New York State Senate Majority Redistricting Office 250 Broadway New York, NY 10007 To: Sen. Skelos, Steve Boggess From: Mark Burgeson CC: Vinnie Bruy Date: July 20, 2001 Re: Size of the Senate We have had numerous discussions regarding the possibility of the Senate increasing in size to 63. While the ultimate decision will be made with political numbers for proposed districts at each size in hand, I believe that the decision basically comes down to the raw census numbers. I have previously stated my contention that the only reason to go to 63 is to strengthen the Long Island delegation by combining politically undesirable areas in the extra district. There are no areas elsewhere in the state where we have the opportunity to pick up a district, or strengthen surrounding districts solely on the basis of adding another district to an area. In fact, as you will recall, our proposed redistricting areas upstate are already configured in such a manner as to draw districts light, to avoid migration downstate. Adding another district anywhere upstate would exacerbate that situation. Initially, my thinking was that in going to 63 we would strengthen all nine members by carving out a tenth district strictly on the island, combining all the minority areas from Elmont on the Nassau/Queens border east to Brentwood in the town of Islip. This would serve the dual purpose of carving out politically undesirable areas and at the same time demonstrate sensitivity to testimony received at both the Nassau/Suffolk and Westchester public hearings. There are four major reasons mitigating against this scenario: a. At a district population of 275,391, the deviation from the ideal for 10 districts on the island would be –8.57%. With a total permissible deviation of 10%, this would give us precious little room to maneuver elsewhere in the state; b. While this minority district is theoretically possible, it is extremely unsightly and would most likely bring scrutiny ala Shaw v. Reno; c. Senator Trunzo lives squarely within one of the major minority concentrations which would be included in the minority district (Brentwood). d. The additional district almost certainly would not be a republican pickup. Thus, all else being equal, the republican majority would be 36-27 The next option under a 63-seat Senate I considered was to include Queens with Long Island. Under this scenario, there would be a minority district bridging Nassau/Queens, with approximately 115,700 in Nassau. That number is reasonably close to the population of the minority areas of Hempstead, Lakeview, Elmont, Roosevelt and Baldwin and could be combined with black areas in Jamaica to form a minority district. Several pertinent comments regarding this scenario: a. Politically, this would certainly help Senators Skelos, Fuschillo and Hannon. b. We have received testimony that the minority areas in Hempstead should be together and this would accomplish that. The minority district is reasonably compact and should not run afoul of a Shaw v. Reno issue. c. In this configuration, the Nassau/Suffolk bridge district(s) would have a population of 246,829 in Suffolk and 46,306 in Nassau. It is not my job to be an advocate of one county over another, but the fact of the matter at hand is that we currently have two Nassau-based Senators whose districts comprise portions of Suffolk county. The political reality is that it is extremely unlikely that Nassau (despite any agreement between the two county’s organizations) would be able to control a bridge district(s) in which only 15% is in Nassau county; and that, in turn, while not necessarily meaning the loss of a republican seat, would mean the loss of an incumbent. d. An additional county line cut (Nassau/Queens). e. As above, the additional district would not likely be taken by a republican and the majority would stand at 36-27, all else being equal. Finally, I looked at a reapportionment area which stretches from Suffolk to Columbia county. This would result in a district size of 303,151, of which several comments can be made: a. The Nassau portion of the Nassau/Queens bridge district would contain a population of only 25,554. That few people would be of negligible political value. b. Although the Nassau/Queens bridge would be a minority district, the above mentioned minority areas in Hempstead (with the exception of Elmont) would still need attention. c. The Nassau/Suffolk district(s) would be a 32%/68% split. Not quite the current 44%/56% split, but closer than the above15%/85% split. Enough to avoid the loss of Nassau county control of that seat(s)? Hard to tell. d. Another county line cut (Queens/Kings). e. Again, unlikely that the additional district would be a republican pickup.