Redistricting proposals unveiled
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Bonnie Garone, a Democratic member of the commission, said that the Democrats’ plan is a “least change” map. Only 17 of the hundreds of election districts across the county would be moved into other Legislative districts. Island Park and Harbor Isle would be united with Long Beach, and Atlantic Beach and East Atlantic Beach would merge with the Five Towns.
The commission was made up of five Republicans and five Democrats, plus Moroney, the non-voting chairman who was appointed by County Executive Ed Mangano. Garone said that the Democrats were hoping to work with Republicans to create a single map, but were rebuked for their efforts. She and other Democrats were critical of Moroney for presenting the Republican map last week, saying that it showed that he, and perhaps even Mangano, favored one plan over another. Moroney denied those claims.
Leona Baum, of Hempstead, said she remembers when the Legislature was first created in the 1990s, and that there was a much greater spirit of cooperation between the two sides then. She called on both sides to “act like thinking adults instead of petulant children” and sit down and work together to create a single map.
Baum was critical of both plans, saying that each map slices and dices several communities and is difficult to read.
David Stonehill, of Merrick, was critical of the Republican plan, which he said would split many communities. The map was created in a “secretive and hyperpartisan” process, he added, and gives Republicans an opportunity to seize power through redistricting rather than through elections.
One of the communities that would be split under the Republican plan is Elmont, which doesn’t sit well with Legislator Carrié Solages, who represents the 3rd District. Solages, a Democrat who was first elected in 2011, said he would vigorously oppose the plan. “I’ll fight to keep my community together,” he said. “As one community, we’re better off than being divided.”
Solages also said he is doubtful that the Republican plan would hold up in court, and he is concerned that there could be some costly legal battles before a final map is settled on.