Redistricting fight has politicos scared of disclosure. Good

SCOTT MAXWELL | Orlando Sentinel | 05/31/2013

My favorite blog post this week comes from Jacksonville's Matt Dixon, who wrote about how a growing number of politicians, operatives and all-around hacks are about to pee their pants, scared to death that their actions in the redistricting scam may be revealed.

Good. Jack Nicholson's Joker once said Gotham needed an enema. What Tallahassee needs is a whole lot of sunlight ... and probably disinfectant.

In his post — "After giving judge nearly 1,900 pages of records, GOP firm warns of 'chilling effect' if they are made public" — Dixon highlighted a particularly frantic and hyperbolic affadvit by GOP operative Pat Bainter, begging the court not to make him and the other operatives tell the public what they did and why they did it.

Bainter says that, if forced to do so, his firm will "seriously reconsider its decision to participate" in future policy debates. (Presumably, he thinks someone other than him would think that's a bad thing.)

Bainter goes on to say that, if forced to come clean, that retaliation for government officials is "highly probable and expected."

Bainter then ups the ante even further, claiming his First Amendment rights would be threatened if he was forced to reveal secrets ... about how he tried to affect PUBLIC policy, mind you.

Asked Bainter: "Are citizens freely allowed to participate in the Democratic process without fear of government intrusion into private matters...?"

Um, except they're not private matters. The entire debate is about public policy — one that strikes at the very heart of Democracy itself: citizens rights to fair votes and fair districts.

If Bainter was involved in secret talks about widget manufacturing at a private plant in Yeehaw Junction, no one would care or have a right to know. But when you're talking about the strategies involved in shaping political districts, you're damn right I - and everyone else — has a right to know what went on. It's called "PUBLIC" policy for a reason. And if you don't want to be open and transparent about the way you do business, you should stick to private matters.

Redistricting has been a warped process for decades. Both parties have helped make it that way. But a lot of people thrive and profit off this seedy and secretive system ... which is why any want to keep it that way.

You can read Bainter's full affidavit - and decide for yourself whether all the secrets surrounding redistricting need to be preserved ... so they can continue.

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