteria that rein in partisan excess may also produce unintended and unfair results.
Bloomberg’s support of independent redistricting is heartening, and we hope that he continues his advocacy on his home turf. We also hope that