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GOP Passes Districting Map

Despite protests, Republican map

passes legislature in party line vote

The turbulent redistricting process in Nassau County came to an end last week with a party line vote approving a map drawn up by the Republican majority, But the strong possibility of a lawsuit by those opposed to the new map looms.

Republican legislators were booed by members of the audience as they voted for the GOP map. Critics of the map had held out hope that Legislator Denise Ford, who had voted against a similar Republican map in 2011, would vote against her caucus, but she voted with the majority.  The map passed 10-9.

Initially, the legislature planned to vote on the map on Feb. 26, but after a record-breaking 12-hour session, featuring hours of impassioned testimony from residents from all over the county who oppose the map, they instead pushed back the vote to March 5, the legal deadline.

During the interim, two changes residents had requested were made: the return of Legislator Dave Denenberg’s house to his District 19 (though his neighbors on the same street, as he noted, are still left out), and the community of Jericho Gardens was returned to District Two. However, the primary criticism of the map—that it divides communities like the Five Towns, Roslyn, Elmont, and many more between multiple districts, and utilizes oddly-shaped, non-contiguous districts—were not addressed.

Denenberg was one of the most vocal in his disdain for the map. “It is clear this has been a desperate attempt to carve 12 Republican districts in a county that is no longer Republican; the result is a dilution of the minority community, the result is a District 14 like a snake with its head disjointed, a Five Towns which has become the 1.25 Towns, and in Roslyn, I defy anyone to know who their legislator will be,” he said. He did, however, thank Ford for spearheading the effort to restore his house to his own district.

Democratic Legislator Wayne Wink, who was also not shy in voicing his disapproval, accused the Republicans of “Crocodile Tears” when several claimed they were voting for the map with some misgivings, but were not specific as to what those misgivings were and what they intended to do about them.

Now everyone’s attention is focused on the legal battle that will likely begin shortly (barring a highly unlikely veto of the map from the County Executive.) Civil Rights attorney Fred Brewington, a frequent speaker at the hearings, has stated there are grounds for a lawsuit against the Republicans for several reasons: the map is non-contiguous, and may be in violation of both the Voting Rights Act and several Supreme Court decisions, including Reno Vs. Shaw. Other concerns raised by lawyers who spoke at the hearings included the fact that since no public workshop meetings of the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission were held, the county may be in violation of the Open Meetings Law. Commission Chair Frank Moroney’s claim that there was no written communication between the Republican majority and Skyline Demographics, the company that created the map, has frequently been cited as an oddity in today’s age of copious digital documentation, and could come under legal scrutiny.

In general, everyone present talked about a lawsuit against the Republican majority as a foregone conclusion, residents and legislators alike. Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams told those who were upset by the day’s vote to gear up and get ready.

“Go home and eat your Wheaties, take your vitamins…this fight is not over.”

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



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