Update: The Perfect Commission Redistricting Plan?

(Update: Sources close to the county commission say Mayor Sue Gunzburger is tentatively supporting the Phillippi plan.  My question is whether the other will?)



A little-known political activist just might have the answer to redistricting.

Sean Phillippi of Lighthouse Point proposed a new division of the county commission which mirrors the intent of the of the Fair Districting Amendments passed by voters last year.

Like the amendments mandated, the Phillippi drawn districts here are nearly equal in population as is practicable; compact and utilize existing political and geographical boundaries. He didn’t even look at the voter’s registration numbers when he created them!

Commissioners have voluntarily promised to follow the Fair Districting Amendments, although by law they don’t have to. The amendments are only for state legislative and congressional district. Now let’s see if the commissioners do as well as Phillippi.

I doubt it.

Phillippi’s map puts members in the same district.

It will make it harder for some incumbents to get elected. Commissioners don’t like that.

Right now some commissioners are in a frenzy to protect their turf and or help their favored successors.

Commissioner Chip LaMarca, a Republican whose district must gain almost 12 percent of its residents because of the growth, has the most to lose.  It will be hard to cut him a favorable Republican district in Democratic-dominated Broward.

Phillippi’s redistricting proposal adheres to the amendment’s stipulation to keep cities within one district as much as possible,  It puts Deerfield Beach, Lighthouse Point, Coconut Creek, Hillsboro Beach and half of Pompano in LaMarca’s district.

That’s not likely to get Chip’s vote.  Why?

Because Phillippi would put Democratic strongholds of Century Village of Deerfield Beach, Wynmoor and other condominium complexes hostile to Republicans in the district.

The map would also put Sunrise and Plantation it their own district.  That might make sense to everybody by politicians.

Phillippi’s map would pit incumbent Commissioner Lois Wexler of Plantation against challenger Sheila Alu of Sunrise, something neither candidate would seek.

Commissioners said they will redraw their districts later this year.  It will be interesting to see if they live up to their promise and voluntarily follow the state guidelines, or play the same old political games.

26 Responses to “Update: The Perfect Commission Redistricting Plan?”

  1. Chip OffDaMarca says:

    Dang it, I was going to get Sean Phillipi appointed to something. Wait a minute, I’ll get Rick Scott to appoint everyone in Century Village and Wynmoor to something. It’s good to be the King!

  2. XX says:

    So many of the commissioners are not running again. They should have the balls to do the right thing since they have nothing politically to lose.

  3. Timothy T. J. says:

    I believed Chip Lamarca would be something different since he wasn’t part of the Democratic machine. We’ll see if he really is different on districting. Better a one term commissioner who stands up for what’s right, than another political slimeball.

  4. Smart Move says:

    First, let’s review the actual ballot language. In it, we see that (a) districts shall not be drawn to benefit party or incumbent, (b) they may not deny minorities the ability to elect representatives of their choice, and (c) they must be contiguous. Those three rules may not be broken. They are “must have” provisions.

    It then goes on to say that “unless otherwise required” which in this context is another way of saying “where possible” then districts are also to (a) be compact, (b) as equal in size as possible, and (c) where feasible (..as if to underscore the point again..) maue use of existing, city, county and geographical boundaries. These are “where possible” provisions, clearly subordinate to the “must have.”

    Maps that start off with the intent of complying with “where possible” and ignore the “must have” provisions fail the test of compliance with these provisions. Nowhere in the post do I see discussion about compliance of those maps with the mandated provisions of that language.

    Second, the County Commission itself directed their staff to draw maps, in part, based on their agreement with cities establishing a preference for more than one county seat for cities. Residents are better served in cities when they have more than just one county commissioner. Certainly that is appropriate so long as the must have provisions are met, since there are many geographical boundaries that substitute for county/city lines.

    Second, it is to the credit of the County Commission that they directed staff to design maps that place more than one County Commissioner wherever possible in a city. Residents are better represented that way and this is not a violation of the districting rules so long as there are other geographical lines, of which we have many. A street is a geographical line, so is a precinct. So this notion of one commissioner per city is at the bottom of considerations relating to compliance with the new rules.


    I don’t share your confidence in the motives of commissioners.

    Ten years ago, the county staff also drew the districts. The staff essentially works for the commission (through the county manager).

    The districts were then fine-tuned to fulfill the commission’s political aims.

    Century Village was placed in Sue Gunzburger’s Hollywood based district. It made little sense, except that Gunzburger’s best friend Sue Katz was thinking of running for commission possibly against Lori Parrish. Placing Katz’s base, Century Village, in her friend Gunzburger’s district nixed a Katz race.

    Jim Scott got a district created for this lone Republican on the Board. It was designed for political reasons and to keep an incumbent in office.

