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Nassau legislature passes redistricting plan

People attending the public hearing held by the

People attending the public hearing held by the Nassau County Legislature on redistricting hold up their signs. (March 5, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

The Nassau County Legislature approved new district lines Tuesday that are expected to keep Republicans in control of the 19-member body.

The 10-9 vote came after a lengthy public hearing. Republicans control the legislature by a 10-9 majority, and all legislative seats are up for election this fall.

The map, sponsored by Republicans, would place Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, who now represents the 18th District in Glen Cove, in the 11th District in Roslyn, represented by Democrat Wayne Wink. DeRiggi-Whitton says she intends to run in the 11th, while Wink has said he is considering running for county comptroller. The 18th will have no incumbent.

Two Republican lawmakers, Michael Venditto of Massapequa and Joseph Belesi of Farmingdale, would be in the same district under the new map. Belesi has said he is considering retiring.

The approved lines were amended to restore Democratic Legis. David Denenberg, of Merrick, to his district after his home had been removed in a prior map. However, significant numbers of registered Republicans were added to his territory.

Legis. Denise Ford of Long Beach, a registered Democrat who caucuses with Republicans, had refused to vote for the redistricting plan until Denenberg was restored to his district. She said Tuesday that while the map wasn't perfect, "faced with the choices before me, I vote yes."

Denenberg said he is considering seeking re-election.

Jericho Gardens, a small community in New Cassel, was restored to the 2nd District in an amendment after Legis. Robert Troiano (D-Westbury) protested.

Troiano argued unsuccessfully Tuesday for some of more than 5,000 people who were moved out of Hempstead Village in his district and into the 14th, which includes Garden City, Carle Place, Old Westbury and Bethpage, to be moved back. "They have little in common with those other communities," he said.Jane Thomas, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Nassau County, said the new "map only makes cosmetic changes and still appears to be . . . a gerrymandered map . . . to benefit the majority party of this legislature."

Attorney Frederick Brewington of Hempstead said his office plans to file suit against the redistricting plan on behalf of members of the community over possible constitutional and Voting Rights Act issues.

County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, must sign off on the new map. Spokesman Brian Nevin said Tuesday that Mangano "will review the plan once he receives it from the legislature."

Legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years following the decennial census.

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