The Legislature Waits While the Master Baits
As everybody knows, no one loves saying “I told you so” more than I
In reference to the proposed Congressional District lines drawn by the Federal Master, I’ll first note these past observations, please pay particular attention to the matters in boldface.
Kajah Williams:..BTW, why the obsession over the lines in the 10th? Unlike state legislative districts, even if Jeffries were cut out of the 10th, he could still run there. And not just in the redistricting year: The law allows that any New York state resident can run in -any- of the state's Congressional district at any time….
…However, Jeffries could only hope that Towns pushes the LATFOR crew in Albany to cut the Jeffries home out of the 10th. What Roger Green did to HJ back in 2002 was perversely perhaps one of the best things that ever happened to the Assemblyman. The move allowed him a leadership role on an issue that has won him unprecedented attention from good-government groups, made him a darling to editorial boards, brought him attention through a nationally-seen documentary and helped position him so well for this possible run. It was the gift that keeps on giving...
GATE: …As to reapportionment, this is a bit different.
Roger could cut out Hakeem's block, but he could not fundamentally alter the district. The advantages of incumbency mostly worked only where voters knew Green. And since the district could not be changed much, Hakeem could still run there.
By contrast, Ed Towns' district can be fundamentally altered. A Congressional District is large enough so that Hakeem's entire AD, and other sympathetic areas nearby, could be removed, without removing Ed Towns' base. Yes, Hakeem could still run, but he really needs the Yuppies and Buppies. A District dominated by East flatbush, Brownsville and southern brooklyn whites may be winnable for Jeffries, but it would be a far tougher race---one he might not be keen to give up a safe seat for.
Kajah Williams: As for redistrcting, I think any dramatic changes to the 10th are unlikely, as the 10th, 11th and 12th are all Voting Rights districts, all of which have seen substantial minority flight since the last census. In order to keep them substantially African or Caribbean-American (in the case of the 10th and 11th) and Latino (the 12th), they could likely only be jiggered at the margins.
Let's run through the neighborhoods you cite. Brownsville's already in the 11th, and everyone would expect it to remain….
With Yvette Clarke's base in Flatbush and East Flatbush, it is quite hard to see -- demographically or politically -- how the mostly Caribbean voters in those communities get moved into the 10th. Bigger question is about Canarsie, which is now part of the 10th -- and with shifting demographics making it now more similar to East Flatbush, map-makers might suggest it now better rests in the 11th.
As for "southern Brooklyn," it's an interesting possibility. If Towns best hope for victory is to pick up new conservative, mostly-white voters in the soon-to-disappear Weiner-Turner 9th, that seems to leave precious margin for victory. Instead of the fairly compact L-shape it has been for several decades, the 10th would also then turn into a curved snake around the 11th. Possible, of course, but in a year when salamander-shaped districts will be getting more negative attention and the challenger is already a poster-child for redistricting reform, that may be more political risk than LATFOR wants to take on, particularly if the cause is protecting a weakened incumbent.
Gatemouth: You are clearly not clueless, so I am gonna assume you are dissembling
"I think any dramatic changes to the 10th are unlikely, as the 10th, 11th and 12th are all Voting Rights districts, all of which have seen substantial minority flight since the last census. In order to keep them substantially African or Caribbean-American (in the case of the 10th and 11th) and Latino (the 12th), they could likely only be jiggered at the margins."
The 11th needs to pick up 85,299 people. The 10th needs to pick up 39,986. Dramatic changes are inevitable.
The over 100,000 people needed to be picked up will come from two sources--black areas of Queens and white areas of southern Brooklyn. Geography dictates Towns will be pushed into Queens (and Meeks into black areas of Nassau), and that Clarke will pick up considerable numbers of people from Towns.
“Let's run through the neighborhoods you cite. Brownsville's already in the 11th.”
Actually, the Ocean-Hill Brownsville area is split between the districts. Remember Tracy Boyland of Brownsville ran against Major Owens and Darlene Mealy is rumored to be considering a run against Clarke….
“…As for "southern Brooklyn," it's an interesting possibility. If Towns best hope for victory is to pick up new conservative, mostly-white voters in the soon-to-disappear Weiner-Turner 9th, that seems to leave precious margin for victory. Instead of the fairly compact L-shape it has been for several decades, the 10th would also then turn into a curved snake around the 11th. Possible, of course, but in a year when salamander-shaped districts will be getting more negative attention and the challenger is already a poster-child for redistricting reform, that may be more political risk than LATFOR wants to take on, particularly if the cause is protecting a weakened incumbent.”
Not really. In the north, Hakeem's home turf adjoins the Brownstone part of Yvette's district. Much of that area looks like a wart attached to the rest of her district. Adding Hakeem's area would actually make it look neater.
In the south, Towns could come into Mill Basin and beyond through Canarsie….
…If one lopped off the brownstony Northwest part of Towns' District, adding some areas in the south would not be messy, it would be neater, especially since he'd already be picking up Southern Queens turf.
As to the Justice Department, as long as the black/non black balance of both seats was maintained, it would not really matter to them which whites and which blacks made up those proportions. If one eliminated the Yuppies and Buppies from the 10th, Hakeem would be a far less strong candidate.
Mind you, I see little reason why Shelly Silver would do ET this favor, but make no mistake--reapportionment really matters in this race.
