Common Cause proposed NY State Assembly maps

A wide view of the New York State

A wide view of the New York State Assembly floor in Albany (June 17, 1998) (Credit: Dave Oxford)

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

SUFFOLK COUNTY

The population of Long Island relative to the rest of the state supports placing 22 Assembly districts on Long Island. But during the last redistricting cycle, Assembly Democrats chose to draw only 21 districts on the Island, overpopulating each district by 3.66 percent. Due to growth, these 21 existing Long Island Assembly districts are now overpopulated by an even greater 4.42 percent. Drawing 21 districts on Long Island instead of 22 is a clear political gerrymander to avoid a likely additional Republican seat.


CARTOONS: Jimmy Margulies' cartoons | Cartoon roundup

MORE: Viewsday blog | Newsday columnists | More opinion

CONNECT: Subscribe to our e-mail list | Twitter | Facebook


If the appropriate 22 Long Island Assembly districts are drawn, the populations of the districts in Long Island would be very close to the statewide average, deviating by less than half a percent.

The Common Cause Reform Plan draws 22 Assembly districts on Long Island and adds the additional seat in the Great Neck area of Nassau, shifting North Shore districts (16, Michelle Schimel, D-Great Neck; and 13 Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove) to the east. Common Cause Reform Assembly District 13 straddles the Suffolk-Nassau border in Huntington and Oyster Bay and is the only district that crosses the Nassau-Suffolk line. Suffolk County essentially gains a half-seat in the Assembly as a result.

The Common Cause Reform Plan keeps districts on the North Shore and South Shore 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 diverse. Babylon and Islip also have 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 Assembly District 5 is an inland, central Brookhaven district based in the Ronkonkoma area, which strives to keep distinct villages and hamlets whole to the maximum extent possible. It is drawn on an east-west compact basis, rather than extending north-south, which would run counter to the demographic patterns separating the North and South Shore.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 8 is drawn to occupy almost all of the south shore of Islip, which is demographically distinct from the inland Central Islip area.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 9 is drawn as a North Shore district almost entirely within Huntington, extending into East Farmingdale to balance district populations.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 10 is drawn as a compact South Shore Babylon district. Current Assembly District 10 (James Conte, R-Huntington Station) is a North Shore district. This placement is due to the ripple effect of drawing other districts in Suffolk to reflect distinct communities of interest as well as adding a 22nd Assembly District to Long Island. Common Cause Reform Assembly District 13 now straddles the Nassau-Suffolk border and occupies the areas of Huntington where current Assembly District 10 is located.

Common Cause reform districts are drawn to follow village and school district lines as much as practical.

The Mastic-Shirley area neatly divided between two districts, rather than three.

We take care to draw Districts 6 (Philip Ramos, D-Central Islip), 8 (Philip Boyle, R-Bay Shore), 11 (Robert Sweeney, D-Lindenhurst), and 10 (James Conte) without strange gerrymandered sections that branch off narrowly in a particular direction and divide villages. Instead the reform map tries to follow village and school district lines and keep communities together.

Villages and school districts in Islip and Babylon are followed as practicable.

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 New York's redistricting blog, Mapping Democracy.

As Common Cause Reform Assembly District 6 is drawn, Hispanic voting-age population equals 57.3 percent, up from 53.6 percent in the current Assembly District 6, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

As Common Cause Reform Assembly District 11 is drawn, minority influence is 23 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population and 20.3 percent Hispanic voting age population, an increase from 20.8 percent and 18.4 percent in current Assembly District 11.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their in current district: Al Graf (R-Holbrook, Assembly District 5), Robert Sweeney (11), James Conte (10)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Districts 5 (Ronkonkoma) and 11 (Babylon)

NASSAU COUNTY

In addition to adding a 22nd Assembly district to Nassau in the Great Neck area (labeled here as Common Cause Reform Assembly District 45 because the Common Cause Reform Plan does not draw a 45th district in Brooklyn), the Common Cause Reform Plan draws many of the Nassau districts to closely follow village and school district lines as well as distinct communities and socioeconomic clusters such as the Five Towns area. As in Suffolk, districts are divided generally between North Shore, central/inland, and South Shore.

By following village and school district boundaries, the Common Cause reform plan avoids drawing Nassau districts in the bizarre twisting shapes that many current districts take. We also avoid dividing distinct areas of Nassau County between multiple districts.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 13 is drawn as a compact North Shore district spanning demographically similar Oyster Bay and Huntington areas.

Common Cuase Reform Assembly District 15 is drawn as a compact Five Towns area district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 16 is drawn to accommodate the added Common Cause Reform Assembly District 45.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 17 keeps the district centered on interior central Nassau rather than running from the Queens border all the way to Merrick in a twisting, narrow shape that divides villages and school districts like the current Assembly District 17.

