Vote Nevada Update 10/10/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

The National Constitution Center hosted a very interesting, and at times, heated debate over the issue of qualified immunity for the police.  It’s only one hour and well worth the time: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/town-hall-video/for-debate-should-qualified-immunity-for-police-officers-be-abolished

I wanted to also send a reminder for three upcoming events. 

First, Vote Nevada and CSN are partnering with the Las Vegas Indian Center and PLAN to offer a viewing of American Outrage, a documentary about the Dann Sisters of Nevada, to commemorate Indigenous People’s Day.  If you’ve lived in Nevada for a bit you’ll remember reading about the Dann sisters and their legal battle to protect their cattle from government confiscation.  After the movie, you can join us for a panel discussion about indigenous sovereignty, the LandBack Movement, and the current litigation around developing a lithium mine at Thacker Pass.

Date: October 11th    Time: 6-8 pm

You can attend in person or join us via Zoom.  We will be at the CSN West Charleston Campus, 6375 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89146, Building I-Room 108, 6-8 pm.  Here’s a campus map: https://www.csn.edu/charleston-map

Or you can RSVP to join us on Zoom here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkce-pqzgvHNDF16Ba0kF80ormN7DuuFr6

To further recognize our indigenous friends and neighbors, please join Vote Nevada on Saturday, October 23rd, 9-10:30 am, via Zoom, for a panel discussion about Inclusive Civics Education: Tribal Governments and Sovereignty.  We will discuss the history of treaties, including the U.S. government’s refusal to abide by ratified treaties with indigenous peoples, and the roles tribal governments and sovereignty play in current civic life. 

Our panelists will be Dr. William Bauer, UNLV History Professor and the Director of American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program, and Stacey Montooth, Executive Director of the Nevada Indian Commission.

You can RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpcO6rpj4tE9TQ903oWZWG6s7YRv4rXxjR

Over the last year, we’ve seen quite a few changes to our cannabis distribution and consumption laws. One of the main topics discussed has been opportunities for people of color to qualify for cannabis distribution licenses.  Despite the fact that our past drug laws have disproportionately impacted communities of color, opportunities to enter the cannabis distribution sector have gone mainly to white entrepreneurs.

If you are interested in learning more about how cannabis distribution licensing has changed and about more inclusive opportunities to enter the industry, the Black Business Association is offering a seminar this upcoming Saturday.  The seminar is part of the larger Black Food Festival, so you can also enjoy great food and music as well.

You can learn more about the Black Food Festival and the cannabis business opportunities seminar here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/1-black-festival-in-las-vegas-4th-annual-black-las-vegas-food-festival-tickets-137839600957

Lastly, redistricting has started!  We have school boards, the Nevada System of Higher Education Regents, Cities, and Counties already drawing maps and soliciting feedback. Unlike ten years ago, however, when CCSD released over twenty possible redistricting maps, this time there are only three school Trustee maps under consideration.  Many of us who have attended the CCSD redistricting community meetings have discovered some disturbing issues with all three maps, but especially with Maps 2 and 3.

You can view the current CCSD Trustees’ district map as well as the three proposed maps and the list of community meeting dates on this webpage: https://ccsd.net/trustees/redistricting/

You can also provide comments through the link that is under the three proposed maps. 

When you click on each map link, if you scroll down, under each map is a data breakdown of the 2020 Census demographic numbers, the demographic numbers for each grade level, the demographic breakdown for CCSD as a whole, and the demographic changes between the current map and the proposed map.

I attended the CCSD redistricting meeting for District G, which is Linda Cavazos’ district.  The tone of the meeting was very patronizing and disrespectful to attendees and the explanation for how the maps were internally created was missing a key criterion. 

The CCSD representatives claimed that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 only requires governing bodies to include three criteria for fair representation while redistricting.  The three criteria mentioned were, the districts must be equal in population size, compact, and contiguous. 

I pointed out that the U.S. Department of Justice recently issued a memo on redistricting that clearly includes a fourth criterion: take into consideration communities of interest.  You can read the memo and the DOJ redistricting guidelines here:

https://www.justice.gov/crt/redistricting-information

https://www.justice.gov/crt/case-document/file/1429826/download

When the meeting attendees broke into three groups to view the maps, there was consensus on these three points:

While the 2020 Census documents that Clark County has a 44.86 percent white population, four of the seven districts on Map 3 have a white majority.  Without any documentation demonstrating that this over-representation of white Nevadans in this CCSD redistricting proposal exists due to consideration of one or more communities of interest, Map 3 appears to dilute the voting power of non-white Nevadans.

