Judge: Rep. Bob Turner’s days are numbered

Pols: Let’s talk about sex (not!)
Steve Solomonson

A federal court judge wants to boot Rep. Bob Turner out of Brooklyn and expand Rep. Michael Grimm’s Bay Ridge district into Sheepshead Bay and Homecrest, according to a new congressional redistricting maps released this week — plans that butcher the GOP’s hopes of splitting southern Brooklyn between the two Republican legislators.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann redrew the lines proposed by the GOP-run state Senate and the Democrat-controlled Assembly this week after political watchdogs claimed that the new district maps were too partisan.

If they’re approved, not only will Grimm expand further into southern Brooklyn, but Rep. Ed Towns’s district would stretch from Canarsie into Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park — areas that Turner currently represents. Towns’s district will also extend into Coney Island, according to the maps.

Turner’s district will actually disappear, political insiders say.

But Turner isn’t very concerned.

“I am prepared to run in whatever district I reside in once the final lines are adopted,” Turner, who took disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat last year, said in a statement. “This is just another step in the process.”

The state Senate and the Assembly’s district lines were quite different when they were released last week: The GOP wants to give Reps. Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) and Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) a lot more of southern Brooklyn. Assemblymembers wanted to get rid of Weiner’s district entirely, and get rid of Turner along with it.

Both state houses had until midnight on Wednesday to submit their recommendations to a federal judge tasked with creating new congressional district lines.

With congressional primaries being moved up to June 26, and with the Assembly and the state Senate failing to work out a compromise, a coalition of voters and political watchdog groups sued Albany in federal court, claiming that the partisan politics being played at the state capitol was violating voters’ civil rights.

Brooklyn federal Judge Dora Irizarry sided with the voters, ordering that a “special master” determine just how the lines are drawn.

A three-judge panel will take those recommendations and hammer out new congressional lines by March 20.

Assembly, state Senate and congressional lines are redrawn every 10 years so the districts jive with population shifts outlined in the census. But critics say politicians use the redistricting process to make sure that the political party currently in power stays in power.

This is not the first time the state Senate and the Assembly quibbled over district lines. In January, the two legislative bodies put out completely different state district maps. In the Senate map, Republican leaders erased disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger’s district — even though Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and Republican attorney David Storobin are embroiled in a heated campaign for the seat.

Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2525.