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 at Common Cause New York's "Mapping Democracy" blog.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 18 becomes majority non-Hispanic black voting-age population (50.0 percent vs. 47.1 percent currently) and also increases in Hispanic influence (37.5 percent Hispanic voting-age population vs. 35.7 percent currently).

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 21 increases in non-Hispanic black influence (23.3 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population vs. 18.7 percent currently)

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Charles D. Lavine (D-13), Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head, 15), Conte (10), Schimel (16), Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square, 21)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 15 (Five Towns), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 21 (Elmhurst-Valley Stream), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 45 (Great Neck).

QUEENS

Drawn with an incumbent-blind process, the Common Cause Reform assembly districts in Queens keep distinct neighborhoods whole and reflect the rapidly changing demographics of the "borough of immigrants."

At the New York Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment public hearing in Queens, residents 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.

Part of the motivation behind the current lines appears to be protecting longtime incumbents from being challenged by candidates from Queens' growing minority and immigrant populations. Neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Woodside and Far Rockaway are divided into oddly curving slices that have no basis in any demographics.

The Maspeth-Middle Village area is also divided up, but in this case the gerrymandering appears to be based on partisanship, as this is the most conservative area of Queens.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 25 (Rory Lancman, D-Queens) draws the district to run east-west through the middle-income, heavily homeowning neighborhoods of northeastern Queens.

Current Assembly District 25 runs south from the Flushing area all the way into Richmond Hill, contributing to that neighborhood's current division into six different assembly districts.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 27 is drawn as a compact district centered on the Richmond Hill neighborhood, a distinct, coherent community of interest. Current Assembly District 27 (Mike Simanowitz, D-Queens) runs north-south from College Point all the way to Richmond Hill, splitting distinct neighborhoods all along the way.

In the Corona-Elmhurst-Jackson Heights area, the Common Cause reform plan draws the districts to follow the neighborhoods: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 34 for Jackson Heights, Common Cause Reform Assembly District 35 for Corona-East Elmhurst and Common Cause Reform Assembly District 39 for Elmhurst.

Current ADs 34 (Michael DenDekker, D-Queens), 35 (Jeffrion Aubry, D-Queens), and 39 (Francisco Moya, D-Queens), divide the neighborhoods of Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights into twisting puzzle pieces.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 38 crosses the Brooklyn-Queens border to unite the heavily Hispanic, working class neighborhoods of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn and Woodhaven, Queens.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 54 also crosses the Brooklyn-Queens border to unite the Hispanic communities in Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn. Ridgewood and Bushwick really function as a single neighborhood.

Throughout the rest of Queens, the Assembly Districts follow neighborhoods and communities of interest to the extent practicable, resulting in reasonably compact districts.

Major demographic changes

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

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 39 (Elmhurst) creates an effective second Asian majority seat in Queens (in addition to District 22 in Flushing), recognizing the dramatic increase in Asian population. This district would have a 49.8 percent non-Hispanic Asian voting-age population. With the trending increase in the Asian population in this area, the district would become majority Asian before the next census in 2020.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 38 (Cypress Hills-Woodhaven), as drawn, responds to the increase in Hispanic influence and creates a third Hispanic majority seat in Queens (although it extends into Brooklyn as well). The reform district would contain 50.8 percent Hispanic voting-age population, up from 40.4 percent in the current district.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Simanowitz (D-27), Lancman (D-25), Moya (D-39), Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood, Assembly District 37), Michele Titus (D-Queens, Assembly District 31), Phillip Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway, Assembly District 23), Miller (D- Assembly District 30).

New districts with no incumbents within borders:

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 23 (East Flushing-Auburndale), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 27 (Richmond Hill), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 37 (Long Island City), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 39 (Elmhurst)

BROOKLYN

Kings County (Brooklyn) is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which seeks to safeguard minority representation.

In Brooklyn, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

-- eight majority non-Hispanic black districts -- ADs 40, 41, 42, 43, 55, 56, 57, and 58. That's an increase from seven drawn during the last redistricting cycle.

-- three majority Hispanic districts -- 38, 53, and 54, two of which cross the Brooklyn-Queens line. That's an increase from two drawn during the last redistricting cycle, as well as one strong Hispanic-influence district (51, at 44.9 percent Hispanic voting-age population).

-- one majority Asian district -- 48 -- an increase from zero drawn during the last redistricting cycle.

During the last redistricting cycle, Assembly Democrats drew 24 districts in Brooklyn and Staten Island. To fit 24, these districts were underpopulated by an outrageous 4.19% from the statewide average. To put it simply, Assembly Democrats shrunk down the sizes of districts in Brooklyn and Staten Island in order to gain an additional Democratic seat in Brooklyn.

The flip side of the underpopulated Brooklyn-Staten Island seats is the Long Island districts that were overpopulated by 4 percent. This means the average Long Island Assembly seat currently has in excess of 10,000 more voters than the average Brooklyn Assembly seat, an egregious violation of the principle of one person, one vote.

