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Lawsuit shows how open government was a joke during redistricting


Sometimes it takes a simple redistricting lawsuit to show us the funny side of the state Capitol.

Redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redrawing congressional and legislative boundaries, isn’t something that’s the stuff of big laughs.

But the lawsuit accusing legislative leaders of improperly drawing some congressional districts — chiefly for Republican gain — has dug up enough evidence to show that politicians’ talk about government in the sunshine is a big joke.

“It was an extremely open and transparent process,” Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, after giving testimony in the redistricting lawsuit, deadpanned to reporters.

Too bad he wasn’t intentionally self-mocking.

Legislative leaders are essentially incapable of being “extremely open.” They make a show of sunlight. But time and again they cut deals in shadow that result in fait-accompli votes on major items like, say, the $77.1 billion budget.

Since knowledge is power, and since power shared is power lost, secrecy is strength in the Capitol.

The lawsuit shows that Weatherford and his counterpart, current Senate President Don Gaetz, met out of the public eye to work out differences in the redistricting maps. But Gaetz said in court that it wasn’t really a closed meeting.

“The door was open,” said Gaetz.

Oh, yes. So many open doors. Ha. Ha.

Rest of column here