Common Cause proposed NY State Senate maps

The chambers of the New York State Senate

The chambers of the New York State Senate in Albany (Aug. 5, 1999) (Credit: AP)

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The map lines of the New York State Senate's districts are due to change for November 2012's election. These proposed reform maps were created by Common Cause New York, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization.

SUFFOLK COUNTY

The Common Cause Reform Senate Plan in Suffolk seeks to keep distinct communities of interest together and closely follows town, village, and school district lines whenever possible.


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North Shore and South Shore districts are kept separate. There is a clear contrast between the North Shore towns of Huntington and Smithtown, where most households make over $75,000 and many over $125,000, and most of Babylon and Islip where the population is more middle and working-class, and much more ethnically/racially diverse. Babylon-Islip also has lower rates of home ownership, education, and more blue-collar and service-sector workers than the North Shore. In addition, communities in the region identify according to North Shore vs. South Shore.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 1 occupies the eastern half of Suffolk County, including eastern Brookhaven, Riverhead, and the Hamptons and North Fork. East Suffolk is a community of interest in that it is much more rural and dependent on agriculture and tourism compared to the rest of suburban Long Island. Common Cause Reform Senate District 1 follows village lines and keeps the Mastic-Shirley area -- a distinct local social and economic unit -- together in a single district.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 2 is a North Shore district encompassing northwest Brookhaven (the Port Jefferson area) and the entire Town of Smithtown. The district closely follows village and town lines.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 3 is a south shore Suffolk district that extends from Brookhaven into Babylon. The district closely follows village and school district boundaries.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 4 keeps the Central Islip-Brentwood area together in a single district, along with most of Babylon. This area is much denser and the population more "working class" than the rest of Suffolk County (as seen in lower median household incomes, lowers educational attainment, lower home ownership, lower "white collar" professional jobs, and higher blue collar and service sector jobs). It is also the center of a large and growing Hispanic community. Central Babylon shares these demographics and is also home to a large and growing Black community, mostly in Wyandanch and North Amityville. The district closely follows village and school district boundaries. Drawing Senate District 4 all the way to the Nassau Border also prevents the Suffolk-Nassau border from being crossed twice by Senate districts.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 5 is a north shore district that straddles the Nassau-Suffolk border and includes the entire Town of Huntington within a single district. The district extends into Babylon to balance populations to prevent the crossing of the Nassau-Suffolk border by a second district. Within Oyster Bay, village lines are followed as closely as possible.

Major demographic changes

While the non-Hispanic white voting-age population of Suffolk fell by 0.7 percent since the year 2000, the non-Hispanic black voting age population grew by 18.4 percent and the Hispanic population by 67.7 percent. Asians account for only 3.4 percent of Suffolk's population but are also increasing at a rapid pace. A detailed analysis of the demographics of Suffolk, including illustrative maps and a discussion of some of the assumptions and factors shaping the districts drawn in the Common Cause Reform Map can be found on Common Cause/NY's redistricting blog, "Mapping Democracy.""

Common Cause Reform Senate District 4 creates a nearly majority-minority coalition district at 31.6 percent Hispanic voting-age population and 15.8 percent non-HispanicBlack voting-age population.

These populations are currently split between Senate Districts 3 (Lee Zeldin, Republican), 4 (Jack Martins, Republican), and 8 (Charles Fuschillo, Republican) in a political gerrymander.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Kenneth LaValle (Republican, District 1), Lee Zeldin (Republican, District 3), John Flanagan (Republican, District 2)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Senate District 3 (South Shore Suffolk)

NASSAU COUNTY

The Common Cause Reform Senate Plan in Nassau seeks to keep communities of interest together and closely follows town, village, and school district lines whenever possible. North Shore and South Shore districts are kept separate, and distinct areas like the Five Towns and Central Hempstead are kept together.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 6 unites the demographically distinct area of Central Hempstead into a single district

Central Hempstead is characterized by higher density, lower middle to middle class incomes, a workforce concentrated in the blue collar and service sectors, and an increasing minority and immigrant population.

Overall in Nassau, the non-Hispanic white voting-age population declined by 9 percent, but within Common Cause Reform Senate District 6 it declined by more than 22 percent. Conversely, the non-Hispanic black voting-age population of Nassau increased by almost 16 percent and the Hispanic population by more than 48 percent.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 7 is a North Shore Nassau district extending from the Queens border to central Oyster Bay. The areas included in this district are mostly upper middle and upper class suburban homeowner communities. The district closely follows village boundaries.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 8 is wholly within Nassau County, joining the Massapequa oceanfront area with the Five Towns area (currently split between Senate Districts 5, 6, and 8) in a compact square shaped district. This area is a densely populated, middle class suburban community.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 9 is a south shore Hempstead district extending from the Queens border to Wantagh.