As noted above in the Suffolk and Nassau sections, the Common Cause Reform plan eliminates one district in Brooklyn and adds one to Long Island to correct this violation of the one-person, one-vote principle.

The current district that most closely matches the district now "missing" from the Common Cause Reform plan is Assembly District 45 in South Brooklyn (Steven Cymbrowitz, D-Brighton Beach), which is why the new district in Great Neck is labeled as Common Cause Reform Assembly District 45. It's important to reiterate that the Common Cause reform plan was drawn from a blank slate, rather than adapted from current districts, so there was no intentional decision to single out Assembly District 45.

Overall in Brooklyn, the Common Cause plan draws the assembly districts to better reflect communities of interest, neighborhoods, and changing demographics. We have endeavored, wherever possible, to keep entire neighborhoods within the same district or, at the least, to minimize neighborhood divisions. Neighborhoods including Park Slope, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Canarsie and others are kept within a district instead of being needlessly divided.

As noted above, Common Cause Reform Assembly District 38 (Cypress Hills-Woodhaven) and 54 (Ridgewood-Bushwick) cross the Brooklyn-Queens border in order to keep these growing, demographically similar Hispanic communities together.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 52 ("brownstone Brooklyn") includes the entire Park Slope neighborhood, keeping this demographically distinct neighborhood together with the other brownstone Brooklyn" neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Brooklyn Heights.

The Gowanus area is included in Common Cause Reform Assembly District 51 based in Sunset Park and Red Hook because it shares demographic similarities with those neighborhoods more than with Park Slope. The district thus drawn is a strong Hispanic influence district, important for compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

The Common Cause Reform Plan shapes Districts 41 and 58 in the Canarsie-Farragut area of southeastern Brooklyn to be compact and neighborhood- based, avoiding the division of neighborhoods.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 44 places nearly the entire Borough Park neighborhood into a single compact district.

Common Cause Reform 48 takes the part of Sunset Park with the most Asians and then follows this growing immigrant community along the "N" subway line to permit this community to have a better chance of electing a representative of its choosing in keeping with the Voting Rights Act.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 46 draws a Brooklyn beach district that includes Coney Island, Manhattan Beach 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 Assembly District 41 (Canarsie-Flatlands) becomes the eighth majority-black district in Brooklyn (55.4 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population vs. 38.6 percent currently). This part of Brooklyn has seen major growth in its black population in recent years; an eighth majority Assembly District can and should be drawn while following neighborhoods closely as well.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 48 (Sunset Park) becomes the first majority-Asian assembly district in Brooklyn at 51 percent non-Hispanic Asian voting-age population. The overall Asian voting-age population of Brooklyn grew by almost 46 percent from 2000 to 2010, with Asians now accounting for 10.6 percent of the electorate vs. only 7.7 percent in 2000.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current district: Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush, Assembly District 42), Brennan (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 44), Cymbrowitz (AD 45), Dov Hikind (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 48), Peter J. Abbate Jr. (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 49), Rafael L. Espinal, Jr. (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 54), William F. Boyland Jr. (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 55), Hakeem Jeffries (D- Brooklyn, Assembly District 57)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Districts 42 (Prospect Park South), 44 (Borough Park), 49 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights), 55 (Brownsville), 57 (Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights).

STATEN ISLAND

The population of Staten Island (468,730) is too large for three Assembly districts but too small to fully fit four. This makes it necessary to extend a district across the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn.

The Common Cause Reform Plan strives to minimize division of neighborhoods and communities of interest. It draws Staten Island's Assembly districts so that Assembly District 60 occupies the West Shore and crosses the bridge to include a demographically similar part of Bay Ridge, Assembly District 61 occupies the north shore, Assembly District 62 occupies southern Staten Island, and Assembly District 63 is in the central portion.

Major demographic changes

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 61, concentrated in the North Shore area, creates a "majority-minority" coalition district, with 26.9 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population and 29.6 percent Hispanic voting-age population. The North Shore is markedly different from the rest of Staten Island, with a more working-class population of renters compared to the middle- and upper class homeowners elsewhere on the island.

Incumbent who would no longer live in their current district: Michael Cusick (D- Staten Island, Assembly District 63)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 63 (Central Staten Island)

MANHATTAN

New York County, which is identical to the Borough of Manhattan, is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

In Manhattan, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

-- one majority non-Hispanic black district -- Assembly District 70 -- equal to the one that was drawn during the last redistricting cycle.

-- three majority Hispanic districts -- 68, 71, and 72. That's an increase from the two that were drawn during the last redistricting cycle, and one Hispanic-influence district (AD 64) that was not drawn during the last redistricting cycle.

To create districts of more equivalent size in furtherance of the one-person, one-vote principle as well as to better follow communities of interest, the Common Cause reform plan districts cross between Manhattan and the Bronx as well as the Bronx and Southern Westchester.