    Kristin Jacobs’ north Broward District 2 was looped around the district of Josephus Eggelletion like a horseshoe to absorb Wynmoor Village, a Democratic rich condominium complex. Ilene Lieberman, who lives in Tamarac, saw her district extended south to the Sunrise Lakes condominiums, another Democratic rich condominium complex.

    The commissioners all had their own consultants — in at least one case a lobbyist — help them fine tune the maps. This same part-time lobbyist is working on alternative maps this year behind-the-scenes.

    What is different this year is that a number of the commissioners — Liberman, Jacobs, Gunzburger and John Rodstrom — are termed out and won’t run again (unless the Supreme Court throws out the term limit law). Add to that list Stacy Ritter, who has a safe, compact district that won’t be dramatically changed.

    So five members have no self-interest in gerrymandering their own districts.

    However, this is politics. Outgoing commissioners may want to keep someone from being on the commission in the future. Or they may want make it easier for someone to be elected.

    So we shall see. If I am wrong and the commissioners come up with districts that are free from gerrymandering, I will be the first to congratulate them.

  5. Smart Move says:

    …Forgot to mention that is it also to the credit of the County Commission that they are seeking to comply with these requirements at all. Amendments 5 and 6 were mandates impacting the drawing of congressional and state elected districts. Counties are not bound by them. Yet these are very good rules and certainly better than the ones they had been following (whatever those were…I’m being generous in that description…) previously. At least Broward has a standard to follow that everyone should understand based on the strong mandate established at the state level. They are good and fair rules.

    FROM BUDDY: I did mention that the commissioners did not have to follow the amendments.

  6. AGM says:

    A plan that dilutes Democrat strength? In Democrat-rich Broward COunty? How so?

    Thanks for your comment.

    I never used the word “dilutes”. I used “divides”.

    But since it confused you and maybe others, I removed it.

  7. give me a break! says:

    Actually the commission has started things right. They didn’t select Dan Lewis to draw maps, they kept politics out. Now, at least we see maps that are posted by staff, the legislature doesn’t get the point! Looks like they are being more transparent this time around. Hope it continues

  8. Socrates Knows says:

    Everyone knows that county commissioners wanted their staff to draw the maps in order to protect their own political interests. County staff do what the commissioners want. It will be easy to tell which of them were the obehind that power play. Just look for the commissioners that like the staff maps.

  9. Broward Voter says:

    Hispanics make up about 25% of Broward’s population. There are nine county commission seats. To avoid a challenge they will need to make a Hispanic seat. It is being watched very carefully.

  10. #1 Democrat for Justice says:

    Broward Voter: if you look at the current districts, hispanics are almost 1/3 in three districts: Wexler, Gunzburger and Sharief…the issue is many are spilt between D’s and R’s…based on that, I’m not sure you can ever have a majority Hispanic district because many are spread out around the county and not confined to one major area(ie black community in central broward)

  11. Redistricting 101 says:

    Buddy Boy,
    You might want to check your numbers again. District 4 is actually down by 11.9% so Lamarca must PICK UP 11.9%. I checked the numbers and District 4 was +5% Republican when Jim Scott was on the board. When Lamarca ran against Keechl he was faced with +5% Democrat registration.

    District 4 needs to pick up 12,000 to 15,000 registered voters. Let’s see where he gets them from.

    As for Phillippi’s map, I agree that he probably followed Amendments 5 and 6 in Fair Districting. Unfortunately, I believe he drew both Jacobs (Dist 2) and Lamarca (Dist 4) in the same district.

    I also agree that Dan Lewis not being in the process is good, but he was the “mapper” for the Cubban Americans map. This map heavily favors veteran John Rodstrom (and possibly his wife if that is the motive.

  12. yawn says:

    Who cares about 25% of hispanics in Broward considering the fact that of that 25% maybe 3.2% of them vote.

  13. Smart Move says:

    #1 Democrat for Justice should review the what the rules say because the issues raised do not comply. It has nothing to do with voter turnout or party affiliation or incumbency. Those were yesterday’s rules and are irrelevant concerns to the new standards. It has to do with intentionally drawing districts to favor unrepresented minorities. At the county right now that is Hispanics. If they are going to comply with the rules they must draw at least one district where the majority of residents are Hispanic. Drawing three where there is 1/3 Hispanic does not meet that requirement and opens the door to challenge. Blacks are 26% of the population. How can you argue that Blacks should get two seats that favor that choice but Hispanics get none with only a 1% difference in population?

  14. Kevin says:

    At first glance, there seems to be a good case that this violate section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting the Hispanic vote (note the 35% plus Hispanic in at least three proposed districts).


  15. Broward Politico says:

    @ yawn

    Keep yawning and watch Cuban Americans become a voting block to be reckoned with. Go check out Century Village in Pembroke Pines.

