At the start of the recent county commission meeting, we all said the pledge of allegiance.
But based on the redistricting plans that were presented by former GOP State Sen. Rod Adair on behalf of the Republican commissioners, it is hard to avoid asking: To what did the Republican commissioners pledge their allegiance? Was it to the flag — our symbol of democracy and unity — or to the Republican party and the naked abuse of power?
The Republican plans are radical partisan gerrymandering at its worst.
The commission’s Republicans are attempting to draw district boundaries that are purposely designed to not achieve fair and equitable representation for everyone.
Instead, the plans are a shameless power grab designed to entrench minority Republican rule for years to come.
The county commission is the closest level of government to the people, so the plan that is chosen will impact the daily lives of everyone in Sandoval County.
However, the Republican plans rip apart small, cohesive communities such as Bernalillo, Placitas and in one instance, Corrales, and they relegate voters of color to districts meticulously crafted to negate their political power.
They fracture Hispanic communities across multiple districts, and they improperly concentrate Native Americans in a single district.
The Republican plans are intentionally designed to suppress the voices of those who aren’t Republicans.
They provide no incentive whatsoever for Republican commissioners to reach out to minority, independent and Democratic voters.
The plans allow the needs of un-favored constituents to be ignored without any fear of consequences.
In other words, they eliminate real accountability for these commissioners.
On behalf of Sandoval County citizens, Isaac Chavez offered an alternative plan that, in contrast, is fair, equitable and, importantly, nonpartisan.
Titled the Fair Plan, it follows accepted redistricting rules and practices, and it does not favor one political party over the other.
The Fair Plan incorporates partisan and racial fairness, it maintains community boundaries and it respects communities of interest.
Simply put, the Fair Plan respects democracy, and it respects the voters of Sandoval County.
The gerrymandered Republican plans were developed without consultation with key stakeholders.
These plans fold, spindle and mutilate our communities almost beyond recognition.
I urge those in Sandoval County who care about democracy to tell their commissioner to use the plan put forth by Mr. Chavez as the basis for developing a genuinely fair, equitable and nonpartisan plan in consultation with county stakeholders.