2010-03-24

We Draw the Lines (iiii)

We Draw the Lines.

(click for the first and second and third installments)

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This is the first one I really ran out of space on. Ah vell.

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Please describe the analytical skills you have that are relevant to serving on the Citizens Redistricting Commission, as discussed in Regulation 60827. You may include with this description any occupational, academic, volunteer, or other life experiences you have had that demonstrate those skills.

I will respond to as many elements of Regulation 60827 as will fit in the allotted space in order to give a sampling of how I meet this criteria.

* An ability to participate effectively in public hearings regarding redistricting by listening carefully and critically to the testimony of witnesses and formulating concise questions that will elicit relevant information.

- My experience as a reporter, having to attend public meetings and then relay the information in accurate digest form to my readers has, I feel, prepared me well to sit on the other side of the hearing divide. As well as prepared me to ask useful questions.

* Evaluating the validity and significance of the information gathered . . . in order to make sound decisions about the proper placement of communities in districts . . . .

- Although this requirement includes aspects of basic mathematical and computer literacy, the more important aspects are those connected to discerning the more important and credible data from the less. I'm particularly excited to "assess the relative strength of competing arguments" --- this is the real challenge the commission faces and it's a thrilling one to attack. Without this ability to parse facts, the complex problems the commission will face will be unintellgible, let alone solvable.

* Applying the appropriate legal standards . . . .

- Ah. This is what makes the puzzle a puzzle. Without the legal standards it's just problem solving. Add in the legal requirements and it turns into a game much like fitting all one's furniture into a seemingly too small moving truck. Understanding those standards is a simple-only-on-the-face task. Legal code is purposefully inscrutable, of course. But necessary. No matter how perfect the commission's work, someone will want to take the lines to court. So doing it right the first time is vital. This is where the soon-to-be-mentioned "receiving expert advice" will come in. Something I myself am expert at.

* Effective communication skills, including, but not limited to, basic writing skills. An ability to interact effectively with other commissioners to build consensus . . . through reasoned discussion and negotiation.

- Given the lotterylike odds of my taking this position, you may not be able to tell from the imperfect essays I am submitting, but I can communicate with words on paper like few can. (To wax unhumble for a moment.) I'll never be a good politician because I have little interest in being politic, but I can build consensus and work with others and make things happen. I don't get out of the way. I get things done.

* . . . a description of those skills and through occupational, academic, volunteer, or life experiences . . .

- As a missionary in Korea, I led teams of 20yearold kids in 80hour workweeks. That's not easy.

- As a student, as a reporter, as an educator, I have complied and deconstructed statistical and narrative sources of information. I've never drawn six figures by looking at papers and acting smart, but let's be honest: any reasonably literate person can do this and many can do it well. Compiling histories and original research on 19th c. publishing, for example.

- City watchdog.

1 comment:

  1. .

    [Edit: Added "We Draw the Lines" tag.]

    ReplyDelete