19 apply for Mathis' seat on redistricting commission - East Valley Tribune: Politics

19 apply for Mathis' seat on redistricting commission

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Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 8:59 pm

Nineteen people want a shot at replacing Colleen Mathis on the Independent Redistricting Commission.

But one already is disqualified because he admitted he is a registered Republican: The vacancy has to go to someone who is not a member of either major political party.

It will now be up to members of a special panel to go through the other applications this coming Tuesday to decide from which applicants they want to hear more. Those interviews will take place Nov. 28.

By law, the screening panel has to narrow its list down to five. The final choice is left to the four other members of the Independent Redistricting Commission, two chosen by elected Republican officials and two by Democrats.

Those five then will resume the duties of drawing new boundaries for the state's 30 legislative and nine congressional districts, something required after every decennial census. Whoever is chosen is likely to chair the commission and have the deciding vote when there is a dispute between Democratic and GOP representatives.

There already are draft maps, enacted with Mathis' vote. But Gov. Jan Brewer and other Republicans contend these are unfair and want a revamped commission to draw new lines.

All that presumes, though, there will still be a vacancy by the end of the month.

The Arizona Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday over whether Brewer exceeded her authority two weeks ago when she fired Mathis.

Brewer said Mathis violated the Open Meeting Law and prepared congressional district maps that do not meet constitutional requirements. The governor said that made Mathis guilty of gross misconduct and substantial neglect of duty, both of which are grounds under the law to oust a commissioner.

Attorneys for both Mathis and the commission as a whole want the high court to rule that Brewer has no right to unilaterally conclude that Mathis is guilty of any violations and that, even if she is, the offenses do not rise to the level of either gross misconduct or substantial neglect of duty.

The justices are likely to issue a decision within days of Thursday's hearing. If they rule against Brewer, there is no vacancy to fill.

Screening panel members are looking for public comments on any of the applicants for their Tuesday meeting which will be held at the Supreme Court building in Phoenix.

Applicants, all political independents, include:

- Alton A. Briggs, Scottsdale, retired;

- James P. Buesing, Peoria, attorney;

- Linda Buscemi, Phoenix, behavioral health coordinator;

- Michael F. Doyle, Cave Creek, retired;

- John M. Fife III, Tucson, eighth-grade teacher;

- Paige Heavey, Phoenix, real estate sales;

- Daniela Larson, Tucson, graduate research assistant;

- Eden B. Lewkowitz, Phoenix, instructional elementary school assistant;

- Anthony W. Merrill, Chandler, attorney;

- Dale W. Mukavetz, Chandler, retired;

- Milford M. Rimmer, Scottsdale, lighting technical sales;

- David L. Roberts, Scottsdale, newspaper editor;

- Margarita Silva, Laveen, attorney;

- Don P. Snider, Phoenix, chief financial officer;

- Stanley J. Usinowicz, Lake Havasu City, freelance writer and photographer;

- Stephen R. Weston Sr., Waddell, training consultant;

- Marshall W. Whitmire, Camp Verde, survey business owner;

- Gregory M. Zamora, Tempe, legal assistant.


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