El Chanclaso: Redistricting Shenanigans in Arizona

11/12/2011 11:00 am ET | Updated Jan 12, 2012

Arizona uses an independent redistricting commission to sort out the new districts every 10 years.  The redistricting commission is composed of two Democrats, two Republicans and one Independent. La gente chose to create a redistricting independent panel in 2000 to minimize the partisan gerrymandering. The chairwoman, Colleen Mathis, a registered Independent, helped craft a redistricting plan that creates more competitive congressional districts. Gov. Jan Brewer and the state legislature have charged her with "gross misconduct" for essentially doing her job and acting like an independent and have voted to impeach her.  In a radio interview, Brewer was unable to list an example of "gross misconduct" she accused Mathis of. Brewer's actions are the definition of gross misconduct, and I'm throwing her a flying chancla for trying to undermine the voters' will.

Not so Happy Valley

I've longed admired Joe Paterno, or JoePA as Penn State alumni and students affectionately refer to their beloved coach, for his commitment and dedication to Penn State University.  Last week, ESPN reported that Paterno's ex-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of sexually abusing at least eight boys over more than a decade. This week, it came to light that a graduate student had informed Paterno about an incident he observed in the locker room involving Sandusky and a minor in 2002. Paterno reported it to the Penn State officials, fulfilling his legal obligation. Unfortunately, it appears those officials, including Paterno, were more concerned with protecting the Penn State brand than the boys they suspected were being abused and failed to notify the police about the allegations. So far, it has already cost the Penn State president, athletic director, and Paterno their jobs, rightfully so. Paterno and the other Penn State officials deserve more than a chanclaso.


Election Day was this past Tuesday, and all I can say is la gente hablo!  The results in these three states were especially great. I'm giving a huge aplauso to Ohio voters who resoundingly defeated Issue 2, which would have significantly weakened the collective bargaining rights for Ohio public workers. Over 60 percent of voters in Ohio voted to defeat the anti-union measure. ¡Órale!

Last week, I wrote about the Personhood Amendment, Initiative 26, before Mississippi voters.  I was feeling doom and gloom about this one, but no, the good people of Mississippi rejected Initiative 26. If passed, Initiative 26 would have essentially ended abortion and prevented doctors from prescribing most forms of birth control. Over 55 percent of voters rejected Initiative 26.  ¡Órale otra vez!

In Maine, voters decided to keep same-day voter registration in place, after the Republican-led legislature voted to eliminate it during the legislative session in June.  Voters voted yes on Question 1to repeal a law that ended same-day registration, which needlessly made it more difficult to vote when people are more apt to register to vote - you know, during an election. ¡Órale tres veces!

El Chanclaso

For many Latinos, a chancla is more than summer footwear. The flip flops on our mothers' feet were also impromptu and easily accessed weapons. Back talk, ignoring orders or fighting with your siblings could, without warning, result in a chancla on the rear end or, if distance was a factor, flying at you.

Now we're all grown up. But some people still deserve chanclasos. And we're going to let them have it here in our weekly column, El Chanclaso. Every Friday, Sergio, our resident chancludo, will turn a critical eye on political shenanigans, and current issues and events with his chancla firmly in hand. Depending on the severity of the misbehavior, being on the wrong end of the chancla could get you one or two chanclasos. Sergio will also give aplausos to those who make us proud.You've been warned. Now, behave!

Sergio Lopez hails from the great city of San Antonio and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.  He thanks his mother for judiciously using her chancla to set him straight.

Know of someone who deserves a chanclaso or an aplauso? Send in your suggestions to