Map 2 moves District G from the east side of Clark County to the southwest side of Clark County, south of Blue Diamond Road.  No explanation is given for this drastic change. District G loses over 16 percent of its Latino voters and gains over 9 percent of Asian voters.

Attendees’ questions included: Why is one Trustee losing so many voters from a community of interest and why is only one community possibly losing its Trustee due to a drastic redistricting change?  Additionally, District C on Map 2, which includes the Historic Westside’s Black community, is extended all the way out to Mount Charleston and Indian Springs.  This looks like Black voter dilution due to failing to make District C compact.

Map 1 has fewer problems and resembles the current district lines the most, but it is not concern-free. District D looks like a dinosaur and extends from the middle of the valley all the way out to Sandy Valley.  Again, this looks like vote dilution due to not drawing a district compactly.

All of these observations are based on the information provided at the redistricting meeting, which did not include any explanation for how each map was drawn and how each map complies with the Voting Rights Act.  So, UNLV Law Professor, Sylvia Lazos, asked the Legislative Council Bureau to please load the three proposed CCSD maps into the redistricting software legislators will use to draw our congressional and legislative maps.  The LCB agreed. 

This allows us to use the software’s Validate feature to determine whether all three maps comply with the Voting Rights Act.  The software will also allow community members to either alter the current maps to achieve Vote Rights Act compliance, or to draw new maps from scratch.

I will let you all know as soon as the CCSD maps are loaded into MyDistricting Nevada, but in the meantime, if you would like to use the software, you’ll need to create a free account here: https://redistricting.leg.state.nv.us/legdistricting/nevada

And review this How-To Guide for using the software: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Documents/MyDistrictingNevada2021UserGuide.pdf

There are still more CCSD redistricting meetings this week and other opportunities to weigh in on other redistricting maps.   Here is a link to the CCSD meetings (scroll to the bottom): https://ccsd.net/trustees/redistricting/

And here are the other opportunities to weigh in:

Clark County redistricting: https://maps.clarkcountynv.gov/redistricting

Washoe County redistricting: https://washoelife.washoecounty.gov/washoe-county/washoe-county-seeks-input-on-county-commission-redistricting/

City of Reno Redistricting: https://city-of-reno-redistricting-engagement-portal-maulfoster.hub.arcgis.com/

The Interim Legislative Committee to investigate redistricting met on Thursday, October 7th; you can watch the meeting recording here:    https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Video/

The committee elected a chair and vice-chair, saw a brief presentation on how to use the MyDistricting Nevada software, and set some tentative dates for future community meetings.

If you need a quick refresher on why we redistrict and the redistricting process, I’ve archived all the Vote Nevada Zoom presentations and workshops on redistricting here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/redistricting-resources/

It is vitally important for each of us to be heard in this process.  The district maps give the people the representation we are guaranteed under the U.S. and Nevada constitutions; the maps belong to the people, not the political parties. 

If you know “No taxation without representation,” then you know how long Americans have been demanding fair and accountable representation in our governing bodies. We now have the technology to amplify our voices, so, please do not allow this civic opportunity to pass by. 

Gerrymandering silences our voices, it needs to be banished once and for all.

Thank you for reading this lengthy message. I am going to add just a bit more with a reminder about our current fundraising efforts.

If you have not yet reviewed our fundraising projects for 2021-2022, you can read more here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/2021/09/05/vote-nevada-civic-projects-fundraising/

Altogether, we are fundraising for $10,000 for our 2021-2022 civic engagement projects.  If you are interested in supporting these worthwhile endeavors, please consider donating through our

Facebook fundraising page if you are on Facebook (we pay no fees through Facebook):

https://www.facebook.com/donate/187176190048775/

Or

Our Square Donation page (we pay a small transaction fee through Square):

 https://checkout.square.site/merchant/MLAC21JKV6XNH/checkout/CEXZLRNNSBLFPFI5H4FIF2KH

Thank you for being Nevadans with me!

Sondra

 

 

 

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