Former Assemblyman Benjamin Writes US Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann Opposing Bronx Redistricting Plan


The Honorable Roanne L. Mann
United States Magistrate Judge
United States District Court – Eastern District of New York
225 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, New York 11201

2 March 2012

Dear Judge Mann –

I respectfully submit this letter urging the Court’s consideration of
several additional factors to consider in drawing congressional
districts in the Bronx and Westchester Counties.

The separate plans submitted by the Assembly and Senate majorities
carve the Bronx into four or five districts that fracture a voting
rights protected community whose population of nearly 1.3 million
residents deserves to be represented by no more than two or three
Members of Congress. Both plans Only the Assembly plan keeps incumbent Representative Jose Serrano’s district (NY-16) wholly within Bronx county. The Senate plan attaches East Harlem in Manhattan to his Bronx-based district.

Beyond the slicing and dicing of the Bronx to serve political
interests, the reconfiguration of Rep. Eliot Engel’s (NY-17) current
“majority-minority” tri-county district directly violates the Voting
Rights Act. That district’s minority population rose from 50.9% in 2002
to 56% in 2010 and drops to 44% in the proposed Assembly plan. In
contrast, the district’s NH white population fell from 41.3% (2002) to
37.2% (2010) but rises to 48.75% under the new plan. Even worse, the NH
White population gains a 50% – 42.7% edge in voting age population.
Clearly, it is an illegal “retrogression” as far as the ability of
minority voters to overcome white bloc-voting against minority
candidates is concerned. (On its face, the State Senate plan does not
violate the Voting Rights Act.)

Logically, if the Legislature makes efforts to maintain the Rangel and
Serrano districts as majority black and Hispanic, respectively, the
same VRA imperative must pertain in the Engel district which
experienced marked growth in its minority population (2002-2010).

I trust that this honorable Court will make a note of this concern as
you draw districts that unite rather than divide communities of
interest. I also trust the Voting Rights section of the US DOJ will
also make note of these concerns when, and if, a congressional
redistricting plan is submitted for “pre-clearance” scrutiny.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael Benjamin
Former Member of Assembly (Bronx – 79)

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
This entry was posted in African Americans, Elections, Government, Politics, Public Policy, Voting Rights and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Former Assemblyman Benjamin Writes US Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann Opposing Bronx Redistricting Plan

  1. a Jew who saw your comment on politicker says:

    “I trust that this honorable Court will make a note of this concern as
    you draw districts that unite rather than divide communities of
    interest. ”
    So according to to you communities of interest only should be united if they’re based on color but if they’re based on anything else (even if they’re more discriminated against the blacks are) it shouldn’t be done. and if god forbid it’s religion it unconstitutional.

    Don’t you see why what your said is clearly anti semetic Right now Jews are the demographic in this country that has the most hate crimes/capita against them doesn’t that imply that gerrymandering more then any other community in the state is based on something more then that. Please give me 1 rational for that anti semetic map but anti semitisim (remember this map was supposed to be non partisan).

    Like

  2. The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. Jim Rohn

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s