Major demographic changes

Overall in Nassau, the non-Hispanic white voting-age population declined by 9 percent since 2000, but within the central Hempstead cluster it declined by more than 22 percent. Nassau's voting age population is now nearly 24 percent black and Hispanic, up from 18 percent 10 years ago. This minority population is concentrated in a geographically compact area that also shares many other demographic commonalities. A more detailed discussion of Nassau's demographics can be found by clicking here.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 6 creates a new majority-minority coalition district at 34.4 percent NH Black voting-age population and 26.9 percent Hispanic voting-age population.

These populations are currently split among four different districts (Senate District 6, Kemp Hannon, Republican; Senate District 7, Jack Martins, Republican; Senate District 8, Charles Fuschillo, Republican; Senate District 9, Dean Skelos, Republican) in a partisan gerrymander designed to "crack" Democratic-leaning minority communities.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Kemp Hannon (Republican, District 6), Charles Fuschillo (Republican, District 8)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Senate District 6 (Central Hempstead), Common Cause Reform Senate District 8 (Five Towns-Massapequa)

QUEENS

The population of New York City and Southern Westchester (two districts cross the Bronx-Westchester line) relative to the rest of the state supports placing 29 districts in New York City-Southern Westchester.

During the last redistricting cycle, Senate Republicans chose to draw only 28 districts within New York City-Southern Westchester, with 7 districts in Queens overpopulated at almost 4 percent and 21 districts in the rest overpopulated at 1.6 percent. Drawing 28 districts in New York City-Southern Westchester instead of 29 is a clear political gerrymander to avoid an additional likely Democratic seat upstate.

"The flip side of NYC's districts being overpopulated is that upstate districts are underpopulated. In the last redistricting cycle, Senate Republicans drew 25 districts Upstate at a mean deviation of -2.82 percent.

"Drawing a plan on good-government criteria, which better adheres to the principle of "one person, one vote," 24 districts should be drawn in Upstate at a mean deviation of +0.51 percent.

If the appropriate 29 districts are drawn in New York City-Southern Westchester, the populations of the districts are much closer to the statewide average at minus 0.65 percent. The Brooklyn-Queens border must be crossed by a Senate district to achieve uniform population size across all five boroughs.

Drawn with an incumbent-blind process, the Common Cause Reform Senate districts in Queens keep distinct neighborhoods whole and reflect the rapidly changing demographics of the "borough of immigrants." At public hearings by the state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment in Queens, residents from numerous communities testified that they wanted their neighborhoods to remain intact in the new maps, pointing out how the division of neighborhoods reduces civic engagement and political accountability.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 10 is a compact district consisting of the neighborhoods of central Jamaica and Richmond Hill and is highly diverse with a nearly majority non-Hispanic black population (49.1 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population) and a Hispanic influence (20.8 percent Hispanic voting-age population) as well as a significant and growing Asian population (12.8 percent non-Hispanic Asian voting-age population).

"Richmond Hill and Central Jamaica have similar working class socio-economic demographics (median income, education, occupation, home ownership) compared to areas like the eastern portion of Jamaica (Cambria Heights), Forest Hills, or Howard Beach.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 11 forms an inverted "C" around Common Cause Reform Senate District 16. Both districts adhere to neighborhood geographies and do not cross Flushing Meadows Park. Common Cause Reform Senate District 11 encompasses the outer suburban neighborhoods of Queens, including Beechurst, Bayside, Little Neck, Bellerose, Queens Village, Hollis Jamaica Estates, and Kew Gardens Hills. The suburban Queens neighborhoods covered by Common Cause Reform Senate District 11 are distinct from the urban, heavily Asian immigrant downtown Flushing area.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 12 includes all of Astoria, Long Island City, and the Sunnyside-Woodside area. These neighborhoods are characterized by ethnic diversity, a mix of residential and industrial areas, and middle and working class residents. This diverse district has significant Hispanic (28.7 percent Hispanic voting-age population) and Asian (21.4 percent non-Hispanic Asian voting-age population) influences.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 13 consists of Elmhurst-Corona-Jackson Heights to form the densest and most diverse concentration of immigrant communities in perhaps the entire United States. This area is distinct from the surrounding areas of Queens due to its density and mixture of Hispanic and Asian new immigrant communities. It is the most working class, "blue collar" area of Queens and has a clear Hispanic majority (59.1 percent Hispanic voting-age population) with an Asian influence (22.7 percent non-Hispanic Asian voting-age population).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 14 is anchored in the middle class home-owning neighborhoods of East Jamaica and South Ozone Park, keeping these neighborhoods wholly within a single district along with all of the Rockaways. It has a majority black voting age population (51.7 percent non-Hispanic Black voting-age population).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 15 occupies the central Queens neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park, and Forest Hills, and extends to the south to the Howard Beach area. This part of Queens is distinct from surrounding areas as a more suburban community with less density, less public transit access, and many more homeowners.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 16 is a compact district centered downtown Flushing, a neighborhood that is both the commercial center for northeast Queens and the population and cultural center of the borough's booming Asian community. Downtown Flushing is a unique community of interest and should always be kept intact.

