2002-01-12 / Editorial/Opinion

Make Rockaway Whole Once More

Make Rockaway Whole Once More

Ten years ago, the Federal bureaucracy and the Democratic majority in the State Legislature teamed up to do a great disservice to Rockaway and to many other communities around New York City. The Feds, in their infinite wisdom, had decided that the only way to insure minority representation in both the city council and in the state assembly was to carve out districts that included enough minority voters that a minority candidate was sure of victory. We always believed that the concept was a slap in the face to people such as Floyd Flake and Al Waldon, who managed to win elections in districts that were not mostly minority. We editorialized at the time on the belief that fracturing Rockaway into two districts would give the peninsula less of a voice because Rockaway's representative would be more beholding to other areas for reelection than Rockaway. It turns out that we were right. The majority of voters in the 31st district live not in Rockaway, but in areas nearby JFK airport. The majority of voters in the 32nd district live not in Rockaway, but in the mainland areas of Howard Beach and Ozone Park. That reduces Rockaway's impact on the political process, even when we have good people serving in those positions. This is not about individual politicians, it is about representation. With the coming reapportionment on the table, it is time for the legislature to once again make Rockaway whole – to insure that one assemblyperson and one city council person represents the entire peninsula. We cannot afford to relive the last ten years. The time to do something is now.

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