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COLUMN

Happytown

Wherein we work ourselves up for the redistricting tour of awesomeness only to be summarily dressed down (naked! In prison!) by Polk Sheriff Grady Judd. Oh, the agony.

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Randolph pointed out that California and Texas, the two most populous states in the nation, have already finished drawing their new maps. “Don’t let any legislator tell you that this is complicated, and it takes time and we can’t get this done,” Randolph said, without yawning.

Doug Head then delved into the issue of redistricting Orange County, which currently consists of six districts, three of which feature strange tentacles and nubby limbs extending into the center of the county – an area Head calls “the corridor of power.” Like the state districts, Head says, this process has had the effect of homogenizing a diverse county, and hence, necessitates some fair districting of its own. “Otherwise you might as well let the … white folks, for want of a better thing, or a certain class of people, run everything,” Head said.

Yes, the city’s redistricting “process” comes from the same sordid power-grabbing playbook, but given that we’ve worn ourselves out on this subject, we ask you to read our past coverage of the issue (see “The other fair districts,” March 3), and then please, go outside and check your own boundaries, lady.

Remember Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd? He’s the guy who, one fateful day late last year, heard about a controversial book called The Pedophile’s Guide to Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct, written by one Phillip Greaves. The boy scouting handbook offended Judd’s Christian sensibilities, so in December, the outspoken Baptist sheriff ordered the book, and upon its arrival, dispatched two officers to Boulder, Colo., to arrest Greaves for “distribution of obscene materials depicting minors engaged in activities harmful to minors.” The Orlando Weekly became interested in the case (cough), and upon further investigation, found that the arrest was but one chapter of Judd’s long and storied crusade against pornography in his county, which we detailed in our Feb. 24 feature, “Church and State.”

Unsurprisingly, the man who never sleeps has been very busy since then. In March, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Atheists of Florida legal coordinator EllenBeth Wachs on charges of falsely posing as an attorney (a non-practicing lawyer, Wachs had signed her emails with “Esquire”). This signature was evident to police because Wachs had been filing public records requests regarding the transfer of basketball hoops from all Polk County jails to area churches at Judd’s request, an action currently being challenged in a lawsuit brought by the Atheists of Florida. “They are quite happy with the Christian theocracy they have created,” Wachs told the Lakeland Ledger after her arrest. “And we’ve rocked the boat.”

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