"From downtown Flushing, Common Cause Reform Senate District 16 extends north to College Point, another working class neighborhood with a growing immigrant population, and east to Auburndale and Bayside. These neighborhoods have close ties to downtown Flushing as many Asian families have moved to these areas in recent years. Common Cause Reform Senate District 16 is the first Asian majority State Senate District (51.9 percent Asian voting-age population) in New York State.

Major demographic changes

Looking at the changes since 2000, Queens shares one major trend with many areas upstate -- a steep decline in the non-Hispanic white population offset by a rapid rise in the minority population. In Queens, the borough's demographics continue to shift with the steady decline of long-established white and black communities and the rapid rise of newer immigrant populations. A detailed discussion of Queens' demographics can be found on Common Cause/NY's Mapping Democracy blog.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 10 (Jamaica, Richmond Hill) increases in Hispanic (20.2 percent Hispanic voting-age population) and Asian influence (12.8 percent Asian voting-age population).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 16 (Flushing) is the first Asian majority State Senate District (51.9 percent Asian voting-age population) in New York State.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Malcolm Smith (Democrat, District 14), Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (Democrat, District 15), Toby Ann Stavisky (Democrat, District 16)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Senate District 15 (Howard Beach, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village, Maspeth), Common Cause Reform Senate District 16 (Flushing)

BROOKLYN, STATEN ISLAND

Drawn from a blank slate with an incumbent-blind process, the Common Cause Reform Senate districts in Brooklyn keep distinct neighborhoods and communities of interest together as much as possible in compact, contiguous districts, while following the precepts of the Voting Rights Act to maximize minority communities' opportunities for representation.

The population of Staten Island is too large for a single Senate district, but too small to fit two, so one district must cross between Staten Island and Brooklyn.

Kings County, which is identical to the Borough of Brooklyn, is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

In Brooklyn, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

-- Four majority non-Hispanic black Senate districts (19, 20, 21 and 22) equal to the four that currently exist.

-- One majority Hispanic district (Senate District 17, which crosses the Brooklyn-Queens line), and two Hispanic influence districts (SDs 22 and 23) equal to the number that currently exist.

-- One strong Asian influence district (Senate District 22) at 37.5 percent Asian voting-age population. This population is currently divided between two weaker influence districts, SDs 22 and 23.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 17 runs from Cypress Hills through Bushwick and Ridgewood to Southside Williamsburg. In addition to being mostly Hispanic (53.7 percent Hispanic voting-age population), these are working-class communities of renters with a particularly high proportion of blue-collar workers in industrial, transportation, and construction jobs.

In the central portion of the district, the Ridgewood-Bushwick community effectively functions as a single neighborhood unit and should be kept together despite the presence of the borough (county) line.

Looking at communities of interest and keeping neighborhoods whole, as well as the Voting Rights Act, Ridgewood-Bushwick is the ideal place for a Senate district to cross the Queens-Brooklyn border.

The Queens-Brooklyn border needs to be crossed because drawing 7 Senate districts entirely within Queens produces districts with a 4 percent population deviation from the statewide average.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 18 runs from Brownsville-Ocean Hill in Central Brooklyn west through Bedford-Stuyvesant to Fort Greene. These neighborhoods are all connected by the "A" subway line and have similar socio-economic demographics. Common Cause Reform Senate District 18 is majority non-Hispanic and black voting-age population (62.1 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 19 is a compact district including all of the Brooklyn Jamaica Bay waterfront neighborhoods, from East New York to Canarsie, and Flatlands. Common Cause Reform Senate District 19 is majority non-Hispanic Black voting-age population (59.4 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 20 is a compact district based in the Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts, Kensington, and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods. These areas are middle and working class and are distinct from the more affluent Park Slope area on the other side of Prospect Park. Common Cause Reform Senate District 20 is majority non-Hispanic Black voting-age population (55.6 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 21 is a compact district based in the Flatbush and Midwood neighborhoods, middle class areas with significant immigrant populations and a mixture of homeowners and renters. Common Cause Reform Senate District 21 is majority non-Hispanic Black voting-age population (57.4 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 22 is based in the neighborhoods of Sunset Park and extends the southeast along the "N" subway line to Bensonhurst. Sunset Park is demographically distinct from other neighborhoods in South Brooklyn -- it is a dense, mixed use neighborhood of immigrants and industry with large and growing Hispanic and Chinese immigrant populations. It should not be divided. Bensonhurst shares many commonalities with Sunset Park including a working class population and a rapidly growing Asian community.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 22 district forms an Asian (37.4 percent Asian voting-age population) and Hispanic (24.5 percent Hispanic voting-age population) influence district.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 23 crosses from Staten Island into the South Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Coney Island. The population of Staten Island is too large to fit in a single State Senate district, but too small to be divided in half, requiring a Staten-Island-Brooklyn district.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 24 consists of the central and southern areas of Staten Island, which are demographically distinct from the north shore and form a compact community of interest.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 25 includes all of the "Brownstone Brooklyn" neighborhoods -- Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope -- within a single district alongside most of Williamsburg-Greenpoint. The district also crosses the Brooklyn Bridge to include Chinatown and the Lower East Side, an area with demographics much more similar to Greenpoint-Williamsburg than to surrounding Manhattan neighborhoods.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 27 combines the heavily Orthodox Jewish, demographically distinct neighborhood of Borough Park with the heavily European immigrant areas of Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach.

