Thursday, August 11, 2011

2012: Klein vs. the Rev?

While it's far too complicated to accurately figure out how redistricting will end up, it's really fun to wonder.

Check out this map the Daily Kos put together of the New York State Senate districts--the Bronx is pretty much torn apart and put back together in a completely new way, and it makes for some very different looking districts that what we currently have.

Lets start in Riverdale and move our way eastward.

31st Senate district: The DK calls it the 59th (they randomly moved the numbers around, so I'll just ignore them), and instead of just peaking into Riverdale and consisting mostly of upper Manhattan, the new district would not only hold all of Riverdale, but some of Yonkers as well. Last year, Sen. Adriano Espaillat dominated Riverdale with the backing of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and the Ben Franklin Democratic Club, so adding more of Riverdale would probably work out fine (Someone did point out that Dinowitz would hate this new district. He currently has three senators within his Assembly district (Klein, Rivera and Espaillat), which can definitely come in handy when trying to find bill support in the state Senate).

All images from
Jump below for much more analysis of the Bronx, including one district that could pit Sen. Rev. Ruben Diaz against Sen. Jeff Klein.

Sen. Gustavo Rivera's (33) district currently runs from the south of Van Cortlandt Park down to the Cross Bronx, but DK runs the new district all the way up into Yonkers as well. According to Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan, there used to be a law that prohibited state districts to be drawn over county lines. Not anymore, obviously.

Here's one district that puts the brakes on the gerrymandering and keeps the districts more compact. Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (36) currently has a district that is separated into two parts, but connected by only the Bronx River Parkway for about a half-mile. No houses, no constituents. Just road. The new district extends higher up into Yonkers than it already was and cuts off the bottom part. DK says she'd still be more than safe in her new district.

And to what could be the most interesting race in Bronx history. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan. The Rev. vs. Klein.

Now, DK says Diaz (32) would probably choose to run in the district just below that, but it did give him a 43.5% to 43.4% edge in the race. One political insider said it would absolutely destroy the county party. I called Diaz and asked him about the hypothetical situation, but he declined to comment. Klein (34) couldn't be reached. Klein's current district currently starts in Riverdale, goes to Yonkers, then back down into the east Bronx. The new district cleans it up a bit.

The DK says Diaz is more likely to move to the district below if the lines were drawn like this in order to avoid a runoff with Klein (remember, this is all a hypothetical map drawn by a liberal blog). The new district goes into the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Sometimes you just can't make every district look good.

Bill Perkins (30) has picked up some Bronx acreage in the new plan, extending his district into the South Bronx and also adding Central Park to the mix. Here's what the DK said:
"Black VRA for Bill Perkins, Safe D. Most Democratic seat on the map. What do you have to do to lose such a seat in the General Election? Assassinate the President?"

I've saved the weirdest for last. Sen. Jose M. Serrano (28) currently has a district spanning Manhattan and the South Bronx, but the way this district is made up is almost embarrassing. Like I said before, not every district can be pretty, but I don't think this district is actually possible. Even in the most gerrymandered processes, this would be a hard one to get done.

For real.
Again, the idea to keep in mind is that none of this is certain. In fact, none of this is even remotely credible. But it's fun to talk about and argue over. Would Klein and Diaz face off? Or does Klein just try to make the jump to Congress? Is Serrano's new district possible? How would Perkins react when he finds out he's representing Central Park and Yankee Stadium?

For those of you who might want to learn more about the redistricting process, LATFOR (The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reappointment) will be coming to the Bronx in September. Check back later this month for more information about the exact when and where. Gov. Cuomo says he will veto any redistricting plan LATFOR puts forward because it will not have been done by an independent agency, regardless of if the plan is actually done fairly and impartially.

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