And they wonder why people are so cynical about politics and politicians.
State Senate Republicans signed a written pledge promising “independent redistricting.” Instead, they gave New Yorkers the single most partisan plan in history.
The “path” Senate Republicans traveled to get from the promises they made to the plan they proposed is as convoluted as the boundaries of Senator Golden’s new district. “Fails both on process and product,” were the words of Governor Cuomo, who has vowed to veto it — and rightly so.
On process, there’s no debate: Republican strategists have offered a partisan map without consulting the public in any meaningful way. Every pen in the map room was held by a person on the Republicans’ Senate payroll, beholden to their partisan political interests for the paychecks. The public be damned.
As for the product, take Senator Golden’s district: about 10 years ago, Republican map makers drew a district that connected neighborhoods around Marine Park with neighborhoods in western Brooklyn. The lines did not share a community board nor a police precinct, but were connected by a corridor that was one mile long and only one block wide. Their only other connection was the belief that they would vote in a certain partisan way.
It was hard to think that they could do worse this time around. Yet Senator Golden’s new district takes so many twists and turns that it ought to be a ride at Coney Island.
The problem is that they’ve got it backwards. They think of it as Senator Golden’s district, and not representation for those who live there. The people choose the Senator. The Republicans think the Senator should choose the people.
Far from the only example: my home hangs like an ornament on a branch connecting a few blocks of Sheepshead Bay with a district based in East New York. Brooklyn’s growing and vibrant Russian American community is divided in four ways. Up in Buffalo, there is a district that connects only at high tide — its line running beneath Lake Erie.
Governor Cuomo must be a man of his word and veto these lines. Send them back to the drawing board, and give the crayons to someone who isn’t on the payroll of any political party.
Councilman Lew Fidler is the Democratic candidate for the March 20th special election to replace state Sen. Carl Kruger.