Charles Barron Master Baits
CHARLES BARRON: I think the first thing we got to do is stop calling the judge ‘Master…Trying to draw us back on the plantation. So I’m going to say ‘judge,’ because we have no master”
It is obvious that these drawing are racist…In the white districts: 96.5% white, 86.3% white, 70% white, 84% white. In 13 of these districts, the white majority population in those districts goes from 70% to 96%, to protect those districts, to make sure that those whites stay in office..Every one of our few Congressional Districts are now in trouble if there’s a coalition of other communities that come together that want to disempower blacks and Latinos…
…This is an attack on Martin Luther King, on Rosa Parks, on Fannie Lou Hamer. Of all of those who came before us. And we say, ‘No, we cannot allow this to happen.’
I’ve never liked Charles Barron, but I’ve never thought he was stupid.
But if he really believes the crap he’s been saying about redistricting, he’s either an imbecile or a delusional psychotic.
I vote for the latter, especially since it seems like only yesterday that he was singing the Plan’s praises.
The Federal Master’s map he’s complaining about does not dilute minority representation; it increases it.
All the districts which are currently represented by a black or Latino still will be minority districts under the plan drawn by the Federal Master, while two districts represented by whites are eliminated. Further, Joe Crowley’s district is given a Latino plurality of over 20%, while Gary Ackerman is shoved out of his district, with a new Asian plurality constituency created in its place.
Barron might object that in Harlem and vicinity, a black represented district is being given a strong Latino majority, but the only way to save a black seat would be to create a grotesque three county monstrosity (the Latino seat is neat and compact). Further, based on the black and Latino proportions of the State population, making this a Latino seat would seem a matter of fundamental fairness. .
Barron must know his comments about the numbers are preposterous. There are no seats in NYC that are over 70% white. Those seats are all located in upstate and suburban areas where it is virtually impossible to draw districts where the white percentages would be any lower.
In fact, the reason New York 27 has a white population over 90% is that the map unites Buffalo in one district (26) so that its’ minority population is not diluted. Similarly, Nita Lowey’s district is given a white majority of over 70% by ensuring that Eliot Engel’s neighboring white plurality district is overwhelmingly black and Latino.
Brooklyn’s black districts diluted? There are two ways of dealing with that. The first would be to draw one black seat instead of two. This would allow for the creation of a super-black majority district with the kind of 70%+ numbers Barron seems to feel Brooklyn blacks are entitled to, even though they do not have the numbers to support such districts in multiplicity.
Is that what Barron is asking for? I know some Southern Brooklyn whites who’d be happy to endorse his crusade (some of them aren’t even Republicans).
Another option would be to do as is done in several other states and let urban black districts follow the black migration into the burbs. Greg Meeks could pick up more of the black parts of Nassau County, Ed Towns could take some of Meeks’ Queens areas, and Yvette Clarke could take some of Towns’ turf. The black numbers would go up, but not astronomically.
Of course, this would endanger the re-election of white Nassau Dems, potentially turning their seats GOP and helping the GOP keep their majority. One cannot help thinking that such a result would not help the power of blacks in Congress, and that the legislative results would not inure to the benefit of black voters.
Which may be why no one called for it during the entire reapportionment process.
Aside from those options, the only solution was for the black districts to pick up white turf.
Could more be done without availing the options I outlined?
Well, the Master’s lines could get some minor tweaking. There are a few small black areas not in black districts that could be moved. But most either have substantial Latino minorities (which meant they went to Nydia Velazquez), or like Farragut Houses (located between the BQE and the East River), moving them would result in the sort of cartographic ugliness the Master’s Plan largely avoids (in the context of how such plans usually look).
But truth be told, such small changes would hardly impact the numbers.
The funny thing is that everyone knows this. The Unity map, jointly proposed by the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the (black oriented) Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the National Institute for Latino Policy proposes minority Congressional districts almost identical to the ones in the Master’s Plan.
Is Charles Barron calling the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College a bunch of buck dancing Uncle Tom’s?
The major difference between how the Unity Plan treats the minority districts, and how the Master’s Plan does is mostly a matter of how Brownstone Brooklyn is split.
I submit that this is not a voting rights concern. It impacts the racial make-up of the districts not at all.
The Master’s Plan splits the area, especially its white parts, in a manner less offensive than the status quo or the Unity Plan, but as long as those areas are kept relatively intact in the manner of the Master Plan, I could care less if those areas are united in Ed Towns’ district or Yvette Clarke's (in fact, I’d prefer that they be moved, so I can vote for Hakeem Jeffries). But this is purely a matter of politics rather than one of racial justice.
In any plan, some neighborhoods will be split, or split from their neighbors and joined with areas, which at the districts’ far end will be more remote than the close neighborhoods in other districts. If you live at a district's northwestern border, you will have more in common with the people in another district who live across the street then you will with the people on your own district's southeastern border.
To point this out as if it signalled an infirmity in the plan is not the same as making an argument, Hakeem.
All you are pointing out is the nature of maps.
Jeffries seems to think it’s amusing to keep bringing up Howard Beach as the sort of community which quite obviously should not be in a black majority district, even though for years it was represented in Congress by Floyd Flake and grew to be quite fond of him.
Hakeem points out that Brooklyn Heights has more to do with his home area than Howard Beach does, but Yvette Clarke could make exactly the same point.
Further, when someone in Charles Barron's neighborhood of East New York wants to go to a diner, they go to the Lindenwood area of Howard Beach, which has far more to do with their lives than does Brooklyn Heights, which might as well be on Pluto.
I should note that it is not only black pols who are making these semi-preposterous complaints.
Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jews and Russian Jews, including one commentator who keep calling the plan “anti-Semitic” have been railing against it as well.
My question, as always, is “Compared to What?”
The Master plan fragments the Orthodox Jews of Flatbush and Borough Park far less than either the current plan or the two plans proposed by either the Assembly Democrats or Senate Republicans. In the Master’s Plan, Orthodox Jews are overwhelmingly concentrated in the districts of Yvette Clarke and Jerry Nadler rather than being split in many ways as they are currently.
To a lesser extent, the same is true of the Russian community. The Master’s Plan splits them far less than either the current plan or the plan of the Assembly Democrats, concentrating them overwhelmingly in Ed Towns’ district. In the case of the Russians, the Senate Republicans preserves them together in roughly the same manner as the Master, but no more so.
I don’t say the Master Plan is sacrosanct, and I don’t say it can’t be improved at the margins, but the major complaints about it are largely overstated and often fictitious.
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