200 Old Country Road - Suite 620
	Mineola, New York  11501
	(212) 962-2915


		Co-Chairperson, Task Force on Demographic
		Research and Reapportionment

		Co-Chairperson, Task Force on Demographic 
		Research and Reapportionment





		Co-Executive Director


Dr. Taj Rajkaumar
Representing, Indo-Caribbean-American
communities of Richmond Hill, Ozone 
Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven

Ruben Pena
President, Corona Business

Marc A. Haken
President, Board of Directors,
Hilltop Village Co-op #4, Hollis,

Sachi G. Dastidar, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Politics,
Economics and Society Department,
SUNY at Old Westbury

Inderjit Singh
South Asian Community Council

Al Jordan
Public Affairs Administrator,
Schools News Nationwide

Kay Roberts Dunham

James C. Lisa
Executive Member, Northside 
Democratic Association

Arturo Ignacio Sanchez
Professor of Urban Planning, 
Graduate School of Architecture 
and Planning, Pratt Institute,
Member, La Gran Alianza de Queens

Sungkyu Yun
Director, National Korean American 
Service & Education Consortium

Genaro Herrera
La Gran Alianza de Queens

Virginia Pastorini
President, La Gran Alianza de

Carlos Suarez
President, Dominican American 
Society of Queens

Morshed Alam
Executive Director, American 
Bangladesh Friendship Association, 
Member Community School Board 29

Dan Tubridy
Resident, Broad Channel

Gary White
Resident, Richmond Hill

Suprabhat Sengupta

Rene Lobo
News Director, Producer, Host,
International Channel

Alejo Castillo
Representing the Puerto Rican
Legal Defense and Education Fund

Leyland Roopnaraine
Real Estate Broker, representing
Richmond Hill

Kawal Totaram
Public Relations Officer, Queens 
Caribbean Bar Association

Lucia Gomez
Civic Participation Program 
Coordinator for the Puerto Rican
Legal Defense and Education Fund

Perry Reich, Esq,
Resident, Queens

Mohammed Sadiq
Recording Secretary, Queens Village
Civic Association, Member, Community
Advisory Board, Queens Hospital

Murray Berger
Chairman, Kew Gardens Civic 

Yvonne Williamson
Staff member, New York City 
Councilman James Sanders 

Glenn Magpantay
Staff Attorney, Asian-American 
Legal Defense & Education Fund

James Wu
Asian-American Democratic Association 
of Queens, and Representing Ethel Chen, 
Democratic District Leader, and Julia 
Harrison, Democratic District Leader

Aida Gonzalez-Jarrin
Vice President, La Gran Alianza
de Queens

Lorinda Chen
President, New York  Chinese 
American Association, Inc.

Frances Scanlon, Esq.
Resident, Queens

Norman Silverman
All Rockaway Planning Council

Lew M. Simon
Democratic District Leader

Norma Jimenez
Community Planning Board No. 3, 
Chair, Youth Committee, Member, 
Neighborhood Advisory Committee, 
Spanish Program Coordinator, Our 
Lady of Fatima, Vice President, La
Gran Alianza de Queens