The 28 districts drawn in Manhattan, the Bronx and southern Westchester by the Common Cause reform plan are all roughly equivalent in population at the very low deviation of plus 0.54 percent.

In Lower Manhattan, the Common Cause Reform Assembly District 64 is drawn to cover the entire Chinatown-Lower East Side area, a distinct community of interest with working-class socioeconomic characteristics that differ markedly from the surrounding affluent communities of Manhattan.

We include the entirety of the Lower East Side in Common Cause Reform Assembly District 64 to avoid splitting the Hispanic community of the neighborhood.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 66 includes the Financial District and Battery Park City areas. Battery Park City and the growing residential population of the Financial District have a much closer affinity with TriBeCa and the West Village than with the Lower East Side, and so we have placed these areas together.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 74 incorporates portions of the Greenwich Village area in response to the way we have drawn 64 and 66.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 68 (East Harlem-South Bronx) incorporates a section of Upper Manhattan and crosses the Harlem River into the Bronx in order to ensure the population balance among the Manhattan-Bronx districts. Communities in East Harlem and the South Bronx are socio-economically similar and the current City Council District 8 makes the same crossing.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 70 (Central Harlem) is drawn to include all of the Central Harlem area as a well as Manhattan Valley, the northeast corner of the Upper West Side that has more in common with Central Harlem than with the rest of the Upper West Side.

In North Manhattan, there's currently a strange gerrymander of Washington Heights and Inwood in which District 71 (Herman Farrell, D-Manhattan) wraps around both sides of District 72 (Guillermo Linares, D-Manhattan), dividing the neighborhoods into multiple pieces. The Common Cause Reform Plan draws Districts 71 and 72 to keep neighborhoods within Washington Heights together in a reasonably compact districts.

The northernmost tip of Manhattan, the Inwood neighborhood, is placed in Common Cause Reform District 81 based in the Northwest Bronx, in order to balance district populations.

Major demographic changes

Although Manhattan has many 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 above 96th Street. Overall, North Manhattan and Chinatown-Lower East Side both declined in population while the Manhattan core grew 8 percent, buoyed by new residential construction and conversion in the Financial District and far West Side.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 64 (Chinatown-Lower East Side) increases in Hispanic influence to 25.9 parent Hispanic voting-age population from 15.9 percent in current Assembly District 64. Asian influence is maintained at roughly 42 Asian voting-age population, thus forming the potential for a minority coalition.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 68 (East Harlem-South Bronx) increases the Hispanic voting-age population in the district to 50.1 percent from 45.1 percent in currently drawn Assembly District 68, while maintaining a significant non-Hispanic black influence (25.5 percent).

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 70 (Central Harlem) increases in non-Hispanic black voting-age population to 53.2 percent from 50.5 percent in current Assembly District 70, maintaining the black majority in this district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 71 increases in Hispanic voting-age population to 52 percent from 45.7 percent in the current Assembly District 71, thus changing the district from a minority opportunity district to a Latino majority district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 72 decreases in Hispanic voting-age population to 64.3 percent from 80.6 percent in current Assembly District 72.

The current distribution of the Hispanic population between Assembly Districts 71 and 72 supports the creation of an additional Hispanic majority district, and the Common Cause Reform Plan produces one.

Incumbents who would no longer live in their current districts: Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan, Assembly District 67), Herman D. Farrell Jr (D-Manhattan, Assembly District 71), Linares (AD 72), Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan, Assembly District 74), Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan, Assembly District 75).

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 71 (West Harlem, Washington Heights) 74 (East Village-Gramercy), 75 (Chelsea, midtown).

BRONX

Bronx County is the third and final covered New York jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

In the Bronx, the Common Cause Reform Plan draws:

-- two majority non-Hispanic black districts -- ADs 83 and 87. That's an increase from the one that was drawn during the last redistricting cycle.

-- seven majority Hispanic districts -- 76, 77, 78, 79, 84, 85, 86. That's equal to the seven drawn in the last redistricting cycle, plus we created two strong Hispanic-influence districts with Hispanic pluralities -- 81 and 82. That's an increase from one drawn in the last redistricting cycle.

The Common Cause reform map in the Bronx is drawn so that Common Cause Assembly Districts 82 and 87 cross into southern Westchester. This is done to ensure balanced populations among the districts.

In the case of the Bronx and Westchester, crossing the county border also helps keep community/neighborhood units together, especially the black community in the northeast Bronx and Mount Vernon. Like the Hispanic communities along the Brooklyn-Queens border, this area is a single socio-economic neighborhood unit that does not stop at the county line. Mount Vernon and the northeast Bronx neighborhoods of Williamsbridge and Wakefield have traditionally been kept together at the state senate and Congressional level, and we do not see any reason why this should not be the case for the Assembly.

