Movement toward less partisan political maps gains momentum
By DAVID A. LIEB
Thursday, March 21
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Frustrated by partisan gerrymandering, voters in a growing number of states have taken the pen and computer away from lawmakers who have traditionally drawn U.S. House and state legislative districts and instead entrusted that responsibility to others.
In the past decade, eight states have overhauled their redistricting procedures to lessen the potential of partisan manipulation, including four that adopted ballot measures last fall. More could consider redistricting changes during the 2020 elections — the last before the U.S. Census initiates another round of mapmaking for over 400 U.S. House seats and nearly 7,400 state legislative seats.
The current movement began in California for the 2010 Census, when voters approved ballot initiatives creating an independent citizens’ commission to handle redistricting. Measures touted as redistricting reforms also have passed in Florida, New York, Ohio and — most recently— in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah.
In Ohio, the effort was bipartisan. Republicans joined with Democrats to back a pair of successful ballot measures that will require minority-party support to enact new congressional and state legislative districts for the next decade.
Ohio’s congressional delegation has remained at 12 Republicans and four Democrats ever since GOP officials redrew the maps after the 2010 Census, a 75-25 percent tilt that is out of line with the statewide vote for the two major parties. In November, Republican congressional candidates in Ohio won 52 percent of that vote while Democrats won 48 percent.
The Associated Press used a so-called “efficiency gap” test to analyze the 2018 elections. It’s one of the same analytical tools cited in a North Carolina gerrymandering case for which the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Tuesday. The test showed Ohio’s pro-Republican leaning ranked just behind North Carolina’s in the 2018 congressional elections, and its state House districts also showed a GOP advantage.
“We’ve been living under that rigged system for the entire decade,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.
Yet one of the supporters of Ohio’s new redistricting procedures is Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who worked as a state senator to refer the measures to the ballot. LaRose said he hopes the new process leads to more competitive elections — even if that puts Republicans at risk of losing seats.
“I also see this in some ways as tough love for my party,” LaRose said. “I believe that Republican candidates are likely to win based on their ideas and based on the quality of their solutions for governing. But I think that when we rely on something other than that to win an election, it weakens us.”
Voters in Missouri went a step further last fall, becoming the first state to insert a version of the efficiency gap test into its constitution. Under the new measure, a nonpartisan state demographer will use the 2020 Census data to draw districts for the state House and Senate that achieve “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness.”
The Missouri measure will not apply to congressional districts, which will continue to be drawn by the Legislature, currently controlled by Republicans.
Republicans have maintained a 6-2 advantage over Democrats in Missouri’s congressional delegation ever since the current districts were enacted in 2011, when a few Democrats joined with Republican lawmakers to override a veto by the Democratic governor.
The AP analysis shows that Missouri Republicans won one more congressional seat than would have been expected in 2018 based on their average share of the votes. That swing district was in suburban St. Louis, where Republican U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner withstood a close challenge from Democrat Cort VanOstran.
Though he acknowledged shortfalls in fundraising and name identification, VanOstran said: “I think that Missouri is a victim of gerrymandering.”
Yet independent commissions don’t always do away with partisan advantages, some of which can arise naturally when Democratic or Republican voters choose to live in high concentrations in certain neighborhoods or cities.
The AP’s efficiency gap analysis shows California Democrats won four more congressional seats than would have been expected based on their district average share of the vote in the 2018 elections. That helped boost Democrats’ overwhelming majority in California’s congressional delegation to 46-7 over Republicans. The AP’s analysis showed California had a more neutral result when Democrats won a 39-14 majority over Republicans in the 2016 elections.
“There’s no doubt that the commission produced a map that tilts a little bit Democratic,” said Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California who developed the efficiency gap model. But “looking at average results over time, it’s not consistently Democratic. It flips around; it’s variable in that sense.”
Other states that use independent or bipartisan commissions to draw state legislative or congressional districts include Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey and Washington. In Iowa, nonpartisan legislative staff create the redistricting maps, which then go to the Legislature for an up-or-down vote.
