UPDATED: End may be in sight in Yonkers redistricting battle


YONKERS — After failing to end a months-long impasse on redistricting earlier this week, the City Council will take another crack at it next Tuesday — and this time, the odds may favor a mayoral compromise.

The council is to meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to hear public comments and then vote on at least two competing plans to redraw the city’s political map for the next decade.

One is Mayor Mike Spano’s compromise plan, which won approval from the Democratic council majority leader and three Republican members at a meeting Monday. The other is an alternative plan backed by the council president and two other Democratic councilmen.

Immediately after the council’s 4-to-3 vote for Spano’s plan Monday, Council President Chuck Lesnick declared the approval void, citing its failure to garner a 5-to-2 “supermajority” needed to pass expedited legislation. City attorneys upheld Lesnick’s conclusion.

However, that “supermajority” rule will no longer apply at next Tuesday’s meeting, when either plan can pass on a 4-to-3 simple majority.

Spano is seeking accelerated approval for his plan in hopes of beating a deadline to adopt new council districts before nominating petitions go out in early June. The concern is that candidates for the three seats up for election in November will be in limbo about their district boundaries if the city’s once-a-decade redistricting process is not finalized in time.

Lesnick, meanwhile, is pushing a third redistricting plan ahead of Tuesday’s meeting that he says would be less vulnerable to a legal challenge because it would not break US Census tracts. Lesnick said this third proposal was drafted by his staff and Spano’s office about a month ago but never saw the light of day.

Republican Council Minority Leader John Larkin said he believes Lesnick is proposing another plan now because he sees “the writing on the wall” about the likelihood of Spano’s compromise being fully adopted when the council votes on it again Tuesday.

The board’s partisan battle over redistricting erupted earlier this year when Democrats released a plan that Republicans charged was heavily gerrymandered to consolidate Democratic power in Yonkers. The GOP councilmen put out their own competing map later that month before Spano intervened in hopes of brokering a compromise.

Check back later for more details.


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