Who came out smelling like roses in proposed Congressional district maps from Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans?
Charlie Rangel, according to Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner, who noted on a conference call to explain the maps that “both of these maps haven’t made massively radical changes to [Rangel’s] district.”
The rest of the maps are a mess, Lerner opined, saying, “Both majorities in the legislative houses continue the incumbent protection program.”
“These maps remain hyperpolitical,” she said.
Lerner expressed displeasure with many districts and pegged the Ninth Congressional District, the former seat of Anthony Weiner that now belongs to Rep. Bob Turner, as the source of the snarl that has held up the redistricting process in both houses.
That district, which Republicans seem unwilling to dismantle, is also logically inconsistent with both parties’ calls for the special magistrate Roanne Mann to consider incumbency as an important factor when she draws her own maps on March 12.
Both majorities argued in memoranda submitted to the courts that seniority in Congress helps aid New York in passage of legislation favorable to the state. Drawing sitting members out of their districts weakens New York in comparison to other states, legislators maintain.
Lerner said she planned to submit a letter to the courts arguing against incumbency protection, outlining the paradox within Senate Republicans’ own map, which protects its newest member of Congress at the expense of a long-standing incumbent, Queens Congressman Gary Ackerman, and draws Turner into a district with Rep. Joe Crowley.
“I’m not sure how arguing to the courts incumbency is really important fits with a map that puts incumbents and the new representative in the same district,” she said.
Lerner also took a few minutes to address a news report out this morning from the Times Union that says the legislature are working on a compromise on a constitutional amendment to reform redistricting that would still give the Legislature a say over how lines are drawn.
“I do just want to point out, we know there’s an issue which has been percolating over the last couple of days, and that is the question of whether there will be a bill or constitutional amendment” on redistricting,” Lerner said.
“We would just like to say we have consistently been calling for an open discussion about what should be in any constitutional amendment,” she said. “We think quite frankly it would be a scandal if massive changes to the redistricting process were introduced under cover of darkness.”
Trackback from your site.