Follow David A. Lieb at: http://twitter.com/DavidALieb
Catholic Social Services Partners with Columbus State Community College to Win $1.2M National Award
Tue 3/12/2019 8:49 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Catholic Social Services (CSS) was one of three human services organizations nationally to be selected for a $1.2M award to replicate Stay the Course, a case management program proven to increase community college students’ persistence and degree completion rates. CSS will implement the program in partnership with Columbus State Community College to improve students’ college persistence and degree completion.
Stay the Course helps students address personal, economic, and social barriers to college success through intensive case management and emergency financial assistance. The program was developed by Catholic Charities of Fort Worth and is evaluated by The University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). Preliminary results show that participants in Stay the Course are 25.2 percentage points more likely to persist in college than the comparison group and female participants in the program are 31.5 percentage points more likely to earn an Associate’s Degree than the comparison group. Catholic Social Services and Columbus State will replicate the program and participate in the research study. CSS will add five employees to implement Stay the Course, and three will directly serve students on Columbus State’s downtown campus. The grant also includes resources for emergency financial assistance to Columbus State students.
“I find it heroic how many people who are already balancing work and family responsibilities go to school to build a better future for themselves and their children,” said Rachel Lustig, President and CEO of Catholic Social Services. “There is no group fighting harder to make their lives and our community better, and CSS wants to be in their corner with Columbus State to help them be successful.”
“We are excited to partner with Catholic Social Services to bring this proven solution to our students,” said Columbus State President David Harrison. “We know that many students face financial challenges that can prevent them from focusing fully on their education. Connecting them to supportive resources is a critical component to overall student success.”
With three years of initial funding, Stay the Course will begin at Columbus State in August 2019.
About Catholic Social Services
Catholic Social Services is an anti-poverty agency whose goal is to empower people in need, regardless of background, with the tools they need to reach their full potential. Our efforts are focused on two specific populations that allow us to have the most significant impact in our community: families and seniors. Our unique approach to helping our clients—most of whom are marginalized or struggling with poverty—is designed to help them overcome barriers to success while respecting their dignity and acknowledging their value to our community. Learn more at www.colscss.org.
MARCH 12, 2019
Rep. Russo named to Ohio Elder Abuse Commission
COLUMBUS— State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced her appointment to the Ohio Elder Abuse Commission, a statewide coalition of advocates, elected officials and stakeholders tasked with improving elder justice throughout the state.
“No older Ohioan should ever fear neglect, physical harm, emotional abuse, or financial fraud. Our seniors deserve to live their remaining years with safety, dignity, and respect. I look forward to being a strong voice for funding and policy solutions that improve elder abuse prevention and provide needed access to criminal justice services,” said Rep. Russo.
Ohio Elder Abuse Commission meetings are free to attend and open to the public.
BROADWAY’S TONY AWARD-WINNING HIT COMEDY PREPARES TO WREAK HAVOC IN COLUMBUS APRIL 9-14
Tickets are now on sale for the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) and Broadway in Columbus (BIC) presentation of the hilarious Tony Award-winning hit Broadway comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong, making its Columbus debut at the newly renovated Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St.) April 9-14.
The performance schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 pm
Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 pm
Thursday, April 11, 7:30 pm
Friday, April 12, 8 pm
Saturday, April 13, 2 pm & 8 pm
Sunday, April 14, 1 pm & 6:30 pm
Tickets start at $34 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces the ‘Cornley University Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.
“Entertainment Weekly” calls The Play That Goes Wrong “Hilarious! Non-stop pandemonium.” The Huffington Post calls it “The funniest play Broadway has ever seen!” And the New York Post says it’s “Broadway’s funniest and longest-running play! Nothing is as fall-down funny. GO.”
The Broadway production of The Play That Goes Wrong opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017, and by its closing on January 6, 2019, the Broadway production played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the second longest-running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. Not yet done with New York, The Play That Goes Wrong officially opened Off-Broadway on February 20, 2019, at New World Stages – Stage 4. The Play That Goes Wrong received a Tony Award for Best Set Design, Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.
