Here's the gist of my testimony before the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment on February 1, 2012:
The district lines as proposed underscore the reason for the popularity of non-partisan redistricting. The presently proposed lines DO NOT:
· reflect effects of a transparent process
· keep communities together
· reflect well on the legislature's role in redistricting, underscoring the public's dissatisfaction and belief that the people do not matter.
· Advance public policy, e.g.: transparency; 1 person, 1vote; protection for minority rights
The proposed Senate lines are the most obviously egregious, although legitimate similar concerns have been expressed about Assembly lines in other parts of the state.
The proposed lines DO:
· divide by what looks to be the interests of one party over another,
· divide communities of interest,
· pits one incumbent against another for no reason consistent with any public policy (locally, for example, this affects the current Senators from the 18th and 20th Senate districts)
The panel had earlier asked a resident of North Brooklyn why the State legislative lines mattered to the future development of affordable housing in New York City. The answer is of course it does, whether for funding or consistency of advocacy, or effectuation of public policy.
Common Cause/NY has set a fine example for redrawing district lines, showing that it can be done fairly and consistent with public policy.
I urged Governor Cuomo to veto lines and encouraged the Legislative Task Force to put their heads together and resolve the lines in the interest of the public.