Rapid Redistricting Redesign | press day

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Redraw quickly, the old fashioned way

Now that the state’s first-ever Independent Constituency Redistribution Commission has ceased operations without sending a unified 10-year map plan to lawmakers, the vague old acronym LATFOR — long familiar to Albany insiders — is reverberating. in a hurry to finish redrawing in time for nomination petitions in early March.

The official title is the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Redistribution, established in 1978. Since then, it has been drafting maps of the state’s Congressional, Assembly, and Senate districts. Controlled by the majority of both houses — this cycle both Democratic for the first time — the task force is abuzz with what has always turned into an insider process of great concern for incumbents.

Even as the IRC drew maps and at least attempted to be bipartisan earlier in the process, the old LATFOR device was reignited. Legislative sources told The Point that discussions about ultra-high-stakes congressional districts have quietly begun among state lawmakers who must approve them.

Expect decision-making on state borders to be split between the two legislative chambers, with “great respect” for the Assembly and Senate shaping their own lines, as one put it. responsible. In 2012, the Senate was controlled by Republicans and the Assembly controlled by Democrats.

LATFOR cannot keep a lid on the maps it creates for long. To set election deadlines, the Assembly led by Speaker Carl Heastie and the Senate led by Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​plan to vote on maps next week.

But first, the bills enacting them must be introduced, indexed, sent to the appropriate committees, and set aside to “age out.” Because of this, details of the plans are expected to be revealed by Saturday. As former Bronx party chairman, Heastie is expected to play a key role in the map, as is Senator Michael Gianaris, who is the Deputy Senate Majority Leader of Stewart-Cousins ​​and a key player in LATFOR. permanent.

IRC officials, meanwhile, said documents collected by the new commission, including its own conflicting partisan map plans and hearing transcripts, had been sent to key lawmakers. David Imamura of Westchester, who served as the IRC’s Democratic chair, said Wednesday he was “confident” the final maps will reflect the needs of the people and reflect the evidence his commission has collected over several months.

Republicans on the panel, led by Vice Chairman Jack Martins of Nassau County, said Democrats on the panel abruptly ended negotiations for a single plan.

“It appears that Chairman Imamura and our other colleagues are handing over the keys of the Commission to the Democratic-controlled legislature, as they were apparently instructed to do when they were appointed,” the GOP members said in a joint statement. this week.

Any irregularities in the process that led lawmakers to draw their own maps, as well as the details of this upcoming product, seem likely to become a matter of litigation.

“Is it going to court? That’s always what happens” with electoral redistricting, said a veteran elected official.

Check out the new system, now pretty much the same as the old system.

—Dan Janison @Danjanison

Subject of discussion

Ins and Outs of the MTA Card

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors already looked a little different at Wednesday’s monthly meeting, but more changes are likely still to come.

Wednesday marked the first board meeting without Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s controversial appointee Larry Schwartz who resigned last month, and the first board meeting of the first governor’s appointee. Kathy Hochul, Elizabeth Velez, who runs a construction company.

But Wednesday also meant a “last” – the final board meeting of Suffolk County Rep. Kevin Law, the former head of the Long Island Association who served on the MTA board for three years. .

Hochul named Law as the next president of Empire State Development, and his confirmation hearing is scheduled for next week. Law said for months that once confirmed, he would retire from the MTA.

In a brief farewell on Wednesday, Law applauded the MTA’s board of directors, professional staff and subway, bus and commuter rail workers. And he made two specific requests. One, he said, was “parochial” – to get the new Long Island Rail Road Yaphank station and the electrification of the Port Jefferson line. The other, he said, was a “system-wide” concern – the need to continue to address and invest in accessibility.

And Law didn’t leave without a little joke about the convergence of his outgoing and incoming jobs.

“And finally, I want to be invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for the third runway and East Side Access later this year,” Law said with a smile. “Because remember, at ESD, we play a big role at Penn Station and you don’t want to get in trouble there, do you?”

No word yet from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on who he plans to recommend replacing Law. The county executive typically nominates three potential nominees, leaving the governor to choose to nominate one, who must then be confirmed by the state senate.

And Hochul herself has yet to name anyone to fill Schwartz’s seat, either.

But those two spots aren’t the only ones that could sit empty — or be filled with leftovers — in the coming months. The terms of MTA board members now end with the term of the elected official who selected them. It also leaves the tenure of Nassau Rep. David Mack, though new Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he hopes to keep Mack on the board.

And then there are the four members recommended by the mayor of New York, whose terms expired at the end of 2021. This leaves the future terms of board members Victor Calise, Lorraine Cortez-Vazquez, David Jones and Robert Linn.

Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this month he was considering “several names”, adding that he hopes his picks will be regular subway and bus riders.

But so far Adams, like Bellona and Blakeman, has not indicated when he might officially make such recommendations.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

pencil tip

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Last point

Get away again?

The idea of ​​people leaving Long Island — or New York as a whole — isn’t new. But the pandemic has highlighted concerns about how many people the state is losing. Recent data, however, tells a more nuanced story.

New York has the distinction of being the state with the third highest exodus, as 63% of New Yorkers who move flock out of state, according to a United Van Lines study released this month, which has examined its own customers. travel habits. More than half of clients cited employment or retirement reasons as factors in their decision to leave the Empire State.

But in this dataset, Long Island stood out for having an even larger gap between those who left the area and those who moved in. The study showed that 79% of those who moved were heading out of the region — the highest percentage of any of the state’s 10 metropolitan statistical areas.

Interestingly, despite the pandemic and all the talk about people flocking to the island, that data hasn’t changed much over the years, according to a six-year review of United Van Lines statistics.

However, an examination of address change data from the United States Postal Service tells a slightly different story. When looking at all address change requests – whether business or residential, temporary or permanent, there was a clear shift in 2020 when more people changed addresses to Nassau locations. or Suffolk County than far from Long Island addresses. The USPS showed a total of 213,491 address changes from Nassau or Suffolk counties, and 221,837 changes to Nassau or Suffolk counties in 2020.

But in 2021, according to the data, there was a return to pre-pandemic norms and there was a marked drop in the number of trips to the island, with 214,988 changes of address from Long Island and 201,896 changes address to the region. .

In a report late last year analyzing similar data, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer showed the city had regained about three-quarters of the population it lost during the first months of the pandemic.

The Long Island dataset analyzed by The Point includes professional moves, as well as individual moves and full family moves. Thus, it represents a single person – such as a student – ​​leaving home and changing addresses, in addition to complete household moves or business comings and goings.

Postal service data is detailed by postal code. Some areas, such as Bay Shore, Brentwood, Hempstead, Uniondale and Westbury, have shown hundreds more changes of address from community than to community in each of the past three years, including at the height of the pandemic. . Others, particularly in the East End, showed significant jumps in the number of changes of address in the neighborhood in 2020, while in 2019 and 2021 departures exceeded entries, but often not to almost at the same rate.

Take Sag Harbor. In 2020, there were 1,032 more address changes in the East End community than outside. In 2019, “from” exceeded “to” – by just two address changes, while in 2021 there were another 31 address changes away from the neighborhood.

Then there are the consistent successes. In Garden City, for example, address changes in the region exceeded those in the region by 71 in 2019, 201 in 2020, and 235 in 2021. Jericho, Manhasset, and Plainview showed similar stable trends.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

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