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Coalition: Clock Ticking to Voice Concerns on GOP Redistricting Plan

Republicans' proposed map would dramatically change legislative lines for the Five Towns.

Members of a non-partisan coalition and a Democratic legislator urged Five Towns residents to voice their dissent to Nassau Republicans’ redistricting plan, which would place the area into four different districts.

The proposed legislative lines are set to be vote on at the legislature’s Feb. 25 meeting at 1 p.m. New legislative lines must be passed by the March 5 deadline. Republicans currently hold a 10-9 majority in the legislature.

“Elected officials are picking their voters,” Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) said at a forum held Monday at the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library. “If you don’t have fair-fight districts, that’s the beginning of the end of democracy in this county.”

Under the Republicans’ redistricting plan, Inwood, part of Cedarhurst and Meadowmere Park would be shifted to a new third district; parts of Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Lawrence and Hewlett would be in a new seventh district; other parts of Woodmere, Cedarhurst and Lawrence in the fourth district; and the other part of Hewlett would fall in a new sixth district.

In an interview with Patch, Legislator Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) said that he’d like for his district to remain the same, but he’s not sure if that would be possible.

“It’s a nice thing to maintain the Five Towns as much as you can as an identity group,” he said, “and I’d like to see it happen.”

Kopel pointed to legal restraints such as population deviations and required minority districts for why the Five Towns may have to be divided into new legislative districts. He added that, according to “our experts,” both the Democrat and Coalition maps are not in compliance with the law.

In all, some 359,000 Nassau residents would be shifted out of their current districts, Wink said.

“You will no longer recognize your district and who represents you,” said Jackson Chin, a member of Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition.

Speakers at the forum alleged that the GOP plan is an attempt to gerrymander, giving Republicans an edge in a county that has recently shifted to more registered Democrats.

“You are diminishing the value of every voter in Nassau County,” Patricia Sympson of Lynbrook said about what the Republican plan would do.

Michael Turi, of Woodmere, urged people to show up at the Feb. 25 meeting.

“If you think your representation is being taken away, be at that meeting and let your voice be heard,” he said.

Nancy Rosenthal, president of the Southwest Nassau League of Women Voters, echoed Turi’s remarks, and added that residents should contact Legislator Howard Kopel if they don’t want this map.

“It’s our next 10 years,” she said. “Every word you have to say is important.”

Judith Schneider February 13, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Who are the "experts" that Kopel refers to? Is Gerrymandering the only way that the Republicans can get elected? Let's have a full house on Feb.25th at 1:00P.M to show that we will not give up.

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