Luncheons for November, 2010

Redistricting? No, no — not again!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Redistricting? No, no—not again!

Where will Lloyd Doggett have to move to this time? What Board of Education district will Thomas Aquinas be running in? Will your new congressional district extend to Brownsville or to Oklahoma or both?

Once again, it’s time for Rube Goldberg and Sisyphus to team up for their decennial torture of the body politic—the endless, arcane process of carving up Texas electoral districts into bizarre shapes for irrational, self-serving political purposes. Find out how the process will work (and not work) this time and whether you once again will be represented by a Republican congressman who advocates absolutely nothing you believe in.


Katie Naranjo: Katie is organizing this presentation for us. She is a founding partner of GNI Strategies, LLC, an Austin based political and online communications consulting firm. Katie has worked many, many local, state representative, and statewide campaigns. She is brilliant, witty, irreverent, and a political consultant superstar of the first order.

Steve Bickerstaff: Steve probably knows more about redistricting law than the rest of Texas combined. He served as Parliamentarian of the Texas Senate and special assistant Texas Attorney General. In 1980 he founded the private law firm of Bickerstaff & Heath, which continues to be one of the premier election law firms in the country. He is the author of Lines in the Sand (2007), a book about the controversial 2003 congressional redistricting in Texas. He also is coauthor of International Election Principles (2009), and has written dozens of law journal articles on election law and telecommunications regulation. Legend has it that his most recurrent nightmare is of having dinner with Governor Elbridge Gerry, who transforms into a winged, dragon-like gerrymander and chases Steve from Austin to Dallas.

Super-Spectacular Door Prizes:

1. Peyton Budd & Dorothy Budd, “Tested: How Twelve Wrongly Imprisoned Men Held Onto Hope” (2010)—a compelling book about 12 innocent men who collectively served 189 years in prison before being exonerated. How can the human spirit survive for years under the crushing weight of wrongful imprisonment? These stories answer that question. Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project said of those men: “Their lives inspire us to seek justice for all.”

2. A paper sack that does not contain a copy of Rick Perry’s new book, “Fed Up: Our Fight To Save America From Washington.”

3. Red Wassenich’s book, “Keep Austin Weird,” perhaps autographed by Governor Elbridge Gerry himself.

Cost: lunch is $15.00 for members, $20.00 for non-members

Parking: 816 Congress Avenue/IBC Bank parking garage. Enter the parking garage on 9th Street, between Colorado and Congress. Bring your ticket to the receptionist on the 7th floor and you will be given a coupon to use to exit the garage at no charge.

Reservation required: To reserve your seat, email or or call Chuck Herring or Judy Erben at 320-0665. Please tell us if you intend to bring a non-member guest and if you have any special dietary concerns. PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BY 5 PM ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18. Seating to this event will be limited.

About the Forum: The Forum meets monthly for lunch to hear Democratic speakers. Membership is $120/yr. Non-members may attend, but members have priority and receive discount prices for lunches.