Districts Need to Be Drawn Fairly
by Larry Penner
Jul 27, 2010 | 2716 views | 1 1 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is more to recent news that the New York City Charter Commission is considering placing the issue of term limits on the ballot this November. Regardless of term limits, Queens Republican City Council members Dan Halloran, Eric Ulrich, and Peter Koo face difficult challenges ahead if they are to be elected to a second term in 2013.

Remember, in the 1990's under former Mayor Giuliani, Republicans held a record seven City Council seats. Queens residents in 1991 sent three GOPers - Mike Abel, Alfonse Stabile, and Thomas Ognibene – to the City Council. They were joined by Charles Millard and Andrew Eristoff of Manhattan, Martin Golden of Brooklyn and Fred Cerillo of Staten Island. You would have to go back 50 years or more to the old Board of Alderman, which preceded the City Council, to find that many Republicans holding similar office.

The City Council Districting Commission will draw new district boundaries based on the 2010 Census, which could determine the future political survival for Queens GOP Council members.

Republicans need to obtain a commitment from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn and Republican Minority Leader James Oddo – who will al appoint representatives to the 5-member commission - that they support new district boundaries to insure fair contests. Otherwise, the three Queens Republican councilmen could easily be gerrymandered out of public office.

Even with fair districts, all three Queens Republican Council members will face difficult re-election contests in 2013. There may be no serious Republican Mayoral candidate with adequate financing to run a real race providing political coattails for local GOP candidates. Without this, they will have an even steeper road to climb against their Democratic Party opponents who start off with overwhelming numbers of registered Democrat voter.

Worse yet, the Democratic Party in 2013 may also face no real GOP challenges for comptroller, public advocate, borough president, or district attorney. This could leave them free to send in hundreds of volunteers and provide whatever financial assistance is necessary to insure victory for their respective candidates in these three districts being seriously contested by Republicans.

Term limits without a fair reapportionment only results in the local Democrat City Council members switching seats with their Assembly member or State Senator (most recently brothers David and Mark Weprin), their chief of staff, relative or member of their local Democratic Party clubhouse assuming the seat. This continues assuring the status quo in City Hall.

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