LI’s Martins raises reapportionment alarm
Just two weeks ago, much of New York’s political world breathed a sigh of relief after it was revealed that in the latest U.S. Census-based reapportionment the state would lose only one of its 27 congressional seats.
This was good news — relatively speaking. Erosion of the state’s congressional influence has been the trend as far back as today’s citizens can remember. In 1953, for example, we had 45 House members.
But the announcement April 26 from the U.S. Census on decennial reapportionment also had a frustrating twist: New York came up just 89 residents short of keeping all 27 House districts, Census officials revealed.
As the process begins for drawing new legislative seats in New York, Jack Martins, one of 10 members of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission, isn’t ready to accept the one-seat loss.
"I’d hope and expect that the state will consider bringing action to challenge the Census Bureau’s determination," said Martins, a former Republican state senator from Nassau County. "There’s no way New York State under the circumstances should lose a congressional seat and the recovery revenue that comes with it over 89 people from a population of 20 million."
Exactly how it could or would be challenged is the next question, however, which nobody seems ready to answer. A spokesman for Attorney General Tish James, who has brought civil cases against the federal government on several issues, would only say: "We are reviewing our legal options." Generally, there seems to be little optimism they’ll find any.
For one thing, this does not work like a vote recount in an election. Terri Ann Lowenthal, a consultant on Census issues, said it is too simplistic to say New York needed just 89 more persons counted to save all 27 districts. "You would have to assume that all other state population totals wouldn’t have changed in order for 89 people to have saved that seat. We’re talking about a complicated mathematical formula sensitive to small shifts in population," she said.
So barring a lightning bolt out of the blue, the mapmakers are ultimately expected to start chopping up the district of Western New York GOP Congressman Tom Reed, who announced he will not seek reelection next year. How that territory and the turf of other regions get rearranged into 26 House districts across the state, including those for Nassau and Suffolk, becomes a piecemeal struggle in months to come.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
Curran launches digital ads for re-election campaign
As of this week, prepare for the phrase "leadership through it all" to echo on browsers and smartphones across Nassau County.
That’s the slogan in new ads for County Executive Laura Curran’s reelection campaign, part of a five-figure digital ad buy through May and June, according to Curran campaign strategist Max Kramer.
The current round of ads — visible in Facebook’s political ad archive — come in different lengths and cover two subjects: the Baldwin Democrat’s leadership during the pandemic and Curran having "returned fiscal discipline to Nassau County government."
The pandemic video features a shot of Curran, with a bookshelf in the background, saying she initially thought the campaign would focus on Nassau being a safe community, a subject that shifted when the pandemic hit and confronted her with new challenges. "I took that very seriously," she says.
The video on fiscal issues includes a self-identified Republican saying he’s supporting Curran.
"I promised that we would have fiscal discipline and be responsible to the taxpayer, and I absolutely kept that promise," Curran says.
As the pandemic continues to lift on Long Island, expect that second subject — taxes and the sometimes bumpy reassessment Curran’s administration took on after years of largely-frozen tax rolls — to become a major talking point for Republicans.
"She’s pretending that everything is rosy and Nassau County taxpayers are happy and that couldn’t be further from the truth," said Bruce Blakeman, Curran’s GOP opponent, regarding the digital ads. Blakeman has released a video on social media but he isn’t running digital ads yet.
Curran’s ads will be hitting viewers across platforms, according to her campaign, including Facebook and Instagram, nontraditional connected TV services like YouTube TV and Hulu, and programmatic ads on websites near you.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Crushing the wave
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Nursing home staff vaccination update
Shot by shot, some nursing homes across Long Island are beginning to show improvement in their staff vaccination rates.
Of Long Island’s 77 nursing homes for which data are available, 33 still have less than half their staff fully vaccinated. That’s better than April 21, when 45 of the homes had less than half their staff vaccinated.
See a full list of nursing homes on Long Island and their rates here.
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