Gothamist: Divided Neighborhoods Press For More Political Sway With New Redistricting Maps
By David Cruz/Gothamist
The state’s Independent Redistricting Commission has now completed a series of listening sessions and accepted written testimony, gathering input before it redraws the lines of all legislative and congressional districts in New York. It will rely on the latest data from the 2020 U.S. Census count due to be released this Thursday, August 12th.
The current district lines for the Assembly in Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park appear like stitch marks on Frankenstein’s monster, running north and south, right to left, and diagonally. It’s one reason why it’s considered one of the most “cracked” neighborhoods in the city. There may be many elected officials but few pay attention to these constituents because they comprise a tiny fraction of their respective districts. During a recent visit to the neighborhood, some residents were unaware of who represented them in the Assembly.
“This is the poster child of what could go wrong,” said Jerry Vattamala, an attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, adding that the old way of drawing district lines lead to gerrymandering, and served the politicians more than the constituents. “So they’re essentially picking their voters, not the other way around where the voters are selecting their reps.”