Streams

 

Latfor

The Empire

Cuomo calls pushed-up Congress primary an 'incumbency protection plan'

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

Getty

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the possibility of three primary elections in New York this year is not in anyone’s best interest.

A federal judge has already ruled that congressional primaries must be held June 26. While Assembly Democrats would like statewide primaries to also be held on that date, Senate Republicans prefer an August primary. If no action is taken, the statewide primaries will automatically fall on September 11th this year. The presidential primary is in April.

Governor Cuomo says having three separate primaries is “less than ideal”.

“It’s very expensive for the state,” said Cuomo. “I don’t think the tax payers want to pay for three elections.”

Cuomo says it’s likely that separate primary elections, which are estimated to cost as much as $50 million dollars each, will also likely result in lower voter turnout.

“Who’s going to come out to vote just for a congressional election, for example?” the governor asked.

But Cuomo says it’s up to the legislature to agree on one date.

And while the congressional primaries are set for late June, the legislature does not intend to have redistricting lines for new congressional districts ready until March, leaving little time for challengers to mount campaigns. Cuomo called the shortened election season an “incumbency protection plan".

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Former AG candidate Coffey says LATFOR hearings may be a 'kabuki show'

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LATFOR public hearing in the Bronx. (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Last time I saw Sean Coffey, he was sitting on a stage in Manhattan with three other candidates for attorney general back in 2010, arguing why he should get the job.

He didn’t end up winning the five-way primary (Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice wasn’t at the event), but he’s since joined up with Common Cause and on Tuesday gave testimony at the LATFOR meeting in the Bronx. Draft state Senate and Assembly maps were released last week, and the Tuesday hearing was the first in a second round being held in New York City over the next week.

“The second round of LATFOR hearings could be for one of two purposes,” Coffey said outside of the hearing room at the Bronx Museum of the Arts just before the meeting. “One, it could be to travel to some parts of the state, and hear from citizens about what they think about the draft plans—and amend them to reflect the concerns expressed and, in some cases, the significant concerns expressed about the draft plans.”

“The other, less benevolent reason good be [that] it’s a kabuki show,” he said, “that they’re going around and make believe they’re going to listen to input and tweak these egregiously drawn maps a little bit and say that they’ve somehow accommodated the people who’ve testified.”

Read More

Comment

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

President Obama has tapped Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to head up its official task force investigating misconduct in the banking industry that lead to the financial collapse on Wall Street. The AG joins us today to talk about the pros and cons of his new role, and we might throw a question his way about Danny Hakim’s article in the Times about Ben Lawsky.

Speaker Sheldon Silver has thrown his considerable political weight behind an increase in the minimum wage. The Speaker will be my guest to discuss the dueling political narratives which inevitably surround raising the minimum wage, and New York’s history of combating poverty.

And then we’ll be joined by a few people who are P.O.’d about redistricting: The first you've heard from before -- Senator Mike Gianaris D – Astoria is now warning that any deal the Senate is pushing for a constitutional amendment would create a lose-lose situation for the State of the New York.

And here’s one of the stories to come out of the Assembly’s redistricting efforts: Assemblyman Pete Lopez R - Schoharie just spent five months rebuilding the entire Village of Schoharie which was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene. If the new maps are adopted, the Village, where Lopez & his family live, will fall under Assemblymember Claudia Tenney’s jurisdiction. Tenney, R – Sylvan Beach, currently represents parts of Oswego and Oneida Counties. She testified at Monday’s LATFOR hearing in Albany that if the new maps are approved, her district would extend from Oneida County to the border of Connecticut – it would include parts of the following districts: Oneida, Otsego, Herkimer, Schoharie, Albany, Greene & Columbia.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Redistricting analysis shows Assembly gerrymandering too, not surprising Kolb

Monday, January 30, 2012

Coverage of the redistricting process—including the coverage here--tends to focus on the state Senate. With the margin between the majority and minority party razor thin, overt attempts by the Senate Republicans to keep control are vividly evident.

But that doesn’t mean Democrats in the Assembly aren’t guilty of carving out election districts for maximum partisan benefit in the draft maps released last week.

In a presentation in Albany this morning, Common Cause’s Susan Lerner presented a PowerPoint presentation that showed what they say are Assembly districts as egregious as some of their counterparts in the Senate.

In Queens, Common Cause found the conservative-leaning Middle Village area chopped up into four separate districts to keep Democratic officials in those seats, as is the case today.

Courtesy of Common Cause.

Upstate, Assembly Democrats continue to divide up cities like Albany and Rochester to help dilute the impact of conservative voters. Rochester is divided into three separate districts, all of which are represented by Democrats. A similar situation is proposed for Syracuse.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, January 30, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

What’s former Assemblyman & current Senior Fellow at Demos think about the Governor’s budget and the newly proposed redistricting maps? We’ll ask the outspoken 14-termer from Westchester -- and perhaps fit in a question about his recent trip to Russia.

Capital Region Assembly Democrat Robert Reilly is known for taking stands for libraries & against Mixed Martial Arts – and for giving away his legislative salary. He’s a member of the majority in the Assembly, so why has his district been extensively redrawn?

We talk property taxes and mandate relief with aspiring Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who was recently lauded by the National Review for speaking out against a New York Times editorial about affordable housing.

And the state of our libraries is in jeopardy according Mike Borges, the Executive Director of the New York Library Association. He’ll join us along with Libby Post of Communication Services to discuss funding.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

What will Cuomo get in his quest for an independent redistricting amendment?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Jimmy Vielkind of both Albany Times Union and CapitalNewYork.com fame hassifted through the redistricting lines debris and tea leaves (I know, it’s hard to picture but it’s metaphorically happening) in a piece up on the aforementioned website. We’ve been on the hunt for much of the same, specifically around how a constitutional amendment fits in to the redistricting end game.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office has for months been talking with the leadership in both the State Assembly and Senate about a resolution to the coming crunch over the Governor’s promised veto. Both Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ offices have confirmed discussions are on-going about including an agreement on a constitutional amendment to hand the next redistricting process over to an independent commission.

The constitutional amendment piece is likely part of a broader effort by Cuomo to bring the redistricting together in a tidy bow. He’s already demonstrated his ability to “evolve” on a thorny issue he’s seemingly painted himself into a corner on.The last, greatest example of this three-dimensional approach was the millionaires tax.

It’s worth reviewing some of the details of proposed independent redistricting legislation from lawmakers last year.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Empire

2012 primary election date will be held June 26--updated

Friday, January 27, 2012

Point of clarity: The June 26 date so far only affects the federal election (i.e. for Congress). State legislators have to decide if they want to move their primary to June, instead of the September date. Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver warned of the danger of three primaries back in December.

It's a big win for Democratic legislators: Federal Judge Gary Sharpe has ruled the state's primary will be held on June 26. Republicans had argued the case for a date closer to the current September primary, specifically in August.

The decision doesn't affect the state's presidential primary date, which will be on April 24.

With little discussion of why he felt so, Judge Sharpe stated "the court concludes that the fourth Tuesday in June for the non-presidential primary is in the best interest of the State."

He went on to state:

However, this decision by no means precludes New York from reconciling their differences and selecting a different date, so long as the new date fully complies with UOCAVA. The court fully recognizes that a permanent primary date is best left to New York, but has acted as it must to preserve federally protected voting rights.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office had argued on the state's behalf. While not overtly calling for it, Schneiderman--a Democrat--suggested the June date would be better in the last set of documents provided to Sharpe:

The State therefore asks that the Court consider the attached submissions and the previous submissions made on behalf of the ECA, the State Assembly, the State Senate Minority leader, as well as various civic and civil rights groups – each of which sets forth grounds for holding the 2012 primary election in June.

The decision will only put more pressure on the redistricting process, which incumbents and challengers alike need finished to know which districts they'll be running in. The actual ruling is after the jump.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Empire

League of Women Voters wants Cuomo to use his veto pen

Friday, January 27, 2012

Here's the relative statement from the League released this afternoon:

We expect that the public demand for reform shown over this last year allows for a unique opportunity in time to fundamentally alter the redistricting process in this state. The governor has publicly stated that these lines are unacceptable and he will consider a veto. We agree. The League will work with the governor and the legislature to realize lasting structural reform to this fundamentally flawed redistricting process. The certainty of achieving reform for 2022 is critical.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Asian civic group is 'pleased' with new districts, with big qualifications

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which was part of the coalition that released the Unity Maps, sent out a review of the new redistricting proposal. While they were happy to see an increase in Asian-majority districts, the statement wasn't without qualification:

SD 16 - Under LATFOR's proposal, there is one Asian American majority State Senate district (52.20% Non-Hispanic Asian voting age population (VAP)), which includes Flushing, Queens. Currently, there are no Asian American majority Senate districts.

"We're glad that LATFOR recognized the importance of creating a majority Asian American Senate district," said AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung. "But the contorted district lines of SD 16 split the neighborhood of Flushing. A compact district in Flushing-Bayside should be drawn to keep Asian American communities of interest together in these neighborhoods, as we demonstrated in the Unity Map."

Under LATFOR's proposal, there are three proposed majority Asian American State Assembly districts[.]

...

"As a general matter, we are pleased that LATFOR has increased the number of Asian American majority Assembly districts from one to three," said Jerry Vattamala, staff attorney with AALDEF's Democracy Project. He added that a majority Asian American Assembly district has also been created for the first time in Sunset Park and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Under the Unity Map, AALDEF proposed four Asian American majority State Assembly districts, with the fourth in the neighborhood of Elmhurst.

"While AD 49 is similar to our Unity Map, the South Asian community of Richmond Hill-South Ozone Park continues to remain divided between multiple State Assembly districts," said Vattamala. "The Unity Map would have kept the Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park neighborhoods substantially together within a single Assembly district."

Many of these groups are going to start releasing their own detailed analysis of the LATFOR lines--as AALDEF says it will--so stay tuned.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Senator Mike Nozzolio on the maps.

Senator Mike Gianaris on the maps.

Reporters Kyle Hughes of NYSNYS.com and Rick Karlin of the Albany Times Union on the maps.

And political strategist & University of Albany adjunct professor Bruce Gyory on anything other than the maps.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo: I'd veto these lines

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This statement was just sent over by Governor Andrew Cuomo's spokesman, Josh Vlasto:

At first glance, these lines are simply unacceptable and would be vetoed by the Governor. We need a better process and product.

 

Read More

Comment

The Empire

NYPIRG: Senate's maps 'the most gerrymandered lines in recent New York history'

Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYPIRG's Bill Mahoney has already whipped up an analysis of the new legislative lines. He choose district population variation--the amount each district is from the ideal average based on the total population--as the "yardstick" to measure how representative the districts are. A big concern for gerrymandering is the spread between the districts that are under and over populated.

Packing people (a high positive deviation) into districts in one place can allow you to under populate (a high negative deviation) other districts, allowing for more districts in partisanly-friendly areas--something both the Assembly and Senate have done in the past.

"The typical deviation from the ideal population is one of the few completely objective criteria that can be used," Mahoney writes in an email. "While judging this set of proposed maps by this yardstick, the Senate’s maps are clearly the most gerrymandered lines in recent New York history."

Here's his breakdown on the Senate side:

Senate: Districts 3% or further from ideal population:

1984: 0

1992: 0

2002: 19

2012: 50

He also took a look at how the lines would far based on the 1 percent variation Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed in his independent redistricting legislation last year:

1984: 44 out of 61

1992: 47 out of 61

2002: 11 out of 62

2012: 3 out of 63

On the Assembly side Mahoney notes that, by this measurement, the Assembly districts actually sees things improving slightly since the last redistricting:

Assembly: Districts 3% or further from ideal population:

1984: 15

1992: 49

2002: 70

2012: 67

 

Assembly: Districts within 1% of ideal population:

1984: 92

1992: 46

2002: 18

2012: 26

Read More

Comment

The Empire

LATFOR draft maps are released for both Senate and Assembly--updated

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The wait is over!

Draft maps have been placed on the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment website. A statement from the task force, co-chaired by Republican Senator Michael Nozzolio and Democratic Assemblyman John McEneny, called the plan "fair, legal and protects minority voting interests."

Not surprisingly, Senate Democrats are not taking the lines well.

"This Republican proposal contains none of the criteria reformers sought and none of the reforms the Governor included in his proposed legislation," Senate Minority Leader John Sampson said in a statement "The Republican-proposed districts are not compact, vary widely in population, and divide communities of interest in blatantly political ways."

Former mayor Ed Koch, who saw Senate Republicans renege on their promise of an independent, non-partisan redistricting process, is also blasting the plans.

"No surprise, I am disappointed in this result and in the dishonorable lawmakers who openly pledged to do things differently this year, and then reneged when it wasn't to their political advantage. What a shame: this is not reform in letter or in spirit," Koch said in a statement. "Today, victory lies with the Enemies of Reform."

He called on Governor Cuomo to keep his promise of vetoing maps that were not independently drawn an overtly partisan.

Governor Cuomo ran for office pledging to reform the way our state works, and to date, he's kept his word," Koch said. "Just this afternoon the Governor said his position has not changed, which I applaud him for, and I have every confidence he will keep his word to the people of New York and veto the proposed maps."

The images for the Senate districts are below. The Assembly districts are after the jump:

New York City's proposed Senate lines ( )

Long Island's proposed Senate lines ( )

Upstate New York's proposed Senate lines ( )

[caption id="attachment_13468" align="center" width="620" caption="New York City's proposed Assembly lines" credit=" "]

Read More

Comments [2]

The Empire

Assemblyman David Weprin not pleased with his new district

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Assemblymembers were given their maps late last night (fellow Queens Assemblymember Grace Meng shared hers already). Former congressional candidate Assemblyman David Weprin is not happy about his.