Awarded the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 WhatsOnStage Best New Comedy, and 2015 UK BroadwayWorld.com’s Best New Play Awards, The Play That Goes Wrong is now in its fourth year in the West End, is currently on a 30-week UK tour, and playing on six continents. The producers have avoided Antarctica for fear of a frosty reception.
It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance to play to an audience of more than 2 million people around the world.
Mischief Theatre, the Olivier Award-winning theatre company led by Artistic Director Henry Lewis and Company Director Jonathan Sayer, was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work.
The Play That Goes Wrong tour is directed by Matt DiCarlo with original Broadway direction by Mark Bell, featuring set design by Nigel Hook, lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson, and costume design by Roberto Surace.
The Play That Goes Wrong is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber, Ken Davenport, Double Gemini Productions / deRoy-Brunish, Damian Arnold / TC Beech, Greenleaf Productions / Bard-Roth, Martian Entertainment / Jack Lane / John Yonover, and Lucas McMahon.
For more information, visit www.BroadwayGoesWrong.com or follow The Play That Goes Wrong on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @BwayGoesWrong
OHIO WESLEYAN TO PRESENT ‘HAMLET’
Three Performances of Shakespeare’s Classic Play Set for April 12-14
DELAWARE, Ohio – Revenge, lost love, ambition and greed, betrayal, and the question of good versus evil. These issues churn at the core of Shakespeare’s best-known play, “Hamlet,” being performed April 12-14 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
“ ‘Hamlet’ is as timely today as it was when Shakespeare wrote it around 1601,” said theatre professor Elane Denny-Todd, director of the OWU performance. “It was written and produced near the mid-point of Shakespeare’s playwriting career.
“The recurring themes of justice versus injustice, truth versus lies, and the effects of corruption still speak loudly today in our present world of chaos, unease and mistruths,” Denny-Todd said. “Shakespeare does not offer easy solutions, but rather forces us to question ourselves, our actions, and our world at large.”
The Ohio Wesleyan Department of Theatre & Dance will present three performances of “Hamlet” at 8 p.m. April 12 and April 13, with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. April 14.
More than 50 Ohio Wesleyan students are participating in the production. The stellar cast features sophomores Joe Antal as Hamlet as Logan Kovach as Claudius; juniors Emma Antal as Gertrude, Adam Lieser as Laertes, and Rose Jonesco as Ophelia; and senior Jack Riter as Polonius.
Scenic design is by Ohio Wesleyan faculty member Chad Knutson, lighting design by professor D. Glen Vanderbilt, and costume design by guest designer Donna Williamson. Ohio Wesleyan senior Daniel Brothers is serving as stage manager.
“Hamlet” will be performed on the Main Stage of OWU’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Tickets are $10 for general admission; $5 for senior citizens and non-Ohio Wesleyan students; and free for Ohio Wesleyan students and employees with a valid OWU ID. To reserve tickets, call the box office at (740) 368-3855. Reservations are requested as seating is limited.
For more information about the performance or about studying theatre or dance at Ohio Wesleyan, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.
Americana/Folk Artist Todd Snider Plays Rescheduled Concert at the Davidson April 10
After postponing a scheduled November 2018 Columbus appearance due to a medical emergency, Todd Snider returns to perform a rescheduled concert on April 10. Rolling Stone calls Todd Snider “one of the sharpest, funniest storytellers in rock.” After more than two decades performing his signature Americana/folk sound around the world and releasing more than a dozen albums, Snider continues to win over new fans with his wit, storytelling, and live performances.
CAPA presents Todd Snider at the Davidson Theatre (77 S. High St.) on Wednesday, April 10, at 8 pm. Tickets are $25.50 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
Dublin Arts Council Awards Community Arts Grants
Six Local Arts Organizations to Receive Support
DUBLIN, Ohio— (March 14, 2019) Dublin Arts Council Executive Director David S. Guion announced today that Dublin Arts Council has awarded 2019 community arts grants totaling nearly $36,000 to six different Dublin-based nonprofit organizations.