Ludy Herrera
Member, Community Planning Board
No. 3, Member, La Gran Alianza de

Leonard Cutler
Bayswater Civic Association

Richard Berger
Member, Good Government Regular 
Democratic Club, Resident, Belle

Bernice Cutler
Resident, Rockaway

Sara Berger
Resident, Rockaway

Rochelle Guinness
Resident, Nesponsit, Rockaway

Eva Farrell
Resident, Rockaway Point

Eric Strangeweiss
Resident, Sheepshead Bay,

Terry Harris
President, Bay Towers Tenant's
Association, Rockaway

	SENATOR SKELOS:  We could start the 
meeting of the New York State Legislative Task Force on 
Demographic Research and Reapportionment.  My name is 
State Senator Dean Skelos.  I'm Co-chair of the Task 
	The purpose for today's meeting is to 
listen to you, hear what you think about the proposed 
lines, both Senate and Assembly.  This is not a day 
where we just discuss Congress, because that's down the 
road, in terms of those lines.  But, today, we want your 
	As you know, the Task Force's 
responsibility is to come up with proposed lines that we 
will then have a meeting, formally vote on, and if the 
Task Force approves it, the recommendation will go to 
the entire Legislature.  So, ours would be a 
recommendation.  The Senate and the Assembly have to 
approve it, and then the Governor has the option to 
either sign or veto the legislation.
	Then, of course, in the voting rights 
counties, the Justice Department will review the final 
bill once it's passed on by the Governor.
	So, I welcome you to this hearing.  I 
look forward to your input.  We have a long, long list. 
 So, I would ask if everybody would please keep their 
comments to five minutes or under.  If you have 
testimony that you would like to submit, it has the same 
weight as oral testimony, and that would move things 
along.  But, certainly, everybody has the right to be 
heard today, and we look forward to your testimony.
	I would like to introduce Assemblyman 
William Parment, who is my Co-chair.
Senator, and welcome to this hearing on Legislative 
Redistricting proposed guidelines for the State 
Assembly, and the State Senate.  I am happy to be here 
again in Queens.  We were here earlier this year in a 
more open ended hearing on redistricting.  We have now 
returned with a proposal as the Senator indicated.  It 
was drafted and presented to the public and members of 
the legislative body about two weeks ago, three weeks 
ago, and we are now in the process of having public 
hearings, and we intend to use that public testimony to 
determine a plan that we can recommend to the full 
	So, again, welcome.  It's nice to be in 
Queens again.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	A member of the Task Force, Senator 
Richard Dollinger.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Thank you very much, 
	I'm Senator Richard Dollinger.  I'm a 
Democrat from Rochester.  I'm Minority Leader Martin 
Connor's appointee to this Task Force.  
	Senator Skelos described our activity.  
We are here today to take public input on the proposed 
plans for the reapportionment and redistricting of the 
New York State Senate, and the reapportionment and 
redistricting of the New York State Assembly.  We have 
previously been in Rochester and in Buffalo, and in your 
neighboring borough of Brooklyn.
	I think that the critical thing today, is 
we're here to listen.  We're here to get reactions.  
We're here to ask questions and get clarification, and 
my hope is we will get an idea of the voices of Queens, 
and to what extent this group, and the people that live 
here believe that these plans are representative of the 
many voices of this borough.
	I look froward to it, and I thank you, 
Senator Skelos, for the opportunity.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, Senator 
	Also, a member of the Task Force is 
Assemblyman Chris Ortloff.
Chairman.  I represent the Assembly Republicans.  I'm 
appointed by Assemblyman John Strasso.  It's really 
great to be back in this room and see so many of the 
same names who helped educate us last summer.  I 
sincerely hope that you will give us the benefit of your 
comments, as to how well we reflected the concerns you 
expressed to us last summer.
	The plan that I am concerned with the 
most, of course, is the Assembly plan, which is the 
majority's presentation, drafted by Mr. Parment and his 
staff.  I am hopeful that you will guide us and educate 
us as effectively as you did last summer, so that the 
legislation we actually adopt reflects your ability in 
each of your communities to elect the Assemblymember of 
your choice.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.  
	Also a member of the Task Force, 
appointed by Senator Bruno, is Mark Bonilla.
	MR. BONILLA:  Good afternoon, ladies and 
gentlemen.  I'm the newest member of this Task Force, 
and if I may, I'd just like to give you a little brief 
on my background.
	I'm a practicing attorney just short of 
ten years.  I practice in the five boroughs.  I 
practice, basically, every area of law from criminal law 
to personal injury.  My parents were both born and 
raised in Puerto Rico.  I, myself, was born and raised 
here in Queens.  I went to high school at Aviation High 
School here in Long Island City.  I did my undergraduate 
studies at St. John's University.
	I have two brothers who still live here 
in Queens, one in Howard Beach, the other in Ozone Park. 
 So, Queens is very near and dear to me.  I just want to 
say that, one, I'm happy to be here, and more 
importantly, I want to commend the Senate Majority for 
appointing a minority to this Task Force.
	From what I understand, it was one of the 
concerns you folks had the last time.  So, I want to 
commend them for doing that, and more importantly, for 
recognizing the need for diversity on this panel, and in 
society in general.
	Again, I want to thank the Committee for 
allowing me to be a part of this.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much, 
	Roman Hedges, also, a member of the Task 
	MR. HEDGES:  It's good to be back here in 
Queens.  I look forward to this afternoon and evening.  
We look forward to hearing from you and your ideas about 
what should be in the state legislative plan for Senate 
and Assembly districts.
	Again, thank you for coming.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much, 
	Our first witness is Glenn Magpantay, 
Staff Attorney, Asian-American Legal Defense & Education 
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Next is Councilman 
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Phil Konigsberg.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Bernice Cutler.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Dr. Taj Rajkaumar.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  You sit, stand, whatever 
you're most comfortable with.
	DR. RAJKAUMAR:  Honorable members of the 
committee, I am extremely happy to be here today to 
present, again, on behalf of our community.  The Indo-
American community, and the Caribbean community in 
Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Ozone Park and 
	Last May, our community leaders requested 
this committee not to divide Richmond Hill into several 
Assembly Districts.  We reported that our community did 
not have effective representation for more than ten 
years.  Not ten days, not ten months, but more than ten 
	Our residents have not benefited from 
basic socio-economic services that other citizens in our 
district are enjoying.  Out of a budget of $5 million, 
guess how much was allocated for Richmond Hill?
	Not one penny, and I have the statistics 
to show you.  Not one penny was allocated for the 
Richmond Hill area.  This is wrong.  This is injustice, 
this is disrespect, you know, and we much change this.
	Today, we are here to express our 
dissatisfaction and disappointment with the decision to 
continue dividing Richmond Hill, our community, our 
home, our family, into not two, not three, but four 
Assembly Districts.
	We do not have -- again, we will not have 
representation for the next ten years.  
	Are we going to reverse this trend, 
ladies and gentlemen?
	Are we going to put a stop to this?
	Will we count; do Indians count?
	Disbelief, shock, outrage, frustration, 
are only some mild sentiments expressed by our South 
Asian and Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hill.  I 
have a tape.  I am the host of a weekly TV educational 
program here in Queens on cable TV, Channel 62 and 76.  
We roll the camera in our community.  I prepared a tape, 
but I was told today, you know, that we do not have a 
VCR to show the tape, but I have it with me for your 
record, if you'd like to have a copy of it.
	But, within the next couple of months, it 
is anticipated that several Indo-American radio and 
television programs will be holding public discussions 
to deal with this issue if this situation is not 
reversed.  I am inviting all members of this committee 
to participate in this discussion with me on my program.
	I'm not going to be sentimental or 
emotional here today, because I think you have the point 
that I'm making.  What I have with me here is a 
	Can we reverse this situation, this 
injustice that has been inflicted on our Asian people?
	Yes, we can.  The people who are involved 
in my proposal are Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, who has 
74,000 Black residents in her Assembly District 32.  
Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who has approximately, 
24,000 White residents in her district, her Assembly 
District 23, and Assemblyman Anthony Seminaro, who has 
about 15,000 South Asians in his district.  Here is my 
proposal.  The Assembly Districts 31 is currently 
vacant; right?
	Assembly District 31 is comprised of 
Springfield Gardens, Rosedale, Far Rockaway, South Ozone 
Park, and Richmond Hill.  Now, let's take Assemblywoman 
Audrey Pheffer.  Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, she has a 
part of Richmond Hill.  My proposal is that, let her 
return this portion of Richmond Hill to us, and we'll 
give her Far Rockaway, which is part of the 31st 
Assembly District.
	For Vivian Cook, let her take Springfield 
Gardens and Rosedale.  Give us back Richmond Hill, and 
part of South Ozone Park.
	Assemblyman Anthony Seminaro, give us 
back part of South Ozone Park -- I mean, Ozone Park and 
Richmond Hill, and we will have a piece of the Assembly 
District 32, Vivian Cook's area, because when we look at 
the figure, 123,855, which is the population of an 
Assembly District, she will have more than that number 
of residents in her district.  So, we can look at the 
map and make sure all three of them will stay within the 
123,855 people.
	All we're doing here, we're asking the 
three distinguished Assembly members to work with us and 
make this happen.  By exchanging, by giving us these 
areas, and we giving them back part of our area, guess 
what, everybody wins.  Audrey Pheffer is going to still 
have her majority White votes, and she will stay in 
office.  Vivian Cook, she will still have her majority 
Black votes, and she will stay in office.  Anthony 
Seminaro will still have his majority vote, and be in 
office, and our Indians, our South Asians and Indo-
Caribbean people will have an Assembly seat, we will 
have a representative that will be taking care of our 
needs, like they have been taking care of their needs 
for their people for the past ten years.
	Finally, I would like to leave with this 
committee a statement that means a lot to all of us.  
This statement reads as follows.
	The outcome of this exercise must not 
give any citizen of our world a reason to question the 
integrity of our democracy in America.  
	Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Any questions?
	(No response.)
	MR. PENA:  Good afternoon, ladies and 
gentlemen of the committee.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  You have to talk into 
the microphone.  You can sit or stand, whatever is most 
convenient for you.
	MR. PENA:  Okay.  Good afternoon, ladies 
and gentlemen of the committee.  My name is Ruben Pena. 
 I am here to represent the community of Corona.  I am 
the President of the Corona Business Corporation, a 
substitute member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 
and Vice President of La Gran Alianza de Queens, an 
organization from Corona, Queens.
	I have been conducting business in the 
Corona area for 28 years, and it is sad to see how 
little this community has advanced in this length of 
time.  I have been working with Community Board 3, 
Community Board 4, Police Precincts 110 and 115, New 
York City Parks Department, Sanitation Department, and 
with the elected officials of the area, and with this 
assistance, we have accomplished some projects, but 
there is still lots to do.
	In many community meetings, I have 
brought to the table the needs of the area, and I have
a copy of the list of these necessities that I 
personally handed to elected officials in the very first 
meeting conducted by Corona Business Corporation in 
October 1998.  So far, the only thing that is 
accomplished from this list is an allocation of $1.5 
million for the expansion of the Corona Branch Library 
and, hopefully, this work will start in the spring 2002.
	I am here today together with several 
community leaders to represent over 200 merchants to 
submit and request from you the study and consideration 
of a design of the new District 39 that best fits the 
needs of this particular community.  The proposed new 
District 39 lines designed by the New York State Task 
Force is not acceptable, as it does not suit this 
extremely diversified community.
	The New York State Task Force is a group 
of people doing their job, but in reality they don't 
have a clue of what are the real needs of this 
community.  None of them live or conduct business in 
this area.  They are not raising a family in the 
neighborhood.  They have no need for a decent library.  
They do not have to stand waiting on line in an 
overcrowded Post Office for 25 or 30 minutes for 
service.  They have no need for a day care center.  
	In other words, the lack of these 
services in the community does not impact them directly. 
 These researchers follow statistics and numbers, and 
those look very attractive on paper, but in reality, 
they do not fit or solve the needs of this particular 
	As you may clearly see, in the four years 
since we discussed and presented our needs to the 
elected officials, our requests have not been taken care 
of.  P.S. 19 is more crowded than before, and children 
have to attend classes in portable classrooms.  The 
request of two traffic lights, one on 41st Avenue and 
National Street, and another one on 99th Street and 41st 
Avenue have not been installed.  The crossing guard to 
National Street and 41st Avenue has not been moved.  
There have been many verbal requests for a new Post 
Office.  The size of the facility and amount of clerks 
in the existing Post Office is far from accommodating 
the needs of this overcrowded community.  The Library 
has not started its renovation project.
	In the new proposed District we need a 
fair, honest, caring, involved and responsible leader, 
to whom we can address our necessities and obtain 
results for the improvement of our neighborhood.
	We want to exercise our right to choose 
who and what is in the best interest of the community.  
Corona has been neglected, and we have been in the 
shadow for too long, and we are prepared to step out and 
fight for whatever is needed.
	It is the hope of the Corona community 
that this plea for the rightful planning of District 39, 
according to our desire and necessities is taken into 
serious consideration and does not get stored in another 
file cabinet, because we deserve attention to our 
concerns and needs.
	Submitted for your consideration, 
respectfully, by Ruben Pena.  
	Thank you very much for whatever you can 
do about the new District 39.  We need it.  We have been 
forgotten for many, many years, and it's a community 
that really is crying for help.
	Thank you.
	MR. BONILLA:  Sir, I just want to tell 
you -- I don't know if you heard my opening statement.  
I'm originally from Queens.  I grew up here.  I have 
family members in Queens.  So, I understand what you're 
saying, and not that I dispute what you say, but I want 
you to be aware that my family members are out there 
with you on those lines and certainly, maybe, that 
wasn't true before, but it's true now.
	So, I understand your concerns, and I 
appreciate them.
	MR. PENA:  Thank you.
Sir, I wasn't sure, are you in favor of the creation of 
the proposed 39th Assembly seat as put forth in this 
plan, or would you be opposed to that?
	MR. PENA:  I am opposed to the design 
made by the task force.
	MR. PENA:  We designed, with the 
community leaders and church people, a new district, 
which is parallel to the community.  You know, this 
community is very diversified, and we have a lot of 
needs.  We tried to include all these people in this new 
district, which we appreciate that you take into 
consideration and approve the one we have designed for 
this new district.
	Does that answer your question?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Marc Haken.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I'm sorry, Ruben Quiroz. 
 Is Ruben here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Your next, Marc.
	MR. HAKEN:  Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, 
members of the Reapportionment Committee.  My name is 
Marc Haken, and I'm President of the Board of Directors 
of Hilltop Village Co-op # 4 in Hollis, Queens.  I speak 
for the 300 families of Hilltop 4, on legislative 
reapportionment of our area of Queens.  
	When I was a child, my father told me, if 
it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I have used this axiom as 
one of the guidelines of my life.  We of Hilltop wish to 
retain Mark Weprin as our State Assemblyman and frank 
Padavan as our State Senator.  Both of these legislators 
have served us well.
	Mark's parents, Saul and Sylvia, lived at 
Hilltop, and as Mark so often says, he was created 
there.  He has never lost his personal attachment to us. 
 His top notch office staff, Ruth Louise Wimpfheimer and 
Arlene Ann Bealon, have solved hundreds of problems 
presented by our shareholders, ranging from Medicare and 
other senior citizens' issues to matters dealing with 
immigration, veterans affairs, youth affairs and 
	Also, as President of Friends of 
Cunningham Park, I must thank Mark for assisting us in 
securing a $3,000 matching grant, to secure State 
Landmark Status for the Long Island Motor Parkway.  We 
affectionately call it the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway.
	Frank, without a doubt, has the second 
best constituent office in the state.  His office has 
helped scores of our shareholders to secure benefits due 
to them, and he has obtained funding for many of our 
	Also, we are to have a Congressional 
redistricting.  We have been ably represented by 
Congresswoman Nita Lowey since the redistricting of 
1992, and we would like to retain her.
	However, if we are to get a new Congress 
person, we want Gary Ackerman.  Gary was our Congressman 
prior to 1992, and is most familiar with our complex and 
its residents.
	We know that the prime purpose of our 
Legislature is to provide us, the citizens of New York, 
with the best services possible; is that not so?
	We feel that we will be best served by 
Mark Weprin in the Assembly, Frank Padavan in the State 
Senate, and Gary Ackerman in the U.S. Congress.
	Thank you so much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Any questions?
	MR. HAKEN:  I'm prepared to answer any 
and all.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sachi Dastidar.
	DR. DASTIDAR:  I am writing this as a 
resident of New York	.  Nevertheless, I am using my 
experience as the first person of Indian origin to be 
elected to the New York City School Board.  I was 
elected to District 26, August 28, where I served two 
years as the Secretary, and the following third year as 
the Vice President.  I did not run for reelection.
	I serve as the Chair of Trustees of the 
Probini Foundation, which promotes education for the 
needy of the Indian Subcontinent, and attempts to bridge 
the native-born and immigrant communities of New York 
through other social projects.  I was a former Co-
Convener of South Asia Forum and serve on the Executive 
Committee of two Democratic clubs.  I, also, serve on 
organizations of Indo-American, Bangladeshi-American and 
non-ethnic communities.
	I teach public policy, and state and 
local governments at SUNY at Old Westbury.  I live in 
Bellerose.  Both my son and daughter graduated from New 
York City public schools.
	I have studied the proposed district 
boundaries of both the New York State Assembly and New 
York Senate seats covering the eastern end of Queens, 
especially covering the Bellerose, Floral Park, Queens 
Village, Little Neck, Glen Oaks, and Fresh Meadows 
neighborhoods, with great interest.   As you are well 
aware of the fact that in these areas there is a growing 
presence of Asians, especially Asian-Americans of Indian 
and South Asian origin.  Social, cultural and religious 
institutions of the Indians and other South Asians are 
increasingly migrating into these neighborhoods, 
responding to the growing needs of the community, 
enriching the lives of all New Yorkers.
	Our Hindu-Jain mandirs, Muslim mosques, 
Indian Christian Churches, Sikh gurdwaras, Buddhist 
viharas, music, dance and yoga schools, meditation 
centers, language pathshals, groceries and restaurants 
are relocating in large numbers.  These institutions and 
other commercial ventures are energizing storefronts and 
buildings which otherwise may have fallen into decay.  
	Preliminary proposals for both the 
Assembly and Senate districts split these communities 
into two diverse districts.  I would urge the Task Force 
to keep these communities together for both the Assembly 
and Senate districts.  Splitting our communities into 
separate constituencies may affect our institutions.  
This, I would request you not to support.  Please keep 
the communities and their institutions together.
	Back in the Subcontinent, our parents 
suffered what historians call, British divide and rule 