The other Common Cause Reform Bronx ADs are drawn to be as neighborhood-based and compact as practicable.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 76 is drawn to occupy the Soundview-Clason Point area of the waterfront and Common Cause Reform Assembly District 85 the Hunt's Point area, rather than splitting the Soundview area among two districts.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 80 keeps the district compact and situated on the east side the Bronx, ensuring that the Norwood and Moshulu areas across Bronx Park are not needlessly fractured.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 82 sticks close to the Long Island Sound waterfront, crossing into Pelham and New Rochelle in southern Westchester, rather than including portions of the eastern Bronx. Compared to the surrounding areas, the far eastern Bronx is much more suburban and middle-income in character and shares much in common with southern Westchester communities.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 87 includes the entire city of Mount Vernon and crosses the Bronx-Westchester border to the adjacent Bronx neighborhood of Wakefield.

Major demographic changes

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 New York "Mapping Democracy" blog.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 81 (Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Inwood) increases in Hispanic voting-age population to 42.9 percent, forming a Hispanic plurality district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 83 (Laconia-Co-Op City) remains a majority minority district with non-Hispanic black voting-age population of 59.6 percent.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 87 (Mount Vernon, Wakefield), reflecting population shifts, is drawn as a majority-minority district with non-Hispanic black voting-age population of 64.7 percent.

In addition to making more compact, neighborhood-based districts, drawing Common Cause Reform Assembly District 87 to cross the Bronx-Westchester line allows the creation of an additional black-majority assembly district, which reflects shifts in the black population in the area.

Incumbents no longer in current district:

Vanessa Gibson (D-Morris Heights, Assembly District 77), Peter Rivera (D-Bronx, Assembly District 76), Michael Benedotto (D-Northeast Bronx, Assembly District 82), Carl Heastie (D-Bronx, Assembly District 83)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 76 (Soundview-Clason Point), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 77 (Morris Heights-Mount Hope), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 82 (East Bronx Waterfront, Pelham, New Rochelle), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 83 (Laconia-Co-Op City).

SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER

Due to the two crossings of the Bronx-Westchester border by Common Cause Reform Assembly districts 87 and 82, the districts in southern Westchester take up more territory in the northern part of the county. Common Cause Reform Assembly District 89 is drawn as a northern Westchester district, while the other four southern Westchester districts are drawn to reflect compact communities of interest.

It's important to keep in mind when looking at upstate Assembly districts outside of New York City that the New York State Constitution forbids the division of incorporated towns (like Greenburgh, Scarsdale, or Eastchester) but does not prevent dividing incorporated cities (like White Plains, New Rochelle, and Yonkers).

It is a principle of the Common Cause Reform Plan that cities be kept together whenever possible, but this is especially challenging in Southern Westchester where the large size of the towns makes it impossible to follow the other criteria, such as maintaining a maximum population deviation of plus or minus 3 percent, without dividing cities.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 88 takes in part of the suburban area of northeast Yonkers, the more suburban half of White Plains, the town of Mamaroneck and parts of Rye to form a communities of interest-based, reasonably compact district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 91 is drawn to unite the rapidly growing Latino communities in Port Chester and White Plains. These communities are directly connected via the Cross Westchester Expressway I-287.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 93 is drawn to include all of the demographically distinct downtown Yonkers area.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 92 combines the Town of Greenburgh with the suburban portion of northern Yonkers.

Major demographic changes

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 New York's redistricting blog, Mapping Democracy.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 91 (Port Chester-White Plains) remains a minority-influence district, with Hispanic voting-age population at 28.3 percent compared to the current New Rochelle-Mamaroneck-Port Chester district at 27.5 percent.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 93 (South Yonkers) becomes a majority-minority coalition district, with the Hispanic voting-age population rising from 22.2 percent to 39.3 percent and the non-Hispanic black voting-age population rising from 13.2 percent to 19.3 percent by unifying South Yonkers in one district, reflecting its status as a distinct community of interest based on virtually any socioeconomic demographic factor including population density, median income, home ownership and education.

Incumbents no longer in current district:

Mike Spano (D-Yonkers, Assembly District 93).

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 93 (South Yonkers)

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.

In the Hudson Valley, this includes drawing the interior Catskills area in separate districts from the Hudson riverfront and drawing districts to span the river in recognition of the cross-river social and economic connections between small cities and towns such as Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Kingston, Rhinebeck and Hudson.

The Mid-Hudson region, including northern Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, southern Dutchess and southern Ulster counties, grew by more than 7 percent from 2000 to 2010, so many of the current Assembly districts are now severely overpopulated.

Since Assembly districts must follow town boundaries whenever possible, the Common Cause Reform Maps and any New York redistricting plan must group certain towns together in the same district to achieve relative equivalence of population among the districts within the targeted population variance.