A grant of $7,660 has been awarded to Dublin Area Art League (DAAL) for emerging artist scholarships for area high school seniors and fees for the organization’s fall and spring member exhibitions, Paintout, Arts Stroll and Irish Show. Dublin Area Art League is a group of artists, representing all skill levels, who gather to meet with fellow artists for continued educational opportunities to further develop their talents and showcase local artwork throughout the community. For more information about DAAL, please visit http://www.dublinartleague.org/.
Dublin Community Bands will receive a $10,300 Dublin Arts Council community arts grant to expand the Dublin Youth Solo Competition, Dublin Festival of Brass and a new commission for the Dublin Community Bands’ 10th anniversary. Dublin Community Bands includes six distinct ensembles: Dublin Cornet Band, Dublin Silver Band, Dublin Wind Symphony, Dublin Metro Brass, Emerald City Swing Orchestra and Dublin Youth Brass Band. Each band seeks to engage the community and provide entertainment for all ages. For more information about Dublin Community Bands, please visit www.dublinbands.com.
The Dublin Singers received a financial award of $550 for membership campaign materials, plus in-kind marketing communications and non-profit administration support from Dublin Arts Council staff and board for membership, financial growth and organizational sustainability planning, estimated at $4,000. Dublin Arts Council will also fund a $1,000 Dublin Singers Music Scholarship for a selected high school student. Dublin Singers is Dublin’s community chorus, providing an opportunity for singers beyond high school age to come together to perform a wide variety of choral music for the benefit of their fellow singers and their community. More information about The Dublin Singers can be found at https://thedublinsingers.org/.
Columbus Modern Dance Company (CoMo) received a grant of $2,500 for choreographer, videography and expenses for “Best Of” showcase performance. CoMo company dancers are trained in various modern techniques, with supplemental training in ballet, composition and choreography. Current or incoming college students intern with the company, and advanced high school students receive training for college preparation and auditions. For more information about CoMo, please visit https://comodance.org/.
Dublin Taiko Boosters will receive a $10,000 grant to present a 15th Anniversary Concert in August of 2019 that will help promote diversity and expansion of cultural knowledge in the community. Dublin Taiko provides hands-on learning opportunities about the Japanese drumming art of Taiko through education, cultural exchange and performance. The group began as a cultural exchange during the 2004-2005 school year, produced by Ohio Arts Council, Arts Midwest, Dublin Arts Council and the Japan Cultural Network at Dublin Davis Middle School. For more information about Dublin Taiko, please visit https://www.dublintaiko.com/.
The Irish Dance Association of Columbus has been awarded an $8,000 grant for the creation of choreography for four new dance works and for support of their public debut during an annual showcase performance. The Irish Dance Association of Columbus is organized to assist and encourage community cultural and artistic endeavors, and to develop and promote community interest, knowledge and appreciation of Irish dance. Details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/irishdanceassociationofcolumbus/.
“We are honored to support these community organizations and aid their efforts to bring quality arts programming to Dublin,” said Guion. “Dublin Arts Council is dedicated to sustaining a creative community culture in which a variety of art forms, arts organizations and artistic projects can flourish.”
Organizations must be exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and registered with the State of Ohio as a non-profit organization to apply for a DAC Community Arts Grant. Organizations must also be based in Dublin, and contribute to DAC’s mission of engaging the community, cultivating creativity and fostering life-long learning through the arts. Other eligibility criteria and application information can be found at https://dublinarts.org/news/grants/. The application deadline for 2020 DAC Community Arts Grants will be in October of 2019.
Dublin Arts Council (DAC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supported in part by the City of Dublin’s hotel/motel tax and by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically. Dublin Arts Council is also supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, fundraising events, classes, gallery sales and in-kind contributions. DAC engages the community, cultivates creativity and fosters life-long learning through the arts. For more information about any of Dublin Arts Council’s programs, exhibitions and events call 614.889.7444 or visit www.dublinarts.org. Dublin Arts Council is located at 7125 Riverside Dr. in Dublin, Ohio. Hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.