Major demographic changes

Many Brooklyn neighborhoods have experienced major demographic changes during the past decade. In Brooklyn, these changes are most often described by the term "gentrification." The changes in Brooklyn are not just about new people coming in. The overall population of the borough was almost flat -- an increase of just 39,374, or 1.6 percent. Rather, there are significant population and socio-economic shifts within the Borough. While the gentrifying neighborhoods in North Brooklyn are increasingly trending toward white-majority populations, the neighborhoods of South Brooklyn are starting to move in the opposite direction due to an influx of Asian immigrants. For a detailed discussion of the demographics of Brooklyn, click here.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 17 increases in Hispanic population to 53.7 percent Hispanic voting-age population (from 46.6 percent in current Senate District 17).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 22, containing the Sunset Park area entirely within a single district, unites minority communities that are currently cracked and forms an Asian (37.4 percent Asian voting-age population) and Hispanic (24.5 percent Hispanic voting-age population) influence in the district.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Marty Golden (Republican, District 22), Carl Kruger (Democrat, District 27)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Senate District 22 (Sunset Park-Bensonhurst), Common Cause Reform Senate District 27 (Borough Park, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach)

MANHATTAN, BRONX, SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER

The Common Cause Reform Plan's Senate districts cross twice between both Manhattan and the Bronx and the Bronx and Southern Westchester to balance populations between all New York City districts and keep communities of interest that cross borough and city lines together in the same districts.

As described above, drawing districts according to the actual population of the state leads to one less district in upstate New York and one additional district in NYC-Southern Westchester.

By drawing the plan starting in Queens and moving west, this additional district lands in Manhattan simply by virtue of the population math and is labeled "Common Cause Reform Senate District 51." When looking at the overall Common Cause Reform Plan, Senate District 51 is the closest district one could describe as "missing" from upstate when comparing the current plan.

New York County (Manhattan), is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

In Manhattan, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

One strong non-Hispanic and black-influence district (Senate District 30, with 39.3 percent non-Hispanic and black voting-age population), and one weaker-influence district (Senate District 28, with 28.3 percent non-Hispanic and black voting-age population) equal to the number currently drawn.

Two majority Hispanic districts (28 and 31, both of which extend into the Bronx) and one Hispanic-influence district (30), equal to the number currently drawn.

Bronx County is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In the Bronx, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

One non-Hispanic and black-majority district (Senate District 36, which extends into Westchester) and two non-Hispanic and black-influence districts (32 and 33) equal to the number currently drawn.

Four majority Hispanic districts (28, 31, 32 and 33, two of which extend into Manhattan) equal to the four drawn in the last redistricting cycle, and two Hispanic-influence districts (34 and 36).

Senate District 34 would become a majority-minority coalition district at 33.6 percent Hispanic voting-age population and 18.6 percent non-Hispanic and black voting-age population.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 26 is based in midtown East and the Upper East Side, along with Roosevelt Island.

These areas are highly dense, mostly upper-income, "white-collar" communities with a higher concentration of homeowners than the rest of Manhattan. Roosevelt Island shares more demographic similarities with Yorkville and the Upper East Side than with East Harlem, to which it is currently connected in Senate District 28.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 51 runs from the financial district of Manhattan, north to the East Village and into midtown. It is compact and encompasses demographically similar neighborhoods.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 28 occupies East Harlem and the South Bronx waterfront, placing the similar neighborhoods of Port Morris and Hunts Point in the same district. Common Cause Reform Senate District 28 is majority Hispanic voting-age population (63.5 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 29 is based on Manhattan's West Side, running from Greenwich Village, through Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, to the Upper West Side all the way to West 97th Street.

