A proposition on Tuesday’s ballot that could take electoral redistricting out of the direct hands of the state Legislature is coming under fire from the Jamaica branch of the NAACP.
Leroy Gadsden, the chapter president, was joined on Monday by civic and clergy leaders at a press conference outside the group’s St. Albans offices.
My fellow New Yorkers need to approve Prop 1 on Election Day. Prop 1 is a constitutional amendment to create a fairer redistricting process in New York.
Currently, “partisan gerrymandering” is the rule. Legislators draw district lines to ensure their maximum chance of re-election and favor Democratic control of the Assembly and Republican control of the Senate.
Prop 1 will hand redistricting over to an appointed commission. The commission will be bound by rules against partisan gerrymandering. Districts will have to be roughly equal in population.
Informed Queens voters must remember to flip over their ballots on November 4 and vote yes on Prop 1. More information can be found at voteyesforprogress.org.
Please publicly support this measure,
Despite making big population gains, minorities in Queens continue to be underrepresented in the state Legislature, with the number of white lawmakers far outpacing those from Asian and Hispanic communities. After 2010, when the Census showed the three groups were nearly equal in population, this gap should have narrowed significantly.
Yet minorities are even worse off today, largely because of New York’s broken redistricting process that diminishes the influence of minority communities and allows Albany lawmakers to carefully engineer voting blocs to protect incumbents. Today, lawmakers in office win re-election an astonishing 97 percent of the time, which could lead voters in Queens and throughout New York to wonder why we bother holding elections in the first place.
Albert Baldeo, the Ozone Park political activist, former Democratic district leader and candidate for several elective offices, was found not guilty Monday of three counts of campaign-related fraud, but convicted of seven counts of obstructing justice. Baldeo, 54, said he is appealing the convictions.
Baldeo, who was then the Democratic district leader in the 38th Assembly District, was charged in October 2012 for allegations that he used straw donors to fund his campaign for a special election to the City Council in 2010. He previously had run for the Council in 2005 and the state Senate in 2006.
You can judge a person’s character by the company they keep “Defending the chairman”(Serphin R. Maltese, Frank Padavan and Michael J. Abel, Letters, April 18) concerning current Queens County Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa.
The indictments of both GOP Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairperson Vincent Tabone are just the latest chapter in the spiraling decline over the past three decades of the once-relevant Queens County GOP.
One way of judging the health of any political party is looking at the number of candidates who qualify for ballot status on their line.
Up until the 1980s, the GOP routinely qualified candidates for all Congressional, state Senate, Assembly and City Council seats.
After the 1982 reapportionment, Democrats eliminated the districts of Queens GOP Assembly members Rosemary Gunning, John LoPresto, John Flack, Al DelliBovi and John Esposito. Sen.Padavan voted for this plan as it protected both his and the late Sen. Martin Knorr’sown gerrymandered districts.
In 2012, there wereno GOP candidates on the ballot for one of six Congressional, three of seven state Senate and 13 out of 18 state Assembly races in the general election. Watch how many Democratic City Council members will geta free pass with no GOP opponent this year.
After being elected in 1972, Padavan listed Republican-Conservative affiliations on his headquarters’ storefront. In the 1990s the Padavan and Assemblyman Doug Prescott team proudly campaigned as your local Republican/Conservative team. But Republican and Tea Party activists in 2010 were disappointed by Padavan’s campaign headquarters. There was no literature, bumper stickers, posters or lawn signs for his fellow GOP running mates.
A party’s ticket is only strong when all the candidates, from top to bottom, work as a team. Republicans are in trouble when they are afraid to identify party affiliations and campaign on their own. Other Republicans were confused with Padavan’s standard campaign theme, “Nobody Cares Like Frank,” when he obviously didn’t care about them. Both Padavan andMaltese failed for decades to build a Republican brand name when they ran from it. No wonder Maltese lost in 2008 and Padavan lost in 2010.
Queens Republicans are on the way to political extinction like the dinosaurs of old! How disappointing that voters will have to look elsewhere for any alternatives to the Queens County Democratic Party machine monopoly.
The failure to build a viable Queens GOP is the inheritance the lastunderdog Republican City Council member,Eric Ulrich,has to live with.
The NYC Districting Commission released its third draft of new City Council lines on Tuesday, after months of controversy in the decennial process for redrawing district lines. The new maps make some big changes both to the old lines and to earlier drafts.
Maps were due to be approved by now, but controversy over the December lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan forced Council Speaker Christine Quinn to ask the commision to go back to the drawing board for a third draft.
The Rev. Charles Norris of Jamaica gave an understated assessment of the testimony offered as the city’s Districting Commission returned to Queens on Monday night.
“It seems everyone here has the same problem,” he observed dryly.