policy.  Let us avoid that.
	In the 1990 census, Asians comprised 
barely about 5% of the population of the area.  Ten 
years later in some areas, Asians are over 50% of the 
population, and in one proposed Assembly district they 
are 28% of the population.  This after the division of 
the community into two proposed Assembly districts, and 
this trend in demographic change is expected to 
	Asians live side-by-side with Whites, 
Blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews and Hindus.  No 
doubt, any interest could be represent by an open-minded 
elected official of any background.  This is certainly 
true.  But, if I accept this logic, then this defies the 
logic of gerrymandering, which then must be 
	I will end my testimony by saying a few 
words from my experience after I got elected to the 
School Board.  I was pleased to get calls from lots of 
immigrant parents, especially from the Subcontinent, 
asking questions about their schools and their school 
system.  Calls came from my district and beyond.  This 
surprised me.  Calls and queries, also, came from 
native-born school officials and faculty.  I was invited 
to speak at several districts with Asian populations.  
There was no malice or prejudice in any of these calls. 
 As it happened, in one particular school district, many 
of us had been invited to come to present, to speak for 
the district that we represented.
	What dawned on me is this.  Although 
there are hundreds of good and caring people in their 
local school districts, some of these parents and staff 
were comfortable talking to another person who looked 
like other Asians, especially as another person from 
India and the Indian Subcontinent.  This was their 
	I would request you to keep the 
Bellerose, Floral Park, Queens Village, Little Neck, 
Glen Oaks, and Fresh Meadows neighborhoods together in 
one district.
	Thank you for listening.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much, 
	Aida Gonzalez-Jarrin, J-a-r-r-i-n.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sheldon Lefler.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Lorinda Chen.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Inderjit Singh.
	MR. SINGH:  Good afternoon.  I thank you 
for giving me this opportunity to come and talk to you 
about the proposed apportionment in the Assembly and the 
	You have been given enough statistical 
information to justify the growth, in the last decade, 
of the various communities in Queens, as well as the 
rest of the City of New York.  I won't belabor that 
point.  I want to ask you to share with me some 
principles, that I think are intrinsic to the democracy 
and good government in this country.  One of those is 
that the government of the City and the State of New 
York should reflect the people who live in this city and 
this state.  The representatives which take the message 
from the voters to the elected Assembly and the Senate 
in New York should represent the people who live in 
their district.
	Unfortunately,  some of the districts 
that are being assigned do not do that.  Dr. Rajkaumar 
initially the first presenter, told you about what was 
happening in Richmond Hill, which is a community of 
mostly South Asians or people of South Asian origin, 
along with some of the other residents who have been 
there before us.  But, by dividing that community into 
four or five Assembly districts, you are effectively 
disenfranchising the people who live in that district.  
I think it's wrong.  I think it's unfair and, therefore, 
I want to appeal to your conscience.  Please, make sure 
that the government in the City, and the State of New 
York is representative, it's the kind of government that 
we can take pride in, and it's the kind of government 
that represents the people that it says it does.  
	I won't belabor the point.  I thank you 
very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you for being 
	Are there any questions?
	Could you just identify for me, you used 
the phrase South Asian.  Could you tell me what 
countries or ethnic groups that includes, as you 
describe that term?
	MR. SINGH:  India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, 
Salan and people contiguous to those countries, could be 
Afghanistanis, could be people from Napal, Malayasia.  
South Asia would be a generic for most of those people, 
excluding the Chinese and the Japanese.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Okay, and you would, 
also, exclude Southeast Asians from there?
	MR. SINGH:  No, I would include them.  
South Asia would include southeastern, as well as 
southwestern countries.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Any other questions?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.
	MR. SINGH:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Frances Scanlon; is 
Frances here?
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Norman Silverman.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Norman here?
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Lew here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Norma Jimenez.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Norma here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Carmen Aponte.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Kay Roberts Dunham.
	VOICE:  Al Jordan is here.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I'm sorry, your name?
	MR. JORDAN:  Al Jordan.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Come on up.
	MR. JORDAN:  I live just on the other 
side of the Courthouse there in Briarwood, and I have 
strong relations or ties with the community.  As far as 
St. Albans, I have a family heritage there.  I have 
friends in Far Rockaway and South Ozone Park.  
	I work for School News Nationwide located 
in Brooklyn, New York, but we are a community outreach. 
 What I do there, I'm a Public Affairs Administrator, 
and we've had programs set up here in the various 
schools in Queens.  I, also, serve as a freelance 
journalist for them, as well, which brings me to -- I 
know we're pressed for time -- my reason for being here. 
	I have a calendar here from the United 
States Representative, a good friend of mine, 
Congressman Owens, over in Brooklyn, and today is a 
landmark day, as a lot of days are in our government.  
Today, it says here for the 13th, that Washington 
Federalists published a letter that voiced support for 
federal administration of the judicial system.  When I 
think about why we're here, and the reapportionment, I 
think about the word reform.  If I may, I'd just like to 
read a brief article from one of my colleagues over at 
Long Island University.  It should take about maybe, two 
minutes of your time, if I may.
	It says -- the topic is: Eyes on Us.  
Nation Looks to Brooklyn for Court Reform.  This may be 
on a lower scale, but whatever is on the bottom is 
usually holding us up, and it says: The Brooklyn Court 
system has, at times, been a trailblazer for the rest of 
the state and even the nation.  Brooklyn had the first 
drug treatment Court, the first true domestic violence 
courts, and the first and only mobile jurisdictional 
court in the country.  Now, facing the barrage of 
scandal surrounding ethics abuses and other 
improprieties allegedly committed by its judges, not the 
least of which are soliciting and bribes, the Brooklyn 
Courts are being eyed by judicial reformers, who seek to 
depoliticize the system and make it one of the few in 
the nation that is free from the appearance of political 
	All Court reform advocates and groups are 
watching Brooklyn carefully, said Steven Zinman 
(phonetic), Executive Director of the Fund for Modern 
Courts.  The fact of the matter is, a great proportion 
of the number of judges whose conduct has come under 
criticism, either by prosecutors or the Judicial Conduct 
Commission have come from Kings County, said Carver, a 
board member of the Fund for Modern Courts.
	Carver, who served as Corporation Counsel 
under former Mayor David Dinkins, is the former Chairman 
of the State's Commission on Judicial Conduct.  They 
have been the focus, and it is unfortunate, because 
there are so many outstanding judges for Kings County, 
Carver has said.  The Brooklyn judiciary has come under 
heavy scrutiny in recent months with charges ranging 
from nepotism to bribery.  Several judges have been 
transferred, and Brooklyn's Chief Administrative Judge, 
Justice Michael Peace (phonetic), was moved to the 
Appellate Term to make way for the state's third highest 
judge, Justice Ann Pufu (phonetic), to assume the role 
of keeping a watchful eye on the Brooklyn Courts.
	The actions of the Office of Court 
Administration sends a big message when you send a 
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge into a particular 
	You may ask why I'm reading this.  I 
don't want to take up too much more of your time, but 
the gist of it is just about 	as strong, and if I could 
ask a question, I worship with Senator Malcolm Smith on 
Sundays over at Allen A.M.E., and I'd like to know 
what's going on along Sutphin Boulevard, how come 
there's always so much construction going on over there.
	As far as if I'm for or against the 
proposal, I have to look further into that.  But, just 
about reform, we can learn from anybody, and what's 
going on over there is change.  I think that's what 
we're here about today is change. A lot of times, we're 
afraid of change, and change is good.  Some change is 
good, and I think we need change.
	I would just like to thank you for this 
time to read this article.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	Kay Roberts Dunham.
	MS. DUNHAM:  Good evening to the Co-
Chairmen, and the panel, and good evening all.
	I'm Kay Roberts Dunham, and after picking 
-- going to demographics today, now I'll be able to find 
my way around Queens.  I counted 18 Assembly Districts, 
and five Senatorial Districts, and before I go any 
further, I would like to salute some of our Senators.  
Ada Smith, the 12th; Malcolm A. Smith, in the 10th 
Senatorial District, Toby Stavisky (phonetic), 16th; 
Mary Santiago; Alan Hevesi, that's in the 13th 
Senatorial District.
	I would -- there are so many more in the 
Assembly.  I would really not like have to have to lose 
any of our legislators.  So, I'll be in all boroughs to 
try to do my part, that we will not lose our legislators 
for the new district lines.
	It's my opinion that the Senate Majority 
plan is discriminatory and illegal, because it 
overpopulates all of the districts in New York City, 
thereby diluting the voting power of all residents of 
the entire region.  It increases the size of the Senate 
from 61 to 62, thereby reducing the proportion of Senate 
districts in which minority group voters can elect 
representatives of their choice, and diluting the voting 
power of minority group voters statewide.
	New York City's population grew by 9.4 
during the 1990s, much faster than the state as a whole. 
 Since the Census Bureau acknowledges that minority 
groups were under counted, overpopulating the downstate 
districts will only magnify the effect of the under 
	In other words, the proposed downstate 
districts are even more overpopulated, and the dilution 
of minority voting power is even worse than the Census 
counts indicate.
	We don't want you to rip our 
neighborhoods apart.  We don't want gerrymandering at 
its worst to elect the legislators.  What is happening 
is, it's this legislator against that legislator and 
maybe wiping out an area where we will lose a valuable 
Senator or valuable Assemblyman.  We feel that -- it is 
my opinion that the election will be done by the ballot 
and not by gerrymandering, and not by manipulating the 
	I think that's all I have to say.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Are there any questions?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	Earl Williams.
	(No response.)
	MR. LISA:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
James Lisa.  I'm an Executive member of the Northside 
Democratic Association.  On behalf of the officers and 
members of the Northside Democratic Association, and the 
community of Corona, which it represents, I want to 
thank you for allowing me to testify.
	The Northside Democratic Association is 
one of the oldest political associations in the City of 
New York.  It has provided political civic and social 
support to the Corona community for over 100 years.  
Unfortunately, the lines that are under consideration 
for the new 35th and 39th Assembly Districts inflict a 
devastating blow to the integrity of Corona by breaking 
up Corona into different Assembly Districts. 
	Look at the shape of these districts.  
They have no rhyme or reason, other than joining E.D.s 
with other E.D.s, pursuant to the computer profile 
model.  Once federal case law recognized that the 
complete exclusion of minorities from political 
opportunity was unconstitutional, there was an 
inexorable push toward the ultimate resolution of what 
group rights are cognizable.  The definition of group 
rights, in turn, had to use some conception of 
proportionality as its base line.
	Unfortunately, the proposed political 
lines under consideration have gone to the opposite 
extreme.  Obviously, not all districts in Queens County 
were drawn in this fashion.  In other parts of Queens, 
neighborhoods are kept intact and preserved.  This is 
especially true in the more affluent communities.
	I seriously question the 
constitutionality of drawing districts using computer 
profiling as the ultimate object, and urge the drafters 
to give equal weight to community integrity.  By 
drafting lines to ensure community integrity, you will 
give all the residents of Corona a fair and equal 
opportunity to elect the representative who represent 
the entire community of Corona.
	Community integrity was the underlying 
justification urged successfully after the 1980 Census, 
upon a Federal Court, by the Honorable Helen Marshall, 
when the Court adopted the so-called Marshall Plan, and 
reunited the Corona community.
	Thank you for your consideration.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Arturo Sanchez.
	MR. SANCHEZ:  Good afternoon.  Before I 
open up, I'd like to make a slight correction.  I am 
being identified as a member of La Gran Alianza of 
Queens.  I am a member of La Gran Alianza of Queens, but 
I'm, also, testifying as a Professor of Urban Planning 
at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning of 
Pratt Institute.
	Having said that, good afternoon.  My 
name is Arturo Ignacio Sanchez.  I reside at 33-27 91st 
Street, Jackson Heights, Queens.  Having lived in 
Jackson Heights since 1984, I am civically engaged in my 
community's well being.
	For example, I currently serve as a 
member of Community Board 3, which includes the 
neighborhoods of Corona, Jackson Heights, and East 
Elmhurst.  Moreover, I have, also, served on the Board 
of Directors of La Gran Alianza, Queens, and Columbian 
Charities of America, two well known organizations that 
serve many of the Spanish speaking new Americans toward 
reinvigorating our local neighborhoods.  
	I would, also, add that as a Professor of 
Urban Planning, I have published a number of scholarly 
articles and book chapters that address a wide range of 
socio-economic and demographic issues within the Jackson 
Heights, Corona, and surrounding neighborhoods.
	Today, I am here before you to testify, 
both as a committed community resident, and as a member 
of the Latino Voting Rights Committee of Metro New York. 
 The committee is a bottom up consortium of Latino 
community leaders, and activists, who have consulted and 
worked collaboratively with a wide range of neighborhood 
residents, in crafting a map that outlines the 
geographical and socio-cultural contours for a new 
Queens Assembly District in northwestern Queens.  The 
committee has designed this legislative map with great 
care and sensitivity for the deep social networks that 
mark the communities of interest that define and give 
social meaning to the proposed redistricting lines.  In 
this regard today, we will hear testimony from local 
neighborhood residents regarding the proposed map that 
was designed by folks who live in this community and 
work for its common good.
	As such, in their testimony, residents 
will address the social, cultural and institutional 
dimensions that make our proposed map a first rate 
example of an inclusive, bottom up design process, as 
well as a sterling example of civic participation by a 
wide range of new Americans.  As you know, Queens 
County, and specifically the Corona catchment area, is 
considered to be ground zero for the new Latino 
immigration that is transforming our city landscapes.  
The Census tracts that capture the highest Spanish 
language dominant immigrant growth rate, as well as what 
demographers call natural increases in population, are 
clustered principally within the Corona community, and 
the legislative map that was designed by the Latino 
Voting Rights Committee.
	In designing this legislative map, we 
were deeply influenced by certain overarching 
commonalities, that include, but are not exclusively 
limited to, one, the clustering of high Spanish language 
growth patterns in a finite number of Census tracts.  
	Two, socio-economic characteristics, such 
as household income, labor force participation rates; 
	Three, pre and post migratory levels of 
educational achievement.
	The above mentioned commonalities both 
drive and define the place based communities of interest 
that make up our proposed legislative district.  It is 
generally accepted by well known researchers on 
immigration, that international migration is a network 
driven process.  In effect, immigrants don't migrate, 
networks migrate.
	What this means, is that the decision to 
migrate, resettle in a specific neighborhood, and secure 
employment, are significantly conditioned by immigrant 
networks that revolve around tightly packed social 
relationships.  This was the case during the late 19th 
Century, and continues to be the case today.  The 
contemporary immigrant networks are place based and 
closely associated with the emergence of local 
neighborhood institutions, such as ethnic associations, 
sport leagues, transnationalized political clubs, home 
town associations, churches, and local businesses to 
just mention a few.  These institutions not only 
facilitate immigration, they also play an important role 
in the civic and political incorporation of our newest 
neighbors.  People become engaged and committed to place 
by the deep social relationships that tie them to a 
	In drawing up the proposed legislative 
district, we factored in these insights into the map 
making process, and in doing so, we attempted to protect 
our respective communities of interest, ensure that 
minorities have a genuine voice within the political 
system, and create committed stakeholders.
	It is, also, important to highlight that 
we also built upon and enriched the civic and democratic 
processes that marks the great American social 
experiment with immigrant incorporation.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you please sum up. 
 We're trying to keep it to five minutes.
	MR. SANCHEZ:  Okay.
	In this spirit, we ask you to respect and 
support the hard work and civic engagement that out 
bottom up legislative mapping project represents.  
During this moment of national crisis, when our core 
institutions and values are under attack by intolerance 
and terrorism, let us show our newest neighbors, the 
country and large, and the international community, that 
the United States continues to be the beacon of hope for 
democracy and civic participation for all.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Any questions?
	MR. BONILLA:  Sir, you are aware that the 
plan here does, in fact, create a Hispanic district, or 
a new minority seat for potentially an Hispanic, in the 
area of Corona, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst; you are 
aware of that?
	MR. SANCHEZ:  Oh, of course, I'm aware.  
As an urban planner, I would think that I'm aware of it.
	MR. BONILLA:  I just wanted to make sure 
that you are.
	MR. SANCHEZ:  My point of contestation 
with the plan that has come to us from the sate, as 
compared to the bottom up plan that was configured by 
the community based leaders and others, is that our plan 
is a bottom up plan, whereas the state plan is a top 
down plan.  And in that sense, what we find, is that we 
find the whole question of civic engagement, from the 
ground up, in our community in configuring the map, that 
becomes very, very important in terms of developing this 
idea of being a stakeholder.  This is part of the whole 
process of civic and political incorporation, that 
people feel that they're part of the process, number 
	Number two, the problem with the state 
map, is that the state map goes far over into the 
Jackson Heights area, and includes -- if we are going to 
work around the working notion of communities of 
interest, and this idea of networks, what happens is, 
that there are demographic changes as you move over into 
Jackson Heights, in terms of income.  Household income 
in the areas included in the state map, that factor in 
Jackson Heights, the household income there is higher 
than the household income in the Corona catchment area, 
and that's principally a function of household 
	Meaning, that there are -- I won't go 
into that, but it has much to do with household 
	Second of all, politically, all right, 
since we have more -- if you go in and you look at the 
voting patterns, the Corona district has voted 
overwhelmingly Democratic, both at the national and 
local level, whereas the more that you move into Jackson 
Heights, increasingly more people are registered as 
Independents, Latinos registered as Independents, and at 
the local level, they will increasingly vote less 
Democratic than the people that live in Corona, Queens.
	MR. BONILLA:  Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Genaro Herrera.
	(NO response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sungkyu Yun.
	MR. YUN:  Thank you, honorable members of 
the Task Force.  My name is Sungkyu Yun, also known as 
