January 16, 2013 | 1298 views
Coalition presents third option for redistricting
Organization leaders denounce party plans
Dissatisfied with a pair of plans that would redraw Nassau County’s 19 Legislative districts, a group of good-government organizations has created its own map, which was presented to the County Legislature on Jan. 14.
At a press conference before the meeting, several speakers condemned the plans drawn up by the Temporary Districting Advisory Commission — one by its Republican members and the other by the Democrats. Members of the Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition also said that the commission failed in its duty to present a unified, bipartisan plan.
Several organizations joined forces to form the coalition, including Common Cause New York, the Nassau County League of Women Voters, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Le Fuente Long Island Civic Participation Project and Latino Justice. Members of these organizations had a unified message on Monday, saying that the rights of voters have been ignored.
Barbara Epstein, of the League of Women Voters, said that representatives of her organization have attended every public hearing on redistricting so far and have advocated a fair, transparent and inclusive process. The league has also argued that legislative districts should be compact and contiguous, and keep communities of interest together. “These are all traditional, accepted redistricting values,” Epstein said.
She singled out the plan created by the Advisory Commission Republicans, saying that it fails to meet that criteria.
Brian Paul, of Common Cause New York, said that the coalition’s map was a clear alternative to the partisan and gerrymandered plans presented by the commission’s Republicans and Democrats. The new map, Paul explained, adjusts the existing legislative districts based on population shifts.
“The coalition plan,” he said, “demonstrates that there are no practical obstacles to creating common-sense plans in the best interests of the county and all its residents.”