Andrea Veras of Briarwood last week announced her intention to seek the Democratic nomination in the City Council’s 24th District.
The community is now served by Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who is being term-limited out of office next year.
The final draft of the new City Council lines from the NYC Districting Commission made very few people happy, so the commission voted Tuesday to scrap them.
Among those least pleased is City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who in an unprecedented move last week asked the commission to go back to the drawing board after a number of controversies erupted over the draft maps.
In 2010, Republicans won a historic victory in capturing the House of Representatives.In 2012, all but a handful of them won re-election.In the Nov. 22 issue, Anthony Pilla, citing the larger number of votes Democrats received in House elections, argued that the Republicans won their continued majority due to gerrymandering (“The Democrats won,” Letters). Mr. Pilla failed to point out that Democrats are highly concentrated in urban areas, where they receivedoverwhelming majorities which account for the national totals being what they are.The Republican majority was not due to gerrymandering.
If Mr. Pilla believes that gerrymandering is wrong (as implied by his letter), why did he not complain when his own congressman, Bob Turner, had his district eliminated?The answer is that Mr. Turner is a Republican.It seems that Mr. Pilla has selective moral outrage.
Mr. Pilla called the Republican House majority“a moot point.”A large Republican House majority is not “a moot point” but a reality that Democrats like Mr. Pilla have to live with.
I called on Republicans to use my Nov. 15 tax proposal as a basis for compromise.If Democrats believe that they have a mandate and do not have to compromise on their end, then we will go over the fiscal cliff. If that happens, people like Mr. Pilla will only have to look into the mirror to know the reason why.
I wish to take issue with Lenny Rodin on two points he made in his Nov. 15 letter, “A common-$ense answer.”
First, he thought the Chronicle stretched the point by saying President Obama had earned a new mandate in its Nov. 8 editorial “Can we talk?” Folks, when a candidate receives three million more popular votes than his opponent, and wins by 332 to 206 electoral votes, that’s a mandate! Obama beat out six presidents, starting with John F. Kennedy.
Mr. Rodin’s second point was that the Republicans have a large majority in the House. True. But “a more true mandate” I take issue with, for two reasons. In the 2010 election the GOP captured 12 state governorships and legislatures, as well as winning a stunning victory in the House. This power gave the GOP the right to gerrymander their congressional districts in their favor, based on the 2010 Census data. It’s true that the House has a large Republican majority. However, the Democratic minority received millions more votes than the larger GOP! In my view, the Republicans’ so-called “true mandate” is a moot issue.
One closing point concerning mandate power. It appears to me that voters tilted that power in favor of the Democrats. They will control the Senate 55-45 in 2013. Add to that the clear mandate Obama has and the larger issue is no longer moot.
New York City’s Districting Commission, which is charged with redrawing City Council district lines, came to the Flushing Library Tuesday night for the latest in a series of hearings to collect public input.
The lines are being redrawn as mandated by the results of the 2010 U.S. Census. Though created by the city, all lines must be redrawn under certain federal guidelines with an effort to keep neighborhoods together, and to create contiguous districts of residents and neighborhoods with “common concerns and interests.”
After Mayor Bloomberg announced his appointments to the Districting Commission last week, paving the way for the group to begin redrawing the city’s 51 council districts, Queens organizations are calling on the members to give a greater voice to minority communities they say have been ignored for far too long.
Bloomberg tapped seven individuals, including former Republican state Sen. Frank Padavan, of Jamaica Estates, to be part of the 15-member group that is tasked with reshaping the city’s political landscape. Redistricting happens once every 10 years, after the U.S. Census numbers are published, in an attempt to draw political boundaries so they more fairly represent the demographics. The city has until next March to submit a final map.
After months of threatening to veto the incumbent-protected, gerrymandered legislative lines, the governor punted and sold us out.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, good government groups, and numerous civic organizations like Eastern Queens United called on the governor to veto the legislative lines that are drawn every 10 years after the Census. Hundreds of civic activists including myself attended public hearings asking that communities be kept together and not divided. These public hearings were nothing more than a well-orchestrated dog and pony show conducted by legislators whose contempt and disdain for the civics was manifested by their brazenly community-busting gerrymandered district lines.
The governor was afforded an opportunity to veto these lines and up until the last moment threatened to do so. That is until the three men in a room (Shelly Silver, Dean Skelos and the governor) crafted their secret deal. They called the governor’s bluff and he caved in.
Gov. Cuomo is now spinning this agreement on district lines as a permanent fix. The so-called “fix,” which is scheduled to take place 10 years from now after the next Census, simply replaces one panel of politicians with another panel of political appointees. Allowing the same folks that created this mess to appoint a panel of political cronies to draw up new lines is not reform but politics as usual! And if the Legislature doesn’t like the lines drawn by its own commission, members can simply vote no and draw the lines themselves.
