Issues: Constituents Corner

The geography 
of a sham

The Times Union wrote an editorial that talks about redistricting and how it has recently become even clearer that the Senate Republicans are attempting to exploit the redistricting process as a means to promote their partisan agenda.

Our opinion: Yet again, we’re shown how blatantly partisan the redistricting process is. It’s not to late for the Legislature to do the right thing, but if it doesn’t, we’ll look to Governor Cuomo to stand firm.

 

Yes, we are writing again about redistricting, a topic that New York lawmakers are undoubtedly counting on people to get so tired of that we’ll all just shut up and let them rig elections for the next 10 years.

 

February 15, 2012
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A reform Democrat welcomes the court-mandated outcome for redistricting, redraws a line for Cuomo

An editorial by Capital discusses Senator Gianaris' acceptance of court involvement in the redistricting process, stating that it would ensure New Yorkers get fair district lines drawn.

A Democratic state senator who has campaign for redistricting reforms and bitterly criticized the new congressional and legislative district lines produced by the legislature said he's glad a federal judge yesterday called for a court intervention.

 

"After Senate Republican broken promises and months of delay we have reached a point where the courts must take action," Senator Michael Gianaris said in a statement. "We agree with the Judge's request. The only way New Yorkers will have fair representation is if the courts not politicians draw the district lines."

February 14, 2012
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Albany Redistricting Needs Court Master, Judge Rules

An editorial written by the New York Times discusses the possibility of courts intervening in the redistricting process, as a result of the Senate Republicans' inability to draw lines that are fair.

A federal judge, citing lawmakers’ “current state of inaction” in redrawing New York’s political map, recommended on Monday that the state’s redistricting process be turned over to a court-appointed special master.

 

Noting that Congressional primaries are scheduled for June, the judge, Dora L. Irizarry of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, said it was time for the federal courts to take charge of ensuring that New York has an election process that complies with state and federal law.

 

February 14, 2012
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Republican Restricting Plan Angers Queens Neighborhoods

Greek News posted an article about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and the harsh criticism it has received from minority groups for being partisan and for ignoring the needs of minority communities.

This time the Republicans have really done it! Their redistricting plan for redistricting has angered all ethnic groups living in New York City and suburbs and received tons of criticism as partisan and racist. On Tuesday more than 100 people gathered in a disproportionately small room at the Queens Borough Hall, for a town hall meeting to discuss LATFOR’s (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) proposed redistricting lines.

 

February 14, 2012
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Have more, get more

The Times Union editorial discusses the partisan nature of the redistricting process and how the Senate Republicans have manipulated the new district lines to gain unfair political advantages. According to Senator Gianaris, the Senate Republicans' proposal clearly demonstrates why redistricting needs reform.

"You can't put a good face on this," said Douglas Muzzio, a professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College and an expert in New York politics. "It gives real empirical weight to the argument that there is total partisanship in redistricting."

February 14, 2012
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UCCA Holds Annual Breakfast

The Queens Gazette wrote an article about the United Community Civic Association's annual breakfast, where executives and elected officials gathered to discuss various regional issues.

The United Community Civic Association (UCCA) held its third annual Legislative/Executive Breakfast on February 3. Civic and community leaders, community board representatives, major commercial, industrial and hospital chief executive officers and administrators were invited to speak on various topics from the city budget, hydrofracking, garbage pick up, education and quality of life issues.

 

February 14, 2012
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Sen. Gianaris on the Latest Redistricting Fights

Capital Tonight interviewed Senator Gianaris regarding the latest developments on redistricting.

LATFOR hearings on the proposed district lines have gotten heated lately. That’s partly because if the lines are passed as is, six Senate Democrats will be condensed into three districts. The Democrats have already filed a lawsuit. Senator Mike Gianaris gives us an update.

Watch the interview here

February 14, 2012
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Residents Call For Changes To Lines

Queens Tribune reports on a Queens town hall meeting discussing redistricting, where members of the community gathered to protest against the proposed new lines.

Room 213 of Queens Borough Hall was not nearly big enough to contain the welcome the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) received when they came to Queens Tuesday afternoon. The room was reduced to standing room only 15 minutes before the Queens town hall meeting discussing LATFOR’s proposed redistricting lines was scheduled to begin.

[...]

February 14, 2012
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Queens lawmakers and civic leaders rail against proposed legislative districts

The New York Daily News covers the redistricting hearing where Queens residents and lawmakers gathered to rally against the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal.

Queens residents and lawmakers packed into a public hearing Tuesday to rail against proposed legislative districts they claim fractures neighborhoods and dilutes their political voice.

 

“You have taken the 24th Assembly District and sliced and diced communities haphazardly along a narrow corridor that stretches across Queens,” Bob Friedrich of the civic group Eastern Queens United told members of the Legislative Task Force for Demographic Research and Reapportionment, which held the hearing at Queens Borough Hall.

 

February 13, 2012
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NY redistricting plan gets an earful in Queens

Lohud.com wrote about a redistricting hearing where Senator Gianaris spoke out against the Senate Republicans' redistricting scheme, which he says has "brought shame to the state of New York."

Democratic Sen. Michael Gianaris told a packed redistricting hearing Tuesday that the Senate's Republican majority has brought "shame" to New York by proposing blatant gerrymandering in a continuing plot to protect its power.