"Manhattan's West Side and East Side have separate subway lines and very different character, especially in midtown where the midtown West and Hell's Kitchen areas retain working class population and some industrial businesses. The West Side also has the highest concentration of same-sex couples in New York.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 30 covers all of Central and West Harlem, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side north of 97th Street. Overall, this area is much more working class than the areas to the south, with lower incomes, education, and home ownership, and more blue-collar and service sector workers than white collar workers in professions and management. Common Cause Reform Senate District 30 is plurality non-Hispanic and black voting-age population (39.3 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act, with a strong Hispanic influence (30.2 percent voting-age population).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 31 combines the entire neighborhoods of Riverdale, Inwood, and Washington Heights and adds the neighborhoods immediately across the Harlem River in the West Bronx, Highbridge and Morris Heights.

The large Dominican community of Northern Manhattan and the West Bronx share numerous demographic indicators and represent a community of interest. Community residents testified as LATFOR's Bronx hearing in support of a district crossing between Washington Heights and the Highbridge and Morris Heights areas of the Bronx. Common Cause Reform Senate District 31 is majority Hispanic voting-age population (59 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 32 is a compact district for the central South Bronx including the neighborhoods of Claremont, East Tremont, and Soundview.

"Common Cause Reform Senate District 32 is majority Hispanic voting-age population (60.8 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act, with a strong non-Hispanic Black influence (32.3 percent non-Hispanic Black voting-age population).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 33 is a compact district for the Kingsbridge-Norwood-University Heights area. This area of the Bronx has a distinct identity from adjacent areas like Riverdale and is bounded by Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx Park and the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Common Cause Reform Senate District 33 is majority Hispanic voting-age population (63.3 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 34 centers the district on the Long Island Sound waterfront, stretching from Throgs Neck to New Rochelle. The East Bronx is distinct from the rest of the borough with lower population density and higher rates of median income, home ownership, vehicular use, senior citizens and a relatively lower population of children.

As a diverse urban environment with a mix of working and middle class residents, New Rochelle shares more in common with the East Bronx than with the surrounding areas of Westchester.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 34 is a majority-minority coalition district at 33.6 percent Hispanic voting-age population and 18.6 percent non-Hispanic Black voting-age population

Common Cause Reform Senate District 35 is a Southern Westchester, Hudson River district running from Yonkers north to Ossining. The Hudson River side of Westchester is generally more middle-class than the more affluent eastern Long Island Sound side of Westchester, and residents work and associate more within the north-south shape of this district rather than east-west across Westchester.

This district, and Common Cause Reform Senate District 37, are included within the New York City grouping because they meet the borders of Common Cause Reform SDs 36 and 34 within the boundaries of a city (Yonkers and New Rochelle) rather than at the border of a county or a town. The NY State Constitution's "block on border" rule mandates that these districts have equal population to the New York City districts.

"Yonkers and parts of Greenburgh and the river towns are highly diverse and Common Cause Reform Senate District 35 has significant Hispanic (26.3 percent voting-age population) and non-Hispanic Black (14.2 percent) influence.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 36 forms a compact district in the Northeast Bronx and Southern Westchester, following the demographic patterns across the county line. The district includes the entire City of Mt. Vernon, which then extends into the southeast corner of Yonkers, an area with very similar socio-economic demographic profile to Mount Vernon.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 31 is majority non-Hispanic Black voting-age population (51.6 percent) in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 37 is an eastern Westchester district including all the Long Island Sound shore communities north of New Rochelle as well as the entire City of White Plains. Also included in this district is the inland northeastern portion of Westchester is much more open and rural compared to Southern Westchester.

"Ideally it would be preferable to have one Senate district for all of Southern Westchester but the population math does not permit it. Since the population math requires two districts be drawn, it is best to separate southern Westchester between east and west.

Major demographic changes

Although Manhattan is composed of dozens of unique neighborhoods, the island can be generally divided into three distinct demographic zones: Chinatown-Lower East Side, the "Manhattan core" (below 96th Street, not including Chinatown-Lower East Side), and North Manhattan beyond 96th Street. Overall, North Manhattan and Chinatown-Lower East Side both declined in population while the Manhattan core grew by 8 percent, buoyed by new residential construction and conversion in the financial district and far west side. For a detailed discussion of the demographics of Manhattan, click here.

