2012-03-16 / Editorial/Opinion

Keep The New Congressional Lines

The coming Congressional election has just gotten more interesting, thanks to Brooklyn Federal Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann. With the state legislature unable to come up with the district lines by March 1, Judge Mann went to work, joined by a number of redistricting experts and university professors, and came up with lines that suit Rockaway just fine. As expected, the former 9th Congressional District of New York no longer exists. That district took in the west end of the peninsula with Greg Meeks representing the east end. The new NY-5 District covers all of Rockaway and Broad Channel, making the peninsula whole once again – at least in Congress. The new district sets up some interesting possibilities. With Rockaway in one district, Gregory Meeks will have to fight it out with Bob Turner to keep his seat. That is, if Turner is still in the race. The Republican said on Tuesday this week that he will seek the Republican and Conservative nominations for Senate and a run against Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior Senator from New York. If the GOP gives him the nod, then there will be a new Republican candidate to vie against the Democratic candidate for the new Congressional seat. Meeks has lots of baggage, and none of it is good. He is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for a $40,000 “loan” from a crony. He is under investigation by the feds and the state Attorney General for missing funds from both his non-profit and his Katrina Hurricane charity. There are questions about his home and its mortgage. His buddy and one of his chief fundraisers, Allan Stanford, was convicted last week of a massive Ponzi scam. Many Democrats would be happy to see him go quietly and without embarrassing the party. There is another candidate waiting in the wings, however. He is Phillip Goldfeder, a close protégé of Senator Charles Schumer. With Schumer’s help, Goldfeder has done a lot for Rockaway in the short time he has been in office. With a growing Orthodox Jewish population to offset the black vote in Far Rockaway and with anger about the Republicans during this primary season, Goldfeder might just steal the bacon. The Republicans have argued that the lines are flawed because they break up “communities of interest” such as Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the Rockaway peninsula.” That contention is ridiculous and should be rejected both by the judge and the legislature. As we have said, it could be an interesting election season should the judge’s lines hold – and we hope that they do.

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