Despite touting the passage of a constitutional amendment providing for election district redistricting in New York, newly elected State Sen. Jack Martin, R-Elmont, will be staring down a crowd of protesters tomorrow who feel the amendment does not go far enough.
The protest outside Martins’ office, led by Democratic activist and founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative , Bill Samuels, will include multiple Democratic youth organizations, including the Nassau County Young Democrats, New York State Young Democrats, College Democrats and New York Democratic Law Students Council, among several others.
Ben Kallos, executive director of New Roosevelt, said the constitutional amendment Martins approved did not go far enough to institute independent redistricting, as Martins’ promised to do when he signed Mayor Ed Koch’s New York Uprising pledge in 2010.
"Under that amendment, we wouldn’t see any redistricting until 2022," Kallos said. "And that redistricting would still allow for a swing of up to 10 percent in population to occur, meaning upstate would gain extra districts compared to Long Island and the rest of the downstate area."
Kallos said it is the hope of those protesting that Martins will get on board with a redistricting law as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which would provide for only a 2 percent population swing in any district and could be enacted right away.
A spokesman for Martins called the protest a political ploy by a party that only touted redistricting reform after losing majority control of the state Senate. For his own part, Martins took a softer tone regarding the protest.
"I fully and unequivocally support redistricting reform and voted in favor of the most recent constitutional amendment that was passed by the Senate," Martins said. "It’s a fair and solid piece of legislation that creates an independent, non-partisan panel that provides both parties the opportunity for input on how district lines will be determined. Unfortunately, there are still those who would have the very process of reform turned on its head to become a bitter, partisan one. It’s deceptive and frankly, it’s meant to distract New Yorkers from far more pressing issues like our working with Gov. Cuomo to pass a sound fiscal budget that decreases spending to ease the burden on our taxpayers and create jobs."