In Australia the electoral commissions at the federal and state level take care of the electoral maps. There are different mechanisms for achieving this, for instance the VEC tends to make as many electorates competitive as possible, others work of demographics, location etc. For the most part in Australia the electoral maps are uncontroversial and do not figure in the political to and fro of the day.
The same is not true for the US. Here redistricting is carried out by the states due to the heavy federal nature of the American system. Worse, the legislatures do this and they tend to be highly political rather than experts or independent commissions conducting these changes. As a result, the judicial tends to get involved as a disinterested party to give the districts legitimacy. The alternative is for the state legislatures to set up independent commissions. Arizona went down this path.
It was a constitutional proposition in Arizona
that led to an independent commission
. The proposition spells out how the districts will be formed, which seems sensible, though I personally thing competitive districts should rank higher:
A. Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States Voting Rights Act;
B. Congressional Districts shall have equal population to the exten practicable and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;
C. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;
D. District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;
E. To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and country boundaries, and undivided census tracts, ;
F. To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favoured where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals
The current setup of the commission is equal numbers of republicans and democrats with an independent as the chair. However, the Republican Governor of Arizona recently removed the chair of the commission, however, the state High Court re-instated her
. Politics at the state level in the United States tend to be somewhat brazen and repugnant, flying as it does under the rader of the national media.
The map at the top is what has been voted on by the commission, i can only assume that Jan Brewer and the Republican Party does not like it for political reasons. Despite Arizona being assumed a Republican state, it is more competitive than most people think. The Governor prior to Jan Brewer was Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, who only left the position because she was offered a position in the Obama cabinet. The electorate I live in was a Democratic district prior to the 2010 congressional elections.
Fareed Zakaria has argued in the past that the US suffers from too much democracy and vote on more things than they should to achieve good governance. California is usually used as the example. Arizona has some silly democracy, for instance, Zonies vote for the Mining Inspector and you see placards on the street corners advertising why one mine inspector is better than another.
Another area where Americans make everything constitutional is propositions. Silly stuff that should not be constitutional becomes constitutional through popular ballots and ends up being constitutionally entrenched. However, this is one area where limiting politicians and the legislature with a more moderate approach is a good thing. Especially when it stops things like the abuses of the Texas 2003 redistricting
There is probably no good Australian state analogy for Arizona as no Australia state has Mexico on its southern border (though NSW does as the joke goes). The nearest would be Western Australia, if Arizona was one third the size of the continental United States. But like WA, Arizona has one big city (Phoenix and Perth) with a standard services economy, a large regional center with the same (Tucson and Fremantle) and then a lot of mining and some agricultural concerns. As a result eh city should dominate local politics over the sparse population wise, but strong economically, rural and resource sectors and areas.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.