Gerrymandering 101

Results of the State Senator race between John Boccieri and Micheal Rulli proves that Mahoning and Columbiana counties should NOT be lumped together in the same Ohio district.

It was NOT a close race. Rulli won Columbiana by a higher percentage than Boccieri won Mahoning, so Rulli will represent both counties here in Ohio.

That reveals something noticed years ago… the majority of people in these two counties do NOT think alike. They have their own ways of looking at things, their own ways of doing things, how they interact with other people, etc. It’s a strange phenomenon that I didn’t know about until I moved from Columbiana county to Trumbull county (which aligns more with Mahoning) before moving to Youngstown.

I’m NOT saying that one is better than the other, just saying that how people view things is so different that we would all be BETTER REPRESENTED if our state senate districts lines were redrawn.

Welcome to Gerrymandering 101.
How would you redraw the lines?

I would combine Mahoning with Trumbull County, then slide Columbiana County down to join with two house districts (with more like minded people) to the south.

RULE: one Ohio Senate district is a combo of 3 Ohio House districts, so you can’t just draw random lines.

NOTE: map created by cut & paste from gov maps.


All that (above) is a cut & paste of what I posted on Facebook yesterday. No one wanted to play. Perhaps some were thrown a bit back? I have friends and family in both counties, but no one even weighed in with a thought about the differences. Maybe some were offended.

I was going to take it down, but an anonymous someone had shared it so I didn’t want to be rude.

If you happen to live in one of those counties and question the idea of people being so different that all would be better represented in the Ohio Senate if the lines were redrawn, I invite you to observe for yourself. It’s easy to do… just go shopping at stores in both counties. Pay attention to who speaks to you. Then talk to strangers in crowded stores, pay attention to facial expressions and body languages.

People in Columbiana county generally only speak to other locals… familiar faces, those they know, and those assumed to be other local people. If an outsider speaks to them in a crowded store, they might reply, but a momentary flicker of uneasiness might cross their face. You can almost see them thinking, “Who are you? What do you want? Why are you speaking to me?” It’s an Appalachian influence. There are a lot of “hill people” in Columbiana county. They will give the shirt off their back to one of their own, but they tend to be leery of outsiders.

Go north to the diversely populated urban areas in Mahoning or Trumbull county where it is “normal” to be open and friendly with everyone. Most people talk to strangers, strike up conversations in store aisles and checkout lines, they talk to people everywhere they go.

That’s one of the first things I noticed when I moved to Warren. I had strangers walking up to me grocery stores, striking up conversations over produce. “Look at the price on these tomatoes!” I’ve even been serenaded by strangers, old men bursting into song when I’ve pulled into a gas station with the top down on my convertible (miss that car). I also noticed that people are more accepting of human imperfections. Put it this way, I have NEVER heard anyone yell “hey fat ass” or other profanity laced insults out their car windows at me while I was just walking down a street in Trumbull or Mahoning county.

The difference became even more clearer after moving back to Salem in Columbiana county after I became disabled. The ONLY people who talked to me in stores or other public places were the people who remembered me from years before. Others treated me like an outsider. Even the neighbors in my apartment building were not too friendly. They rarely spoke to me. Even when I fell in the yard, they sat on their balconies watching a taxi driver retrieve the wallet I accidentally tossed when my legs wobbled out from under me as if it were a free show, get the popcorn, don’t say a word.  The one woman who became my only friend there was also an outsider who had moved there from New Jersey.  After a couple years, I was so glad to move to Youngstown, where I could talk to people without getting snubbed by odd looks. And, I could walk into a store without overhearing whispered insults about me, my body, my clothes, how I walk, or whatever.

That’s just ONE aspect of differences… politically, people who are open and friendly and more accepting of diversity also tend to be more open minded, more liberal, and more likely to vote for Democrats.

If you look at any political map after any election, this phenomenon could be the reason urban areas in red states are blue. It also might explain why some voters in red areas respond well to fear based tactics.

Thanks for reading!


Birds & Spoons

A little birdie reminded me of New Year’s Eve. Actually, it was a neighbor lady. We were sitting outside on a courtyard bench, chatting like old birds while little city birds darted around us, searching the bricks for crumbs.

“You’ve got a good fellow,” she said. “I’m really glad you got together, wasn’t sure there for awhile. I remember the day you were dressed up nice and going somewhere, you walked that way and he stayed here. It was New Year’s Eve and I could tell.” She paused to give me a hard look before confiding, “I heard what you said. You didn’t see me, but you walked passed me and I heard you say, ‘I deserve better’ and thought uh-oh, she is not happy.”

Uh-oh, note to self: stop thinking out loud.

I wasn’t sure there for awhile myself, but I did not tell her that. I just told her that I wasn’t happy that night but it worked out okay; he caught up with me later, found me in a coffee shop.

I showed her pictures of the house and assured her that I will not be a stranger, after all, my “fellow” has an apartment in this building. That could be a perk after I move since there is no night service on the bus route near the house. I can come downtown for art shows and poetry readings or whatever, just stay at his place, catch a bus in the morning instead of paying for a taxi ride home. He won’t mind… actually, it was his suggestion.

Some people are surprised that he is not moving with me, considering that we practically live together now. We talked about it… bottom line is we both need space. Here, we each have our own apartment. We are not together 24/7/365… I believe that’s what makes this relationship work.

We are polar opposites. Our life styles are very different. I’m a Maker, he’s not… so I need time and space to make art, bead jewelry, write, sew, crochet, or whatever and he needs time and space to do non-maker things like lounge around in his shorts all day watching sports, cartoons, or movies on television while playing games on his cell phone between naps.

That’s not all he does, but see what I mean? If he moved in with me, all the little things that don’t matter now suddenly will… we would get on each other’s nerves something fierce.

He has voiced his own concerns, mainly his fear of ending up homeless if he gave up his apartment to move in with me. Part of me wants to reassure him that I would never just kick him out, but a little birdie whisper stops me. I cannot guarantee that I will never say those fateful words. What if he turns into a royal ass?

I guess I’m still not sure of anything. This is life lived raw, right here, right now. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring so I just cherish the moments, love with open hands… not sure what to hold on to… even friendship flies away.

Speaking of little birdies… I was treated to lunch at the Mocha House the other day and my sister’s fiance gifted us both with measuring spoons. She picked spoons with bluebirds of happiness, quite fitting as she seems very happy these days, and I picked this set. Thank you Jai and Brian Sha!


Please ignore my distorted reflection in the leaf shaped bowls. I snapped the photo with my tablet.

Thanks for reading!