Steve Yun, and I am the Director of National Korean 
American Service & Education Consortium, known as 
	NAKASEC is a non-profit organization that 
seeks to educate and empower the Korean American 
community.  Our major program components include legal 
rights advocacy, civil rights campaigns, and civic 
participation.  NAKASEC currently has its headquarters 
located in Flushing, New York.
	My objective in this testimony is to 
ensure that Asian Americans have an opportunity to 
participate in the City's redistricting process and 
thereby to have a meaningful political representation in 
the future.  After carefully reviewing the redistricting 
proposal and a study by the Asian American Legal Defense 
and Education Fund, we are satisfied with the proposal 
pertaining to Flushing, the strategic area with the 
highest number of Chinese American, as well as Korean 
Americans in the City, if not the country.
	The Asian American community, also, 
welcomes the prospect of having a more open Assembly 
District, with Asian majority in Flushing, Assembly 
District 22.  Asian Americans, mostly Chinese and 
Koreans in this newly proposed district in Flushing 
share many common interests and concerns.  They have 
similar voting patterns, attend the same schools, shope 
together in ethnic supermarkets, ride the same buses and 
trains to work, and they share needs in services, such 
as English language class or bilingual ballots.  We 
commend the Task Force for proposing a new and Asian 
majority district in Flushing.  
	The proposal, also, splits Flushing into 
two Senate Districts, with a significant Asian 
populations, 25% and 33% respectively.  While we would 
still like to see a Senate District that incorporates 
the entire Flushing into a single district, we 
acknowledge that this proposal is an improvement over 
the current arrangement that divides Flushing into four 
Senate Districts.
	On the other hand, we are not too happy 
with areas other than Flushing, as Queens communities 
with substantial Asian populations, for example, Jackson 
Heights, Elmhurst, Woodside to name a few, would remain 
divided under this proposal.  Just like Flushing, these 
neighborhoods share very similar socio-economic traits 
and common needs.  We believe that these neighborhoods' 
political boundaries should not be divided. 
	NAKASEC endorses the redistricting plan 
submitted to the Task Force from the Puerto Rican Legal 
Defense and Education Fund for this area containing 
Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.  Under this plan, both 
Latinos and Asian American will have meaningful 
opportunities to elect candidates of their choice.
	Despite a large population presence, I 
would say up to 10% in New York City, and about 20% in 
Queens, and its continual growth, only on Asian American 
has been elected to City Council, Sate Legislature  or 
Congressional District representing New York City, and 
that occurred very recently.  It is critically important 
to have political representation that addresses the 
needs of the community.
	Previously, Asian American communities 
throughout New York City have been disenfranchised 
because our communities have been divided by unfair 
legislative districts.  This time, we urge the Task 
Force to correct unfairness by uniting Asian American 
districts together.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you for being 
	MR. YUN:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Mr. Herrera ready to 
	VOICE:  Yes, here he comes.
	MR. HERRERA:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
Genaro Herrera.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Speak closer to the 
	MR. HERRERA:  I have been a community 
activist in the areas of Corona, and Jackson Heights for 
more than 30 years.  As some of you may remember, I have 
testified before you in this very room last year, on 
June 1st.  Today, as in the past, my goal is to advocate 
for the interests of the community.  This time, my 
specific objective is to support the maps drawn by the 
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund through 
the Latino Voting Rights Project.
	You will hear others testimonies on 
behalf of this plan.  The speakers will be a diverse 
group, professionals, business owners, taxi drivers, 
religious leaders, labor leaders, community leaders, and 
long time concerned community residents.  Some of the 
speakers will be fairly familiar with the redistricting 
process, and they will be able to answer questions.  
Others will be limited in discussing their thoughts 
about the actual map.  Yet, virtually all of them are 
very closely connected to our areas of concern, Corona, 
Jackson Heights, Elmhurst.
	My brief discussion this afternoon will 
focus mainly in two districts that the Latino Voting 
Rights Project has drawn.  The District 34 in Corona and 
part of Jackson Heights, and District 85, mostly in 
Jackson Heights.  I will try to make a contrast between 
these districts and the two new ones drawn by the 
legislators, the 34th and the 39th.
	In drawing these new districts our main 
interests are to keep communities together, keep the 
community needs of all district configuration, undo past 
district lines, which divided minority neighborhoods, 
protect community interests, avoid splitting up other 
minority neighborhoods, and to give voters priorities, 
not the incumbents.
	We tried to keep the area of Corona 
together, because this community has been systematically 
shortchanged during the last ten years.  The present 
lines in Assembly District 34 lump together Corona, 
Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and East Elmhurst.  This is 
not an accident.  This is the result of a careful 
planning with the intention of debilitating the 
political empowerment of the Corona residents.  The 
consequences of this has been that practically all the 
elected officials of the area, from the Congressional 
persons -- Corona has been divided by three 
Congressional Districts -- to the Council person, 
Assembly person, et cetera.  They have grossly neglected 
Corona, all the elected officials.
	Corona is a community of interest, 
because most of its residents share a common language, 
schools, community agencies, taxi services, local 
churches, businesses et cetera.  More importantly, most 
Corona residents are unanimous in their feeling about 
abandonment to which it has been subjected.  
	P.S. 19 in  Corona is currently 
functioning at 150% of its capacity.  It is one of the 
most overcrowded schools in New York City, and some 
believe, in the United States.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I don't want to cut you 
off, but we're trying to keep everybody to five minutes, 
so everybody could be heard.
	MR. HERRERA:  In fact, some of the 
speakers are going to agree for this; can I finish?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I'll give you two more 
	MR. HERRERA:  Okay, thank you.
	According to a local paper, after 
observing the conditions of the school -- I'm sorry, 
about three years ago, the former Education Secretary 
visited P.S. 19.  According to a local paper, after 
observing the condition of the school, and to the 
embarrassment of the borough wide federal elected 
official who were present, he said, children are 
learning in closets, in hallways, and because there is 
no cafeteria, the children have to eat lunch at their 
desks.  That's P.S. 19, the most overcrowded school in 
New York City.
	Chancellor Howard Levy, who also was 
present, said, this is awful.  All the local elected 
officials were there.  This is awful.  This is 
unexcusable.  No pool, no gym, no outside.  There's no 
space outside at P.S. 19.
	P.S. waits for the elected officials to 
advocate for an additional building.  But, while that is 
happening, three new schools have been built in Jackson 
Heights.  Another one will open in September is being 
constructed, also, in Jackson Heights.  Four schools in 
two years in Jackson Heights.  P.S. 19 is waiting four 
years for additional space.  No one is caring bout it, 
because it's in Corona.  So, our emphasis is Corona.
	Now, we don't want to divide Jackson 
Heights either.  So, that's why we have a new district 
in Jackson Heights, because we respect Jackson Heights.
	Also, we respect the Asian Community.  We 
didn't divide the Asian community in our districts, 
because we are working with them.  So, it is important 
to know that District 39 is dividing the Asian 
community.  District 39 has 24% Asians.  Our district 
has almost 35% Asian, and that was not an accident, 
because we don't want to divide the minority community.
	Now, since I don't have more time, the 
new District 34 that is drawn by the Legislature, 
divides the communities of Jackson Heights and Woodside. 
 The only purpose of this is to increase the white 
population from the current 11% in District 34 today, to 
18% the white population.
	Now, I'm going to end by asking you a 
question, and you can ask me questions, also, but I 
would like to ask you this question.  How is it that a 
certain group, in this case whites in Jackson Heights, 
increased in a district when its population, the white 
population in Jackson Heights, has steadily decreased 
for the last ten years?
	How come, can you help me in this; can 
you answer that question for me?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  We note your concerns.
	MR. HERRERA:  We will answer any 
questions you have about the maps.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Does anyone have any 
	(No response.)
	MR. HERRERA:  Okay.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	MR. HERRERA:  It's not possible to get an 
answer to my question?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  We're really looking to 
get your input into what suggestions you would have into 
changing the proposed districts as the process goes 
forward.  So, we really want your input, and this is 
what the Task Force will be looking at.
	MR. BONILLA:  But, your point is made.
	MR. HERRERA:  Okay, and we're willing to 
discuss changes with you and the Legislature, also; 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	MR. HERRERA:  Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Fred Fu; is Fred here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sister Janice Williams; 
is Sister Janice here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Deacon Jimmy Stillwell; 
are you here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  James Heyliger, H-e-y-l-
i-g-e-r; are you here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Ludy Herrera.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Virginia Pastorini.
	MS. PASTORINI:  I'm here.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I just want to make 
one other little comment before we continue.  I want to 
just clarify.  There has not been a vote yet in this 
Task Force on any of these plans.   I just want to make 
clear that these are plans, that by statute,  are 
presented for public comment in accordance with the law 
that says the Chairman may advance the proposals for the 
public comment period.
	I know that I, as one of the six members, 
and frankly, the other five, have not had a chance to 
vote on these plans yet.  We have not approved them or 
disapproved them.  They are here because, under New York 
law, the statute provides that the Chairman present 
plans for public comment.  So, I just wanted to make 
that clear.
	MS. PASTORINI:  Buenos tardes.  
	(Witness continues testifying in 
	MR. BONILLA:  Gracias.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Carlos Suarez.
	MR. SUAREZ:  Buenos tardes.  
	(Witness continues testifying in 
	MR. BONILLA:  Gracias.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Petra Perez.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Seymour Schwartz; is Mr. 
Schwartz here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Morshed Alam, A-l-a-m.
	MR. ALAM:  Thank you.
	Mr. Chairman, members of the Task Force, 
good afternoon.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure 
to speak on behalf of Asians in the new American 
	My name is Morshed Alam.  I am a two-time 
elected school board member of District 29 in Queens, 
and also founder and the President of the New American 
Democratic Club, and currently, I'm Executive Director 
of American Bangladesh Friendship Association.  We are 
about 100,000 people who live in Queens.
	I am here not to represent any political 
party or politician, or not to support them.  I am here 
to defend the Asian-American, and the Hispanic 
community, and also the new American community in the 
neighborhoods in Queens, locating the boundaries and the 
common interests as a community.  As we all know, Asian-
Americans comprises about 10% and about 20% Hispanics in 
New York's population.  Since Asian-Americans and 
Hispanics are protected minority groups under the 
Federal Voting Rights Act, districts must be drawn so 
that Asian-Americans and Latino Americans can elect 
their candidates of their choice.
	Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has held 
that district must encompass communities of interest and 
prides this legal concept by having community residents 
define their own neighborhoods.
	I am here to support Flushing's New 
Asian-American district, and I want to preserve that.  
Number two, Corona, Elmhurst new district should be 
preserved, what was proposed by Puerto Rican Legal 
Defense Fund.  And I want to say Glen Oaks, Floral Park, 
Queens Village, and Bellerose should be one district, 
then Asian-Americans, they can represent them.
	Number four, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park 
should be one district, then Asian-American, Indo-
Guyanese and Hispanic can represent properly.
	And number five, the district drawn in 
Jackson Heights and Corona for Hispanic Asian, also, was 
proposed by Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, I want to 
support that district.
	For the Senate district, like you say, I 
found the statistics.  District 13 has 27% Asian, and 
16% Latino, and District 11, 25.6% Asian, and 14.4% is 
Hispanic, and I believe this should be one Hispanic and 
Asian coalition district can be drawn.
	I thank you for your support and help.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Leonard Cutler.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Mr. Cutler here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Mary J. Finlay.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Shoshana Bleiberg.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Florence Fleschner.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Julia Phillips.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Frances Harrison; is 
Frances here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Helen Barnett.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Emmanuel Fox.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Mr. Fox here?
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Fran Goldstein.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Carl Gruning.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Mr. Gruning here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Mary Gruning.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Charlotte Buchman.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Robert Hoft, H-o-f-t.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Robert Menshe, M-e-n-s-
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Marcia Gluck.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Harvey Gluck.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Louise Lane.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Charlene Lane.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Ruth Goros, G-o-r-o-s.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Michele Titus.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Dan Tubridy.
	MS. GONZALEZ-JARRIN:  My name is Aida 
Gonzalez-Jarrin.  My number is 11.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Okay, we're going to run 
through the list, and then we'll come back.
	Dan T-u-b-r-i-b-y
	MR. TUBRIDY:  It's d-y.
	My name is Dan Tubridy.  I am a lifelong 
resident of Broad Channel, a little neighborhood in 
Queens.  I am, also, a business man in Rockaway.  I have 
come to this hearing to somewhat tell a story and 
hopefully make some type of contribution.  
	The first comment that I want to make is 
probably two-fold.  One, I think that this committee 
needs to understand that New York City, our seven or 
eight million strong, is really composed of little 
neighborhoods, like my neighborhood, like my community, 
and one of the things that I'm hearing here today is 
that we're dividing them, and I'm going to finish up 
with a story about when you divide a community.
	The second is, we here in New York City 
seem to be under represented when it comes to counting 
the numbers, and as a businessman, I sometimes refer to 
that as fiddling.  Now, fiddling is a proper term when 
we're not exactly saying we're being dishonest, but 
we're not exactly saying that everything is black and 
white and on the money.  I think that's one of the 
things that's certainly happening here when it comes to 
the amount of Senators that are to represent those of us 
here in New York City, and I would like to ask you as 
strong as possible, to correct that, so that fiddling, 
or that other word that's almost as old as our 
constitution, gerrymandering, does not affect our 
neighborhoods here in the City.
	Now, the story that I have to say is, ten 
years ago I testified to a committee such as yours on 
the New York City Council redistricting.  They were 
dividing our neighborhood.  They put a line right down 
it, dividing us.  We asked them, we begged them, we're 
an island; how can you divide an island?
	They did.  And I want to say to those of 
you here that feel very strong about that, we went to 
court.  We sued that commission.  We won.  We remained 
as a neighborhood for our local Councilman, and we're 
very proud of him.
	I, also, want to say, it's a very 
conservative area.  Nearly all white, not one that you 
would think would do something dramatic, but when term 
limits came for the New York City Council, we voted 
overwhelmingly for it.  Overwhelmingly, because they 
fiddled with us.  Those people in power fiddled with us.
	So, I say please, take heed.  I say to 
those people here who are unhappy, take promise.  Our 
courts are still strong.  If you feel it is unfair, do 
not be afraid.  Go into court.
	Members of the committee, don't fiddle 
with us.  Keep our neighborhoods intact.  Give us the 
amount of Senators that we need.  Thank you very much.  
question, please?
	I take your -- I take your meaning to 
heart, but I respectfully suggest that you've applied it 
in the wrong place.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  I'm not applying it any 
place.  Fiddling is fiddling, whether it's the Senate, 
the Assembly, whether it's Congress, whether it's 
you --
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Fiddling is fiddling.
in the Assembly should the City of New York have?
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Wouldn't know.
proportional to the population?
	MR. TUBRIDY:  I -- I -- again, I'm going 
to make it very clear, when you fiddle with the numbers, 
the numbers have to come somewhat on the money.
	I mean, if you want to go around --
more direct question.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Sure.
numbers, the two numbers in black, which one is the 
bigger one?
	MR. TUBRIDY:  The top one.
population of the upstate 55 counties.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Right.
the five counties in New York City.  Upstate has more 
people than New York City.  This is the proportional 
number of seats in the Assembly.
	I don't suppose you know how many seats 
in the Assembly the plan gives New York City.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  No, I don't.
63, it gives it 65.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  A back and forth of the 
 The Assembly plan actually reverses the order of the 
size of the two sections.  I would submit that the 
Senate plan respects that, and I do appreciate your --
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Well, what I --
fiddling, but --
	MR. TUBRIDY:  What I --
will join us if there's a court case on this, that 
you'll be right there in the front row with us.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  I'll make the same $10.00 
contribution to our last court case, that I'll make to 
that court case.
	Again, I'm not trying to -- I appreciate 
everybody that comes down here and talks to us and 
listens to us, but I tried to make it very clear, that 
if you want to understand why we, you know, out here are 
frustrated, why we threw our City Council out, they were 
fiddling with us.  If it's the Assembly, so bet it.  If 
it's the Senate, so be it.  When you fiddle, you fiddle. 
 It's not quite wrong, but it's not right.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I would like to point 
out that with the Senate, the 62nd seat, the additional 
seat, goes to New York City, so that the upstate number 
of Senate seats are the same, Long Island is the same, 
and New York City takes one additional seat.
	MR. TUBRIDY:  Terrific.  Thank you. 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Gary White; is Gary here?
	MR. WHITE:  Yes.
	MR. WHITE:  Good afternoon.  My name is 
Gary White.  I am active with the Junior Chamber of 
Commerce, an organization of young professionals, 21 to 
39.  The Junior Chamber of Commerce encourages civic 
involvement such as this.
	However, I am here to contribute my 
personal experience as a resident of Richmond Hill.  I 
have a simple request, which is to keep Richmond Hill, 
Ozone Park together.  
	In the 17 years that I've resided in 
Richmond Hill, I have witnessed an influx of West Indian 
and East Indian immigrants, which includes my family.  
We are from Guyana.  I have three sets of aunts, uncles 
and cousins, living within walking distance of my home, 
and we own and operate businesses in Richmond Hill.  We, 
also, actively participate in the voting process.  I ask 
that you not support the current proposal dividing 
Richmond Hill.
	Like other residents, the current 
