2002-03-02 / Front Page

Redistricting of Senate District Lines Leaves Smith And Smith Out in Cold

By Howard Schwach

Redistricting of Senate District Lines
Leaves Smith And Smith Out in Cold
By Howard Schwach

Senator Malcolm Smith has represented Rockaway, Springfield Gardens, Rosedale and parts of Jamaica in the State Senate ever since Alton Waldon became a judge a few years ago.

Senator Ada Smith has represented Broad Channel and much of Jamaica for the past ten years.

Both of them want to continue to represent those communities.

"For the first time, we are starting to see movement in Rockaway," Malcolm Smith told The Wave. "I have built a relationship with Rockaway and the other areas that I represent. I do not want to lose that."

"I’ll run wherever they7 put me, as long as it is fair and equitable" Ada Smith said. "I do not, however, want to lose either my constituents in Jamaica, in Brooklyn or in Broad Channel. I have a great relationship with them. I definitely do not want to lose Broad Channel."

Under a new redistricting plan, however, both of them would have to change focus and to work with new communities.

Malcolm Smith lives in Jamaica and the area where he lives would become part of Senate District 14 under the new plan. Malcolm Smith would then represent Jamaica, Forest Hills and Flushing.

Ada Smith would retain Broad Channel, but she would pick up all of Rockaway while losing her constituents in both Jamaica and in Brooklyn.

Malcolm Smith plans to challenge the redistricting plan.

"In the long run, we are going to stay the same," he says. "I am in District 10 and will remain in District 10."

Ada Smith is more sanguine but no less angry about the plan.

"Those in the majority who drew up this plan ignored every rule of redistricting," she says. "They have diluted the votes of minority voters and flouted the "one man-one vote rule. The Senators in Queens each represent about 318 thousand residents, while senators upstate represent about 280 thousand residents."

Even so, she does not plan on speaking at the redistricting hearing.

"I do not yet know if I will speak," she says, "but you can be sure that my communities of interest will speak out."

The redistricting hearing will take place at Queens Borough Hall on Wednesday, March 13, beginning at 3 p.m.

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