(x-posted at ACT NOW)
I'm glad I got to tell the hacks on LATFOR how pathetic they are at the Brooklyn LATFOR hearing on Wednesday. Here's to free speech.
Here are a few examples of the absurdly gerrymandered proposed districts:
For some background, to quote from my colleague, Carolyn Jackson:
It’s painful to admit, but a voter in rural upstate New York has more clout than I do or you do, if you live in New York City or its suburbs. It’s been that way for a while, but it would get much worse with the ridiculous new maps drawn in Albany by the Republican-dominated New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Scientific as it may sound, the task force is not the nonpartisan group promised by 52 of 63 state senators (83%) when they ran for office in 2010.
-Fifty percent of the new Senate districts are more than three percent larger or smaller than the average population size. Guess which ones are overstuffed with Democrats. Naturally, this limits the number of Democratic-leaning districts. That’s convenient.
-Latinos in Suffolk County and African Americans in Nassau County found their populations split between districts so their clout is diminished to the benefit of Republicans. How surprising.
-Six Democrats find themselves running for re-election against other Democrats; funny this didn’t happen to Republicans.
These maps give new meaning to the term “gerrymandering.”
Testimony to LATFOR Hearing by Rich Boatti
St. Francis College Founders Hall Auditorium 180 Remsen Street
February 1, 2012, 10:30 AM
Good morning. My name is Rich Boatti and thank you for giving me the chance to speak today. I am a member of ACT NOW, a progressive and good government advocacy group and a concerned citizen.
When I testified at the last Brooklyn hearing, on September 20th, I called this whole process a farce and an exercise in futility. The legislators on the panel told me to reserve judgement until they release their proposed maps. Well, you released those maps last week and after looking at them, I am not here to plead with you to change them. I am here to tell each one of the Republican Senators here that you should be ashamed of yourselves. How can you sleep at night after trying to disenfranchise a majority of the state’s voters?
For example, look at your proposed 20th Senate District. Why was it drawn that way? Someone on this panel please tell me why it was drawn that way, except to draw the Democratic incumbent, my Senator, Eric Adams, out of the district. Now, I am not a fan of Senator Adams and I vote against him any time he is primaried and abstain when he is on the ballot in the general election, but whether to keep him in Albany is up to me and the other voters of the district, and shouldn’t be subject to the partisan hackery of the Senate Republicans. And while we’re at it, can someone on this panel explain to me why the proposed 47th Senate district is drawn the way it is? Please enlighten me.
Furthermore, in your proposed maps, the upstate districts average 292,000 residents, while downstate Senate districts have 315,000 or more. Isn’t that a lovely coincidence! Thank you so much for making mine and every other downstate resident have only 93% of the voting power of our upstate brothers and sisters. You should be so proud of yourselves. [please let the record note that these comments are sarcastic].
So in sum, shame on each and every one of you, but especially the Republican Senators. It’s called “public service” for a reason: you are supposed to serve the people of this state. But instead all you do is serve yourselves and your narrow partisan political interests. Your proposed map is a farce, just like the legislature of this state has been for so many decades. Thank God that Governor Cuomo has rightly stated his intention to veto this farce. So go ahead, try to defend these proposed districts. I now return the mic to you and I promise to hold in my laughter while you are lying.
More by Rich at http://www.actnowny.org/