As with Brooklyn and Queens, the neighborhoods of the Bronx range from dense urban concentrations to areas of single family homes that are essentially suburban in character. Overall, the population of the Bronx grew by almost 4 percent since 2000, but the Hispanic population increased by over 20 percent, making the Bronx a majority-Hispanic borough for the first time. This growth has been concentrated in the south central Bronx, specifically in the Morrisania and Crotona Park neighborhoods. Detailed Bronx demographics are discussed on the Common Cause/NY Mapping Democracy blog.

A detailed discussion of Southern Westchester's demographics, including a discussion of different communities of interest found in the region, along with illustrative maps, can be found on Common Cause/NY's redistricting blog, "Mapping Democracy."

Incumbent who would no longer live in their current district: Ruben Diaz (Democrat, District 32)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Senate District 51 (Financial District, Midtown), Common Cause Reform Senate District 32 (Claremont-Soundview)

HUDSON VALLEY

Throughout upstate New York, the Common Cause Reform Plan seeks to keep distinct regions of the state (defined by economics, politics, geography, and actual shared interests) together whenever possible.

As such, the Catskills area is drawn as a separate district from the Hudson riverfront, and one district is created to span the Hudson between Dutchess and Ulster Counties in recognition of the cross-river social relationship.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 38 is simply all of Rockland County.

"According to Census 2010, Rockland County's population grew by 8.7 percent to just about the perfect population for a single county senate district (311,687). The State Constitution's rules on the division of counties mandate that Rockland County now be drawn as its own, single senate district for this round of redistricting.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 39 is a compact district consisting of most of Orange County, including the cities of Newburgh and Middletown.

Orange County has grown by 9.2 percent since 2000 and can fit an entire Senate district within its borders. The State Constitution requires that a district be drawn within Orange County.

Middletown and Newburgh should be included within a compact Orange County district as both small cities have socio-economic similarities and distinct issues from the surrounding suburban and rural areas. Both cities are also more oriented toward the Hudson and New York City regions than the interior Catskills.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 40 is a compact district based in Putnam County, including the two small cities of Beacon in Dutchess County and Peekskill in northern Westchester.

This area is distinct from the more northern Hudson Valley as it is really the "frontier" of New York City commuting -- the northernmost area where large numbers of residents commute to and are oriented toward New York City.

The three small Hudson River cities of Peekskill, Beacon, and Poughkeepsie share many demographic commonalities and at least two of the three should be kept together in a Senate district.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 41 is a compact Mid-Hudson district including the Hudson waterfronts of Dutchess and Columbia counties.

The social life and economic activity of this area is largely oriented east-west among cities and towns like Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Kingston and Rhinebeck, rather than north-south.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 42 establishes a single compact Senate district for the entire Catskills region. Compared to any of the surrounding regions like the Hudson Valley, Southern Tier, Capital Region, or Mohawk Valley, the Catskills is a distinct social and economic unit and should have a unified voice in the Senate.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 43 encompasses the mostly rural areas of the eastern Upper Hudson Valley (parts of Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and parts of Saratoga counties). As a mostly rural area oriented more toward the nearby Capital Region than New York City, Columbia County should be included in a district oriented toward Albany rather than to the south.

Major demographic changes

The mid-Hudson Valley region of Northern Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Southern Dutchess and Southern Ulster was the fastest-growing region of New York from 2000 to 2010, increasing in population by 7 percent. A detailed analysis of the demographics of this region, including maps and a discussion of some of the assumptions and factors shaping the districts drawn by Common Cause, can be found at the Common Cause/NY redistricting blog, "Mapping Democracy.""

Common Cause Reform Senate District 39 (Orange County) is 17.1 percent Hispanic voting-age population and 9.6 percent non-Hispanic Black voting-age population, giving it the greatest minority influence in the region.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

CAPITAL REGION

In the Capital Region, the three cities of Albany, Troy and Schenectady share many demographic commonalities compared to the surrounding region. In addition to having a higher concentration of minority residents, Albany, Troy and Schenectady are characterized by lower income, blue collar workers, who rent and take public transportation. Drawing districts based on communities of interest suggests that at least two of the three cities be included within the same district.

Unfortunately the particular geography and demography of the Capital Region counties makes it impossible to do so without egregiously breaking the state constitutional rule against unnecessarily dividing counties.

With a population of 304,202, Albany County is within minus 3 percent of the average State Senate district population of 312,550 and must be drawn as a single Senate district. So Albany cannot be combined with either of the other cities.

Troy and Schenectady cannot be combined because the populations of Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties are too large to combine while also passing through southern Saratoga County.

Rensselaer County and Troy are included in Senate District 43 (Upper Hudson East), a district that is a mix of Albany suburbs, Hudson River towns and rural areas.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 44 is based in Schenectady and includes Saratoga Springs and some Saratoga County suburbs as well as Fulton County along the Mohawk River to the west. This is the most compact, Capital Region oriented district that can be created around Schenectady while avoiding unnecessary division of counties. Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and the small city of Amsterdam in Fulton County share many demographics associated with urbanity.