The Common Cause Reform Plan attempts to keep regional communities of interest (e.g. Hudson riverfront vs. Catskills, Poughkeepsie metro area vs. Newburgh-Beacon metro area) together as much as possible.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 89 combines Mount Pleasant, Ossining, and northeast Westchester to become a more compact central/North Westchester district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 90 is a highly compact northwest Westchester district including Peekskill, Cortlandt, Yorktown, New Castle, and Mount Kisco.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 99 keeps Putnam County whole, adding Somers in Westchester and Pawling in Dutchess to balance population numbers.

The Common Cause Reform Map splits Rockland County between three districts (94, 95, 96), rather than four.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 94 is drawn to include the entire town of Ramapo, which has grown to a size very close to the ideal population for an Assembly district. Common Cause Reform Assembly District 95 is drawn to combine most of Clarkstown and Orangetown.

The Common Cause Reform Plan maintains plus or minus 3 percent as the range in which districts can be drawn to better comply with the principle of one person, one vote. The town of Orangetown cannot be combined with Ramapo, Clarkstown, or Greenburgh across the river without exceeding that margin. So the plan must break a town in Rockland County to comply with the population deviation rules set forth in the Common Cause criteria.

A small area of Clarkstown directly adjacent to the downtown Spring Valley area in Ramapo is added to Common Cause Reform Assembly District 94. Since the Spring Valley area is a distinct community of interest as the most urban, working class area of Rockland County, it's appropriate to keep it together.

In Orange County, Common Cause Reform Assembly District 97 keeps Middletown within a compact base composed of western Orange County including Middletown and Port Jervis. It is preferable to include Middletown within an Orange County district rather than one that extends north into the rural Catskills.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 98 is drawn as a compact central Orange and south Ulster district, an area that experienced particularly heavy population growth during the last 10 years. Characterized by suburban developments intermixed with farms, central Orange-south Ulster is distinct from either the small cities of the Hudson riverfront or the rural interior Catskills.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 100 keeps Newburgh and Beacon (which lie directly across the Hudson connected by I-84) together, grouping them with the towns of Fishkill and New Windsor. Newburgh and Beacon share many demographic similarities as small cities with diverse, mostly working class populations, and neither city should be separated from its surrounding town.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 101 is compact and centered on the Hudson waterfront from Lloyd and New Paltz in the south to Saugerties and Red Hook in the north.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 102 consists of Poughkeepsie and its surrounding suburbs.

Although there's an argument to be made for keeping Poughkeepsie with Newburgh and Beacon based on demographics, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh-Beacon are distinct areas, each forming the center of its own local economy. The City of Poughkeepsie should not be separated from the surrounding Town of Poughkeepsie, and Beacon should not be separated from Fishkill.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 107 is a compact Catskills district consisting of Sullivan and parts of Ulster and Delaware counties. The Southern Tier and Hudson-Catskills area are distinct regions of the state with different issues and priorities. Accordingly, the Common Cause Reform Map draws districts which do not transect these two regions.

Major demographic changes

No major demographic changes, other than a 7 percent increase in total population in the region, which includes northern Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, southern Dutchess, and southern Ulster counties from 2000 to 2010. 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 in the Common Cause Reform Map, can be found on Common Cause New York's redistricting blog, Mapping Democracy.

Incumbent(s) no longer in current district: Sandy Galef (90-Democrat), Nancy Calhoun (96-Democrat), Aileen Gunther (98-Democrat), Steve Katz (99-Republican), Marcus Molinaro (R-Tivoli, Assembly District 103)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 96, (north Rockland-southeast Orange), Common Cause Reform District 99 (Putnam), Common Cause Reform District 103 (interior Dutchess and Columbia counties).

CAPITAL REGION

In the Capital Region, the Common Cause Reform Plan has drawn the Assembly districts to keep each of the region's cities wholly within a single district. As was the case in the Hudson Valley, the objective is to keep regional and local economic, social, and political units together whenever possible.

Urban residents in the Capital Region have very different issues and needs than suburban and rural residents in surrounding towns. Albany, Troy and Schenectady are currently each split between two Assembly districts, even though each city's population could easily fit within a single 128,000-person Assembly district. Similarly, we believe that the Hudson riverfront area south of Albany in Columbia County forms a distinct community of interest that should be kept together as much as possible. We are unable to discern any salient characteristics, interests or priorities that this region shares with the Southern Tier. So the reform maps are drawn to unify the region by making districts more compact.

This principle is further enforced by testimony delivered by local Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R-Schoharie), who disparaged his current district, Assembly District 127, for being too disparate and far-flung.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 104 keeps Albany wholly within a single district, along with the town of Bethlehem to the south. Bethlehem is included because of population math -- only Bethlehem's population combines with Albany's to create district within plus or minus 3 percent of the Assembly average. The reform district similarly unites Albany's growing black community, which has an estimated 20,215 black voting-age population.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 104 would be 19.7 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 106 keeps Troy wholly within a single district. The town of Poestenkill is also added to balance the population numbers.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 105 keeps Schenectady wholly within a single district, thus making it much more compact.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 108 shifts southward to keep the upper Hudson riverfront communities in Greene and Columbia counties together along with Albany suburbs in Albany and Rensselaer counties.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 127 is drawn in as compact a shape as reasonably practicable, making up a Northern Catskills district consisting of Otsego, Schoharie, and the western halves of Albany and Greene counties.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 112 is a compact Albany suburbs district drawn to include suburban Capitol Region areas and not include rural areas.

