North and Central Merrick Civic Association President Borecky's FOIL request for documentation; request for Statement from the Commissioners; a request for a new hearing, followed by Borecky's Statement to the Redistricting Commissioners

January 5, 2013

Re: FOIL Request, Request for Statement and new Public Hearing

Dear Redistricting Commissioners:

I am writing to request documentation under the Freedom of Information Act, statements from the Republican Commissioners, and a new hearing on Nassau County Presiding Officers’ Commissioners’ maps as presented to the public on January 3, 2013.
It has been almost two years since dozens of community leaders and concerned residents from the 19th Legislative District came down to the Legislature to protest the attempted power grab by the Nassau County Attorney to push through redistricted maps in time for the 2011 elections. As a result, Nassau County taxpayers incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, only to prove what we all knew, that new maps could not be implemented until this year.
Fast forward to 2013. Now, Presiding Officer Gonsalves’ Commissioners drew new maps that are more egregious than those proposed two years ago by the County Attorney, moving more than 50% of Nassau County residents into different districts. The Merrick, Bellmore and Wantagh communities are almost entirely moved out of Legislator Dave Denenberg’s district and made into a new district with an open seat.
In contrast, Minority Leader Abraham’s Commission’s maps moves approximately 20,000 people into different districts and leaves most of the Merrick, Bellmore and Wantagh communities intact. Further, the Republican Commissioners’ maps force five Democratic incumbents into primaries for two districts, eliminating three Democratic legislators right off the bat. Redistricting lines with the intent of removing incumbents of a particular party from their elected offices is gerrymandering. As you know, gerrymandering is an illegal practice political parties use to gain power of a municipal body. It is our contention that these maps were drawn illegally and therefore, are illegal maps and cannot be used.
Specifically, I contend that the district lines were gerrymandered around Democratic incumbent Legislators Joseph Scannell’s, Kevan Abrahams’ and Dave Denenberg’s blocks so that they were all placed in the same district.
At the Redistricting Commission’s January 3, 2012 presentation, County Executive Mangano’s appointed Chair Francis X. Moroney stated that Gonsalves’ Commissioners hired Skyline Demographic Consultants, an Albany firm, to draw their maps. I’m concerned about the credibility of this Albany firm in that County Attorney Ciampoli had been accused of disenfranchising voters when he was working in Albany. I question the coincidence that this firm is from Albany.
P.O. Box 500, Merrick, NY 11566
Claudia Borecky, President claudiaborecky@gmail.com
March 1, 2011-02-27
Claudia Borecky, President www.northmerrickcivic.org

Therefore, under the Freedom of Information Act, I am respectfully requesting a copy of the solicitation bid that went out to the public seeking a consultant to help Gonsalves’ Commissioners’ redistrict Nassau County’s Legislative districts, a list of the respondents and any and all documentation received in response to the bid, including the amount that they bid and any other documentation detailing the criteria used for selecting the winning bidder.
The reason for this request is my skepticism about Mr. Moroney’s statement that Gonsalves’ Commission was asked to look at the county with a blind eye toward incumbencies. I’m not a statistician, but the odds that these lines were drawn blind to incumbencies and arrived at districts drawn literally around three incumbents’ blocks, putting three incumbent legislators of the same party into primaries with each other, must be at least one in a billion.
It is important for the redistricting process to be open and transparent. To that extent, I respectfully request each of Gonsalves’ Commissioners, as the responsible parties for drawing the new district maps, provide me with a signed statement, explaining how they arrived at lines that took 95% of Legislator Dave Denenberg’s constituents out of his district, leaving his current district with an open seat; and how the lines just happened to be wrapped around Legislator Scannell’s, Abrahams’ and Denenberg’s blocks. In summary, please provide me with a signed statement that explains how each of you, as the parties commissioned to present our Legislature with redistricted maps, arrived at maps that put three Democratic incumbents into one district in the south and two Democratic incumbents into one district in the north. A refusal to do so, will, in my opinion, mean that the entire Temporary Redistricting Commission has been a farce and a waste of $500,000 of our tax dollars.
Further, I contend that the January 3, 2012 presentation was not a “public hearing” since Gonsalves’ Commissioners were unwilling to explain the maps; Chairman Moroney had no authority to speak on behalf of EITHER side; and no representative form Skyline Demographic Consultants was present to explain how they arrived at these lines. Since the January 3, 2013 hearing failed to present the public with expert testify to the validity of Gonsalves’ Commissioners’ maps, it cannot be considered a public hearing on the district maps. I, therefore, respectfully request that a public hearing be held to address Gonsalves’ Commissioners’ map with expert testimony from the consultants and the Commissioners as to the validity of these maps.
Attached please find my statement on behalf of residents of the 19th Legislative District. Legislator Denenberg was elected to represent the 19th Legislative District in 2011 with 73% of the vote in an overwhelmingly Republican district. It is imperative that you take into consideration the will of the people. Republicans, Democrats and Independents voted for Legislator Dave Denenberg to represent them. What gives you the right to decide that he shouldn’t?
Very truly yours,
Claudia Borecky, President

Statement from the President of the
North and Central Merrick Civic Association
On Proposed Redistricted Legislative Maps

January 5, 2013

As a civic leader in Legislator Denenberg’s district, I feel compelled to speak about the district he represents and his constituency. Denenberg currently represents a district that is predominantly Republican. Dave Denenberg won his 2011 re-election with 73% of the vote. Dave's voting record, without question, makes him the most independent legislator in Nassau County. He is renowned as the hardest-working legislator in Nassau County. People trust Legislator Denenberg to do what is best for the people and not for what is best for the party.
Dave has turned our avenues from ugly, dilapidated store frontages, to tree-lined, brick-paved downtown districts that we proudly call our neighborhood. Legislator Denenberg has been to each of our houses several times over the years and has helped our schools, our veterans, our firemen, our emergency workers, our community, civic and charitable organizations and our police better serve the people of our communities. Power may still have not been returned to our district if Dave hadn’t camped out at the substations and driven with the LIPA trucks to make sure that those in urgent need were made a priority. Our civic association as well as others worked with Dave Denenberg, informing him about the outages. Dave made sure that people with serious medical concerns were made a priority and had their power was restored. Yet, most of those people don’t even know that they may be losing the legislator that they have learned to depend on – in some instances, may have saved their lives.
The people know what is best for their communities, yet this Commission is intentionally making moves that will cripple our communities. This total disregard for the will of the people is unconscionable.
Paraphrasing the words from our founding father, Thomas Jefferson:
“We are all Democrats. We are all Republicans. We are all the people of Nassau County.”
I like to think that we still live in a Democracy where our votes count for something. Republicans, Democrats and Independents elected Legislator Dave Denenberg to represent us. What gives Gonsalves’ Commissioners the right to decide that he shouldn't?

Claudia Borecky, President
North and Central Merrick Civic Association


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