Hold the panic on redistricting

Baseball legend Lawrence “Yogi” Berra is credited with a variety of sayings that can apply to many aspects of life. One of our favorites is fitting for the redistricting fiasco that took place as the Louisiana Legislature completed its special session last Wednesday to realign Congressional representation.

As Yogi would say, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

After completing and approving a map that splits Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes into north and south sections – leaving areas such as Schriever and Thibodaux in the 6th Congressional District, while Houma, Larose and all points south are in the 1st Congressional District, some members of the regional delegation voiced anger and disappointment, but stressed that it ain’t over yet.

Congressional redistricting took place during a special session, but the deadline for completed Congressional maps does not arrive until mid-2012 when the representation drawings go to the U.S Department of Justice for final review.

State Rep. Damon Baldone (D-Houma) is among 20 legislators who have said it ain’t over. Baldone’s House Bill 525, is among the pieces of new legislation that will go before the Louisiana House and Senate when lawmakers return to Baton Rouge for their regular session on Monday.

These bills are designed to open a door of opportunity for reconsideration of what has been done before it gets a final signal of completion. Simply put, this game is going into extra innings.

State Sen. Norby Chabert (R-Houma) deserves credit for his final pitch to keep Terrebonne and Lafourche together during the special session. State Sen. D.A. “Butch” Guatreaux (D-Morgan City), who will be leaving state office due to term limits, showed he was not a team player as he left Chabert hanging in the final innings with no relief support.

The game plan, which saw most members of the Tri-parish delegation working together to keep Lafourche and Terrebonne together in one Congressional district requires modification, and voters making their voices known with telephone calls and email messages to the state house and governor’s office at this point, because this game ain’t over yet.

“It’s worth a try,” said state Rep. Gordon Dove regarding action that could bring redistricting back before the state House and Senate and serious reconsideration.

To the Louisiana Legislature we can offer another Yogi-ism: “[We] want to thank you for making this day necessary.”