Thursday, February 2, 2012

DRAWN & QUARTERED...4 Senate Districts Would Hurt

Wonder where Ulster County's current Senators stand about carving up the county into four senate districts and how concerned they are for their "constituents" to be adequately and properly represented. Hats off to NP School Board member Dan Torres for expressing the frustration of us all in Ulster County

New Paltz School Board Opposes LATFOR Lines (Updated)

New Paltz School Board Opposes LATFOR Lines (Updated)

(Reprinted from

A reader forwarded this resolution in opposition to LATFOR passed unanimously by the New Paltz School Board last night.

I found it interesting, not only because New Paltz happens to be my hometown, but also because I believe this is the first resolution of its kind to be passed since the legislative committee released its controversial Senate and (somewhat less controversial) Assembly lines last week. UPDATE: Just to be clear, the school district used to be largely represented by Sen. John Bonacic with a little piece in Sen. Bill Larkin’s district. Now it, under LATFOR’s proposal, it has four – count ‘em, FOUR – different senators.

LATFOR members are now on an accelerated timetable, thanks to US District Court Judge Gary Sharpe’s decision to move the US Senate and House primary date up to June 26.

Legislative leaders are still trying, as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver puts it, get Gov. Andrew Cuomo “comfortable” with their redistricting plan. They’ve got their work cut out for them.

Here’s the full text of the NP resolution:

WHEREAS, our representation in New York State Government is essential in receiving funding and best serving the citizens of the New Paltz Central School District; and

WHEREAS, every ten years New York State’s Congressional, Senate, and Assembly districts are re-drawn to represent the changing population of the State of New York, with the input and assistance of the Legislative Action Task Force on
Demographic Research and Reapportionment (“LATFOR”) as established by Chapter 45 of the Laws of 1978; and

WHEREAS, in the most current Senate map proposed by LATFOR, the New Paltz Central School District is broken up and divided between the following four State Senate Districts: 51st, 46th, 42nd, and 39th; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Education believes that this configuration is inconsistent with the effective representation of the New Paltz Central School District in the State Senate;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education hereby records its opposition to the most recent Senate lines established by LATFOR and directs the District Clerk to send a copy of this resolution to the New York State Governor, Assembly and Senate representatives and the Legislative Action Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The politics and law of odious redistricting
February 2, 2012 | 3:12 pm by Greg David

There is a farce taking place in New York these days as a legislative task force named LATFOR goes around the state holding public hearings on the plan it has drawn up for new legislative and congressional districts to reflect the 2010 Census.

Look for an opinion piece from Common Cause’s Susan Lerner in Monday’s print edition that explains how absurd the legislative plan is. I’m going to tackle the political and legal issues.

Let’s start with the politics. The new districts for both the Assembly and Senate are incumbent protection plans, but most of the controversy has centered on the state Senate, whose lines are clearly designed to keep the Republican majority in control. Don’t expect any real compromise from the Senate Republicans because the GOP’s position as the majority party is tenuous, and gerrymandering is their best hope to stay in charge. Also, don’t expect business groups that rely on the Republicans to support their agenda to apply any pressure. Many business groups are well served by the Senate Republicans and don’t really care about the process—just about the results.

With the legislators committed to the gerrymandering, the key may be whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo sticks to his pledge to veto this monstrosity. The governor has fulfilled many of his campaign promises but not the one about bringing transparency to Albany. Every success he has had is the product of closed-door negotiations with virtually no public discussion. Since redistricting is similarly about process, insiders think he may be happy with tweaks to the legislature’s plan in return for passage of a budget or pension reform on his terms.

If he does veto the redistricting plan, the Democrats in the Senate will make sure his veto sticks. The standoff will throw the issue to the courts. Here’s where it gets really interesting.

The U.S. Supreme Court late last month overturned an effort by federal courts in Texas to draw a fairer map. The court reiterated that courts must give deference to legislative redistricting plans.

Columbia University Law Professor Richard Briffault says the Texas case doesn’t have much relevance to New York. If the governor’s veto were to be upheld, the LAFTOR map shouldn’t carry any weight with the courts. He also notes that a state court, not the federal courts, could draw up the plan and may have the flexibility to ignore the Legislature’s plan.

One thing is clear. Nothing could be worse than what the Legislature has done.

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