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Two redistricting commissioners stay out of tonight’s fray…

The bitter round of name-calling and recriminations that closed today's Sunday session of the Idaho redistricting commission didn't include two of the six members - the two female commissioners, Democrat Julie Kane and Republican Lorna Finman, who both say they've made continuing progress on negotiating district lines in North Idaho, though they're not done. “Commissioner Finman and I are still talking,” Kane said, but added, “I don't think it can be done in isolation.”

After GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito said, “I think what we need to do is talk about the dirty little secret of all this and what's going on. This is all about politics. … We've had earlier maps that for better or worse disregarded all of that. … We have gerrymandering in order to try to come up with a four-district advantage in Ada County for the Democrats. … It's unacceptable, it's not going to work,” and told the Democrats, “When you say you're going to do something, keep your word or don't say it,” Kane remonstrated. “It's late, I don't appreciate being chastised on the public record, especially when things aren't being characterized properly. But I don't want to get into tit for tat, I want to move forward. And if we aren't going to be moving forward, let's not accuse each other of wrongdoing. … Don't chastise anybody on the public record - it doesn't help, I can tell you. It doesn't help us to move forward. Let's get home, get some rest, come back in the morning and try again in the morning.”

GOP Commission Co-Chairman Evan Frasure then distributed all the proposed maps he and Democratic Co-Chairman Allen Andersen have traded back and forth regarding district lines in the Bannock County area, and accused Andersen of being willing to divide multiple counties just to save the seat of incumbent Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello. He said, “We … have gone from I thought pretty high, noble causes to now it's just flat-out, hard-knuckle politics.” Andersen responded, “I resent the fact that you're trying to portray us as obstructionists to this process when all we're doing, all I was doing, is offering a counter approach to try to solve the problem in District 31. … We have offered a compromise. … You're going to take that and turn it into a political football.” Commissioner George Moses then displayed a map of a proposed Ada County district and said he'd invited Esposito to draw the line dividing Eagle from the downtown Boise district.

Finman said not a word. Asked afterward how her negotiations with Kane were going, she said, “I think we're still working back and forth. I think Julie and I have been working fine. But I think there's definitely some things that have to be worked on below the north, obviously. We have gone through quite a few iterations. It seemed like we were making progress.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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