Today the Campaign of Dr. McKalip announced he will save taxpayer dollars by not challenging the redistricting maps in court. The press release from the campaign is below.
Dr. McKalip Chooses To Save Taxpayer Money
and Avoid Redistricting Lawsuit.
Dr. McKalip will focus on winning St. Petersburg
City Council Seat to End Gerrymandering.
St. Petersburg, FL – Dr. David McKalip has opted to focus his energies on earning election to the St. Petersburg City Council rather than sue the City over its invalid redistricting plan. The City Council will be voting their final approval of a set of maps that were drawn specifically to keep incumbents in their seats on Thursday, March 21. Dr. McKalip has indicated he does not want taxpayer money spent defending a lawsuit in this case. The City Redistricting Commission created a map that does not meet the “compactness” requirement of St. Petersburg Law. In fact, the City is in violation of violation of the clear public policy found at Article III, section 21 of the Florida that specifically states: “No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.” A legal opinion from local attorney Kerry Brown analyzed the case and, based on the facts, a legal victory was likely if Dr. McKalip challenged the law. 62% of Florida voters added this language to the Florida Constitution through amendments 5 and 6 in 2010. Dr. McKalip will attend the City Council Meeting on Thursday to insist that the City Council reject the entire map unanimously and start over. However, based on public statements it is unlikely the City Council will reject the plan recommended by the Commission.
The recommend map draws a clear path around the precinct where Dr. McKalip and his opponent currently live. The map resembles other gerrymandering efforts in the past. This gerrymander was done specifically to protect incumbents as indicated in minutes of the redistricting commission meetings. Dr. McKalip has indicated that if elected, he will work to pass law to specifically prevent protection of incumbents in future redistricting efforts.
Dr. McKalip offered: “The city politicians and bureaucrats don’t mind wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending laws they know to be invalid, as they have done recently in the Bradley Westphal Workers compensation Case. I will not subject the taxpayers to more loss of their money merely so the City staff can defend the indefensible”.
Dr. McKalip continued: “I intend to get elected to St. Petersburg City Council so these bureaucrats can be brought under control of the People and the tone-deaf politicians now there get a dose of common sense and reality on a regular basis”.
The Commission was informed that they were required to draw the districts to keep incumbents in office, even though the City Attorney later admitted in a memo that candidates can simply move into the new district. Dr. McKalip and his opponent were forced to establish new residences in the new District Four while incumbents did not have to put forth such an effort. McKalip said: “Yet again the incumbents use the system to protect themselves and make life harder for everyone else.”
One irony of this gerrymandering fiasco is that Dr. McKalip’s opponent, Darden Rice, was on the Charter Review Commission that created the new system. Yet she did not offer language that would prevent maps from being redrawn to protect incumbents which could have easily followed the precise words of the Florida Constitution. Dr. McKalip concluded: “It is unfortunate that Ms. Rice could not foresee the predictable problem of incumbents protecting themselves when offering new Charter language for the citizens to approve in 2011. I will bring leadership that recognizes that politicians and bureaucrats often go out of their way to serve themselves and I will pass laws to overcome that fact.”