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 more than 5 percent. See the discussion of the demographics of the Capital Region on the "Mapping Democracy" blog for more details.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 104 increases in minority representation as a result of Albany being kept wholly within the district. Non-Hispanic black voting-age population increases to 19.7 percent from 10.9 percent in current Assembly District 104 and 6 percent Hispanic voting-age population from 4.9 percent in current Assembly District 104.

Incumbent no longer in current district: Steven F. McLaughlin (Republican)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 108 (Hudson Valley Albany suburbs)

NORTH COUNTRY

The Common Cause Reform Map balances the population and unifies the region to exclude fragments of unrelated areas, and keep counties, towns and cities whole.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 114 stretches to the south to include the north half of Essex County, to add population and compensate for the loss of more than 7,500 prisoners.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 113 expands to include the northern half of Washington County to balance population, as well as include the Lake George region within a North Country district rather than an Albany region-based district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 122 is drawn to include all of St. Lawrence County and a small portion of Franklin County along the Canadian border. Towns in the Masséna area in St Lawrence are consolidated.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 118 is drawn to include all of Jefferson County within one district, adding northern Lewis County to balance out the population. The city of Watertown is united with its surrounding towns in Jefferson County.

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 as required by law. We agree with Assembly member Ken Blankenbush (Republican), who represents District 122 in the western portion of the North Country, who argued at state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment hearings that the North Country region is a distinct community with different interests and priorities than the regions to the south. A detailed discussion of demography of the North Country can be found here.

Incumbents no longer in current district: Teresa R. Sayward (Republican-113), Ken Blankenbush (Republican-122)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 113 (Lake George-High Peaks), Common Cause Reform Assembly District 122 (St. Lawrence)

MOHAWK VALLEY

The Mohawk Valley is a distinct region home to the Mohawk River, Erie Canal and numerous small towns and cities with a shared industrial heritage. The reform plan keeps counties, towns, and cities whole and unites communities of interest.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 117 is a compact district for the eastern Mohawk Valley. The district is also connected by the New York State Thruway, running east-west right through the center.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 116 is a compact district for the Utica-Rome area of Oneida County. Utica and Rome form a single socio-economic unit and we believe should be included within the same district at any level.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 115 forms a doughnut around Utica-Rome to include the suburban and rural parts of Oneida County not included within Common Cause Reform Assembly District 116 and the adjacent Mohawk Valley area of Herkimer County. The district extends into the North Country to follow the Herkimer County lines and avoid dividing this small county into more than two pieces.

Major demographic changes

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

Incumbent no longer in current district: Marc W. Butler (Republican-117)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 117 (Mohawk Valley East)

SYRACUSE REGION

The Syracuse region of central New York presents several distinct communities of interest that we have attempted to respect in drawing the Common Cause Reform Map, as well as keeping counties, towns, and cities whole whenever practicable.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 111 keeps Cortland entirely within a single district alongside all of Madison County.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 119 keeps as much of the city of Syracuse in one district as possible, taking all of the city except for the most suburban areas of East Syracuse.

Although Syracuse (2010 population: 145,170) is a bit too large to fit into one Assembly district, as much of the city should be placed in one district as possible. Syracuse is demographically distinct from the surrounding suburban and rural areas. Communities within the City of Syracuse are more racially diverse, less wealthy, have more children, and lower rates of home ownership.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 120 forms a compact district consisting of the northern suburbs of Onondaga County.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 121 includes the Syracuse neighborhoods in the far east of the city that are most demographically similar to the adjoining suburbs, and combines them to form a compact Syracuse suburbs east district

Common Cause Reform District 24 keeps the small cities of Oswego and Fulton together with their surrounding towns and includes the rest of rural Oswego and Lewis County.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 129 is drawn as a compact district spanning the Finger Lakes area from the southeast of Syracuse to Cayuga County.

Major demographic changes

Keeping the City of Syracuse almost entirely within a single district allows for increased minority influence among these communities that are currently broken up. Non-Hispanic black representation in Common Cause Reform Assembly District 119 rises to 25.6 percent voting-age population compared to 18.3 percent in the current Assembly District 119, making Common Cause reform Assembly District 119 a minority influence district. Hispanic representation also rises to 7 percent VAP from 4.5 percent. The population of the City of Syracuse has declined by 1.5 percent to a total of 145,170. This decline is considerably less than the other major upstate cities. A detailed discussion of the demographics of the Syracuse region, including illustrative maps, can be found on the Common Cause New York "Mapping Democracy" blog.

