Tag Archives: Assembly

Injunction denied, new district lines are final

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


Following the failure of a preliminary injunction against the state legislative map, no pencils can erase and redraw district lines.

The injunction, which was requested by Democrats, was recently rejected by a judge – finalizing the lines for the upcoming State Senate and Assembly elections due to the lack of time remaining for a trial to intervene before the commencement of primary season.

Despite the court’s verdict, Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chair Michael Gianaris says Democrats will continue their fight in court to remove the lines in time for the next election, which occurs in 2014.

“Unfortunately, the delay tactics of the Senate Republicans were effective and the courts said they simply don’t have enough time to make a decision before the political process takes place this year, and they were unwilling to postpone the election season,” Gianaris said. “They will continue hearing the case on the normal court schedule, which will extend beyond this election. The goal is to retake the majority for the Democrats under these badly gerrymandered lines and continue to pursue the case in court so we end up with a fair map at the end of the day.”

The Senate Democrats were hoping to eliminate the maps, drawn by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) – made up largely of Republican Senators due to their current control of the chamber.

Many believe LATFOR’s maps were drawn to prevent Democrats from retaking control of the chamber.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Democrats did not expect to have their preliminary injunction granted. The primary gripe among Democrats was the creation of the 63rd District seat, which was viewed as a political tactic to keep Republicans in power, according to the source.

“I’m disappointed that it’s happened this way and the courts decided that the 63rd [District] will stay for this election,” said Senator Jose Peralta. “But the fight is not over. With myself, Senator Gianaris and the Democratic conference, we are going to be pushing to make sure we eliminate that seat come next election season.”

Peralta went on to say that polls are indicating the public wants a Democratic majority in the Senate. The senator believes Democrats, who retook the chamber in 2008 after over 40 years of Republican control, are “much more prepared this time around to take back the majority.”

Democrats have now run out of options after the lawsuit arguing the constitutionality of the extra State Senate seat was also rebuffed and the federal government provided preclearance to the map under the Voting Rights Act.

“Yesterday, the federal three-judge panel denied the motion for a preliminary injunction, and ordered the 2012 Senate elections to proceed under the lines enacted by the Legislature,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. “The decision comes just two weeks after the New York Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that our redistricting plan complied with the State Constitution and less than a month since we received preclearance from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. I am extremely pleased with this decision, and it ensures the state can administer an orderly and fair election this fall.”


Headlines from around the web

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Teen dies after East River plunge

A 15-year-old boy died after falling into the choppy currents of the East River last night, sources said. Police received a 911 call at 8:15 p.m. for a teen who fell from the promenade near the FDR Drive and East 105th Street, into the chilly water, cops said. NYPost 


‘Killer’ in Bronx girls 1998 murder eyed in 4 other rapes: source

The monster busted for the vicious 1998 rape and strangulation of a 14-year-old Bronx runaway is now the prime suspect in up to four other sex attacks in the borough, The Post has learned. “We’re looking at him for at least three, and possibly four other rapes” during the same time period, a law-enforcement source said of James David Martin. The fiend pleaded not guilty yesterday to the murder, rape and sodomy of Marleny Cruz, 14, on Feb. 23, 1998. Prosecutor Rachel Singer told the judge that Martin, 40, made videotaped statements to cops admitting he’d arranged a date with the girl at his mother’s apartment. NYPost


Stop-and-frisk incients on rise in the city

New statistics show the number of police stop-and-frisks over the first three months of the year is more than 10 percent higher than the same quarter last year. More than 203,000 street stops were made by police from January through March, compared to 183,000 stops in the period last year. NY1


Pettitte returns to pitch for the Yankees

Andy Pettitte is retaking the mound at Yankee Stadium this afternoon for his first Major League Baseball game in a year-and-a-half. The 39-year-old left-handed pitcher retired after the 2010 season but signed with the team in the off-season and spent the last few weeks getting ready in the minor leagues. NY1


Estranged husband and wife run against each other for state assembly seat

The War of the Roses is erupting on Long Island, where a Nassau County man is set to challenge his estranged wife for state Assembly. Mark Schimel has been given the Nassau County GOP nomination to seek the Great Neck seat that currently belongs to his estranged wife — Democrat Michelle Schimel. NYDailyNews

A step closer to a June primary

| brennison@queenscourier.com

A recently-passed Assembly bill’s primary purpose is to eliminate an extra day at the poll for voters.