Kajah Williams: Hey, speculating about the district lines is interesting, but in the end, it's just that. The numbers you cite are fascinating, but the numbers that districts "have to" pick up in order to reach the ideal populations is a misstatement. The fact that 11th has currently has 50,000 fewer people than the 10th gives you some indication that district-to-district standard-deviation variations can be enormous and are allowed-- and this is all more art than science. I would wait to revisit in the winter.
I do however think you should do more analysis on HJ's strengths. Talking about "Yuppies and Buppies" misses the reality of the 2006 Assembly primary, his one competitive election for an open seat: the only EDs where HJ was beaten or where Bill Batson came close to Jeffries' vote totals were in the wealthiest brownstone EDs in Prospect Heights and Fort Greene. Hakeem ran up his 40-point victory by getting 4 out of 5 votes in the Farragut and Ebbets Field housing projects, among other places.
So I think you are missing his appeal. Do professionals and editorial boards like the fact that he worked several years in the private sector? Sure, but that is an incomplete picture at best. The election results show that he is perhaps better identified among the key voters who decide primaries as a product of the community's public schools, raised by labor union parents in working-class Crown Heights -- and now working hard to raise a family, including sending kids to local public schools. Where I think you and I might agree is that since 2006, this compelling bio is now supplemented by a five-year record in the state legislature that runs circles around anything that Towns has done in nearly thirty years in Congress.
Also, while they are all very good schools, last I checked SUNY Binghamton, Georgetown and NYU are not "Ivy League."
GATEMOUTH: Kajah: Is this ignorance willful?
“The numbers you cite are fascinating, but the numbers that districts "have to" pick up in order to reach the ideal populations is a misstatement. The fact that 11th has currently has 50,000 fewer people than the 10th gives you some indication that district-to-district standard-deviation variations can be enormous and are allowed-- and this is all more art than science. I would wait to revisit in the winter.”
WRONG WRONG WRONG. Congressional districts must have population that is virtually. No deviation is permitted (at best, you are getting confused with state legislative districts); the US Supreme Court has spoken loudly and clearly on the matter. The variation in the size of the districts stems from population shifts which occurred in the last decade.
As to Hakeem's strength: 1) if virtually none of his district is in the CD, this would hurt him. 2) the fact that he was strong in the projects of Fort Greene, where he'd already won twice, in a race against another Buppie does not necessarily indicate how he'd do in the Brownsville…
My bad about Hakeem's education though.
Let me now stick my neck out and say that I think that the majority parties in Albany regard this map as a godsend and they are going to use the master’s lines as an excuse to largely acquiesce.
Truth is, for the majority parties in each house of the legislature, Congressional redistricting has appeal only as a fundraising tool (this is also true for the Minority Party in the Senate in the period before the last pre-reapportionment election), otherwise it is a nuisance.
The Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans have no trouble agreeing to agree on the atrocities each inflict upon its own lines. However, they generally regard their own Congressional parties as deep-pocketed, internally back-stabbing, pains in the ass.
Carrying their water is bad enough; resolving their internal disagreements is a pain almost beyond endurance.
Dean Skelos and Shelly Silver have already collected their ransom from each of their Party’s entire Congressional delegations; each understands that they lose one member and need to fulfill the requirement of exactly equal populations and compliance with the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
They have no problems agreeing with each other; they do it all the time about matters where far more separates them and far more is at stake for them (if the Assembly Dems really cared about saving Congressional Dems they might actually work to elect Democratic State Senators; they don’t).
Their problem is their own internal disagreements.
Everyone understands Maurice Hinchey’s seat is a goner. Therefore, the GOP has to suck up a loss downstate. But Bob Turner has become a national icon for several GOP narratives, some of them not even involving the Jews.
No one is going to sacrifice Pater King. No one is going to split Staten Island, even though Michael Grimm is just dying to be thrown under a speeding bus.
Turner is a 70 year old freshman representing somewhat shaky ground, but Dean Skelos does not want the blame for putting the shiv into his back.
The Master solves his problem.
Meanwhile, Charlie Rangel’s district presents multiple problems for the Dems.
One could conceivably draw both a black and Latino district, but not if neatness counts. Barring a cartographic atrocity, there has to be one or the other.
Then there is the Manhattan/Bronx (and possibly Westchester) problem. Who controls what share of the district?
The Bronx and Manhattan Democratic County Leaders are both in the Assembly; Silver does not want to choose between them.
Shelly does not care about the result; he just wants the issue resolved.
The Master resolves it.
A comment about the Master’s lines is in order; Gary Tilzer says: “Funny how normal districts look when you aren't gerrymandering them to death”.
This plan leaves cities, towns, villages and counties intact to a degree almost unprecedented.
The only real cartographic atrocities are those dictated by the VRA.
Even there, the questions is “compared to what?”
Compared to their equivalents in either the existing lines or the proposals of the Senate or Assembly majorities, they are not atrocious at all.
Yes, there are naysayers; one got Liz Benjamin to print an item comparing the proposed Nydia Velazquez seat to the original Gerrymander of Eldridge Gerry fame.
The problem is that the item operates in a vacuum. The district is VRA dictated, but is far, far less egregious in the matter of neatness that either Velazquez’s current district, or the maps for that district proposed in the plans by both the Senate Republican and the Assembly Democrats; It is as neat a district as the VRA will permit.
The ball is now in the Court of the legislature. I predict they will choose one of two options; 1) modified capitulation, which means passing a very similar plan; or 2) abstention, which means doing nothing and acquiescing to the Court being the decision maker.
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