2001-05-12 / Editorial/Opinion

One Peninsula, One Legislator

It is time once again to redistrict the nation’s congressional districts. The number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives is based on its 2000 Census population numbers. Those numbers mandate that New York State lose two seats in the House (each state has two senators no matter what their population).

Because the process of redistricting each state is left to the state legislatures, it is most certainly a political football that is going to be thrown around, dirtied and bloodied before it finally reaches the goal line.

The Democrats used the last redistricting to play the race card. The Federal government mandated that the process increase the number of minority seats in each state and the Democrats, relishing the idea of creating new seats that would be Democratic for life, set out to guarantee that several new minority Democrats would be elected.

For Rockaway, that mandated led to a Rockaway that has been spitted right down the middle like a barbequed chicken. From east to west, the line picked up every White voter who lived along the beachfront and divided them from every minority voter who lived along the bayfront. Thanks to the Democrats, Rockaway now had two Representatives in the House, two assembly members and two city council members. In each case, one is White and the other is Black.

The Supreme Court has been dealing with cases in other parts of the nation where similar redistricting took place. The results have been mixed.

The law involved aside, the split is bad for Rockaway. It splits our focus, it splits our power in each of the legislative bodies and it splits our communities.

It is time for the politicians who control the redistricting process to know that Rockaway has to be made whole once again. Our slogan must be, "One peninsula, one legislator."

The Democrats owe us at least that much.


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