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14 Gerrymanders

During the 2010 election, one of the main themes had to do with reforming state government. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch spearheaded an effort to promote independent redistricting, and sought to hold lawmakers accountable. With NY Uprising’s list of “heroes” and “enemies” of reform, Koch’s group managed to bring the issue to the forefront. 

Yesterday, the State Senate’s proposed districts were released, and there’s nothing independent  about the way they were drawn. Koch is predictably incensed, accusing lawmakers of breaking their pledges, and calling the process, “disgraceful” and accused lawmakers who broke their pledge of losing all “credibility”.  For his part, Governor Cuomo has already said he may veto the entire effort.  Here’s how the LATFOR redistricting task force was created: 

The Task Force consists of six members, including four legislators and two non-legislators. The Temporary President of the Senate appoints one legislator, Michael F. Nozzolio (Co-Chair), and one non-legislator, Welquis R. Lopez. The Speaker of the Assembly also appoints one legislator, Assemblyman John J. McEneny (Co-Chair), and one non-legislator, Roman Hedges. The Minority Leaders of the Assembly and the Senate each appoint one legislator: Assemblyman Robert Oaks and Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.

Let’s take a look at the current and proposed Senate and Assembly Districts covering WNY. 

Grisanti’s district is to be entirely in Erie County, while Maziarz absorbs Niagara Falls. Ranzenhofer gets his first urban area way out in Monroe County, while Kennedy gets most of Buffalo, Cheektowaga, and Lackawanna. Gallivan’s district remains largely rural, except it doesn’t reach as far east as before, and he has suburbs such as West Seneca, Lancaster, and Henrietta. The careful line-drawing protects incumbents – little more.  Just look at how carefully districts 60 and 63 carve through Buffalo’s west side: 

Street by Street

 Assembly lines aren’t much better. 

Street-by-Street

(Giglio (A-149), Burling (A-147), and Goodell (A-150), whose current districts cover counties in the Southern Tier, rural counties further east and south, are omitted). It would appear in the Assembly that Smardz may lose his district, and it should be noted that Congressional lines have yet to be drawn or proposed. 

If the system is a broken one, this is the process that is in most need of repair. Despite several years’ worth of guarantees and promises concerning apolitical independence, we’re right back to square one, and it’s wholly unacceptable. A veto is the only thing Governor Cuomo can do to send a message to the citizens of the state – and their legislature – that the status quo is unacceptable. 

 


  • newwayofthinking

    And Mark Grisanti is eerily silent, using the duck-and-hide technique to deflect all criticism of the redistricting process.

  • Jesse

    Cuomo said he’d veto this, didn’t he? He’d better or it’ll undo a lot of goodwill he’s built up. For the first time since 2002 over 50% of NYers think we’re headed in the right direction:

    http://www.lohud.com/article/20120127/NEWS05/301270021/Marist-poll-N-Y-voters-upbeat-state-s-direction?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CNews%7Cs

    Even I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.

  • King Kong

    It’s like Sam Hoyt himself drew the 149th AD, I’m no Kevin Smardz fan, but putting him in that district with Assemblyman Ryan and making sure that Joe Golombek was moved outside of that district was a pretty blatant move to ensure Sean Ryan’s re-election forever.

  • King Kong

    I also think that you’re forgetting what may be the most ridiculous map ever, even worse than the ear muff district. The ‘pterodactyl district’ of SD 16.

    http://www.latfor.state.ny.us/maps/prop2012s/ps16.pdf

  • My favorite so far is A138 in Rochester (district for my old neighborhood): http://t.co/2qDuyCAD [PDF]. It’s shaped like a question mark wrapping around downtown!

  • Jim

    Please tell me again why voting is so important.

    And Grisanti got you your gay marriage passed, telling his constituents and party to basically eff off, so why wouldn’t you want to thank him by helping ensure his reelection by gerrymandering? Dont’ be ingrates!

  • chester

    Koch “accused lawmakers who broke their pledge of losing all ‘credibility'”.

    As if they had any to begin with.

    The sad thing is that it really truly doesn’t matter if they have any credibility.

    The systems is so horribly rigged that they can, and do, continue to get reelected until the retire, die in office, or are convicted of a crime.