 

February 13, 2012
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Muslims open Astoria center

The Times Ledger reports on the opening of the Muslim American Society's community center. Senator Gianaris spoke at the event and he believes these community centers are important for the future immigrant generations moving to the neighborhood.

Astoria has long been defined by its ethnic groups — first it was the Italians, then the Greeks — and last week the neighborhood’s Muslims took a large step toward establishing themselves with the grand opening of the Muslim American Society’s community center on Steinway Street.

 

MAS is a nationwide, nonprofit, religious, social and cultural organization, and for years the Queens chapter operated out of the Dar Al-Dawah mosque at 35-13 23rd Ave.

 

February 13, 2012
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The art of redistricting war: A guide to reading between the lines

An article by the New York World interprets the redistricting process and analyzes the methods in which the maps have been manipulated.

In late January, New York’s legislative redistricting task force released its proposed maps for the state Senate and Assembly. The plans have drawn widespread criticism from elected officials and reform organizations, with the New York Public Interest Research Group decrying “clearly the most gerrymandered lines in recent New York history.”

 

February 13, 2012
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Opponents Clash At Meeting On New Legislative Districts

NY1 discusses a public hearing where good government groups and activists criticized the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal for being partisan and for undermining leadership in minority communities.

Things got heated Thursday when members of the state's redistricting task force, known as LATFOR, clashed with good government groups and activists at a public hearing.

"Destroying leadership of minority communities is an abhorrent thing, and you're proud of it,” said Roman Hedges of LATFOR.

"You're making your pointed partisan, mapping drawing allegation based on what you believe other organizations have said," said State Senator Michael Nozzolio.

At issue were the task force's proposal for new district lines.

February 13, 2012
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Eight Queens high schools could lose up to half of their staff under city plan

An editorial by the New York Daily News reports on the proposal by New York City's Deptartment of Education to overhaul struggling schools. Under the plan, schools face options that range from having to replace 50% of their staff to having to shut down completely.

The future of eight large Queens high schools — and the hundreds of educators who work there — are in jeopardy as the city plans to overhaul the struggling institutions.

 

The schools could lose up to half of their staff and receive a new principal and name this fall after the city and teachers union failed to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations.

 

The move could help the city get up to $60 million in federal funds.

 

February 13, 2012
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Cuomo preemptively blames the new calendar for protecting incumbents

Capital wrote an editorial that talks about the Senate Republicans' attempt to strike a deal that would put off redistricting reform until the next census in 10 years. Senator Gianaris is calling this deal a sham.

Democratic state senator Michael Gianaris set a clear, and high, benchmark yesterday when he spoke out against a rumored comprise that would allow the gerrymandered redistricting maps to stay in place, in exchange for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing new lines will be drawn by an independent group next time—which means 2022.

 

Gianaris called it "a sham" and said, "thank God Governor Cuomo is insisting on reform now, and we're going to stand with him."

February 13, 2012
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Proposed redistricting lines target Queens Democrats

An editorial by the New York Daily News discusses the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and how they have purposely targeted districts in Queens as a means to disrupt the Democratic county.

Queens has emerged as a key locale in the redistricting war between Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature.

 

Under the proposed lines released last week, four Queens lawmakers would be merged into two districts and a powerful Democrat would be gerrymandered out of his district.

 

Another Democrat saw his district oddly reconfigured to include more Republican-leaning neighborhoods.

 

February 13, 2012
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New western Queens districts create faux state Senate fight

An editorial by the Queens Campaigner talks about the Senate Republicans' newly drawn district maps, which Senate Democrats' say have been manipulated in order to set Democrats against each other.

The new proposed state Senate district lines would set Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) against Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), but the longtime friends say they have no plans to duke it out at the polls.

“This actually makes it very amusing,” Peralta said.

Both senators characterized the new districts, drawn by Senate Republicans, as politically inspired. In the past, Gianaris’ district, the 12th District, encompassed most of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside with a thin tentacle extending down to take in parts of Maspeth and Ridgewood.

February 13, 2012
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LIC HS Drops From Transformation To Turnaround Status

The Queens Gazette investigates the Department of Education's classification of Long Island City High School, along with many others, as a "Turnaround" school, which would require the school to close and rehire 50% of the staff before reopening. Senator Gianaris believes that negotions need to continue in order to avoid hurting students as the city tries to improve schools.

February 13, 2012
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Drawing New District Lines Starts Albany Brawl

An article written by The Queens Gazette highlights some of the key issues concerning the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal.

Assembly Democrats and state senate Republicans issued their new district maps for this year’s congressional and state legislative elections and they’re everything most reformers expected—self-serving exercises tailored to get most incumbents re-elected and keep the Assembly under Democratic control and enhance the Republicans’ chances of capturing the senate again.

[...]

February 13, 2012
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Don’t play Senate’s game

Times Union wrote an editorial that criticizes the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal, saying that New Yorkers should not tolerate such an unfair process and should focus their attention on the Senate Republicans' broken promise to bring about fair and independent redistricting reform.

New Yorkers shouldn’t go along with a rigged redistricting process. They should demand that lawmakers honor their word to make it fair and independent.

 

Arguing about the boundaries of a new state Senate district and the finer points of redistricting theory, like whether the city of Albany has more in common with Troy than Westerlo, is missing the point: We should not be having this discussion at all.

 

February 13, 2012
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