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Eye On Boise

Redistricters break on slightly more hopeful note…

Before breaking until 3 p.m., Idaho's bipartisan citizen redistricting commission has taken a brief look at where things stand between Commissioners Lorna Finman and Julie Kane on North Idaho - with a District 2 that eliminates the controversial backwards C shape, instead vertically slicing off the eastern third of Bonner County to attach to District 2, which stretches through Shoshone County and south, keeping Clark Fork whole rather than dividing it. “We've actually looked at it in a pragmatic way,” Kane told the commissioners. “This is a pretty clean map. … I just wanted to sort of bring this up as an illustration of … kind of a step in the direction of moving toward a solution in the north.” The map still is evolving, she noted. “I concur with what Commissioner Kane is saying,” Finman said. “This was a good kind of map to springboard from, and we've made some tweaks up there that we're very close on now. I think it's very doable.”

Then, Democratic commission Co-Chair Allen Andersen presented a handout to the GOP commissioners, a map of Idaho colored mostly red, but with three small white blotches and one tiny blue blotch.

The white blotches are in north-central Idaho, in southeastern Idaho and around Blaine County, and the blue blotch is in the northern part of the Boise area. “We would prefer these areas be maintained as having a Democratic influence,” Andersen said, noting, “As you can see, the rest of the state is completely red.”

He said, “What I would like the Republican commissioners to think about, what I'd like 'em to do is to take this … handout, make any line, draw any legislative districts they want to draw, keeping these areas that I've identified whole.”

GOP Commissioner Lou Esposito objected to the blue blotch. “I'm going to say this as gently as I can, the reach from downtown Boise to Eagle is just plain unacceptable, it's greed at its worst. I am fully prepared to give Commissioner Moses status quo; this goes far beyond that. So we need to figure out a way to get through that. But I remain hopeful that if we get North Idaho done, we can work through all this. I appreciate you giving us this map to show the areas of concern.”

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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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