Issues: Community Development

Senator Espaillat Leads 29 Senators in Calling for Restoration of Crucial Housing Funding

Senators express support for restoration of $25 million in foreclosure prevention and $22.35 million in funding for Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs

February 13, 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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Hizzoner Honors ‘Gossip Girl’

The Queens Tribune editorial covers Mayor Bloomberg's celebration of Gossip Girl's 100th episode, where he proclaimed January 26, 2012 as "Gossip Girl" Day in honor of the success of the show and the positive impact of the film industry on the local economy.

Did you hear the one about the mayor?

 

In a star-studded press conference at Long Island City icon Silvercup Studios, Mayor Mike Bloomberg proclaimed Thursday, Jan. 26, as “Gossip Girl” Day in honor of the show’s 100th episode, while highlighting the success of the film and TV industry in the City and its impact on the local economy.

 

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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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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Redistricting heads to court

YNN wrote an article about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against the Senate Republicans' proposed district maps, which Senator Gianaris believes are partisan and intolerable.

The contentious redistricting process is moving to the courts. Senate Democrats filed suit Tuesday against legislative boundaries drawn by Senate Republicans they say don't follow the law. In particular, the Democrats take aim a proposed new Senate district carved out of the Albany area.

“Thank God we have a court process that passes judgment on these things because we're confident it's going to be overturned. It's ridiculous,” said State Senator Mike Gianaris.

[...]

February 13, 2012
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Gianaris: Pairing lines with amendment is ‘surrender’

Capital Confidential wrote an editorial about a potential deal by Senate Republicans that would delay redistricting reform until the next census in 2022 in exchange for allowing the Republicans to carry out their current redistricting proposal and help them gain an extra state Senate seat. Senator Gianaris criticizes the deal for not providing a solution to the current redistricting problems.

In something of a preemptive strike, Sen. Mike Gianaris blasted the idea of redistricting reform based mostly on a constitutional amendment that, while improving on the set of draft maps released last week, would leave redistricting in the hands of legislators until 2022.

[...]

February 13, 2012
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Senate Redistricting plan is divisive

An editorial written by The Queens Courier calls out the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal for compromising the needs of voters and for diminishing New York politics.

Newly-drawn district lines may pit Senate Democrats against one another in a political dogfight.

Under the proposed plan, which was designed by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) — made up largely of Republican senators due to their current control of the chamber — Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair Michael Gianaris would face off with Senator Jose Peralta for the right to represent a single, heavily Hispanic district.

February 13, 2012
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Shooting The Messenger

Capital Tonight talks about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and Senator Gianaris' response against their attempt to avoid the current redistricting problem by promising an amendment to the constitution that would only bring reform to the next redistricing process in 10 years.

Sen. Mike Gianaris is pushing back very strongly against the growing belief that a deal is in the works for a constitutional amendment that would reform redistricting in time for the 2022 election cycle, but leave the current partisan process in place for this year’s elections.

February 13, 2012
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In Lawsuit, Senate Dems Decry “Blatantly Unconstitutional” Redistricting

Capital Tonight talks about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against LATFOR's redistricting lines.

Senate Democrats this morning filed a lawsuit against LATFOR’s redistricted lines, arguing that the proposed maps are “blatantly unconstitutional.”

In the suit, filed in state Supreme Court, Democrats take aim at the proposed 63rd Senate seat that’s being placed in the Capital Region area and the mathematical formula Republicans use to justify the extra seat.

And the conference blasts LATFOR writ large for lacking transparency.

 Read the full article here.

February 13, 2012
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New lines, same game

This New York Post editorial reports on the Senate Republicans' redistricting plans, calling them out for blatantly promoting the Republicans' agenda by giving them control over appointment of state Senate seats.

Every state goes through reapportionment following each federal Census, when changes in political district lines must be made to reflect population shifts.

It’s never a pretty process, but rarely does it get more ugly than in New York — suffering a decades-long decline in population and burdened, as it is, with a particularly odious political class.

Each time, legislative bosses draw lines that essentially protect their incumbent members as well as their respective majorities in each house.

February 13, 2012
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Albany Redistricting Plan Faulted as Unfair to Minorities

The New York Times wrote an editorial about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and some of the critics of the proposal who say the maps are overly partisan and that they undermine the needs of minority communities.

A proposed redrawing of New York State’s political districts came under intense criticism on Monday, as civil rights leaders said the maps did not fairly represent blacks and Hispanics in an increasingly diverse state, and Democrats said they would file a lawsuit asking a judge to intervene.

February 13, 2012
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