proposal risks dividing common family interests.  I urge 
the panel to redraw the Richmond Hill, Ozone Park 
district lines to keep the community together.
	Do you have any questions?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.
	I'm going to have a problem with the 
name, and I apologize, S-u-p-r-a-b-h-a-t, last name is 
	MR. SENGUPTA:  Honorable members of the 
Task Force committee, my name is Suprabhat Sengupta.  It 
is not very difficult to pronounce.  Suprabhat means 
good morning, and you can't forget my name.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  As the list is growing, 
it may be a good morning.
	MR. SENGUPTA:  But, I want to make it 
brief.  I won't take much of your time, because 
everybody is speaking for quite a long time, but I will 
make it brief, but I want to make my point.
	Let me say this.  I am in engineering 
profession, and I have been in this country for 32 
years, and I have contributed a lot myself.  I am a 
member of eight professional societies, and a life 
member of many American societies.
	But, to make it brief, the reason I am 
here, we came to this country 32 years ago, and a lot of 
Indians have migrated from India and other parts of the 
world, and America is such a beautiful country, America 
has absorbed each and every national from different 
parts of the world.  I thank America, and I am glad that 
I'm here, and I'm a proud U.S. citizen.
	But, the point is this I want to make.  
We cannot forget our roots, our culture, and all the 
things we have given to this country.  There are a lot 
of professionals, like doctors, scientists, engineers, 
computer professionals all over the United States.  They 
have contributed a lot to make our lives better in the 
United States.  But, unfortunately, nobody has 
represented yet in the government yet, at the state, 
city or federal level.
	I support -- I am a Democrat, and I have 
worked with Hillary Clinton, and she won the race.  I 
worked with Gary Ackerman, Congressman.  I worked very 
closely with Chuck Schumer and other Democrats.  But, I 
want to stress this point.  Let us do it in such a way, 
redefine the geographic areas in such a way, that there 
should be some Indian who should come to the government 
and see the difficult problems we face should be brought 
to the government level in either city, state or 
	That is my only request, and I would 
appreciate if you can listen to us and provide in such a 
way that Indians are represented in the government.  I, 
of course, agree with Dr. Rajkaumar, who presented 
before, and thank you for your time.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you for taking the 
time to be here.
	Rene Lobo.
	MS. LOBO:  Good evening, and thank you 
for letting me have the time.   A very quick brief 
introduction about myself.  I am a News Director, 
Producer and Host on International Channel and, also, a 
community activist, as well as I ran for City Council 
last year from District 29.
	I almost feel shortchanged, because 
everybody has almost said their testimonies, but 
nevertheless, first of all, I'd like to congratulate the 
Flushing community for getting an Asian American on 
board.  At this point in time, that's what we are 
thinking.  So, it's good news that Asians are moving up.
	But, at the same time it's not enough.  
There are Asians not just in Flushing.  There are Asians 
in Bellerose, Floral Park, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, 
Rego Park where I come from, and Queens Village, and 
other areas as well.  In fact, there are over 800,000 
Asians and the Census report says that we make up almost 
10% of the New York City population, and one out of 
every four Asians happens to be a South Asian, and 60% 
of that South Asian population resides in Queens, and 
yet we do not have an Assemblyman, Assemblywoman, a 
Senator or somebody in Congress, and we can only have a 
meaningful representation or active political 
participation if some other things are taken care of, 
and I just want to point out a few things.
	First of all, the 1965 Federal Voting 
Rights Act entails that Asians are a protected minority 
group, which means we can elect a candidate of our own 
choice.  Now, to elect the candidate of our own choice, 
we need to have communities of interest intact.  That, 
again, is a Supreme Court decision that was upheld some 
years ago, to keep those sharing the same interests, 
same concerns, intact.  Now, if you splinter Richmond 
Hill and Ozone Park in four to five A.D.s, 25, 27, 31, 
32, and 38, it just not only splinters a district, it 
splinters the minds of a lot of Asian Americans and 
Caribbeans, because then they can't vote in the way they 
want, and this only perpetuate the myth that Asian 
Americans do not vote.
	How can they vote if you do not have your 
own candidate of your own choice?
	When you go behind the curtain and put a 
cross by somebody's name, you're giving that person and 
yourself political empowerment.  But, if you can't 
decide who to vote for, because now it's been splintered 
into four to five A.D.s, there's no snowball's chance in 
hell that they're going to decide what to do and, again, 
it perpetuates the same myth that Asians can't vote.
	The other myth that Asians have going for 
themselves, and I think somebody asked earlier, what it 
means to be South Asian.  I've been a News Director, 
Producer and Host for International Channel.  What 
they're doing is basically keeping South Asians and the 
Caribbean community together.  I don't say I'm an Indian 
American, and I don't say that one is a Pakistani or a 
Bangladeshi, or a Sri Lankan or a Caribbean.  We put 
them all in one voting block.  To put them in one voting 
block, what we're doing is we're giving them more 
political muscle and political clout.  And if you say, 
oh, well, a lot of South Asians don't get along with 
each other, they have their own differences, sure.  Even 
husbands and wives have their differences.  Siblings 
have their differences.  We sure have our own 
differences, but within that identity, we have this 
identity of a South Asian and a Caribbean community, so 
we should be put together.
	So, I urge you all, the lawmakers, when 
you draw the final lines, you know, see that we do not 
get hindered, hampered and handicapped when we're going 
out to vote, because nevertheless, they're never going 
to vote, because they're going to feel, I don't know who 
I'm voting for.  So, it doesn't work well for those who 
are running again.
	I'm definitely going to be running again; 
	Because the very fact that District 29, 
the part of Richmond Hill that I had, that was the 
northern part of Richmond Hill, I got an overwhelming 
majority in that area, simply because they could 
identify with me.  They could feel that, okay, I come 
from their roots, their traditions, and that's the 
reason I urge all lawmakers, and the New York State 
Legislative Task Force to see this, and I'm sure that 
when we're talking about those five A.D.s, we have Ms. 
Pheffer, Vivian Cook, and Seminaro, let them keep giving 
the Richmond Hill and Ozone Park areas back to us, so 
that we can be politically empowered, have our political 
muscle, and keep that clout moving, so we do not keep 
that myth that Asians don't vote or Asians fight amongst 
	Thank you very much for your time.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, ma'am.
	Alejo Castillo.
	MR. CASTILLO:  Buenos tardes.
	(Witness testifying in Spanish.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Excuse me, one minute.  
The prior testimony will be translated, we will have 
that translated.  I've just been informed that we do 
have somebody that can translate the testimony in to 
English, so I would like to bring that person in at this 
	MR. CASTILLO:  Good afternoon.  My name 
is Alejo Castillo.  I'm here to give support to the 
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.  I 
support what this organization has done in regard to 
District 34.  I know the Queens area, because I had 
resided in Queens previously, in Corona.  Because I have 
a lot of connections, family, as well as friends, 
cultural as well as political, as well as beliefs and 
nationality.  Fundamentally, I know the Queens area 
because I have been a member for ten years of a 
Christian church in the area.  Such church is located at 
45th Avenue between Streets 104th and 108th.  In other 
words, the center of Corona.
	Actually, at this moment, in the church I 
have the position of Superintendent of the church.  It's 
a type of Christian coordinator.  This job allows me to 
be in contact at all times with the children, 
adolescents, young people and adults.  The heads of 
households that make up our congregation, whose members 
come from different countries from Latin America.  This 
relationship has allowed me to get to know the 
idiosyncracies of this community, to get to know their 
needs, its fights, its pains, its joys, its triumphs, 
frustrations, goals, et cetera.  For such reasons, I 
testify that such -- this community possesses many 
common needs, which unify it and makes it compact, which 
makes it become one.
	One of the things that unites the 
community is the common language in more than 70% of the 
households and because of such cultural ties, musical, 
literary, great affinity in the political ideology, and 
an important factor its religious affinities in 
believing in one single God.  Our community has unity in 
the ways that it uses to satisfy its most urgent needs, 
like how to use the taxi companies, the same 
supermarkets, the same clothing stores, grocery stores, 
restaurants, the same libraries, newspapers, the same 
stadiums, the same movie theaters, the same TV stations, 
and the same schools for their children, and many times 
the same universities, on occasions the same jobs, 
factories and sewing, and the same means to advance.
	And even though it is true that many 
don't possess the same characteristics at all, it goes 
without saying that the socio-economic factors are such 
that it is impossible to separate them all.  These 
common characteristics are tied and rooted within the 
parameters and the lines of the political district that 
we have elaborated and that we depend on.  
	We ask that -- we want these geographical 
lines to be the ones that make such a district, because 
these are the lines that protect the community.  We want 
the guarantee that from here come out the voices, the 
genuine voices that defend our community.  The voices 
that will fight to fix our schools, and to make better 
function our libraries, in need of the proper material.
	Corona has been a community that has been 
forgotten for the actual incumbents.  We need that it is 
given priority to voters, not to the actual incumbents. 
 We need a community united.  We need a just 
representation, like the one we have elaborated, not 
like the one that we have at the moment that has divided 
the power of the community.   To this, we say not, it is 
not just that the districts be created to separate and 
harm the minority groups.  No.
	Ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate for 
having in your hands the enormous privilege to make 
justice for a noble community that is trying to get 
ahead.  God is infinitely just, and he wants us to be 
just, otherwise some day God's justice will come to us.
	I finish by making these comments.  Make 
good use of what God has allowed you to have in your 
hands.  Make justice.  God bless you. 
	Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Michael Bookbinder.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Leyland Roopnaraine, R-
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  Mr. Chairman, ladies 
and gentlemen, I thank you all for this opportunity to 
be here.
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  Normally,  I'm a very 
reserved person, but after looking at the map that has 
been drawn, that is the proposed redrawing of the 
district, I feel very compelled to be here.
	Let me begin by saying that the history 
of the world is essentially a history of drawing 
boundaries, drawing lines.  However, when these lines 
are drawn, people's lives become altered, people's lives 
	Moreover, when these lines are drawn 
without favor or consent of those who these lines 
embrace, people withdraw, people become disconcerted, 
discontented, and they eventually withdraw their skills, 
and their capital and other aspects of life.  It needs 
not to be overstated that is this neighborhood, and I 
refer specifically to Assembly District 31 and 32, that 
wherever and whenever we decide to redraw these lines, I 
guess, the intent would be to foster good harmony and 
create good will among all those who live there.  Of 
course, I understand this venture will be undertaken by 
men of great integrity and intelligence.
	However, it has been my experience that 
not all intelligentsia is progressive.  Here is a very 
noble example.  Richmond Hill, a community of some 
60,000 Guyanese residents, has as a proposal to be 
divided into five Assembly Districts, which by any law 
of reasonable deduction is a ridiculous proposal all 
together.  Here is this little tiny village that has to 
be divided into five Assembly Districts.  What happens 
here is that when this community votes, these votes 
cancel each other, they negate each other.  So, in 
effect, the people of Richmond Hill cannot vote 
	It has been the experience of all here 
that people tend to vote in block, in mass, and if this 
Legislature is proposing to divide up this district, 
what will happen is that the people here will have no 
say in their community, no say in their activities, and 
moreover, the same community, having been split into 
several districts, will be vying for the same funds.
	I find the concept of using a computer 
printout to divide a district is a very poor concept, 
when you're considering the social lives of people who 
live here.  Let me, also, add that as a very simple 
proposal, this part of the district of Richmond Hill and 
its environs, should be incorporated into one electoral 
district -- one Assembly District, I mean, for the very 
simple reason that everyone there can have a say, as 
opposed to dividing it into several other constituents. 
 My proposal is that the area of Jamaica Avenue, going 
towards 111th Street, ending at the South Conduit, and 
coming on the Van Wyck Expressway, is pretty much a 
rectangle in shape.  That particular area, which is 
mainstay Richmond Hill, should be a part of an Assembly 
District, perhaps, Assembly District 31 or 32.  As it 
stands here now, we are dividing up the district.
	In conclusion, let me basically say that 
it is a sad scenario all together, to see a district so 
small like this having to be divided into five Assembly 
Districts, because this makes no progress for the people 
who live there.  The Fourteenth Amendment of the 
Constitution guarantees equal protection and equal 
opportunity.  This is definitely not the case here.  It 
would, perhaps, be more appropriate to quote the words 
of George Orwell in "Animal Farm", all are equal, but 
some animals are more equal than others.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Senator Dollinger has a 
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  It's actually more in 
the form of a comment.  We've heard several speakers 
talk about portions of Queens that are divided, and I 
just want you to know that we've been in other parts of 
the state earlier this week, where we've heard just the 
opposite message.  We went to Buffalo, where they had 
eight Assemblyman in the City of Buffalo, and the new 
plan only had three, and their comment was, at least 
several members of the public walked in and said, give 
us back some of the people that we had before.
	We went to the City of Rochester, where 
I'm from, and quite frankly, they had four members of 
the Assembly, they were reduced to three, and they said 
give us back more members, because then we have greater 
clout, because we have more people who represent a part 
of our community and, therefore, we have more 
opportunity to influence them.
	Just tell me how you react to that other 
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  Each district is 
peculiar in its own likes and dislikes, and as you said, 
people are looking for a particular clout.  This 
particular clout will come if the whole of Richmond Hill 
belongs to one particular district.
	As it stands on your proposal if you 
divide Richmond Hill, when the votes are counted, they 
will all be canceled out.  They are negated.  So, here 
is a community that wants to go forward, wants to 
participate in American mainstream political life, 
social life, cultural life, but they're prevented from 
doing so simply because of the drawing of the lines.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Any other questions?
help you out a little bit there.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Just if I could 
	But, my question is, if the community had 
input on five members of the Assembly, rather than just 
one, it is your position that they would be better off 
having half of one position of an Assembly District, 
rather than the other five, vis-a-vis their clout, 
because if there were close elections, certainly those 
five portions, or the portions of Richmond Hill in those 
five Assembly Districts could be decisive in a close 
	Isn't that a possibility, that, in 
essence, the community had greater clout, because it had 
the ability to influence five Assembly elections, rather 
than just one.
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  That's not the point 
here.  The point I'm making is if they have influence 
with five Assembly Districts, their influence becomes 
null, because they cancel each other out, because the 
whole voting population splits up the vote.  So that, in 
effect, they have no voice whatsoever.
	However, if they remain in one district, 
that will count.
Senator Dollinger, you made this comment before.  You 
addressed the people in Ontario County, on the same 
	But, let me point out to my friend here, 
who is articulating for his community, that the analogy 
that was drawn is not quite apt.  The City of Buffalo 
has three entire -- two and a half entire districts of 
its own already, and the question there is should they 
have a little piece of five or six more.  The City of 
Rochester has two members entirely.  You don't have any; 
is that correct?
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  No, we don't have any, 
that's why we're trying to get somebody.
your point, what you're saying is, before you ask us if 
we can share a few, give us at least one of our own.
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  By not dividing 
Richmond Hill, people will have an opportunity to 
participate.  If you divide it up, all that opportunity 
is washed away.
one further question that intrigues me? 
	Suppose Richmond Hill was entirely in one 
Assembly District, and suppose it became generally known 
that the South Asian community in Richmond Hill had some 
political clout, and suppose you began to see the fruits 
of that in cricket fields, and in new facilities that 
were more appropriate to sustaining and nurturing the 
culture, do you supposed that over the next ten years 
that you would grow more as a community, if that 
scenario were true, and gain more political clout or do 
you suppose that I am not reading you correctly?
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  We will grow more, and 
we will -- and others will learn from us, like we will 
learn from other communities as well.
who say you don't quite have -- you probably have 20,000 
in -- 
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  60,000 Guyanese.
area.  You don't have 60,000 Asians in Richmond Hill, 
you have 60,000 people in Richmond Hill. 
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  What we identify with 
the South Asian people --
	If you had 20,000 today, and you had one 
Assembly District, it would seem to me that over the 
next ten years, the networks that we've talked about of 
immigration would lead more people of South Asian 
descent, and South Asian immigrants to, perhaps, settle 
there, because you have a political identity that we 
have helped create. 
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  Well, sir, when it 
comes to the immigration issue, historically, a decade 
or go, perhaps, Richmond Hill was not what it is today. 
 It was not a depressed area, but it was a semi 
depressed area.  Today,  Richmond Hill is one of the 
most booming communities in this area, and you can check 
that out with records to show that it's packed with 
business, with stores, and there's a high amount of real 
estate turnover.  I'm a real estate broker by 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	MR. ROOPNARAINE:  Thank you, sir.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Kawal Totaram, T-o-t-a-
r-a-m, Queens Caribbean Bar Association.
	MR. TOTARAM:  Good afternoon, Mr. 
Chairman, and members of the Task Force.  My name is 
Kawal Totaram.  I am an attorney, and I happen to be the 
Public Relations Officer of the Queens Caribbean Bar 
	The Queens Caribbean Bar Association in 
as much as its a Caribbean Bar Association, we serve 
people of all colors, all race, all ethnicity, all 
religion, and we encompass the area of -- we practice 
entirely in New York State, but more particularly in the 
Richmond Hill area, in the South Ozone Park area, the 
Ozone Park area, Queens Village and part of Jamaica.
	Now, the place where I come from Guyana, 
some 20 years ago, what we are doing here is a rarity.  
And, therefore, I am grateful and happy to be here to 
make the presentation.  In Guyana we go through the 
motions sometimes.  Here, I hope we will not go through 
the motions, but there will be some concrete opinion, or 
something will come out of this situation.  Everyone 
will not be happy, but certainly our voices will be 
	I live in this community, I practice in 
this community.  I happen to be a community activist, so 
to speak, so I can say without fear of contradiction, 
that I have a good knowledge, a working knowledge of 
this community.  We have our problems in this community. 
 It reminds me, and I don't want to lecture to you with 
