The draft legislative districts released yesterday by LATFOR (NY Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) are deeply disappointing. In both process and product, the lines fail to serve the interests of New Yorkers.
Every 10 years, districts must be redrawn to comply with the decennial census. By far the best way to do this is through independent, nonpartisan redistricting. In the LATFOR map, we see again why. Both the Senate and Assembly maps have been extravagantly gerrymandered to favor political parties and incumbent politicians with little or no concern for community representation.
This is undemocratic and unwise. The Senate map is particularly egregious. Statewide and locally, communities were spliced – weakening their representation. Bizarre almost non-contiguous districts snake along highways, bridges and rivers to protect or weaken certain politicians and communities. You can see some of the worst districts at http://www.politickerny.com/2012/01/27/the-20-ugliest-gerrymandered-districts-2/.
Fortunately, Governor Andrew Cuomo has already promised to veto this gerrymandered map. He should do so as soon as it is submitted to him.
In Lower Manhattan, the East Village, Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca have each been split into multiple Senate districts where previously they had been whole. In the Assembly map, the insiders split the East Village between three districts, and Battery Park City between two. Important parts of our community, such as Village View and Independence Plaza have been carved out from their surrounding community.
This map will weaken our community’s voice as we face major issues from education to transportation, the expansion of NYU and the loss of nursing homes and hospitals. And our experience is repeated throughout the city and state.
Please contact Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 or http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php and ask him to keep his promise to veto this Albany insiders’ map.
You can also contact your Assemblymember at http://assembly.state.ny.us/ and your State Senator at http://www.nysenate.gov/ and ask them to revisit this map with an eye to impartiality and community cohesion. In our neck of the woods, the best person to call is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at 212-312-1420.