Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How come the white news media is ignoring this story?

Florida ACLU News Release

March 21, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, FL – A federal court has ruled that district maps for elected offices in Jefferson County, Florida, which included state prison inmates, unconstitutionally diluted the voting power of voters in the other districts. In an order issued in a lawsuit filed on behalf of residents of Jefferson County by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida and the Florida Justice Institute (FJI), U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker held that the practice known as “prison gerrymandering” violated the constitutional rights of Jefferson County residents. It is the first federal court in the country to issue such an opinion.

(Friends of Corrine Brown video)
“We are thrilled to have won this decision on behalf of the people of Jefferson County, and to have struck a blow against one of the collateral effects of mass incarceration,” stated Nancy Abudu, Legal Director of the ACLU of Florida. “Judge Walker’s ruling holds that political maps can’t be drawn in a way that exploits the exploding populations of our prisons by using inmates who have no political influence over local politics to dilute the voting strength of local residents. Those who engage in prison gerrymandering should be on notice that this unconstitutional practice is subject to challenge.”
Attorneys for the ACLU and FJI represented four residents of Jefferson County – Kate Calvin, former Jefferson County Commissioner John Nelson, Charles Parrish and Lonnie Griffin — and local civic organization Concerned United People (CUP) in the challenge to the voting scheme. The lawsuit was filed in March of 2015.
"I'm very glad that the current redistricting map will be tossed out," stated Calvin, a resident of Monticello, Florida, whose home is in District 2.  "This has always been about what is fair and the Court's decision sets the stage for Jefferson County to finally have fair voter districts."
Prison gerrymandering occurs when state and local governments include prisoners as residents in their redistricting plans for purposes of drawing their election lines in such a way that reduces the voting strength of actual residents in the area. 
Under the maps used for County Commission and School Board elections, enacted in 2013, the inmates at Jefferson Correction Institution (JCI) make up 43.2% of the voting age population of Jefferson County’s District 3. The remaining population in District 3 therefore wield much more political influence over local politics than residents living in the other four county districts.
The court’s ruling found that Jefferson County’s inclusion of the large JCI inmate population violates the “one person, one vote” provision of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.  The prisoners at JCI – the overwhelming majority of whom are not from Jefferson County -- cannot be considered constituents or residents of the district because they are not in the district of their own volition, nor are their living conditions impacted by the officeholders who, under the current map, are said to “represent” them.
“This ruling is a major win for the principle of ‘one person, one vote,” stated Randall Berg, director of the Florida Justice Institute. “Judge Walker’s ruling is a resounding affirmation of The Fourteenth Amendment rights of the people in Jefferson County whose representation was being diluted by this system. With roughly 100,000 people incarcerated in Florida state prisons alone, the process of prison gerrymandering must come to an end.”
Plaintiff Charles Parrish, a long-time civil rights activist and citizen of District 4, stated, “Jefferson County has a long history of discriminatory voting practices and the struck down 2013 plan is just another example of that. Watering down people’s right to vote is wrong, and I am very happy that new maps that treat all of us equally will now be drawn.”
The order states that the county must submit a proposed map that complies with the ruling by April 4, 2016. Otherwise, the court will draw its own interim plan.
A copy of the decision is available here:http://aclufl.org/resources/calvin-et-al-v-jefferson-county-order-on-motions-for-summary-judgment/

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Good Friday agony

I'm sure you know the story of Good Friday.

This Good Friday (March 25) is when I’m going to Federal Court in Tallahassee to stop the bullies from destroying our Congressional district. This is a very painful situation.

Any money you can send can help win this fight.

$10, $20 or $50 will go a long way.

I’m counting on you.

Please make your contribution TODAY by clicking here.

Tomorrow may be too late.

Paid for and authorized by the Friends of Corrine Brown (D), Gloria Simmons, Treasurer

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fighting bullies

Greetings Friend,

When I was a little girl a teacher sent me home with a note telling my mother that I misbehaved in class.

My Mom wanted the full story. I told her this little boy in my class kept tripping and shoving me to make me fall down. My mother told me to not ever let anyone bully me.
Me and My Mom

Just last week my Mom repeated that advice. Her timing couldn’t be better because, as you probably know, I’m in the fight of my political life. Bullies have played a dirty trick to force me out of office by re-drawing my Congressional district to cover a largely rural area of north Florida and include 22 prisons, and convicted felons can’t vote.

This dirty trick would prevent me from representing so many of the Florida communities I love. Before I took office no African-American in Florida had never been elected to Congress.

My Mom continues to urge me to fight back. I continue to follow her advice. I have taken the re-districting case to court and a hearing is set for March 25th (Good Friday, please pray for me!) at the federal court in Tallahassee. Time is short, this court battle will cost more than $100,000 and my funds very are limited.

I’m grateful if you can contribute from $25 up to the legal limit of $2,600, to the Friends of Corrine Brown.

Making a contribution is easy. You can send it online by clicking here. Or you can send a personal check to Friends of Corrine Brown at P.O. Box 40087, Jacksonville, FL 32203.

I really need your assistance RIGHT NOW!

In addition to your prayers, and contributions, it would be wonderful if you can attend the re-districting court hearing in the U.S. Federal Courthouse, Courtroom 5 East, 111 N. Adams St., Tallahassee. Please be in the courtroom no later than 8:50 a.m.

Together, we can fight and overcome the bullies.

Corrine Brown

Paid for and authorized by the Friends of Corrine Brown (D), Gloria Simmons, Treasurer