New western Queens districts create faux state Senate fight

Michael Gianaris

February 13, 2012

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.

Meanwhile, Peralta’s 13th District mostly stayed within the area between the Grand Central Parkway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, encompassing East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, most of Elmhurst and a part of Woodside.

Peralta’s new district instead extends northwest to take in a chunk of Astoria, while another tentacle further south takes in a chunk of Woodside. The proposed 13th District also includes the Con Edison complex, LaGuardia Airport and a chunk of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which now are in Sen. Toby Stavisky’s (D-Whitestone) district, but loses parts of Elmhurst.

To make up for the pieces lost, the 12th District now extends down even further, taking in slivers of Glendale, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Lindenwood.

Gianaris said the new district lines change the makeup of the district by about 10 percent.

“The only thing they did is that they took my house out of it,” Gianaris said.

Peralta characterized New York state as becoming more Democratic and accused the Senate Republicans of trying to maintain their majority by pitting Democrats in the city against each other.

“The only way they can do it is by gerrymandering, and they’ve done so,” Peralta said.

Both lawmakers hold high positions in the Senate. Gianaris is the chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Peralta is the Democratic whip.

Read the full article here.