“When politicians pick their voters, the voters lose,” Republican Council Minority Leader John Larkin said. “We need reform that will put voters back in charge.”
Larkin (right) and GOP Councilman Mike Breen spoke at City Hall beside two maps showing the city’s current six council districts and the new boundaries proposed by Democrats. (view both maps below the jump)
The Republicans plan to release a competing redistricting map that they believe more fairly represents the city’s political demographics on Feb. 19.
They expressed particular concern about the Democratic plan to re-work the city’s southeastern Fourth Council District held by Republican Councilman Dennis Shepherd, who is up for re-election this year; the Democrats’ map shifts a huge chunk of the Fourth District into Breen’s northeastern Fifth District while stretching the Fourth to the city’s western edge through a sliver of neighborhoods along the Bronx border.
“They made it look like Cape Cod,” Breen said today.
Democrats, who control the mayor’s office and the council for the first time in 40 years, were formulating a response to the Republicans’ charges this afternoon.
The GOP resolution announced today calls on the council to “reaffirm its commitment to fair, nonpartisan redistricting” and to preserve so-called “minority opportunity districts” with large Hispanic or African-American populations.
The resolution also would mandate public hearings in each council district before the adoption of a redistricting plan.
And it would ban “the favoring or disfavoring of incumbent, challengers or political parties” with input, Larkin said, from good-government groups like Citizens Union, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.