due respect, but it reminds me of the old colonial days 
when everything was shipped out of the colonial people 
to Great Britain, the taxes and the raw materials.  It 
reminds me of American history, when the British was 
here, all the raw materials, and everything was shipped 
to Britain, but yet, we were taxed.  In Richmond Hill 
today, we are being taxed, and there are poor facilities 
in return.  
	What do we have today?
	We are being told by the politicians, 
listen, you cannot live in your basement.  So, find 
somewhere else. 
	And when we ask them, where do we live?
	They say, we don't have lands to build 
houses.  Yet at the same time, we have megastores being 
opened in Rockaway.  We have Big Taters being opened on 
Jamaica Avenue; and 
	Who does it serve; does it serve the 
people in this community?
	It serves a few politicians.  We have 
sanitation problems in this community.  We have more 
parking tickets, and more parking meters.  More 
taxation, less representation.
	So, this community needs representation. 
 Now, when I look at a cursory look at this map, that 
this community represents here, and I'm sure my learned 
friend alluded to this, we look that here in Richmond 
Hill, here in Queens Village, it's split by 11 
districts.  11 districts.  These people are split by 11 
	What we are asking if you to give us 
serious consideration that we need somebody to represent 
our people.  We do not speak just solely because of 
Indianness, or West Indianness, but this is an area that 
a lot of people, but the majority happens to be Asian 
people, West Indian people.  
	True, sir, your argument has some 
bearing, but with respect, when you have the district 
split up, politicians only listen to votes.  They don't 
listen to what influence you make.  So, that if Richmond 
Hill is split up into 11 districts, then if 100 people 
go and tell Mr. So and So, here is our influence, he 
doesn't care, because that sector of the people do not 
put him in office.
	So, what we are asking you is to create a 
district that would have a racial balance, cultural 
balance, and economic balance so that all can be 
represented.  It is, therefore, I urge you to consider 
seriously the Richmond Hill area, the South Richmond 
Hill area, Jamaica and Queens Village as one Assembly 
	Thank you very much, and I am prepared to 
answer any questions that the panel may have.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much, 
	MR. TOTARAM:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Farley A-r-r-i-a-g-a; 
are you here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Lucia Gomez.
	MS. GOMEZ:  Good afternoon.  I am the 
Civic Participation Program Coordinator for the Puerto 
Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, that I guess 
you've heard mentioned a couple of times.  This is my 
first time being here, although I have testified in 
numerous places throughout the country, and I would have 
to say this is, thus far, the most exciting one I've 
been to yet.  
	During the last round of redistricting 
hearings, the Task Force heard a series of complaints, 
as well as recommendations in order to ensure that the 
people in the State of New York could properly 
participate and be active participants during this round 
of legislative redistricting.  Since then, there is very 
little that the Task Force has done to remedy this 
apparent closed door redistricting process.  The Task 
Force has only succeeded in excluding voters and, 
therefore, must now sit through hours and hours of angry 
frustrated voter commentary.
	First of all, you were asked to develop 
and publish the criteria you will be using in terms that 
are accessible to the general public, and in languages 
other than English, as the hearing notices were, in 
Chinese, Spanish and English.  So, people are expecting 
the same type of respect in other ways in which the 
Redistricting Task Force actually goes forward with 
their plans.
	So when you hear people testifying in the 
language of their choice, it's because the public 
notices are, also, in languages of their choice and, 
therefore, they don't state that you cannot come and 
speak in the language of your choice.
	Including informing the public in a 
timely matter of such things as a decision to change the 
number of State Senate Districts.  Instead, you only 
inform the public of such a change when you officially 
released your plan.  No rationale, to date, has been 
given, neither on your web site or in writing to the 
public, as to why, if this change was solely due to 
population growth, as I have seen the web site, and I do 
know that  you have a document on the web site, as 
convoluted as some people might say it is, you do have a 
document, your legal jargon and interpretations might 
suffice your colleagues, but the residents of New York 
City who live, work and pay taxes, demand an answer to 
why they will now have less of a voice in the State 
	Seeing that you have not proposed any 
Congressional lines, I strongly suggest that you 
reassess your criteria when apportioning these districts 
throughout the state.   For the record, any further 
recommendation for loss of political strength from 
downstate will be hard fought both in the political 
arena, as well as in the courts.
	Secondly, it couldn't have been stressed 
enough during the last round of hearings, that you must 
hold these public hearings during hours accessible to 
the public.  What is the sense of holding these hearings 
during regular working hours, if not to limit the 
participation by the working class citizen and, 
therefore, disproportionately impact the population of 
New York City and New York City minorities.  Once again, 
these tactics only further fuel the notion, and the 
assumption, that this Task Force is discriminating 
against the 65% non-white population of New York City.  
Those are not assumptions you want the community to 
	Thirdly, we ask the Task Force to develop 
a process to give serious consideration to our own 
proposed plans.  It was like a waiting game every time 
we call the different Task Force offices.  No one in the 
offices knew when the plans would be out, or up until 
when we could actually be receiving public plans.  We 
were just told, time and time again, in about two weeks, 
and that was, actually, towards the end of October.
	At one point, we even got someone on the 
phone who angrily answered our question on what 
different formats we should expect to submit our plans, 
because we can get somewhat technical, and in fact she 
answered, you don't draw the maps, we draw the maps, and 
they're not out yet.
	Furthermore, the inability for the public 
to actively participate in this process is further 
emphasized by the lack of public access terminals with 
the available software data and tools needed to work the 
numbers and the geography to assist in the understanding 
of the impact this is being  -- these lines are making 
on neighborhoods.  Also, the files provided with the 
district by district maps, are inconsistent with their 
data and their presentation, and not all of the maps 
provide street names or even district labels that assist 
in the identification of street boundaries and 
neighborhood impact further not allowing people to truly 
understand the way in which their neighborhoods are 
being divided or kept intact.
	Further, you do not have party 
affiliation breakdowns for your proposed districts 
available on line in a summarized fashion by district.  
To neither provide voting tabulation district data, and 
the PO94-171 Census data in order for some very 
experienced user to merge political data with Census 
data and tie in the geography data is enough barriers to 
suggest the community is being shut out, and the old 
boys network -- no offense, Debra -- continues to 
dictate what should be a democratic process.
	Finally, it either took many speakers 
during the last round of hearings, saying how disgusting 
the composition of this Task Force was, when 38% of the 
State of New York is non-white, and yet this Task Force 
was 100% white, or it could have been many trips made by 
Governor Pataki to our wonderful Caribbean waters, that 
convinced Senator Bruno to appoint a Latino surnamed 
individual to the Task Force.  Whatever took him over 
the edge, I hope it happens to all of you, and you can 
work towards remedying a disproportionate Senatorial 
representation in New York City, correct the throne 
protecting Assembly District boundaries, that on the 
surface look ideal, but unnecessarily tear at the fabric 
of our neighborhoods throughout New York City and as 
I've heard many other testimonies throughout New York 
State, and in particular Queens, as many of you have 
already heard, and truly take a step forward towards 
providing real access to all people of New York not just 
a select few with expensive equipment and technical 
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I'm very happy that you 
did point out that Senator Bruno, the Republican 
Majority Leader of the Senate, did appoint Mark Bonilla, 
of Puerto Rican ancestry, to the Task Force, and --
	MS. GOMEZ:  We were questioning what 
exactly he was.  So, thank you for that clarification.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  We're delighted with 
that, and as we said at the prior hearings, we had hoped 
that Senator Connor would have made an appointment.  
We're delighted that Mark is here.  Senator Connor is 
the Democrat Minority Leader of the Senate.
	MS. GOMEZ:  PRLDEF is a non-partisan 
institution --
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I understand.
	MS. GOMEZ:  -- and we look for the 
betterment of the community.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I understand.
	MS. GOMEZ:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Perry Reich.
	MR. REICH:  Thank you Senator Skelos.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  You're welcome.
	MR. REICH:  In light of what the last 
speaker said, I'm going to change my remarks a little 
bit, because I take very much of an opposite view point, 
and Mr. Bonilla, I want to thank you for being on the 
commission.  I know you were appointed on the commission 
on the basis of merit, okay, and for someone --
	MR. BONILLA:  I think so.
	MR. REICH:  -- for someone to try to say 
something to the contrary is really almost contemptible, 
and please accept my apology for the community if there 
was any such suggestion of that.  I know how hard it is 
to really draft and cut lines in something like this.  
I'm an attorney, and you're not aware you cut a line.  
Wherever you draw a line, somebody is going to be 
unhappy.  This is a very, very, very hard thing to do.
	I really think it took guts to take an 
extra Senate seat and put it in New York City, because 
what happens is, there comes a point in time where the 
districts will become, either too large to really take 
into account the community concerns, somehow we're 
seeing that in some respects in the Congressional 
districts, where, for example, we had a district that 
went from Suffolk to Nassau and Queens, and these 
districts that were drawn on the Senate plan did not do 
	I mean, they tried to take into account 
community concerns.  I've looked at the new district 
that's going to be in Brooklyn.  I think that that's 
taking into account very much community concerns.
	Insofar as Queens has been concerned, 
I've lived here all my life.  Senator Padavan has been 
my Senator for many years.  I don't always agree with 
Senator Padavan on some things, but I'm very glad that 
he's there, and I'm glad that the lines take into 
account the fact that someone, who has been servicing 
our community, is going to be remaining there, and I 
think that, by and large, the Senate lines in Queens do 
	In addition to which, by getting that 
extra Senator in New York, I think, New York City's 
clout, in some respects, has been increased, because we 
have an extra number now in the Senate.
	Now, of course, the Assembly plan is not 
able to do that because in the Assembly, you have a 
circumstance where the State Constitution doesn't 
authorize an increase in the amount of seats.  But, I 
think the Senate plan, insofar as that's concerned, 
takes the populational count, tries to, as best you can, 
maintain the community districts.  As a matter of fact, 
the Senate plan increases, I think, an Hispanic 
district, it is my understanding, and that was somewhat 
of a tradeoff.  In order to keep the communities 
together, that was necessary, and I think that that was 
the right thing to do.
	Although I'm from New York City, and 
obviously I'm delighted that the Assembly plan, in some 
respects, increases the proportionality of New York 
City, I don't know whether I feel it very fair, because 
the tradeoff has been that we're going to have -- I 
mean, the upstate areas are going to have 22 incumbents 
running against 22 others, and --
	MR. REICH:  26.  I wonder how that came 
about.   Really, if we're coming down to anything, you 
have to be fair all the way around, and I really would 
hope that that's going to be done.  As I say, I think 
the committee overall should be thanked, because this is 
a thankless job to do this.  But, I think if it can be 
done, I think it's fair not to draw cul de sacs, so that 
an incumbent has to run against another incumbent.
	 With that, I thank you for hearing me 
out today.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Mohammed Sadiq, S-a-d-i-q.
	MR. SADIQ:  Thank you.
	Good evening, panel.  My name is Mohammed 
Sadiq and I am the resident of Queens Village.  I'm, 
also, the Recording Secretary of Queens Village Civic 
Association, and the Community Advisory Board member at 
Queens Hospital Center.
	I would like to give my opinion at this 
hearing of the redistricting of our neighborhood.  
According to the United States Census 2000, among all 
Asians, 45% are Chinese, 12% are Korean, and 30% are 
South Asians, which include Asian Indians, Bangladeshis, 
Pakistanis, and Indo-Caribbeans in the borough of 
Queens.   The majority of the residents in Bellerose, 
Floral Park, Queens Village, Hollis, Jamaica Hills, 
Jamaica Estates, and Briarwood are Asians.  
	In redistricting, communities of common 
interest must be reflected within the geographic 
boundaries.  South Asians reside in a growing numbers in 
the above mentioned neighborhoods.  But, this community 
is divided into two Assembly Districts, 24 and 33.  This 
results in common ideas being split up by two districts. 
 Because of this, a small percentage of South Asians are 
resident in both districts, therefore, leaving South 
Asians unable to speak for their community.
	Look at the Hillside Avenue, starting at 
the Van Wyck Expressway, to the city boundary line in 
the east at Floral Park.  Tremendous amounts of South 
Asian business are growing on both sides of the street. 
 These are the restaurants, fast  foods, supermarkets, 
gas stations, real estate, doctor's office, car dealers, 
and laundromats all over the places are all Indian 
owned, and South Asians.  
	Along with the cultural aspects of this 
community, religion plays a role here, too.  We have 
churches, mosques, synagogues, Hindu mandirs, Sikh 
temples and Buddhist temples.  Yet, Hillside Avenue 
seems to be the dividing line of the South Asian 
community, which separates us into districts.  The most 
shocking of them all is that we are detached into the 
north and the south of two districts.
	When I moved to Queens Village in 1985, I 
was welcomed by Irish American neighbors.  Now, I am 
welcoming many of the newcomers in my neighborhood with 
our South Asians.  The whole demographic has changed 
over the first few years.
	I have a suggestion for the boundary 
lines for the Assembly Districts that can save the South 
Asian community.  The boundary should go north to Union 
Turnpike, south to Jamaica Avenue, east to the city 
boundary line, and west to the Van Wyck Expressway.  
There are communities of interest that must not be 
divided when district lines are redrawn.  
	The united voice of South Asian 
communities, who have the same common goals, will soon 
develop a better quality of life.  When the South Asian 
will be united as one, we will be able to develop a 
strong ethnically oriented neighborhood, just like many 
other various major communities.  That is what America 
is, a melting pot of diversity.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	Are there any questions?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	MR. SADIQ:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Murray Berger.
	MR. BERGER:  I was giving myself till 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Pardon me?
	MR. BERGER:  I was giving myself till 
5:30 before I left.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thanks for staying.
	MR. BERGER:  Thank you.
	I'm here not to critique anything, 
because I don't know what the plans are.  I learned 
about this hearing today, from somebody who saw the 
Chronicle, and as Chairman of the Kew Gardens Civic 
Association, our association received no notification on 
the hearing either from the Task Force, nor from the 
Community Board.
	I think it's deplorable that you don't 
have a wall sized map here so that those of us here can 
look and point to different things.  You don't even have 
an 8-1/2, 11 map here, which I think is a terrible 
oversight on somebody's part.
	All I know about the redistricting is 
what the Times has carried and said, insofar as Kew 
Gardens is concerned, we're about a one square mile 
neighborhood.  Borough Hall, this building, is the 
northern end of Kew Gardens, and we extend about a mile 
south of here and a mile east of here.  All I know about 
its impact on us is, Dan Hevesi faces dissolution by 
being absorbed into Toby Stavisky's district, and that's 
all I've gleaned from an article in the Times a week or 
two ago.
	So, I wish I could speak intelligently 
about your proposal if I knew more about it.  I would 
hope that we could send material in, that we could find 
out more from your office, and that we could follow up 
with correspondence in writing, correspondence with our 
comments after studying what you're proposing.
	Would that go to the Broadway office?
	MR. BERGER:  We now have three 
Assemblymen and two Senators, and it's a mixed bag.  We 
have the advantage of having five people in Albany whom 
we can go to, but at the same time, we're a small cog in 
each of their districts.  So, it works both ways.
	I would hope, gentlemen, that after the 
dust has settled, and after you get a more 
representative reaction from the public, that you hold 
another public hearing with districts on display, so 
that people can react somewhat more intelligently.  From 
my observation of this afternoon's hearing, it seems to 
be you seem to have mostly people here who are focused 
on a particular issue, and who were brought here on an 
organized effort to bring out a group of people.  I 
don't see a cross section of all of Queens here by any 
means.  I would hope that you would come back and let us 
enjoy talking to you in that ambiance.
	I thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	I just want to point out to you, sir, 
that the Task Force has spent almost $144,000 --
	MR. BERGER:  Not well spent.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  -- in advertising in the 
newspapers about the --
	MR. BERGER:  Not well spent.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Okay, about the 
meetings, and there were --
	MR. BERGER:  I tried -- I tried 
downloading you, incidentally, and you wouldn't come -- 
it wouldn't download.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  There were approximately 
up to this point, 75 people that had signed up, and I 
would say, 30 of them or so have opted not to come.
	MR. BERGER:  I hear you.  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Yvonne Williamson.
	MS. WILLIAMSON:  Good afternoon.
	MS. WILLIAMSON:  Good afternoon, Chairman 
and members.  Again, as your predecessor says, I was 
thrown into this unexpectedly so I am not prepared.  I 
am from Councilmember James Sanders office, and he asked 
me to come and speak on behalf of Senator Malcolm Smith.
	Particularly in the community of Far 
Rockaway, it's a small peninsula, and he is asking that 
you really take it into consideration when drawing your 
lines.  The community is small, it's working, so why 
break it up?
	So, please, just take that into 
consideration.  We would like to keep Malcolm Smith as 
our Senator on the whole peninsula.  It is a small 
community, I'm just asking that you not break it up.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  We've run through the 
list of everybody that has signed up to this point.  
We're going to now run through the list starting with 
number one, again.
	Glenn Magpantay; is Glenn here?
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  Good afternoon.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  My name is Glenn 
Magpantay, I'm a staff attorney at the Asian American 
Legal Defense and Education Fund.  AALDEF is the first 
organization on the East Coast to defend the civil 
rights of Asian Americans.  We do this in litigation, 
legal advocacy and community education.
	Our work on voting rights has included 
enforcement of the Federal Voting Rights Act, bilingual 
ballot, election reform, anti Asian voting 
discrimination, and redistricting.  We submitted 
testimony to comment on the impact of the proposed State 
Senate and State Assembly District plans on the ability 
of Asian Americans to elect candidates of their choice, 
in accordance with the Voting Rights Act, and the United 
States Constitution.
	We believe that the redistricting plan, 
in some instances, dilutes the voting strength of Asian 
Americans and other racial and ethnic minority groups, 
first, by systematically placing overpopulated districts 
in New York City, and second, by dividing certain Asian 
American communities of common interest.
	I should state that AALDEF has had a long 
history of working on voting rights.  We have filed 
objections before the Justice Department under Section 5 
in prior elections, and we, also, represented the Asian 
American defendant intervenors in Diaz versus Silver, 