Incumbents no longer in current district: William B. Magnarelli (Democrat-120), Donald R. Miller (Republican-121), Gary D. Finch (Republican-123)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform Assembly District 117 (Mohawk Valley East)

SOUTHERN TIER

The Southern Tier is a regionally distinct area which should be kept whole. Similarly the geographic boundaries of counties, towns, and cities must be respected whenever possible. The reform map unites counties and communities of interest, drawing districts within the Southern Tier and not adding fragments from other regions.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 123 is a compact rural Southern Tier district consisting of all of Chenango County, a small portion of Delaware County, and Broome County outside of the Binghamton area.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 126 remains exactly the same as the current Assembly District 126 (Donna A. Lupardo-Democrat), a compact district consisting of the City of Binghamton and the two towns to the east that include Binghamton University, the primary engine of the local economy.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 125 is a compact district centered on the Ithaca area.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 137 is a compact district centered on the Elmira area.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 136 consists of Steuben and Yates counties and adds Alfred in Allegany to reach required population levels.

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. A detailed discussion of the demographics of this region can be found on the Common Cause New York redistricting blog, Mapping Democracy.

Incumbent no longer in current district: Clifford W. Crouch (Republican-107)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: none

ROCHESTER REGION

Rochester represents the center of a distinct regional economy. The City of Rochester (population 210,565) is too large to include in a single Assembly district, so the Common Cause Reform Plan divides it as neatly as possible, attempting to keep communities of interest and neighborhoods together as much as practicable. The state constitution forbids the division of towns but does not forbid the division of cities. However, the reform plan is drawn to be as reasonably compact as possible according to geographic and demographic boundaries.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 130 is a compact central Finger Lakes region district that extends into the very southeast corner of Monroe County in order to balance the population.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 131 is a compact Rochester district that takes the eastern half of Rochester into a district with the suburban town of Brighton. The district cuts into Northern Rochester to balance population while keeping most of the northeast quadrant together in Common Cause Reform Assembly District 133.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 132 is a compact northeast Rochester suburbs district consisting of three large suburban Monroe County towns.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 133 consists of the suburban town of Gates joined with the majority of the city of Rochester.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 134 is a compact northwest Rochester suburbs district consisting of the northwest quadrant of Rochester (the peninsula-like north section of the city), the very large suburban town of Greece (population over 96,000) and the town of Parma. The northwest quadrant of Rochester is very suburban and more demographically similar to Greece than to the central city.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 135 is a compact southeast Rochester suburbs district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 139 takes the rest of Monroe County and places it in a district with rural Orleans County on the shores of Lake Ontario to the northwest.

"Although the towns of Chili and Ogden are more suburban and oriented toward Rochester than the rest of this district, it's impossible to fit them within the Rochester suburbs districts.

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 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.

Incumbents no longer in current district: Brian M. Kolb (129-Republican), Mark Johns (135-Republican), Stephen Hawley (139-Republican)

New districts with no incumbents within borders: Common Cause Reform District 135 (Rochester Southeast suburbs), Common Cause Reform District 139 (rural Monroe and Orleans counties)

BUFFALO REGION 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. The city of Buffalo (2010 population 261,310) is too large to fit into a single Assembly district but could be divided evenly into two. However, more compact communities of interest-based districts can be created if the city is split between three Assembly districts. This is partially due to the mathematical challenge of combining large towns without dividing them, but also because the communities in North and South Buffalo do not stop at the city line but extend uninterrupted into the adjoining towns.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 140 draws a compact North Buffalo-Town of Tonawanda district. North Buffalo and Tonawanda are very similar demographically and constitute a community of interest that extends uninterrupted over the Buffalo city line.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 141 is a compact, central Buffalo district

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 144 keeps the urban communities along the Niagara River -- Niagara Falls, the city of Tonawanda, and North Tonawanda, together in a compact district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 145 combines the Buffalo central business district and the southern half of the city with Lackawanna and the suburb of West Seneca. This is a compact district mostly composed of middle and working class areas and keeps Lackawanna whole.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 142 combines the outer rural areas of Erie County with the whole of Genesee County.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 138 is a Buffalo suburbs north district.

Common Cause Reform Assembly District 146 a Buffalo suburbs south district.

Common Cause Reform ADs 143 and 148 are exactly the same as the current districts, with each district combining two large suburban towns in a compact rectangle.

Common Cause Reform ADs 147, 149, and 150 are all compact rural districts, within a distinct region of Western New York.

Major demographic changes

The Buffalo region, defined as Erie County and Niagara County, lost 32,920 residents over 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. A detailed discussion of the demography of the region can be found here.

Current Assembly District 141 is 68.2 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population and is underpopulated by almost 20 percent due to heavy population decline. Common Cause Reform Assembly District 141 expands to include a greater portion of the city to make up for the population loss and remains a majority-minority district with 58.3 percent non-Hispanic black voting-age population.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday