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Martin Malavé Dilan

The Empire

Are early redistricting lawsuits too early?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

From left, Assemb. Jack McEneny, Sen. Michael Nozzolio and Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the constitutionality of Senate Republicans’ plans to create a new district in the Albany area. The plan would bring the State Senate’s total size up from 62 to 63 seats.

“The lawsuit is being filed because the majority in the New York State Senate failed to follow the constitution of the State of New York, Section 4, which…if you follow the formula strictly it would only result in 62 seats,” Dilan said before the Bronx LATFOR hearing on Tuesday. “This time around they decided needed a 63rd seat; perhaps to continue control of the New York State Senate.”

Dilan’s suit is just another salvo in a pre-emptive strike campaign by opponents of the LATFOR process. As the turbulent process moves into its final stages, these lawsuits become pieces on the board as stakeholders—legislators, non-government groups, the Governor and communities throughout New York—prepare for the redistricting end game.

The lawsuit a ruling that “they”—that is, Senate Republicans—didn’t follow their own, court-approved process for figuring out the number of Senate seats. He said the ruling could happen as soon as a week.] For an explanation of how they got to 63 seats--and why Democrats think they're wrong--check out my earlier piece.]

Dilan’s counterpart on LATFOR, Republican Senator Michael Nozzolio, said before the meeting that he had faith that their attorneys had divined the number of senate seats correctly and that the court would agree.

“The constitution of the state of New York will decide this. Not Senator Dilan. Not Senator Nozzolio. Not the Senate entirely,” Nozzolio said. “We certainly believe the analysis done by the attorneys is accurate. We believe the court will ultimately confirm that.”

The Lawsuits

As mentioned, the complaint filed by Senator Dilan in state court is asking a judge to find the Republicans “failed to apply the Senate size formula prescribed in Section 4 consistently, rationally or in good faith.”

The question facing whichever judge hears the case is whether or not the case is “ripe”—that is, if the issue in the case is fully formed enough to decide. What will likely come down to in this case is whether or not the Senate declaring its intent to create the district is enough.

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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.

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The Empire

LATFOR holds final meeting before line drawing begins

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Colby Hamilton / WNYC

12:07 pm

The committee is going to meet on Friday, November 18, at 1:30 pm in Albany. At that point, the issues of prisoner reallocation are set to be decided, as well as the calendar for the second round of hearings.

The court's decision on the state's primary date should be decided on November 17, which will certainly play into the meeting. Specifically, if the primary date is moved up, as anticipated, it will compact the next round of hearings to review the maps.

11:55 am

"This does not end. this is only half-time," Nozzolio said, ending public comment section. The committee is going to meet now, and discussing issues.

Now the Senate and Assembly need to draw maps. More than one conversation I've had indicated that Senate Republicans have their maps drawn--but don't expect to see anything until the prisoner reallocation case is decided early next month.

I'll following up with a piece on where things stand later. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me at chamilton @ wnyc.org.

11:50 am

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey is the final speaker today.

11:20 am

Nozzolio and McEneny have, at other meetings and in other reports, bristled at the idea that independent redistricting would be some sort of magic bullet. I've written here that, indeed, it's not.

A local Democratic Party leader, sitting next to his Republican counterpart, chastised the committee for not giving up the line drawing to an independent commission, which is heavily supported in the polls.

McEneny was--and has been--most forceful in rejecting the idea that there's such a thing as an independent redistricting process. He noted that most independent commissions are appointed by legislators, which makes the idea that the commission is truly independent a sham.

Case in point, noted McEneny: Arizona's independent redistricting chair was impeached yesterday over concerns over the way districts were drawn.

McEneny, who has chaffed at the Governor's veto comments, said it was irresponsible for the Governor to suggest he'd veto districts before he's seen the maps.

"Do you think its a good thing when a chief exec ... says that he's going to veto a piece of leg before he's read it," McEneny asked. "That's not good government."

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The Empire

As the dust settles in the 54th Assembly, future plans begin to take shape

Friday, September 16, 2011

This post has been updated.

Rafael Espinal, the Democratic and Conservative Party pick in Brooklyn's 54th Assembly District, managed to fend off two better-financed campaigns to become one of the new members of the New York State Assembly. The win was just as much a victory for Espinal's patrons as it was for the young candidate.

The long-time local assemblyman and head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Vito Lopez, was able to get his pick into a seat previously held by Congressman Ed Towns' son for nearly 20 years. Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, who Espinal works (or worked) for, is a strong ally of Lopez's, as is his father, Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.

But looking at the results, more than half of the voters in the race voted for someone other than Espinal, who captured 44.4 percent of the vote. The Espinal campaign had said before the race that they expected a primary challenge next year, and given the results, they're probably right.

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