Redistricting round-up: McEneny, Silver say no congressional lines this week
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 10:52 AM
It doesn’t look like new congressional lines will be revealed any time soon.
"There is no agreement yet on the Congress,” the Times-Union Jimmy Vielkind has LATFOR co-chair Assemblyman Jack McEneny quoted as saying in a piece today.
“There will not be a vote this week,” the Daily News’ Ken Lovett has Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in his piece today. “There is no agreement on congressional lines.”
The NY Posts’ Fred Dickers says the battle over Representative Charles Rangel’s district is what’s holding up the process. According to the piece, the battle is between the Democratic County chairs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester--Assemblyman Keith Wright, Assemblyman Carl Heastie, and Reginald Lafayette, respectively—over designs to make Rangel’s district a majority black district that would stretch from Harlem to Southern Westchester.
Wright — who plans to run for Rangel’s seat when the 81-year old disgraced congressional veteran retires, perhaps in 2014 — has responded by accusing Heastie of trying to “snatch an historically black Harlem district for The Bronx so he [Heastie] can run for the seat himself’’ or, as an alternative, turn the seat into the new “Latino district’’ sought by Hispanic Manhattan and Bronx Democrats, other sources said.
The problem, of course--and something those opposed to the move by the Manhattan Democrats point out--is that Rangel's district hasn't been majority black for at least the past 20 years. According to the Census Bureau, in 2000 the district was 36.7 percent black. In the 2010 census, that number is down to 31.8 percent. These demographic trends are at the heart of the push to make a Latino-majority district (Hispanic/Latinos were the majority or plurality in both censuses) in northern Manhattan. Latino leaders and their supporters held a rally yesterday in Washington Heights calling for just that.
Meanwhile, a hearing is being held today in Brooklyn on how the courts should potentially get involved in the redistricting process.
As we reported earlier this month, the longer the state legislature drags its feet, the better chance a federal court-appointed special master will be the one drawing New York's congressional lines:
There’s a real possibility that the legislature, which is primarily concerned with its own districts, will not have maps in time for the March 6 or some other judge-ordered date. This wouldn’t be surprising; as has been pointed out before, the past three times the state legislature redrew congressional maps, a judicially-appointed special master had to step in.
In each case the special master move prompted the legislature to act. But if Cuomo sticks to his guns on vetoing the partisanly drawn LATFOR lines (and that’s still considered a big “if”) there’s a real chance a judge will decide which member of congress you’ll be voting for this year.