and I have the citation in my testimony.
	The Task Force has already received out 
study.  The Supreme Court has held that districts must  
encompass  communities of interest.  So, we commissioned 
Dr. Tarry Humm of Queens College to look at where Asian 
American neighborhoods and interests and concerns are, 
and we had community residents define their own 
neighborhoods.  We had over 450 Asian Americans from 
Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan participate in the study.
	We've, also, documented Asian American 
voting patterns by conducting non-partisan multilingual 
exit polls of Asian American voters, and last November 
we surveyed 2,300 Asian American voters in at least 15 
Asian languages, and 13 polling sites across the City.
	My testimony this afternoon is based on 
our community survey project, our exit polls, review of 
Census data, personal knowledge of the Asian American 
community in New York and work with community based 
organizations and leaders.  
	Census and the Census undercount.  We 
have had, sine 1998, an extensive outreach project that 
included litigation, legal advocacy and community 
education on Census 2000.  According to the United 
States Census Bureau, the under count of Asian Americans 
was about 1%.  For non-Hispanic whites, that number is 
only 0.67%.  The United States Census Monitoring Board 
estimated that in New York State, about 200,000 New 
Yorkers were missed in the Census.  In New York City, 
that number was 150,000.
	Residents of New York City were more than 
twice as likely to be missed in the Census than in the 
entire state.  Thus, we have urged that the Task Force 
should exercise its latitude under the Constitution, 
which allows for some de minimis variation of district 
population and place smaller districts in New York City, 
where most of the under count occurred.  The City of 
Baltimore had employed a similar strategy.
	We actually applaud the State Assembly 
plan for their attempt to try to correct for the under 
count of racial and ethnic minorities in the Census.  
	However, we are dismayed that the Senate 
plan goes the other direction, and it exacerbates the 
under representation of racial and ethnic minorities in 
New York City as a whole.  We believe that the Senate 
plan has a disparate impact on racial and ethnic 
minorities.  All of the State Senate districts with 
large Asian American, African American and Latino 
populations are overpopulated, conversely all of the 
districts with very small Asian populations,  mostly in 
upstate New York, are underpopulated.
	Under the Voting Rights Act, 
redistricting must not have the effect of diluting 
minority voting strength.  We believe that the Assembly 
plan, in regards to district population size, meets the 
standard, and has gone further to ensure representation 
of racial and ethnic minorities.
	However, the Senate plan has the effect 
of diminishing the representation of people of color.
	Furthermore, the orchestration of 
population deviations, we believe, implies an intent to 
dilute minority representation, while the Assembly plan 
in its principle in its proposal to place smaller 
districts in New York City, and the Senate plan dilutes 
racial and minority representation.
	Our plan or our proposals are here, and 
you can see how some of our communities are divided.  We 
do appreciate and commend the districts in Flushing, and 
we endorse the redistricting proposals by the Latino 
Voting Rights Committee in Elmhurst, Richmond Hill, and 
Sunset Park.  So, we urge the Task Force to look at 
those proposals.
	Finally, there must be a public process, 
and we've seen many deficiencies about the Task Force.  
We sent a letter to the Task Force on July 3rd, asking 
for any notices or information about hearings.  We were 
never given official notice from the Task Force about 
these hearings, nor about when the plans would be made 
	There are other defects in the process.  
We were never informed that the Senate would be 
proposing a 62-member Senate, and that's a problem.  We 
do need -- the public needs to be able to provide 
meaningful input.  We do look forward to working with 
the Task Force, probably, at the pre-clearing stage and 
afterwards on the redistricting plan.
	Thank you.
	MR. HEDGES:  Glenn, I know you put out a 
public statement after the district lines were proposed. 
 I don't believe that we ever actually got that directly 
from you, and I wondered if you could provide that for 
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  I'm sorry?
	MR. HEDGES:  My understanding is that 
you, in fact, put out a press commentary at one point on 
the proposed lines, and I never actually received that, 
and I wonder if you could send it to me.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  Oh, certainly.  We did a 
very preliminary analysis on the impact of the 
districts.  We had seen what was done in Flushing, which 
was very good.  We had seen some places where the 
community was divided.  It's very small, and it's all 
here in our testimony.
	MR. HEDGES:  Okay; great.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  But, I certainly will 
supply that to you.
	MR. HEDGES:  If it's in the testimony, 
that's fine.  Thanks.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Can I just ask one 
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Is it the intention 
of the Asian American Legal Defense Fund to intervene in 
the pre-clearance process on both the Senate and the 
Assembly lines if these plans are forwarded unaltered to 
the Justice Department?
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  We are seeking to 
participate in the pre-clearance process.  We have 
already had discussions with the Justice Department, and 
we will be providing comments at the pre-clearing state.
	Regarding interventions, regarding the 
two lawsuits in Federal and State Court, we have not yet 
made a final decision, but we are exploring the 
possibility of joining those lawsuits representing the 
interests of racial, ethnic, and language minorities in 
New York City.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	Councilman Comrie.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Phil Konigsberg.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Can I just ask one 
other question before that gentleman leaves?
	Has that plan that he holds in his hand 
been submitted to the Task Force; is that your plan?
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  Not entirely.  This plan 
identifies the areas where there are Asian American 
communities of interest in our study, and that's this 
large report, heavy report, that you got in the mail.
	What we've done is we put the Assembly -- 
for each of the boroughs -- and it's in my testimony, -- 
each of the boroughs, and what the impact is, in terms 
of dividing Asian American communities of interest.  So, 
we've done one for the Assembly, and for the Senate, for 
Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, and they're the 
attachments to my testimony.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Have you submitted 
them to the Task Force?
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  That's all I wanted 
to make sure of.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  We have submitted them.
	MS. LEVINE:  Did you submit them in 
computer form to us, or you just submitted it in the 
	Because we got something from the Asian 
American -- I could be wrong, but it wasn't a plan, it 
was a profile.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  That's correct.
	MS. LEVINE:  Okay, there's a big 
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  That's correct.  We would 
actually say that this is not -- the districts that we 
have here, we have not said are districting plans.  What 
we have are communities where there are Asian Americans 
with common interests,that must be preserved in 
	We can provide these to you -- actually, 
they're drawn at the tract level, but we can provide 
them to you at the block level, and see what the impact 
	I guess, the question is, that we receive 
the data at the VTD level, and we were looking, 
originally, to provide you data at the VTD level.  When 
we had received the block assignments for the plan that 
had come out, we were told by the technicians, that they 
are only available at the block level.
	MS. LEVINE:  The plans that the Task 
Force released, whether Senate or Assembly, were 
released to the public at the tract block assignment 
level, which allows you or your technical staff to 
aggregate that data to reflect the present configuration 
of those districts.  I don't believe that we've received 
anything from your agency in a similar format, wherein 
we can take your submission, put it on a computer, and 
allow our members to properly analyze your submission, 
which hasn't really been made.
	I would suggest to you, Glenn, that if 
you're going to approach the Justice Department, that 
you provide us with that information so that we can 
equally examine your proposal fairly, also.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  Ms. Levine, we have made 
it available to the Task Force.  You have a drawn 
district in our report that was made available.  It was 
drawn at the block level, and you, also, have on paper, 
the attachments here, the tract assignment list for each 
of those districts.  So, I know that you have received 
	You may not have received it 
electronically --
	MS. LEVINE:  Well, obviously --
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  -- but, you have received 
	MS. LEVINE:  Okay, obviously, you have 
the ability to give it to us electronically, and I --
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  We do have the --
	MS. LEVINE:  -- would request --
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  -- ability to do that.
	MS. LEVINE:  -- please, graciously, if 
you would submit it to us in that format, so that we can 
put that system -- put your plan on the system for each 
of the respective conferences to review that, which --
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  We'll be happy to.
	MS. LEVINE:  -- will make it more clear 
for them, than looking at the map in your booklet.
	MR. MAGPANTAY:  That's fine.
	MS. LEVINE:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  James Wu; is James here.
	MR. WU:  I'm here on behalf of the Asian 
American Democratic Association of Queens.  Also, Ethel 
Chen, Democratic District Leader, and Julia Harrison, 
Democratic District Leader.
	Gentlemen, I would like to congratulate 
you on the drafting of the proposed Assembly District 
plan, and conversely criticize you for the unfair 
drafting of the proposed State Senate District plan.  On 
the proposed 22nd Assembly District, of which I am a 
long time resident, it seems to be one of the most 
compact and contiguous districts, most demonstrative of 
how districts should really look, and reflects the true 
spirit that should guide the drawing of legislative 
district lines.  It seems you drew a proposed district 
to encompass a real neighborhood, or in the vernacular 
of redistricting, a community of interest.  The 
neighborhood, Flushing, includes a large senior citizen 
population, and a large minority community population.  
Each group has its own range of distinct issues, and 
also shares common issues.  But, where the most definite 
sense of community exists for all, is as a neighborhood 
of apartment dwellers, relying on common community 
facilities and commercial services.  
	However, it appears you focused more on 
the minority community of interest, rather than the all 
encompassing community of interest that binds seniors, 
minorities and non-minorities.  The reality of the 
neighborhood is that Flushing is a densely populated 
community, frequently defined as the third largest 
transportation hub in New York, but foremost as a 
neighborhood, and it is a neighborhood of apartment 
	According to the New York City Department 
of City Planning's Zoning Handbook, quote, "R-1 and R-2 
allow only detached single family residences in certain 
community facilities, while in contrast, R-3-2 through 
R-10 accept all types of dwelling units and community 
facilities.  Flushing is a neighborhood of apartments.  
Walking along Bowne Street, where I live, it is 
distinctly different from walking along Bayside Avenue. 
 These are different neighborhoods.  Crossing from an R-
6 to an R-2 zone feels like one is entering a different 
neighborhood, because one really is.  There is a 
distinct difference between R-1, R-2 zones, versus other 
zones.  R-3-2 through R-10 zoning districts seem to be 
the best definition of a community of interest for 
Flushing, defined by real lines drawn by the New York 
City Department of City Planning.
	If modifications to the 22nd A.D.  are 
needed, I suggest following a non-partisan guide to 
district lines.  The New York City Department of 
Planning is, perhaps, the best neutral guide to the real 
shape of communities of interest.  
	Of course, if a serious objective of 
LATFOR is to develop a legislative district for a 
community of interest, that is largely minority, and 
shares the commonality of being multilingual and 
immigrant, trimming R-2 zones from the district, while  
it may shave city blocks that are proportionately higher 
percentage minority, will have a nominal impact on real 
numbers and strengthen the real community embodied by 
the proposed 22nd A.D.
	One of the attached maps is of the 
proposed 22 A.D. map to zoning maps.  I've included a 
couple of these, and this is basically a consolidation 
of detailed maps from the New York City Department of 
Planning, which shows the 22nd A.D. and, also, some 
slight modifications to comply with the zoning line.
	I would suggest possible modifications to 
be encompassing to the south of the R3-2 zones of Mt. 
Hebron Cemetery slash Cedar Grove, as to do otherwise 
would potentially orphan the residents of those blocks 
from their immediate neighborhood.  To the north, either 
mod 1, complying with the natural zoning boundaries, or 
mod 2, following the street boundary of Bayside Avenue.
	Also, to the east I would suggest, in mod 
1, adjusting district lines in accordance with natural 
zoning boundaries, excluding the R2 zones, and 
encompassing more the R4 zones to compensate for 
	On the State Senate plan, you have 
blatantly violated your duty in the spirit of 
redistricting, and I am most fearful of your 
contribution for reapportionment.  You have been 
deliberately partisan, engineering the smallest 
populations for the slowest growing and mostly 
Republican districts, while making urban, mostly 
Democratic districts, disproportionately populous.  This 
is statistical chicanery that does not comply with the 
spirit of the law.  The 10% maximum deviation was 
intended for redistricting flexibility, not for all 
downstate districts to be 10% larger than upstate 
districts, so that you might conveniently violate the 
spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment.
	These are the maps that are included in 
here.  One is just with the 22nd A.D., and one has some 
modifications in it.  This is in all the handouts.  
	I, also, included the details from the 
New York City Department of Planning, their individual 
	I, unfortunately, did not have enough 
time to tape them all together as I did in this one, and 
then draw the lines on top of it.  But, the little one, 
sort of, has this.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Any questions?
us a copy of that map, please?
	MR. WU:  I can leave you a copy of the 
big one.
	MR. WU:  Well, the little ones you have 
in the copies I left.
	MR. WU:  But, I'll give you a big one.  
It's a little sloppy.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Bernice Cutler.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Aida Gonzalez-Jarrin.
	MS. GONZALEZ-JARRIN:  Thank you, Senator 
Skelos, Assemblyman Parment, and members of the Task 
	My name is Aida Gonzalez-Jarrin.  I am a 
public administrator by profession, a former candidate 
to the City Council, and Vice President of La Gran 
Alianza de Queens.
	First, I wish to thank the Task Force for 
all the work that has been invested in preparing the new 
maps for the reconfiguration of districts, according to 
the 2000 Census figures.  This, no doubt, is an awesome 
task.  I also, wish to thank the Task Force for holding 
this public hearing, which allows community leaders and 
anyone interested in redistricting to have an input, a 
very important step in keeping our political system open 
to all, and hence, democratic.
	As a proud American citizen of Latin 
American background, I am also grateful to the Task 
Force for having translated the impressive growth of our 
community in Queens in an additional Assembly District 
now identified as District number 39.  Hopefully, this 
new district will allow us to elect, for the first time, 
a representative with strong roots in the community, one 
who comes from our own immigrant experience, and yet is 
someone sensitive to the needs and diversity of the 
entire district, and above all, one who is not sent to 
us by extraneous or indolent political forces, but 
someone genuine, who we can support because of his or 
her proven track record of service to our community.  Of 
course, we understand that we ourselves, the Latinos who 
live in this part of Queens must do the work.  
	However, I am pleased to emphatically 
state that after our last year's first foray into the 
political arena of the Councilmanic race, our leadership 
has become stronger, better defined, more experienced, 
and is determined to act.
	I have seen the map produced by the Task 
Force, and I have to say, it's not bad.
	However, the map produced by the Voting 
Rights Committee of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and 
Education Fund, with input of community leaders and 
participants is, in my opinion, a much better choice.  
Not only is it more cohesive in a geographical sense, 
but also, in terms of commonalities of interests, needs 
and social characteristics of the population involved.  
The residents in the district proposed by the Puerto 
Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund face more or less 
similar situations regarding the housing crisis, crowded 
schools, lack of health insurance, insufficient public 
health services, total lack of youth centers, and in the 
case of working mothers, an awful lack of child care, 
and other situations as they have been previously 
described by other individuals giving testimony this 
afternoon, including those who spoke in Spanish, and 
it's very unfortunate that no translator was available 
for some of them.
	Yes, you can rightfully argue, that these 
problems extend beyond the district.  But, those of us 
who know the streets and corners and people of this 
slice of Queens, can attest, perhaps out of daily 
empiric observation, that these problems are more severe 
in this area concentrated in Corona, which has been 
clearly encapsulated in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense 
and Education Fund map, which I have included in my ten 
copies of my own testimony.  
	For this reason, I am requesting the Task 
Force to give serious consideration to this alternative 
map, and I am grateful to the outstanding political and 
technical experts from PRLDEF, as well as the community 
representatives who participated in preparing this map.
	However, whatever is the final result, I 
want everybody to be aware, that our community is 
growing and coming of age.  It is, therefore, to be 
expected that we will continue to organize and 
participate in the struggle to attain political power, 
and that if in the not so distant future, this will 
happen in every district where we have a substantial 
presence, be it 34, 35, 39 or a new Senatorial District, 
we know that only then all those issues that we feel 
have not been addressed in the past, or are not being 
addressed now, will be finally paid attention to.
	Last but not least, my reminder to all, 
that under the new and striking and reality of our 
diversity, which is the characteristic of our borough, 
our diversity in population, and which is a totally 
different reality from that of the early '60s, it is 
imperative to have Queens covered under the Federal 
Voting Rights Act.  It's imperative, it's badly needed, 
and it's only fair.
	Thank you very much.  I'll take any 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Are there any questions?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Ruben, Q-u-i-r-o-z; are 
you here?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sheldon Leffler?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Lorinda Chen.
	MS. CHEN:  Hi, good afternoon.  Mr. 
Chairman, distinguished panel, ladies and gentlemen.  My 
name is Lorinda Chen.  I am the President of the New 
York Chinese American Association, a 501-c-3 not-for-
profit organization, dedicated to assisting and 
empowering Chinese Americans in their process of 
assimilation through advocacy, service and education.
	Our organization understands the 
importance of the redistricting process, and how it 
effects profoundly the Asian American communities in 
political representation, not only for the next ten 
years, but also for decades to come.  The redrawing of 
political boundaries for all the districts every ten 
years, is crucial to limited English proficiency 
minorities, who are struggling to voice their concerns 
to the city, state and federal levels of government.
	Asian Americans are composed of various 
ethnic groups, but they share common interests, 
identical barriers, and dreams of being part of this 
society.  They may look forward to electing officials 
who are fair, sensitive, open minded, waiting to listen 
to their concerns, and speak for their rights.  And 
above all, represent their communities and common 
	According to the 2000 Census, Asian 
Americans are one of the fastest growing minorities in 
the United States.  New York City is home to the largest 
Asian American population in the U.S.A.  They are 
counted at 872,000 in the 2000 Census, and comprise 10% 
of the New York City population.  About one half of the 
City's Asian population lives in Queens, and they make 
