Oneida County voters approved a decision in November to reduce the Oneida County Legislative districts from 29 to 23. The next step was to decide how the legislative lines get re-drawn. Tonight, the redistricting committee presented its proposed maps.
The redistricting will go into effect in 2014, and
all the legislative seats are up for election in November of 2013. In
all, there are six new districts in which sitting legislators will now
have to compete against one another, come election season.
"By no way do I consider it a fair distribution. They fear having the board becoming a Democratic board so there process was to cut the board and to gerimander the districts so it would be physically impossible for the Democratic party to win," says Frank Tallarino, Democratic Minority Leader and redistricting committee member.
Tallarino is one of the 6 legislators that will have to compete for one of the new districts come Fall. He says the proposal was unjust, but redistricting committee members says the process was fair.
"We're taking a look at the maps without voter democgraphics, there's no numbers of Republicans, Democrats, the numbers are just the numbers," says Robert Koenig, Oneida County Legislator District 11 and redistricting committee member.
Committee members say it was all about targeting each district to reach about 10,040 people per district. Republican Majority Leader and redistricting committee chariman George Joseph says it was fair and he too is a legislator that will have to compete for his re-designed seat in the Fall.
"It's basically simple math. We take 29 districts and we consolidate them to 23 based on population," says George Joseph, Republican Majority Leader and redistricting committee chairman.
Still, Tallarino says a political bias is behind the changes.
"They paired 2 Democrats that are 2 valuable Democrats and so we will wind up with the Democrats being paired and the redistricting done to the advantage of the Republican party and it's unfortunate," says Tallarino.
Now the community will have a chance to see the maps at three public meetings and changes can be made to the proposal. The first meeting will be this Thursday night, February 28th at 6pm at Westmoreland Town Hall.
Below are the six new districts in which sitting legislators could have to compete against each other next election season. They are:
- In Rome, Democratic Minority Leader Frank Tallarino and Republican Legislator Ron Townsend.
- In Rome, Westmoreland, Kirkland, Republican Majority Leader George Joseph and Republican Legislator David Wood.
- In New Hartford, Republican Legislator James D'Onofrio and Democrat Legislator Dave Gordon.
- In Utica, Democratic Legislators Peter Caruso and Joseph Furgol.
- In Utica, Democratic Legislator Dan Trevisani and Republican Legislator Ed Welsh.
- In Western Oneida County, Democratic Legislators Michael Clancy and James Murphy.