The Congressional Redistricting Committee will hold its second and third public hearings tomorrow as part of a process that so far has consisted of committee members saying nothing or something innocuous enough to have the effect of nothing.
Insiders continue to remark on this process – featuring far less evident urgency than the legislative process, where machine political interests along with their lieutenants in public office, had a power stake.
“Tomorrow’s hearings in Newark and New Brunswick are intended to give the commission the benefit of public testimony,” said 13th tiebreaking member John Farmer, dean of the Rutgers University Law School.
The response to an ongoing invitation to the public to engage the redistricting process yielded an almost empty theater when redistricting commissioners convened in Camden last month.
“In the meantime, with the assistance of Rutgers law students from Newark and Camden, I have been attempting to gain a street-level understanding of the composition of the existing districts, so that I can evaluate the maps proposed by the parties and the public in an effective way,” Farmer said.
The fact that the public shows little interest in this process, which will result in the loss of one of New Jersey’s 13 congresspeople – twists the political adage that while voters don’t like congresspeople but like their own congressperson – they also don’t care what happens to their own congressperson.
“Our goal remains to complete the process before the end of the year,” Farmer said.
First meeting: 10 a.m. Robeson Campus Center, Room 255-257. Rutgers University-Newark, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Newark, New Jersey.
Second meeting: 3 p.m. Assembly Room in Winants Hall, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, 7 College Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey.