Talk-radio hosts shouldn’t simply nod as Ramirez accuses Carrera of drawing legislative maps out of spite and retribution

We all know the process of hammering out new state legislative districts is difficult for everyone involved: the governor, legislators, judges, and regular people, as well as the journalists reporting on it.

So even conservative talk-show hosts, like Jason Worley and Ken Clark on KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado, should at least make a pass at presenting the issue with some measure of decency and fairness.

I know, it’s talk radio, but still.

This should start with Worley and Clark mentioning, however briefly when they discuss this issue, the fact that Democrats and Republicans agree that competitive districts are good for Colorado, because competition makes politicians on both sides of the aisle more responsive to their constituents, so they’ll do the things they want them to do, like create jobs, boost education, and listen to each other at least as well as my 14-year-old listens to my 11-year-old.

As has been reported previously, it’s not just the Democrats who recognize that competitive districts are desirable, but it’s also former GOP Chairs Dick Wadhams and Bo Callaway. Also, in December, then GOP Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp told the Colorado Statesman, “Citizens want a fair and open process with competitive districts.” The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that Rep. Amy Stephens wants competitive districts, as does Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton, who told the Associated Press (April 24, 2008),“It’s the lack of competitive districts that have led to the polarization of politics.”

And both Republicans and Democrats can find aspects of the new legislative maps, currently under review by the Colorado Supreme Court, that increase competitiveness. So key elements of both parties would agree that this is a good thing, though, obviously, many leading Republicans believe that the latest set of maps give Democrats an unfair advantage overall.

But, as The Denver Post reported Sunday, not all Democrats are happy with the new districts either, and hearing their fellow Democrats say that the maps were drawn to meet the Supreme Court’s requirements to keep more counties whole doesn’t seem to satisfy them either.

But Worley and Clark failed to tilt their rhetoric anywhere near fairness and decency during a broadcast Tuesday.

Regardless of where they stand on this issue, Worley and Clark do no one any good when they nod, like Soviet generals, as Rep. Robert Ramirez, with no evidence, accuses reapportionment committee chairman Mario Carrera Tuesday of approving maps that would allegedly hurt Ramirez’s chances of re-election because of their old dispute over whether to allow undocumented children of illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition.

Retribution and spite, that’s what was motivating Carrera on the maps, Ramirez told told Grassroots Radio Colorado.

I mean, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, you have to hope that a baseline level of evidence and facts are required before talk show hosts engage in a conversation like this one, which occurred on Grassroots Radio Colorado Nov. 29:

RAMIREZ: You know, its funny because the one vote this year that you guys actually praised me on, and we have seen different eye to eye on a couple things, was the ASSET vote. The in-state tuition for undocumented…. or illegals.  And he [Carrera] actually came to visit me the morning before that vote, brought me a letter and basically said please vote for this. It’s really important and I really want it. And I think we need to do this. It’s good for the Hispanic people. Blah blah blah blah. And really I went into that vote open-minded, thinking okay let’s see if there is something constitutionally we can do here. And they never found that. It was never there. Well then I hear…I overheard a Democrat [sic] commissioner talking to another commissioner hearing that while they were working on the maps, Carrera was discussing with people that he was upset with my vote on ASSET. And then I heard from a couple commissioners that he directly told them that he was mad about my vote on ASSET. So when I got my first map drawn, the primarily adopted, I am like wow ok so this is true, it’s working. But the new map with Carrera, and they dumped a 70 percent Democrat [sic] voting margin group in and took out my highest Republican voting margin. It was very obvious that he was playing the partisan game.

CLARK: So not to put words in your mouth. I’ll let you finish this Rep. Ramirez, but in your opinion you believe that pretty much everything he has been doing has been from a I’m mad at you for this, I’m mad at you for that, how dare you question me on this, and moving towards vindictiveness. And he is using the maps to get back at people he’s mad at.

RAMIREZ: Well, if you look, Ken Summers originally the only people that were really badly damaged that he could do anything with on the original maps were Republicans who had voted against the ASSET bill. And now it’s just, how dare you go against my word, so I’m really going to mess with you. I think it is. I think his pride has got in the way. And it’s unfortunate because I truly thought that he was a man of integrity. And he is proving that not so.

WORLEY: So now we can use M for Vendetta. M for Vendetta, we’ll have a new movie title going. Mario for Vendetta.

RAMIREZ: The main thing I wanted to say was, I wanted to thank Mario Nicolais. I wanted to thank the people who were actually trying to do their job. The Republicans that are on there. And it’s not a just a partisan thing. I’ve watched them, I’ve listened to them. And when you go to one of these meetings and you see the eye rolling of Atencio, Web, Matt…oh gosh…Matt Jones and Carroll. I mean literally, whenever a Republican or a conservative or a non-Democrat would say anything at these meetings they just [sign noise], roll their eyes, and really disrespect them. You never saw that from the people on the Republican side. They would get back at them.

WORLEY: I have heard Ms. Atencio is kind of nasty.

RAMIREZ: Oh absolutely. Without saying. I want to say that I appreciate the commissioners that are in there really trying to really be honest and hold true to the Constitution. Because the original map they gave me wasn’t a better map. It was a little worse than when I ran last year. But it was an honest map. And it followed the rules like you guys were saying earlier. We follow the rules. We go out there and try to do what’s right and then every time the Democrats…and we know they are going to do it, sweep in the last minute with lies.

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