For those of you who have not been following the Broome County Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee meetings, five potential maps were submitted. On Monday night the committee voted by a 6 to 3 vote to accept map #3.
At issue is that Map #3 was proposed by the Republicans and is clearly the most “gerrymandered” and least balanced of the proposed maps. Further, the vote was 6 to 3 despite the Democrats having four votes on the committee. Bob Weslar voted with the five Republicans to accept map #3.
An email from Dr. Matt Wahila:
Map 3 as given by the committee to the legislature is not a fair map by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an obvious power play by the Republicans to carve up the county in a way that unfairly advantages them at the expense of the constituents they are supposed to be representing. They completely ignored literally ALL of the constituent input received at the previous night’s meeting. Every single person that spoke (and I’d say there were at least 15-20) was against maps 3 & 4! Yet the Republicans didn’t even hesitate to immediately vote for map 3 without addressing the concerns people brought up…
Maps 3 & 4 both clearly and unequivocally violate section 34 subsection 4(e) of the NYS Municipal Home Rule:
“To the extent practicable, no villages, cities or towns except those having more than 40% of a full ratio for each district shall be divided.”
Maps 3 & 4 carve up both Maine and Dickinson in ways that make no logical sense, in unarguable violation of this very unambiguous rule. But the Republicans got their Republican lawyer to make a statement that says he thinks they’re legally allowed to violate that rule if there’s a conflict between it and another part of the subsection. That other part being:
“The maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions including cities, villages, and towns, and of communities of interest shall also be
But that’s complete BS on several fronts. For one, the 40% rule is very clear in saying no village, town, etc. that fulfills the criteria “shall be divided” to the extent practicable. While the other rule only says “shall also be considered.” Do not do this if possible VS also consider not doing this… One is clearly more strongly worded. One is a clear command. The other is a consideration. The command should take precedence. And that’s completely ignoring the fact that the 40% rule gives clear mathematical critera that must be followed, while the other part just gives vague and completely subjective critera like “cores of existing districts.”
You could very easily argue that maps 1 & 2 both maintain any “cores” or “communities of interest”, and thus do not run into issues of conflict between the 2 parts of the subsection. But the Republicans just flat out insist they don’t maintain these “cores” based on absolutely zero evidence or explanation. Well that’s wrong. They did attempt to give some quasi-explanation, except it was all lies and contradictory nonsense!
The Republicans claimed Maps 3 & 4 were better because even though they violate the 40% rule by splitting the Town of Maine literally down the middle and lumping half of it with part of the Town of Union, it makes total sense because Maine is in Maine-Endwell school district so it has ties to the Town of Union!……. Except Maps 3 & 4 lump that half of Maine with half of Endicott!! Endicott is UE school district, not ME! Maine and Endicott have literally nothing in common. Different towns, different school districts, completely different interests and issues!
No sane person would argue the south half of Maine and the north side Endicott constitute a single “core” or “community” that cannot be divided. When I ran for office in District 7 last year it was like running 2 separate campaigns because the issues and voting bases of the 2 towns are completely divorced from each other. I’d like to hear the Republicans (Pasquale in particular) try to explain why they can’t be divided. Especially considering their maps are literally dividing both Maine and Endicott arbitrarily in half in the process!!
I’d think one side of Route 26 in Maine and other side of Route 26 only a few feet away have a heck of a lot more in common and make up more of a “community of interest” than one side of Route 26 and West Endicott which is ~8 miles away…… But Republicans claim the opposite because they know these gerrymandered districts give them an unfair advantage by diluting Democratic votes in population centers with rural votes that are more likely to go Republican.
We need to do everything we can to stop the Republicans from getting away with this. That includes letters to the editor, social media posts, showing up to County Legislature meetings to voice our concerns, calling your local and state representatives. Anything you can do to stop this!
An Email from Harris Weiss Vice Chair of the Broome Democratic Party:
The full legislature will still have to vote on this map and then it will go to County Executive Garner for approval or veto. There is still time to express your concerns about the acceptance of this redistricting map. Map#3 will not provide Broome County residents with fair county representation, for the next TEN years, especially if you live in the Towns of Maine or Dickinson.
Everyone contact the County Executive and the legislators know of your opinions about the proposed maps. As of now there is one more public hearing (that will be done by the County Executive).
The next step is for the maps to be approved in committee, and then brought forward to the whole legislature. It then goes to the County Executive.
At this point, we need our elected officials, especially the Republicans on the legislature, to hear from us that what they are doing is undemocratic and silences thousands of voters voices through lack of discussion and gerrymandering. Please find the emails below for the County Executive and Broome County Legislators to share your thoughts on the map that was voted out of the AdHoc Committee. Broome County deserves a FAIR map that doesn’t violate a state law Assemblywoman Lupardo co-sponsored and the legislature passed to prevent gerrymandering at the local level.