By Judy Jacobs
Redistricting should be non-political and fair. Unfortunately, it never is.
The way redistricting is done in most areas leads to distrust, aggravation and unfair results. Such is the case in Nassau County as we all struggled through the redistricting saga.
My strong suggestion on the day of the vote, which, by the way, received some support from Republicans, is to have redistricting occur by a non-political, good government committee, with the final approval being given to a Magistrate. The League of Women Voters comes to mind since they worked tirelessly in this process, only to be ignored once the lines were drawn.
The first time redistricting took place was in 1995; the second time was in 2003, and now this map is 2013. The 1995 and 2013 maps were drawn while Republicans were in power and the 2003 map was drawn when the Democrats were in power.
In each case, the end result created antagonism and distrust by the residents. However, nothing equaled the extent of the movement in the county in this present map. It placed more than one incumbent in one district to insure the loss of one legislator. This is a windfall for the party in power as it would gain seats just by the elimination of a present Legislator.
Understand that we have redistricted three times since the inception of the Legislature. It is mandated that this process take place every 10 years and should only create change to keep up with the census. However, the census numbers only changed in one district, but that did not stop the utter chaos which ensued in all the districts. Approximately 340,000 residents were moved as a result.
I am heartbroken that in my case, beginning in January of 2014, the 16th Legislative District will no longer represent voters north of Jericho Turnpike, which means losing half of Syosset and Woodbury (my hometown and school district), all of Oyster Bay, East Norwich and Oyster Bay Cove and various villages. I will be representing Plainview/Old Bethpage, Jericho, Syosset and Woodbury (south of Jericho Turnpike), a portion of Roslyn Heights, a portion of Old Westbury and various small parts of neighboring communities.
What is, is! But we can, and should, do better for you, regardless of your registration. I will work diligently in a bi-partisan manner to attempt to move the process to a more well thought out way and regain public trust. Believe me, if you were present during the vote on Tuesday, the 5th of March, and heard the people speak their hearts out to all of us, you would understand.
I love what I do and I am humbled and honored to have served for 18 years.