Common Cause Reform District 46 consists of all of Albany County. With a population of 304,202, Albany County is within minus 3 percent of the average State Senate District population of 312,550. The state constitution mandates that Albany County be drawn as a single Senate district.

Major demographic changes

The Capital Region and each of the three cities all grew in population from 2000 to 2010. Albany, Troy and Schenectady collectively grew 3.6 percent while the region as a whole (defined as all cities and towns within 15 miles of Albany) grew over 5 percent. See the discussion of the demographics of the Capital Region on the Common Cause "Mapping Democracy" blog for more details.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

NORTH COUNTRY

Dominated by the rugged mountain geography of Adirondack State Park, the North Country is the most rural and least developed in New York State. Within the North Country there is a general division between the eastern half along Lake Champlain and the Vermont border, and the western half on the shores of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, separated by the Adirondacks.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 45 is a North Country East district covering Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Washington, and the northern portion of Saratoga counties.

"This part of the North Country is home to numerous large state prison facilities. Although this area will lose 11,610 prisoners who must be reallocated to their residence of origin by law, the loss is less significant as a result of the population growth in the Plattsburg and Glens Falls areas.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 48 is a North Country West district including all of St. Lawrence and Jefferson and Lewis counties and along with the northern halves of Oneida and Oswego counties.

In addition to sharing the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario waterfronts, this area is also a major agricultural producer and is home to a high concentration of dairy farms.

Major demographic changes

The North County experienced a population increase from 482,867 in 2000 to 491,962 in 2010, which mostly compensates for the loss of prisoners. Common Cause agrees with Assembly member Ken Blankenbush (Republican), who represents District 122 in the western portion of the North Country, who argued at redistricting hearings that the North Country is a very distinct community with different interests and priorities than the regions to the south.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

MOHAWK VALLEY

The Mohawk Valley region lies between the Albany region and Syracuse area along the Mohawk River and Erie Canal and is home to numerous small towns and cities with a shared industrial heritage (including Amsterdam, Gloversville, Johnstown, Little Falls, Herkimer, Utica, and Rome). The region is closely connected by the New York State Thruway. Fulton County is included in Common Cause Reform Senate District 44 alongside fellow Mohawk River county Schenectady.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 47 covers the rest of the Mohawk Valley -- the counties of Fulton, Herkimer, and the southern area of Oneida County, which includes the cities of Utica and Rome.

The district extends into the North Country to follow the top hat- shaped border of Herkimer County to keep the county wholly within a single district. The northern top hat area of Herkimer is home to fewer than 3,000 residents.

Major demographic changes

Overall the population of the Mohawk Valley region was nearly flat from 2000 to 2010.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

SYRACUSE AND CENTRAL NEW YORK

Common Cause Reform Senate District 49 is a compact regional district within rural central New York (Otsego, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, and parts of Onondaga and Tompkins Counties). This is an overwhelmingly rural district save for a small part of the Syracuse suburbs, and a few small towns and cities like Oneonta, Norwich, and Cortland, and is one of the most productive agricultural regions of the state.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 50 keeps the whole City of Syracuse (2010 population: 145,170) within a single Senate district alongside four surrounding suburban towns. There's no rational, nonpartisan reason to divide the city between two Senate Districts. It makes more sense both geographically and demographically to keep the city intact.

Communities within the City of Syracuse are more racially diverse, less wealthy, have more children, and have much lower rates of home ownership than communities in surrounding areas, and constitute a distinct community of interest that should be kept together in a single district.

The towns of Geddes, Salina and DeWitt are included with Syracuse because they are the immediately adjacent and also the densest of the surrounding suburbs. Clay and Cicero are included over Manlius and Camillus simply because of population math.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 54 is a compact "Finger Lakes East" district that includes Seneca and Cayuga counties alongside parts of Onondaga and Oswego counties. With the exception of the Syracuse suburbs, this district is heavily rural and agricultural, with a few small cities. Common Cause Reform Senate District 54 keeps the areas of the Finger Lakes that are oriented toward the Syracuse region rather than combining parts of the Rochester and Syracuse regions.

Major demographic changes

From 2000 to 2010, the population of the City of Syracuse declined by 1.5 percent to a total of 145,170. This decline is considerably less than the other major upstate cities due to considerable growth in the city's minority communities, which offset some of the white population decline. A discussion of the demographics of the Syracuse region, including maps, can be found on the Common Cause/NY "Mapping Democracy" blog.

