Issues: Judiciary

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.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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February 13, 2012
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Redistricting plan spurs lawsuit

The Ithaca Journal reports that New York Senate Democrats have filed a lawsuit over the Senate Republicans' plan to add a 63rd Senate seat, calling their proposal unconstitutional.

Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday over Senate Republicans' decision to add an additional seat in the chamber, claiming the move is unconstitutional.

The 53-page lawsuit claims that the creation of the 63rd Senate District through the Hudson Valley is unconstitutional, saying it was created clearly for political purposes. The district would run from Montgomery County near Albany to Kingston, Ulster County.

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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.

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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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