Redistricting is such a great political parlor game, so when Marc Heller took up musing about it, I quickly gravitated to the article.
For all the talk by Mayor Koch and others of handing the process over to an independent body (can one really exist ?), we all know the State Legislature will retain the function, primarily to make sure they continue to pick the voters they will represent rather than the other way around.
While Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans gerrymander to preserve their majorities, the Congressional game of musical chairs is complicated by a couple of things. There will be a reduction of one, maybe two seats, and the rules for Congressional races are also more complicated with districts required to be exactly the same population and not plus or minue 5% as in state districts. Federal law also seeks to preserve minority based districts in a way I do not believe state districts do. I do not claim to be an expert, but would have loved to be on any non-partisan panel that will never see the light of day.
I disagree with Marc on his use of the phrase "nightmare scenario" to describe Watertown and Plattsburgh no longer being in the same district. I have never thought the sprawling, sparse district did us any favors and with the center of gravity in the district shifted east, I feel that way a bit more.
Watertown and Fort Drum would be important in any district, and if it included Syracuse, I don't think we would suffer, due largely to the significance of the military post.
When you look at geography, political topography and incumbency, If the goal is to protect Rep. Bill Owens, he will not be placed in the same district as Rep. Gibson in the very GOP NY20.. Because Mr. Owens lives in the most remote corner of the state (no offense to Plattsburgh in that), his district has to look south and west and he definately needs left-leaning St.Lawrence County. Remember too, that NY23 cannot pick up turf on three sides (Lake Ontario, Canada and Vermont).
I don't know what will happen, but like Marc I will watch the parlor game that most people don't even know is being played.
Watertown Daily Times REDISTRICTING SWITCHES THINGS UP