This is a sham and a slap in the face to every civic organization that advocated for a process that would serve the needs of the communities rather than the interests of the politicians.
The governor could have refused to buckle and veto these community-busting lines, setting up a truly independent judicial panel to draw non-partisan lines. Instead, he chose the path of political expediency. He sold us out and will now count on the short memory span of voters.
Queens legislators and some good government groups are lashing out at an agreement reached in Albany during a session that ran into the early hours last Thursday morning on a number of unrelated issues, including redistricting, pension reform and casino gambling, saying it was a “dirty” back-door deal that kicks the public in the gut.
“Everything about last night was bad,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said last Thursday. “The lateness of the hour, the substance of the redistricting bill and the substance of the other bills. It was as bad an episode as I’ve ever seen in Albany.”
Queens legislators are lashing out at an agreement reached in Albany during a session that ran into the early hours Thursday morning on a number of unrelated issues, including redistricting, pension reform and casino gambling, saying it was a “dirty” back-door deal that forced politicians to vote on long, complex bills without having time to read them.
As legislators were poised to pass redrawn lines for Assembly and state Senate districts on Wednesday, as this paper was going to press, Queens elected officials and civic leaders were urging Gov. Cuomo to do what he has been threatening for months — veto the lines many argue split apart communities and were gerrymandered to favor incumbents on both sides of the political aisle.
“All along we stood by the governor and said, ‘Veto these lines because of the process,’” state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said. “He said he’d veto them, and now we hear that he might not because of this compromise with redistricting reform that would take place 10 years from now. I’m voting no — not because of the lines, but for the process that created the lines.”
Saying that the state Legislature has “hit bottom” when it comes to redistricting, a panel of national legal experts on Tuesday urged Gov. Cuomo to use the threat of a veto to implement long-term change to the way Albany draws its political lines.
The group of experts from across the country, all of whom have studied redistricting in New York, spoke one day after a panel of judges in Brooklyn federal court began taking control of drawing the Congressional lines —which legislators have failed to do as they were supposed to.
Saying that the state Legislature has “hit bottom” when it comes to redistricting, a panel of national legal experts urged Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday to use the threat of a veto to implement long-term change to the way Albany draws its political lines.
Gov. Cuomo is reforming the state government in leaps and bounds, but many members of the Legislature haven’t gotten the memo yet. So the redrawing of lawmakers’ districts for the Assembly, Senate and U.S. Congress following the Census has been typical of the Albany of years past: behind schedule, nonsensical in many respects and, of course, utterly politicized.
Now the federal judiciary may step in to clean up the mess our lawmakers, especially members of the Republican-led Senate, have made of the redistricting process. Judge Dennis Jacobs, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, on Tuesday named a three-judge panel to consider whether a special master should be appointed to oversee the redrawing of the lines.
The group of state legislators that drew the proposed district lines for the Assembly and Senate should be exiled to New Jersey after creating areas resembling Rorschach ink blots that split apart communities and dilute minority voters’ power — or, at the very least, be sent back to the drawing board — irate residents and legislators said at a hearing in Queens this week.
Hundreds of people packed a room at Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday for a hearing held by the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, often referred to as LATFOR.
Brian Browne, the vice president of governmental relations at St. John’s University and an adjunct professor of government and politics, put it as well as anyone in describing the Senate Republicans’ approach to drawing new lines for legislative districts, as required every 10 years following the Census:
“My view is that the Republicans were not just partisan; they went rogue,” Browne said. (Note the playful slap at GOP rabble-rouser Sarah Palin, a nice touch.)
Chanting “Veto the lines,” a group of leaders from Queens and Nassau County gathered for a rally in Elmont, LI, to voice their disapproval of the proposed redistricting lines that have been drawn in New York State, which some called “unfair” and “illegal.”
Every decade Census numbers are used to draw the state Senate and Assembly District lines with the goal of better representing the changing demographics of a particular area. However, critics say the maps often lead to gerrymandered districts that favor incumbents.
Thirteen members of the Queens delegation to Albany and Gov. Cuomo were among those who signed on to a pledge from NY Uprising that called for an independent commission to draw up new state legislative districts in the wake of the 2010 Census.
The campaign was championed by former Mayor Ed Koch. Its website hails those who signed as “Heroes of Reform,” and those who did not as “Enemies.”
Queens legislators and residents lambasted the state group tasked with redrawing district lines that will cement New York’s political landscape for the next decade, accusing its members of splitting apart communities and pitting democratic lawmakers each against each other.
One member of a good government organization —Bill Mahoney from the New York Public Interest Research Group — even called the proposed redistricting maps for the state Senate “clearly the most gerrymandered lines in recent New York history.”