The new 24th Assembly District lines in Queens would make a minority-majority district that stretches across the borough. The district would be an Asian-influenced district, with about 33 percent of the district being voting-age Asian. The white--and presumably heavily Jewish population that the current district now accommodates--is 26 percent of the voting age population.

Here's Weprin's statement in his letter to LATFOR:

Following the publication of the draft re-districting maps, I want to state my opposition to the changes made to the 24th Assembly district.  While I thank LATFOR for its work on redistricting, our goal must be to ensure that the proposed maps reflect lines that represent a fair and independent process and keep communities of interest together.

Northeast Queens is a special and distinct geographic region, whose residents and community leaders have voiced their desire to be kept together in a contiguous district, rather than be divided. I look forward to offering testimony as part of LATFOR’s public review process and for my constituents to do likewise in order to end with a map that truly represents the unique character of Northeast Queens.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Schedule for LATFOR's second round of public hearings released

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do we have new State Senate and Assembly (oh yeah, AND Congresional) maps yet? No.

But at least you can clear your schedule to deride/applaud them since we have the schedule now for the next round of LATFOR hearings. There are nine hearing scheduled with the first happening on Monday in Albany (which we reported yesterday) and the last in Buffalo on February 16.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Rural and western NY are getting hit by statewide shortage of doctors. Sherry Chorost, Director of Work Force and Regulatory Affairs at the Healthcare Association of New York will tell us how this is affecting residents, and why this is happening now.

Redistricting maps aren’t out yet. Perhaps they won’t be released publically until after the Governor’s noon press conference; regardless, we will analyze a few of the reported changes with former Assemblyman Michael Benjamin.

Then, we focus on education: First, the Buffalo News’ Education Reporter Mary Pasciak on how the Governor’s proposals around education are being viewed in the city.

And a discussion about education reform with both Buffalo City Schools Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon, and former President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities & principle at Praxis Insights, Abe Lackman. Lackman is also a former Secretary of the New York State Senate Finance Committee; he played a central role in shaping the state’s education aid formula.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

LATFOR announces next meeting...but no maps have been released

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Democratic State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan just posted a note to his legislative website:

LATFOR just posted official notice of a public hearing on Monday, January 30 in Albany.

According to the official transcript of LATFOR's Tuesday, January 10 public meeting (Pg. 25, Line 3): “…those of you who are looking for maps, it has been long been the custom that no less than seven days notice would be given and with that notice would be the maps.”

If you do the math on that, as the Senator is suggesting, we have far less than a week until the next hearing which, it would seem, is seeking input on legislative districts. But the LATFOR website still has yet to publish new maps.

The good news would seem to be that, at the very latest, LATFOR's going to have to get maps out by 10:30 am next Monday if the public's going to comment on them.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

The 63rd Senate District: Location details leak, but more questions pop up

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jimmy Vielkind used Common Cause's map making software to come up with a version of the new district. (Jimmy Vielkind / Times Union)

Ever since the rumor that the Senate Republican planned to create a new, 63rd Senate district in in the soon-to-be-released redistricting maps, there have been new rumors flying about where it could be. At least one of those rumors appears to be true: Times-Union’s Jimmy Vielkind reported today that sources tell him the district will be located in the Capital Region, stretching from west to south of Albany (see picture insert). The district is likely created to help Republican Assemblyman George Amedore get elected to the Senate, helping the Republicans keep their majority.

The news, if it holds up (and there’s good reason to believe this is what we’ll see when maps likely become available either late today or tomorrow), raises three important issues.

Read More

Comments [2]

The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb joins us in the studio.

Dr. Rick Timbs of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, an advocate for low wealth schools, got half of what he wanted from the Governor’s budget. Now what?

The redistricting maps will be released this week (today?) Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters offers us a primer on how to quickly deduce the story behind the lines.

And Debra Winger is in town for a huge rally along with other celeb & non-celeb-anti-frackers.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey to retire

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rumors have been circulating for some time now but it's now official: Upstate Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey will announce he will retire at the end of his term this year. The official announcement came from his office.

Hinchey has been battling colon cancer--though the statement said his latest treatment showed he was cancer free--and was considered unlikely to serve much longer. His name usually came up in redistricting conversations, as New York needs to loose two seats this year. The loss of an incumbent means one less voice arguing for the best lines, and could result in major shifts to what is currently the 22nd Congressional District. The district stretches from Ithaca, through Binghamton, over to Poughkeepsie.

The press conference announcing his retirement is scheduled for 1 pm on Thursday.

 

Read More

Comment