Seeking redistricting change sooner, not later
The group People Not Politicians is redoubling its effort to change Oklahoma’s redistricting process. The group had hoped to ask voters this year whether to let a nine-person commission, instead of the Legislature, redraw legislative and congressional district boundaries. Legal challenges and COVID-19 got in the way. This week the group amended and refiled its petition, hoping to put the question on the ballot in 2022. If approved by voters, the commission would redraw the districts that will be crafted by the Legislature next year, with the new maps taking effect in 2024. Republicans who control the Legislature are promising to make 2021 redistricting open and inclusive. The result will be criticized by those seeking to change the process, but following through on that pledge might take some of the starch out of this effort.
Seattle police chief decides she has had enough
After 28 years with the Seattle Police Department, Chief Carmen Best has had enough. Best, the city’s first Black police chief, resigned Monday, a few hours after the city council voted to cut her salary and those of other police brass, and eliminate funding for as many as 100 officers. The latter move, Best said, would require laying off young officers, many of them minorities. “That’s, for me, I’m done,” she said. “It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers.” Best had been through the wringer since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May sparked widespread protests. She opposed abandoning a police precinct in an area of Seattle that was occupied by protesters for several weeks. The mayor and city leaders ignored her. They did so again when Best wrote the council to say that limiting the use of such things as tear gas and pepper spray left police with few alternatives. “This was a difficult decision for me,” Best told her department, “but when it’s time, it’s time.” Who can blame her?