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Morning Spew

Nice Redistricting You Got There. Sure Would Be a Shame if Someone Rejected It

Plus some links everyone can get behind for your Tuesday reading pleasure.

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(Hell Gate)

Thought New York finally reached the light at the end of the redistricting tunnel? Think again. On Monday, Democratic state legislators voted down the new district map proposed by the bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission after a couple weeks of teasing, giving those same state Democrats the chance to redraw voting districts for the second time since 2022.

In case you haven't been following every twist and turn of the New York state redistricting saga, here's the gist: In 2014, New Yorkers voted to create a bipartisan commission—what would become the IRC—that could be in charge of drawing new legislative maps for House and state districts. Then, in 2022, the IRC deadlocked and failed to draw new districts, and state Democrats tried to swoop in and pass a new law that would allow the legislature to take over the redrawing process if the commission whiffed. But that law was struck down by New York state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, as gerrymandering—which kicked control of district lines back to the state court system. The districts the court system eventually settled on resulted in multiple House victories for Republicans—something Democrats are desperately trying to prevent from happening again in 2024. That's why it was such a big deal last December, when the Court of Appeals made another critical redistricting ruling: It ordered the IRC to draw a new electoral map by the end of this month.

A little less than two weeks ahead of schedule, on February 15, the Independent Redistricting Commission finally came out with a new proposal—one that state and federal Democratic lawmakers immediately seized on as too similar to the 2022 map that they feel handed four new Congressional seats to Republicans in the general election. "Instead of remedying several of the substantive issues raised by good government groups related to communities of interest, the IRC map ignores or exacerbates them," a spokesperson for House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a statement released the day after the IRC's recommendation dropped. State Democrats rejected the IRC's new map ten days later, and now plan to propose a new one.

Still, it remains to be seen whether state Democrats will be able to actually run with the opportunity that (as we argued back in December) was basically only made possible by the party's progressive wing aggressively campaigning against Governor Kathy Hochul's initial conservative nominee to the open position of Chief Judge on the Court of Appeals, Hector LaSalle. That campaign ended with the appointment of Rowan Wilson, deemed much more likely to support another round of redistricting, to the open position instead. 

But if they do manage to push through a more favorable map, there could be major consequences in a few key races in the state. In today's Politico Playbook, Jeff Coltin speculated that NY District 16, currently held by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, could be redrawn to include Co-Op City, a housing development in the Bronx that could tip that district's upcoming primary race in Bowman's favor against his (AIPAC-backed) challenger George Latimer. That redraw could, in turn, weaken the footing of neighboring NY District 17 Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Lawler, according to the Huffington Post, in a potential race against former Rep. Mondaire Jones, who Lawler tweeted about when the IRC's most recent map dropped. "👀 Yikes. There goes @MondaireJones campaign for Congress. Time to move back to Brooklyn?" Lawler wrote, with the new proposed map of his district attached.

What's inevitable is that this is going to drag on for a little bit longer—potentially long enough to push June primaries back a few months. If that sounds familiar, it's because that's what happened in 2022, when primaries were pushed back from June to August while district boundaries were still up in the air—which, you know, probably hurt Democrats last election season. 

Some links with definite boundaries:

  • Ex-Gov. David Paterson says Hofstra University—his alma mater—is icing him out over a little thing like his support for a casino that would open right next to the college.
  • "Although the NYPD has made strides in some areas, it is quite unsettling that the  NYPD is not in compliance with the court-ordered reforms in these cases," the NYPD's federal stop-and-frisk monitor said, ten years into the monitorship. She continued, "As we have advised repeatedly, the NYPD must focus on accountability at all levels within the department." 
  • The fire that killed local reporter Fazil Khan and injured 22 other people in Harlem was the latest in a string caused by e-bike batteries.
  • Hear directly from migrants caught in the endless cycle of applying and reapplying for shelter in New York City.
  • Aw, these West Coast boxers don't really want to fight in New York City.
  • Don Henley should have checked the draft lyrics to 'Hotel California' into the Hotel California so they couldn't leave his possession and start showing up in auctions.
  • More than 80 percent of New Yorkers can't afford childcare, according to a new report. Meanwhile, families are already feeling the effects of the Adams administration canning universal 3-K.
  • Hahahaha: "The opacity of the city’s communications about an executive order designed to promote transparency is representative of the way Adams’ promises about government openness and accountability – and similar promises made by mayors before him – have fallen short." 
  • Perhaps more importantly, our mayor has officially pissed off the city's Serbians and Albanians via flag-raising ceremony snub:
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