Redistricting Process Continues To Draw Criticism From Some Officials


latfor6.JPGNY1 – Legislative maps have always had districts that look awkward or even funny. Some call the current configuration for the 51st state Senate district “Abraham Lincoln riding a vacuum cleaner.”

The proposed new 34th District is better described as “the flying bat.”

But good government groups are highly critical of the new maps, saying their source is raw partisanship, particularly in the Senate, where Republicans are hoping to preserve their narrow majority.

“They made the districts in New York City heavily populated so there were less districts in that Democratic area while upstate they made them very under-populated, so there are more districts then there should have been,” said one good government advocate.

The assembly maps are receiving a better response, but critics say they also need work.

“I think the 63rd seat and some of the pairings that have occurred in the Senate have sort of made us an afterthought,” said Assemblyman John McEneny, LATFOR co-chair.

Republicans have defended the Senate lines. They point to what would be a new Asian American majority district in Queens.

However, the Asian American Legal Defense Fund has expressed concerns about its shape and the fact that the neighborhood of Flushing is split.

There is also disappointment that on the Assembly side, there was no South Asian majority district created.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday reiterated his plan to veto the lines.

“I think the maps as they have been put out are unacceptable. I think we need better maps, a better product from this latest go-round, and I think we need real reform for the process going forward,” said Cuomo.

On Monday, LATFOR, the panel charged with drawing the district lines, holds its first public meeting since the maps were released.

Cuomo said he expects the issue to end up in the courts.

By Zack Fink

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