The bill, which would move the date for state primary elections to the fourth Tuesday in June passed the Assembly on March 15 by a vote of 120-19. If moved, the state primary would coincide with the primary for federal offices, on June 26.

The state primary had been planned for September 11, though the Board of Elections has not yet released its official calendar for state elections.

The new legislation saves money and eliminates the need to hold another primary in a year full of elections – including New York’s presidential primary, scheduled to be held April 24.

“Holding state and federal primary elections on the same day is a matter of common sense,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller, who sponsored the legislation. “Having taxpayers shell out $50 million to hold an additional primary election is wasteful and inefficient.”

Three primaries and a general election is tantamount to four election seasons in one year, something sponsors of the bill believe may result in voter fatigue. Miller believes tying the state primaries to federal ones will boost voter participation; more voters traditionally turnout for federal elections.

A federal judge ordered the state to move its federal primary up to June from September, when it was formerly held, to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The MOVE Act requires federal elections to accommodate citizens serving overseas in the military and others who are living abroad. While state elections are not subject to the same requirements, moving the state primary would help service members stationed overseas to vote in their local election. New York’s state primary has been held in September since the mid 1970s; prior to that the primary was held in June.

To help accommodate the move to June for this year’s election season, the bill condenses the campaign calendar and reduces the signatures needed for Assembly and Senate seats. The deadline to file designating petitions would move to April 16; the number of designating signatures required for an Assembly seat would decrease from 500 to 375 and the signatures required for a Senate seat would drop from 1,000 to 750.

The Senate, which received the bill in March, has yet to vote on it.

New district lines ‘as bad’ as before

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Recent revisions to district lines have done little to darn the disharmony between Republicans and Democrats.

The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) — made up largely of Republican senators due to their current control of the chamber — released its updated district maps on March 12, angering Democrats due to the miniscule modifications made over the past month.

The new lines, which no longer couple the districts of Senators Michael Gianaris and Jose Peralta, still combine the regions of Senators Tony Avella and Toby Ann Stavisky. Slight changes were also made to the first-ever Asian American majority district created in the initial maps.

Despite their districts no longer being threatened, both Gianaris and Peralta have spoken out against the maps and are hopeful Governor Andrew Cuomo follows through on his pledge to veto any partisan proposals.

“The lines have barely changed at all,” said Gianaris, who called the pairing of himself and Peralta a harassment tactic. “The first proposal is the worst gerrymandering in the history of New York State, and the second proposal is 98 percent as bad. The real problem is the way they are dividing communities around the state and that is what has yet to be fixed. The best hope now is for the governor to veto the lines and let the court do it fairly.”

Frank Sobrino, a spokesperson for Peralta, says the situation is “bigger” than the two senators, and the new lines do not provide any progress from the initial maps, which were considered to be “blatantly partisan.”

“I want the governor to follow up on his commitment to veto these lines,” Peralta said.

Scott Reif, spokesperson for the Senate GOP and LATFOR, says he expects the maps to be approved by both the Senate and Assembly.

“We expect these to be the final lines for the Senate and Assembly,” Reif said. “We held nine additional public hearings [across the state] and we made changes from what we were hearing from different communities.”

Along with the updated maps, LATFOR also introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to draw district lines, a measure many politicians have been calling for. Based on the bill, the commission would be composed of 10 members — two from each party from both the Senate and Assembly and an additional two members chosen by the initial eight.

If approved, the commission would be in charge of deciding district lines the next time they are up for revision in a decade — a length of time deemed unacceptable by many Democrats.

“That’s 10 years from now,” Sobrino said. “Each and every single Republican signed a pledge before they ran last time supporting an independent process. They didn’t say they were going to fix the situation 10 years from now. They said they were going to fix it now.”

Assemblymember Miller honors heroes of Hurricane Irene

| jlane@queenscourier.com


Assemblymember Mike Miller and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley recently visited the joint meeting of the Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol (G-COP) and the Glendale Property Owners Association.

Both elected officials honored those individuals who volunteered their time during Hurricane Irene. Among those honored were volunteers who directed traffic when power was lost, assisted with the removal of downed trees and power lines, and contributed to the clean-up effort.