Keeping the City of Syracuse entirely within a single district allows for increased minority influence among these communities that are currently broken up. Common Cause Reform Senate District 50 is a coalition influence district at 16.7 percent non-Hispanic and black voting-age population and 13.5 percent Hispanic voting-age population.

Incumbent who would no longer live in his current district: James Seward (Republican, District 51)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

SOUTHERN TIER

The Southern Tier is a regionally distinct area that should be kept whole. Similarly the geographic boundaries of counties, towns and cities must be respected when possible. The reform map unites counties and communities of interest, drawing districts within the Southern Tier and eliminating fragments from other regions.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 52 covers Broome, Tioga and part of Tompkins counties.

Binghamton and Ithaca are home to Binghamton University and Cornell University respectively and have many demographic commonalities due to the presence of two major research universities (more college graduates and a more "white collar" economy than the surrounding region). Binghamton and Ithaca should be included within the same Senate district.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 53 covers the rural central southern tier including Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Allegany, and most of Livingston County.

Major demographic changes

This large region of New York State is predominantly rural. From 2000 to 2010, the region grew by an estimated 1,695 residents, or 0.2 percent. However, the region's population would indeed have declined if not for major growth in the minority communities, which are mostly within the region's small cities. A discussion of the demographics of this region can be found on the Common Cause/NY "Mapping Democracy" blog.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

ROCHESTER REGION

Rochester is at the center of a distinct regional economic, social and political unit within Western New York. Districts in the region should be oriented toward the metropolitan region rather than extending into the area from far-flung areas across the state.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 55 is a compact "Finger Lakes West" district consisting of Ontario, Wayne, and Yates counties. These counties are the part of the Finger Lakes region that are more oriented toward Rochester than Syracuse.

Two Rochester suburbs (Penfield and Perinton) are also included in this district simply because Monroe County is too large to fit into two senate districts alone.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 56 keeps the City of Rochester in a single senate district along with the suburban towns of Irondequoit and Webster. As of Census 2010, Rochester has a population of 210,565 which is small enough to be included in one senate district.

Communities within the City of Rochester are more racially diverse, less wealthy, have more children, and have much lower rates of home ownership than communities in surrounding areas, and constitute a distinct community of interest.

The choice of Irondequoit and Webster as opposed to other suburbs like Greece, Gates, or Brighton is a function of population math -- only the populations of Irondequoit and Webster combined with Rochester's to produce a district within +/- 3 percent of the mean (312,250).

Common Cause Reform Senate District 59 is compact a Rochester suburban district entirely within Monroe County.

Major demographic changes

Monroe County as a whole grew by 1.2 percent between 2000 and 2010 but the City of Rochester shrunk by 4.2 percent -- less so than Buffalo but more than Syracuse.

Monroe County would have actually lost population and Rochester would have shrunken further if not for major growth in the minority communities. In Monroe County, the Hispanic population grew by 45.8 percent and the non-Hispanic Black population by 18.8 percent between 2000 and 2010.

In the Finger Lakes West area of Wayne and Yates were flat but Ontario County grew by over 7,700 residents with most of this growth taking place in the Canandaigua area.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

BUFFALO AND WESTERN NEW YORK

The significant population loss in Western New York, especially within the City of Buffalo, requires districts to be drawn over a larger territory to reach the appropriate population level. Because of the population loss, an entire Senate District (59) shifts east out of this region and into the Rochester area.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 57 covers the rural western southern tier, including Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, and parts of Livingston and outer Erie counties. Agriculture is the most important industry in this area, with these counties among the top agricultural producers in the state.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 58 consists of the southeast corner of Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs of Erie County.

South Buffalo is a distinct part of the city with strong connections to the adjacent Lackawanna and West Seneca.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 60 occupies most of Buffalo and runs through the town of Grand Island to bring in the City of Niagara Falls.

Although the entire City of Buffalo could fit inside a single district, central Buffalo and the City of Niagara Falls share many of the same issues and characteristics including continued population loss and large low-income minority communities and should continue to be in the same SD.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 61 is a compact district combines the blue collar industrial cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda with Lockport, as well as the large Buffalo suburb of Amherst.

Tonawanda and North Tonawanda function as a single economic unit and community and should not be arbitrarily split because of the presence of the Erie-Niagara County line.

As small industrial cities on the Erie Canal, Lockport and the Tonawandas have much in common and are distinct from surrounding areas.

Common Cause Reform Senate District 62 is a northern West New York rural district consisting of the outer areas of Erie and Niagara counties along with Orleans, Genessee, and the outer part of Monroe County.

Major demographic changes

The Buffalo region, defined as Erie County and Niagara County, lost 32,920 residents in the past decade, with the overall population declining by 2.8 percent. The City of Buffalo lost more than 10 percent of its population since the last census.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: none

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Patrick Gallivan (Republican)

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