  16. Huh??? says:

    None of the proposed maps have a majority Hispanic district. The Hispanic population is not concentrated enough in one area to create a majority Hispanic district.

  17. Give Me A Break says:

    Smart Move: blacks don’t have 2 seats my friends…one seat is predominately black, the other is very diverse with blacks, whites and hispanics…don’t take cheap shots, be str8 up

  18. Smart Move says:

    I don’t know who these people are expressing opinions without looking at the facts.

    The District 8 election voter stats show that 65% of the voters were African Americans or Black Caribbeans. As drawn today, district 8 is a black district. District 9 was created as a Black district and performs as expected.

    The voter statistics do not lie. As drawn, Broward County has two black districts, numbers 8 and 9, and none that leans in the political favor of Hispanics. It is not a cheap shot. It is a fact.


    Am I wrong to assume that you mean that the district is black in the Democratic primary?

  19. Floridan says:

    A number of years ago I sat on a municipal redistricting committee, and both the city attorney and the consultants (from FAU, I believe) suggested that we should try to avoid drawing lines in such a way that incumbants no longer lived in the districts they represent, if it can be avoided.

    This was said not to protect elected officials, but to prevent too much speculation, by both politicians and the public, that politics were the main factor in creating the districts.

    I know we recommended districts based on fairly objective factors, but I can’t say that about all redistricting efforts (especially at the state level).

  20. Give Me A Break says:

    Yes, Buddy I hope thats what the blogger means…district 9 was created as a “black district”. dist 8 was created as a Hispanic district and blacks have outperformed the original expectations…its still a diverse district where anyone has a shot…the last hispanic to run, ran a horrible campaign and was DEFEATED by someone who happens to be black….THERE’S A DIFFERENCE

  21. Smart Move says:

    The primary and general election numbers prove the same point.

  22. Just Sayin' says:

    Just a guess … and not even a very wild guess at that … but “Smart Move” is clearly Dan Lewis. Smart Move is using the same sound bites and stats that Lewis is using as he peddles his “Hispanic District” map around town. Every single other proposed map (i.e., except the Phillippi map) are all various gerrymandered versions of politics-as-usual. Count me for the Phillippi map!!

  23. Smart Move says:

    The Philippi map violates the State Constitutional standards that the County Commission said it wanted to follow. I explained how in the post above.

    Worse, it places the county at serious risk of legal challenge under the Voter’s Rights Act because it deprives Hispanics which make up 25% of Broward’s total population from a district in which the majority of residents are Hispanic. The same would happen if the map failed to ensure a Black district. Blacks make up 26% of that population. The way the Phillipi map is drawn, Broward ends up with 2 Black districts and no Hispanic districts. That violates the law.

    The Cuban American group’s map provides for a Hispanic District and also a Black District. It meets the criteria of the State Constitution and does not appear to raise issues triggering Voter Rights Act. There may be other ways to accomplish that same objective. However that will be the test of viability and it is being watched very carefully.

  24. Broward Politico says:

    Concur with Smart Move

  25. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    First of all redistricting or not Comm.Lois Wexler could beat Att/Comm.Sheila Alu any day of the week hands down. i mean Lois Wexler is absolutely for the residents(just listen to a County Comm. meeting). All Comm.Wexler would have to bring up is all her wheeling and dealing(Alu’s). Plus she is a snitch in plain english. No one likes a snitch. Again hands down Comm.Wexler beats her. As far as Comm.Lamarca hold on to that beach . At least the County is addressing this proplem in Ft.Lau they have been puting this off for the better of 2 yrs. going on three(3). Just because mega residents in Harbor beach don’t want to change anything(to bad). Oh yes you should hear them esp. Harbor Bch. resident and Riverfront magazine guru Genia Ellis, telling the Comm. that she doesn’t want any changes because on the QT- she doesn’t want City Comm.Rodstrom(Charlotte)for her Comm. Run against her than-if you can do a better job. Than you have Comm.Rogers bowing down to her and others. Get your act together Ft.Lau, before you get sued for 1.Misrepresenation,2,dis enfranchisemnent, etc. stands to reason if you vote for one particular canidate than they should be your Comm. Not 2/6 months later you have someone else. This should have been done YESTERDAY, Mayor Seiler……

  26. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Buddy I see that you respond to inquries. Am I wrong here. Did the Ft/Lau. Comm. knows about this for the better half of 2yrs? I mean I know the Census report substanchiated th efact that these districts where not in line, but I have gotten conflicting reports. What’s the low down. i mean I try to give and comment on accurate info. And nothing against local resident Genia Ellis, very well liked in the community, but you have to admit that was a cheap shot to City Comm. Rodstrom the night of the re-districting meeting you all would have to admit..