New State Senate Districts Bring Back The Old
By Howard Schwach
After a long and often contentious process, Governor Pataki has agreed to the new State Senate district lines set by the Republican majority in the Senate, bringing both Malcolm Smith and Ada Smith "home" to districts they have represented for many years.
In an earlier version of the district lines, Ada Smith was slated to represent Rockaway and Malcolm Smith was relegated to a district in central Queens.
The finalized version, however, has Malcolm Smith in a district whose lines some have likened to a "deranged ferret." That district meanders from Central Queens, along JFK Airport and then into Rockaway (See District Maps, page 52).
Ada Smith is back in her old district, losing Rockaway but retaining Broad Channel.
Is Ada Smith happy about the changes that take away Rockaway but leave Broad Channel in her district?
"I am not ecstatic," she told The Wave. "I don’t really want to comment on not representing Rockaway."
She is angry, however, at the process that she believes disenfranchises minority voters.
"I don’t believe that the minority population of Nassau and Suffolk Counties was served by this redistricting process," she says. "I believe that the courts will have to intercede before you see a minority-enabled district in either of those counties."
"The Governor changed the entire plan to address the needs of the Hassidic community in Brooklyn and the Dominicans in the Bronx, why not for minorities in Nassau," she asks.
Malcolm Smith, who now retains much the same district that he had prior to the redistricting plan, is ecstatic.
"I want to thank all of the residents in Rockaway and The Wave for expressing an interest in keeping me as their representative," Smith said.
"I am glad that they are satisfied with the work that I have done for them, but we still have lots to do," he added. "I plan to work with all of the other elected officials in Rockaway – Audrey, James, Joe, Tony Weiner, we are all part of the team."
Malcolm Smith will represent the fourteenth Senatorial District, while Ada Smith will represent the Tenth Senatorial District.