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Redistrict Avella seat: Group

 
 

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Times Ledger – State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said there are rumors swirling around that his district may be torn apart when the state Legislature redraws political lines next year.

An Asian coalition wants Avella’s district to encompass only Bayside, Bay Terrace, Oakland Gardens, Auburndale and all of Flushing, the senator told Community Board 13 last week.

If that plan goes through, Avella said his district “could change dramatically,” with 75 percent of the senator’s current district to no longer be represented by him.

Avella’s district covers northeast Queens, Whitestone, College Point, parts of Jamaica and Hollis and communities near the border with Nassau County.

The group said it made proposals to redraw all of the city’s state Senate and Assembly lines.

The Asian American Coalition for Redistricting and Democracy also wants Queens neighborhoods near the Nassau County border – Glen Oaks, Bellerose and Floral Park – to be put in a Long Island state Assembly district.

“At least in Queens, you share a commonality with the rest of the communities,” Avella said of residents who live near the Nassau County border.

Jerry Vattamala, staff attorney for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – a group that is part of ACCORD – said the lines ACCORD drew up were done so minorities “can elect a representative of their choice.

“We did not draw these lines to get Asian Americans elected,” he said.

Bayside’s Asian population grew 48 percent between 2000 and 2010, when the last census was taken. Asians now comprise about 37 percent of the neighborhood, compared to nearly 25 percent in 2000, according to figures from the Center for Urban Research.

Flushing recorded a 37 percent increase in its Asian population during that span. Nearly 70 percent of the neighborhood is Asian, up from more than 52 percent in 2000.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would veto any redistricting plan that is not drawn up by an independent commission.

“It looks like that is not happening, unfortunately,” Avella said.

The senator said GOP senators are averse to an independent commission despite signing a pledge to create one.

Avella said CB 13 and civic associations in the area “should carefully watch this process.”

By Howard Koplowitz

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