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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Gerrymander: a word that’s fun to say

With the primary behind us, and many candidates continuing to claim the new supervisor districts were gerrymandered, I thought it would be helpful to recap the contentious process that gave them to us.

1. The Redistricting Commission was five members — three appointed by the Board of Supervisors and two appointed by the chair of the Republican Party in Linn County. This is by law, and resulted in three Democrats and two Republicans on the commission.

2.  The commission initially endorsed Map D, a map drawn by computers at the Auditor’s Office, which gave the northern third of the county its own district, along with Hiawatha, Robins, Palo and a few northeast Cedar Rapids precincts. It put Marion and Mount Vernon in the same district.

3. The pivotal moment was a public hearing on October 2, 2007. Six people spoke to the commission, three in favor of Map D, three against it. The three people who spoke against it were former Mount Vernon Mayor Rick Elliott, Mount Vernon City Council member Diane Hoffmann (who is now chairwoman of the Linn Democrats) and Roy Porterfield of Cedar Rapids. They said Mount Vernon should not be grouped with Marion, because the two towns don’t go together naturally. (This is very important, because as far as I can tell, it is the only reason the commission abandoned Map D and moved toward a different solution.)

Here are the two maps.

4. The commission scrapped Map D and endorsed Map G, which was drawn by Democrat commission member Norm Sterzenbach and divides the districts the way we have them now. At the Oct. 22 public hearing on Map G, 28 people spoke against it and 14 spoke for it. (Worth noting: In Dick Hogan’s story the day after the hearing, the person quoted most prominently in support of Map G was Alan Bernard, the former director of the Hawkeye Labor Council who was yanked off a plane this winter and fired because of “financial irregularities” involving council funds.)

5. Despite the protests of several who’d pushed for election of supervisors by district, Map G went to the Board of Supervisors for approval on a 3-2 party line vote in the commission, and the supervisors approved it.

After this, the whole process was looked at by the state’s Legislative Services Agency which said it passed legal review. Secretary of State Michael Mauro then gave the districts his approval, effectively closing the issue unless those who protested wanted to take it to court. They didn’t, but that hasn’t stopped the accusations of gerrymandering.

Filed under: County Government, , ,

After primary loss, Hahn considers November (sort of)

Cary J. Hahn, sounding a little doubtful on the telephone Wednesday, said he would not officially comment on whether he’d run as an independent in November against Lu Barron, who defeated him in the supervisor District 1 Democratic primary Tuesday.

Barron won by a count of 805 to 715, a closer-than-expected race that had her a little rattled for part of the night as the results came in on a big screen at the auditor’s office, 930 First St. SW.

Hahn said he stayed up late contemplating his loss by 90 votes. He did not campaign much and accepted no donations in the race against Barron, who’s served on the Board of Supervisors since 1997.

Hahn would not rule out a run as an independent, but again, sounded reluctant. He and his wife leave town Saturday for 10 days, and he says he’ll have some sort of official statement in mid-June.

Barron said Hahn sent her a “very nice” e-mail, in which he “indicated…that he didn’t have the desire to run again.”

Filed under: County Government, , ,

Rural turnout up

As of 3 p.m., rural and smalltown voters are turning out in greater number — when compared with past turnouts — than are urban voters.

Polls for today’s primary election close at 9 p.m., and the Linn County Auditor’s Office is keeping tabs on turnout here, where you can pull up a detailed spreadsheet near the bottom of the page.

Some of the hottest non-Cedar Rapids/Marion precincts are in Center Point, where turnout is half again what it was in 2006 when the 3 p.m. numbers were released, and Robins, where turnout has doubled.

We’ve posted a little rundown of those numbers on the website, and Rick Smith and I will be down at the Administrative Office Building (930 First St. SW) later tonight, soaking in all the electricity. You should come too.

Filed under: County Government, , , ,

Follow the money

I wrote this story about campaign finance for Saturday’s paper and it was buried in the B section with the obits, so most people probably missed it:

CEDAR RAPIDS — Candidates who spent, raised or borrowed more than $750 were required to file campaign finance reports with the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board by May 19.

The reports cover Jan. 1 to May 14.

Here are some facts from the reports, which are available at webapp.iecdb.iowa.gov/PublicView/county

– The spouses of Supervisors Lu Barron and Jim Houser both contributed to auditor candidate Lyle Hanson’s campaign. Bill Barron wrote a $200 check and Arleen Zahn-Houser wrote one for $50.
– Dave Machacek wrote himself a $2,500 check to kick off his fundraising, and through May 14, was the biggest spender among supervisor candidates.
– In spending, sheriff candidate Brian Gardner shelled out $13,466. Linn County Jail administrator Michael Carr contributed $500 to Gardner’s campaign.
– So far, the unions are supporting sheriff candidate Bill Elam. The IBEW, Laborers Political League Local 43, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 125, Sheet Metal Workers and United Transportation Unions contributed to his campaign.
– Supervisor candidate Cary Hahn, who did not file a report, said he has not accepted any campaign contributions.

The primaries are Tuesday, but the next filing deadline is July 19, so many donations and spending will not become public until after the election.

Here are the numbers from the reports:

Auditor
– Democrat Joel Miller had $233 on hand, raised $2,349 and spent $68.
– Democrat Lyle Hanson had $0 on hand, raised $7,245, borrowed $424 and spent $3,917.

Sheriff
– Democrat Brian Gardner had $10,621 on hand, raised $10,045 and spent $13,466.
– Democrat Bill Elam had $2,845 on hand, raised $7,753 and spent $5,534.
– Republican David Zahn had $6,429 on hand, raised $1,860 and spent $1,356.

Supervisor District 1
– Democrat Lu Barron had $770 on hand, raised $10,210 and spent $2,402.
– Democrat Cary Hahn has not filed a report.

Supervisor District 2
– Democrat Linda Langston had $1,787 on hand, raised $9,905 and spent $467.
– Democrat Bernita Rozinek had $0 on hand, raised $6,580, borrowed $1,000 and spent $2,485.
– Democrat Kevin Lynch has not filed a report.
– Republican John Erceg had $0 on hand, raised $3,125 and spent $1,895.
– Republican Dale Stanek has not filed a report.

Supervisor District 3
– Democrat Ben Rogers had $0 on hand, raised $5,875 and spent $718.
– Republican Randy Oakley had $0 on hand, raised $300, borrowed $500 and spent $631.
– Republicans Eric Rosenthal and Jesse Arenas have not filed reports.

Supervisor District 4
– Republican Mary Lundby transferred $31,000 from her campaign for state Senate, raised another $16,900 and spent $4,403.
– Democrats Rick Heeren and Don Gray have not filed reports.

Supervisor District 5
– Republican Dave Machacek had $433 on hand, raised $10,860 and spent $5,058.
– Republican Tom Watson had $0 on hand, borrowed $1,274, raised $0 and spent $974.
– Democrat Jim Houser had $2 on hand, raised $6,290 and spent $1,116.
– Democrat Larry Wear had $0 on hand, borrowed $2,500, raised $210 and spent $762.

Filed under: County Government, , ,

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