Have you seen (or read) “The Hunger Games?” It’s a tween/teen book/movie (the film starring Jennifer Lawrence), that is now dominating box offices around the world. The plot goes like this: in a future horror-world, an authoritarian government selects teenagers from its 12 “districts” who will be pitted against each other in a fight to the death, in which there can only be one winner.
The kids are dropped into foreign territory, and the rules seem to change as the games go on.
Watching the film, I couldn’t help but think of Albany, and redistricting. And Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Tony Avella.
Okay, that sounds like a stretch. And my 16-year-old daughter told me I’d better not interrupt her with political analysis unless I wanted to be tossed out of the theater.
But think about it. Every 10 years Albany takes the electoral lines, throws them up in the air, and gerrymanders its level best.
This time around, Stavisky has had her district reshuffled. She is now in different territory, and if she wants to survive, she will have to battle to the death with Tony Avella. Hey, I could be a scriptwriter! The movie could be called, “The Redistricting Games.”
There are a few problems with the plot. Stavisky might go fight elsewhere, in a different district. Or she could just retire, but she says she won’t.
Avella is ready for battle, and confident of victory.
Then there is the NY 6th Congressional, another product of “The Redistricting Games,” brought to you by a federal judge. Assemblymembers Grace Meng and Rory Lancman and Councilmember Liz Crowley will have their own fight that will last until June 26, when Democrats hold their primary.
But wait, there’s more! That’s because Republican Dan Halloran has thrown his hat in the ring (did I really just use that cliche?). Halloran is a proven winner in previous brutal games, having beaten Kevin Kim in a Council race where the mud was flying from start to finish.
The 6th Congressional is more than 37 percent Asian-American, but Halloran says, “It’s high-time we all started asking the question, ‘Who’s going to make the best representative, not whether the candidate is Jewish or Catholic or White or Asian.’” But then again, this is Queens, the most diverse borough in the nation.
In “The Hunger Games,” the evil leader of the authoritarian world is played by Donald Sutherland. He tries to fix the games to insure that none of his “districts” rebel.
In my script, the good leader is played by, uh, Governor Andrew Cuomo. He tries to make “The Redistricting Games” as fair as possible, and threatens to veto any bill that will do otherwise. In the end, he fails, but promises that, thanks to his wheeling and dealing, things will be different in 10 years. Good, plenty of time for sequels!
For now though, let “The Redistricting Games” begin. And, as they say in the movie, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”