up 20% of the Queens population.
	Neighborhoods with large Asian 
populations in New York City, include Chinatown, the 
Lower East Side of Manhattan, Flushing, Elmhurst, 
Jackson Heights, Woodside, Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Ozone 
Park, Floral Park, Queens Village, Sunset Park, Borough 
Park and Bensonhurst, et cetera.  Though New York City 
has the largest Asian population for all municipalities 
in the United States, for hundreds of years, not a 
single Asian has ever been elected to the New York State 
Legislature or Congress.  John Liu, the first Asian 
American City Councilmember has recently been elected.
	New York Chinese American Association is 
advocating for districts that will provide Asian 
Americans with full and fair opportunities to elect 
candidates of their choice, and keep Asian communities 
with common interests and socio-economic characteristics 
	The State proposed State Assembly 
District 22 in Flushing is a new an open district with 
52% Asian Americans.  We welcome it, but we're also 
concerned that the area residents between 35th Avenue 
and Whitestone Expressway, sharing common interests with 
that of the Flushing community in general, are not in 
this district.  The north boundary of the proposed 22nd 
A.D. includes many nice and single large houses in North 
Flushing, quite a difference from the Flushing community 
in socio-economic characteristics.  
	We propose to modify the boundary and 
make Bayside Avenue the north boundary of the 22nd A.D., 
and to include a section of 35th Avenue, and Whitestone 
Expressway, east of College Point Boulevard in the 22nd 
	Although the proposed 22nd A.D. is good, 
other neighborhoods are divided in Queens.  Residents of 
Elmhurst, Jackson Heights areas share common concerns 
and common interests.  They are divided into three 
proposed districts.  That's A.D. 34, A.D. 35 and A.D. 
	In A.D. 39, Broadway serves as a boundary 
on the southwest, dividing residents into different 
A.D.s.  The residents on two sides of Broadway share 
common interests and similarities.  They shop in the 
area's ethnic grocery stores.  They dine at the ethnic 
restaurants.  They seek health care at Elmhurst Hospital 
and they ride the subway, number 7, E, F, G, R.  The 
Broadway section between Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt 
Avenue has a lot of Chinese business, and is called the 
third Chinatown, only next to Chinatown of Manhattan and 
Flushing.  Both sides of Broadway have substantial 
numbers of Asian and Hispanic populations that share 
common interests and concerns, and should keep them 
together in one A.D.
	The proposed Senate Districts in New York 
City with large Asian American populations are 
overpopulated, while districts with very small Asian 
populations, mostly in upstate, are under populated.
	Flushing community has a large Asian 
population and has become the second Chinatown in New 
York City.  It, also, has a large number of Koreans and 
South Asians.  Together, they share a lot of 
similarities in education, speaking style, family 
values, and political representation.  Nevertheless, 
Flushing is split between two proposed Senate Districts, 
S.D. 11 and S.D. 16.   
	Richmond Hill, Ozone Park neighborhood, 
where many Indo-Caribbeans and South Asians reside, is 
divided among three districts,  S.D. 10, S.D. 14, and 
S.D. 15.  
	In conclusion, because of the language 
barriers, cultural differences, and familiarity with the 
system, Asian Americans may be less outspoken than their 
counterpart Americans, but they, too, want to be 
included in the decision making process.  Asians in 
Flushing, Richmond Hill, Elmhurst, Sunset Park, 
Chinatown and many neighborhoods need representatives 
who are responsive to the needs and concerns of the 
immigrant communities, who understand and share American 
dream, that is being able to participate in all aspects 
of the life with dignity, fairness and equality.
	We urge the Task Force to keep Asian and 
ethnic communities together among the newly drawn 
political boundaries, and to ensure them a fair 
opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Frances Scanlon.
	MS. SCANLON:  Good afternoon, Ms. Levine, 
and gentlemen.  
	I just would immediately, as an attorney, 
 reflect one correction on your good record, please.  I 
am speaker number 15.  I am an attorney, however, I am a 
former member of Community Board No. 7.  Thank you.
	Let me wish you all a belated Purim, and 
a Happy St. Patrick's Day, since we are in the green 
sweater season, my blue notwithstanding.
	We are where we live.  That is nowhere 
more true,  than in the political calculation which 
determines what Councilmanic, what Assembly, what 
Senate, what Congressional District of which a citizen 
will be a part and entitled to vote therein.  Talk about 
fine line drawings.  No illustrator, no matter how 
formidable his or her talent, could ever calculate the 
compass in political terms that measures precisely 
within which political entity a citizen will become both 
a voter and/or a political player.
	He/she who draws the lines dictates the 
results.  No Supreme Court decision, no matter how 
perceived to be outcome predetermined will arguably ever 
upstage the inherent power of the political line drawer.
	Ironically, it's that very elected 
official, in whom the public has placed such trust, that 
the public trust will do the right thing, both by the 
voter, and the official him or herself.  And just what 
is the right thing?
	It's a matter of no mean calculation.  
Historically, civil rights have been liberated and 
realized in this country over the legal right to draw 
the line on those who would draw it incorrectly, as much 
as to determine whose rights would be vindicated, by 
drawing a district's line one way over another.
	Although born in Manhattan, I have 
resided in Queens for several decades and am a proud 
voter in the 20th Councilmanic District, 25th Assembly 
District,  16th Senatorial District, and 5th 
Congressional District, and what a chunk of political 
reality that is.  There are more people from more 
countries speaking more languages, and more dialects 
within that social legal economic and religious 
territory, than perhaps any other that may be the 
subject of redistricting this year.  What happens 
therein will shape the destiny of many political 
fortunes and misfortunes.
	This redistricting is more than academic. 
 It's downright political, and that's the right thing.  
The public trust is elevated every single time an 
elected official does the right thing, even when there 
is very little at stake, and that's clearly not the 
present political reality.
	When one examines the legislative history 
and intent of statutes, state, federal, et cetera, which 
address redistricting and reapportionment, one is placed 
on unequivocal notice about the sanctity of what's in 
play.  Draw the lines with a view towards the petty and 
the personal, and you will realize a disaffected, 
increasingly non-voting public therein.  Draw the lines 
with a view toward the principle power of politics, and 
you'll shape an engaged and enthused voting public 
	Women in this country have only been 
voting for 82 years.  In the big picture, that's not 
even an historic eye drop.  But, in politics, that's 
decades of coming along, coming ahead, coming up.  In 
the same spirit, political line drawing facilitates the 
ability of men and women, particularly those who have 
recently arrived, to ultimately come of age politically 
speaking.  This ought be neither a mean or a small 
	What this Task Force hears, listens to 
and recommends, can upstage every front and back room 
deal.  It can advance the ultimate political needs and 
interests of every citizen, voting and non-voting alike, 
within this democracy.  It can truly predict the future 
political landscape and, perhaps, nowhere more 
compellingly than in this great borough, the borough of 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Please summarize.  We're 
trying to keep it to five minutes.
	MS. SCANLON:  Certainly.  You know I'm an 
attorney, every word matters.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  But,  we have a lot of 
people who still wish to testify.
	MS. SCANLON:  And they will, and I'm sure 
you'll be patient with them, as you are with me, and I 
thank you.
	I do not suggest what you do or how you 
do it, rather that you initially reconsider what those 
before you did right and did wrong.  Some of you have 
benefitted from either or both, but every elected 
official has been elected within some borders, some 
space, some geographical terrain, that was made legally 
cognizable due to this political process, over which you 
are now the gatekeeper.
	Don't leave politics out of the equation 
of your judgments.  That's the beauty of the process.  
Leave no room, however,  for the petty unprincipled, and 
personal.  That's a set of factors that has never 
stimulated a win-win result, and that's truly where the 
best reapportionment is focused, how to achieve the most 
representative mix of people and politics within a given 
	I thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Norman Silverman.
	MR. SILVERMAN:  All right, the lines are 
now out, the proposed district lines for the New York 
State Assembly and Senate have been released to the 
public.  The politicians, if they're part of the right 
crowd, have known about them for weeks.
	Why should ordinary citizens be concerned 
about ordinary district lines?
	Let's take a look at the Far Rockaway 
section of the proposed 23rd Assembly District.  The 
23rd A.D. covers the Rockaway Peninsula from the Nassau 
County line to the tip of Breezy Point.  It, also, 
includes Broad Channel, which is an island in Jamaica 
Bay, Howard Beach, which is on the other side of Jamaica 
Bay, and some of Ozone Park.  What the 23rd A.D. does 
not include is the center of Far Rockaway.  The subway 
stations, the Community Board office, all of the 
shopping areas, and the blocks of densely populated 
apartment houses are part of another district, the 
proposed 31st A.D.  The center of Far Rockaway has been 
joined with communities on the other side of Jamaica 
Bay, and John F. Kennedy Airport.  The majority of the 
voters in this district are residents of Rosedale, 
Springfield Gardens, and South Ozone Park.  They and the 
representatives they are likely to elect, do not ride 
the A train, which people in Far Rockaway use, attend 
Far Rockaway schools, or try to shop in the 
neighborhood.  Political clubs in New York City are 
based on Assembly District lines.  Instead of bringing 
far Rockaway residents together to solve common 
problems, the structure of political clubs in Far 
Rockaway serves to separate people who need to work 
together.  The population in each district is identical, 
123,854 or 123,855, but the ethnicity of the residents 
is not.  In round numbers the three largest groups of 
residents over 18 in the 23rd A.D. are: white 63%, Black 
10%, Hispanic 18%.  In the 31st .A.D. the largest groups 
are: white 10%, Black 57%, and Hispanic 18%.  There are 
those who may say that the creation of geographically 
tortured districts is necessary to increase the 
representation of  historically under represented 
groups.  The elimination of districts, which deny the 
rights of minorities to have a reasonable chance to 
elect representatives of their choice was a high 
priority in the 1960s through the 1980s.  The priority 
today, is create districts where all residents can work 
together to solve their mutual problems.  Minority 
representation can be increased through the use of 
multi-member districts and proportional representation.
	The public hearings are now going on.  
There are likely to be protests against the way the 
Democrats, who control the State Assembly and the 
Republicans who control the State Senate have proposed 
districts that are likely to keep them in power in the 
coming decade.  It would be good if all of us look at 
the issues of legislative representation and prepare to 
find the solution that represents all of the people of 
the district, all of the people together, all of the 
people who share common way of life can be represented 
in a single district.  We have a situation where our 
State Senate districts were changed so that the two 
incumbents, who represent part of the Rockaway and Broad 
Channel area are now residents outside of the districts 
that they might be expected to represent.  Some of this 
seems to be a petty harassment of these people, who will 
be forced to move to continue to represent  their 
districts, and I think this is beneath the level of the 
legislative process, and anyone who deliberately engaged 
in that, should be ashamed of that behavior.
	Also, thousands more people were put into 
downstate State Senate districts, than in the upstate 
districts.  One of the first things they taught us when 
I went to college was learning the one man, one vote 
decision, and I will hope that the Supreme Court, if it 
gets that far, will look at this carefully and see that 
each person does get one person, one vote, as we should 
all aim for throughout the United States.
	Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	Lew Simon.  Welcome.
	MR. SIMON:  Good evening.  My name is Lew 
Simon.  I'm a Democratic District Leader.  I represent 
the Rockaways west of Beach 95th Street, one side of 
Broad Channel, I want to be specific, the west side, a 
couple of E.D.s in Rockaway Park, one E.D. in 
Lindenwood, Ozone Park, and Woodhaven, which I 
understand we're losing now.
	The purpose of me being here now is to 
ask why; why are we split up?
	During many years that I've grown up and 
spent my life in the Rockaway peninsula, I've made many 
friends and neighbors.  I'm often called upon because 
I'm the only name they recognize, and they know if they 
need something, they call upon me.  Yet, I don't 
represent them all, and I question this.
	Why is a peninsula, 11 miles long, which 
we have the highest concentration, 28% of unemployment, 
largest number of nursing homes and mental facilities, 
the City has just dumped on us, the State has dumped on 
us for years, why we are split?
	I love my constituents, that we call the 
mainland.  I love them in Howard Beach, Ozone and 
Woodhaven.  I hate to lose them, but reality.  I am one 
of the people who led a march to get rid of the Cross 
Bay Bridge tool for the residents.  It's unfair if my 
constituents, that they want to see me, because I have 
one office, I can't afford two, that they have to come 
into Rockaway and pay a toll.  I am trying to put 
Rockaway back on the map.  As you know, flight 587 and 
also what happened on September 11th, we were devastated 
the most.  We lost 95 people in our community that were 
killed on September 11th.  One being my campaign 
treasurer, who left a wife and a five-year old.  The 
plane that hit in Belle Harbor, we've been devastated.  
I tried, I brought a bus here, we were about 15 of us.  
We couldn't get people.  Their hearts are not into this 
	They asked, why it wasn't in our 
	I said, well, as usual we have to travel 
into Queens, into the mainland.  But, what I'm asking is 
for two things.  One, since the death of Pauline 
Cummings, who we loved dearly, in the 31st. there is now 
an opportunity to put Rockaway back together.  I'd like 
Rockaway and Broad Channel and Breezy to be one.  That's 
very important.
	The second thing I want to talk about, 
our Senator, Malcolm Smith.  Malcolm has been a great 
friend.  I have supported Malcolm through the years, 
even when he ran for City Council in the other end, 
which was not my end.  Malcolm has done the right thing 
in the Rockaways.  To give us Ada Smith, God help you 
for serving with her, I just have a problem.  She can be 
real obnoxious, she's personally threatened me, and I 
want this on testimony, that she told me how dare I go 
into her Black community and tell her people what to do. 
 I'm sorry, I'm very blunt.  We were fighting the light 
rail, which we didn't want, and we were supporting the 
reactivation of the old Rockaway Line of the railroad as 
a regular MTA train, that we can have 35 minutes into 
Penn Station, not two and a half hours.  You'd be 
surprised, if we had to drive here, with what's going 
on, on the Van Wyck, an hour and a half now.  I think 
you can recognize, because you're from the Five Towns, 
but Malcolm has been our friend.  We've been working 
together to bring the railroad back.  We're working on a 
ferry.  We're working to make a difference.  We need 
Malcolm and say, hey, Malcolm, you live in the 14th, and 
now Ada just, I understand, moved into the 10th.  
Please, keep her.  Bring her to Long Island, do what you 
want, but not in my area.
	Some people in Broad Channel, I will tell 
you, I also represent Broad Channel, they're not happy. 
 She doesn't share her funds with everybody.  And we're 
very much disillusioned with her, and I'll tell you, if 
she runs, I'll have to give her a primary, I'm going to 
be very up front.
	I, also, want to speak on the -- I know 
this has nothing to do with it, but I want to talk about 
the Council lines.   The same thing goes with the 
Council lines.  Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy 
should be the same.  I just ran for the City Council in 
the 32nd.  I lost by 200 votes, which is a very small 
amount.  September 11th did play a part, unfortunately. 
 And I just want to say that, as Rockaway is, we are a 
small island, and I'll tell you the truth, at one time 
before you represented the Five Towns, Carol Berman 
thought she was coming into Rockaway.  She started to 
make meetings.  We had no problem working with the Five 
Towns, okay.  We want a contiguous line.  We want to 
work together.  We don't want to be divided.  Right now, 
I'll be quite honest with you, at 7:30 at night, I wind 
up with five to six meetings, and anyone who -- you can 
ask anyone about me.  I make all my meetings.
	How do I jump from Rockaway to Broad 
Channel, to Howard Beach to Ozone and Woodhaven, back to 
Rockaway, somehow I do it.  But, I'm asking you, please, 
consider this.  This is important.  We want Malcolm.  
Malcolm has worked with us.  I think you've gotten along 
with Malcolm.  If I'm correct, Malcolm got the 
Republican line the last time, because we worked through 
everybody to make sure of this.  So, please, hear us.  
I'm here if you -- anybody have any questions?
	(No response.)
	MR. SIMON:  I thank you very, very much, 
and I'll be here.
	Yes, sir.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Just one, Mr. Simon.
	MR. SIMON:  Sure. 
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I know both Senator 
Malcolm Smith, and Senator Ada Smith, and I always feel 
uncomfortable when one of my colleagues is criticized in 
a forum like this, and isn't here to represent herself 
and to defend herself.
	So, I would just strongly suggest that if 
you have such a difference of opinion about Senator Ada 
Smith's advocacy, you take that to her, and talk to her.
	MR. SIMON:  We did.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Well, I'm going to 
encourage you to do it again, because I don't -- I'm 
uncomfortable in this forum listening to someone 
criticize one of my colleagues, who, because I come from 
Rochester and am not familiar with the Queens community 
that you're describing, I just think that that's 
inappropriate in this forum, and I would urge you to go 
talk to her about those complaints, and give her a 
chance, as she can, as she well can, to represent both 
her own interests, and in this case, defend herself.
	MR. SIMON:  Well --
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I encourage you to do 
	MR. SIMON:  If I just might say to you, 
I'm very glad you represent Rochester, but if you come 
into my district, and you talk to the people that she 
represents, they're not very happy with her.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Well, I leave that up 
to her, but I would just strongly suggest, rather than 
this forum being a place to criticize a member for their 
representation, this is really about the communities of 
interest, and their nature.
	MR. SIMON:  And that's what we're 
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Which I appreciate.  
I think your comments with respect to how far down the 
Rockaways that Senate District should come are very 
appropriate.  But, I would just -- I would caution you 
against that kind of comment against Senator Ada Smith 
and simply say, with those complaints, take them to her, 
so --
	MR. SIMON:  We have.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  -- she can defend 
	MR. SIMON:  Thank you.
	Anybody else?
	(No response.)
	MR. SIMON:  Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Norma Jimenez.
	MS. JIMENEZ:  Yes, good evening.  My name 
is Normal Jimenez, and I was born in the Dominican 
Republic and immigrated to New York as a youngster.  I 
have lived in Jackson Heights over 25 years.  I'm a 
member of the Community Board No. 3.  I'm, also, Chair 
of the Youth Committee, a member of the Neighborhood 
Advisory Committee, and the Spanish Program Coordinator 
for Our Lady of Fatima.
	In addition, I am a Vice President of La 
Gran Alianza for Queens, a civic political club.  My 
testimony today will e in Spanish because 25% of the 
borough's population speaks Spanish at home, yet we are 
not properly represented in government, and that's what 
I'm here for today.
	During the year 2000, I have participated 
in the activities of the Census as an organizer, and 
that gave me an opportunity to better understand my 
community.  This is how I came to realize how many 
Latins we have residing in our community.  And I was 
able to measure the importance of staying present and 
involve ourselves in the democratic process of this 
country.  For this reason, I am here today, to protest 
the distribution of the legislative district maps 
proposed by the state.
	The lines drawn by the legislators in 
Albany divide our community at its very center, which is 
Corona, robbing our people of their opportunity to 
obtain other political positions.  Hispanics make up 25% 
of the total borough population, and we deserve better 
representation at the local level, the Assembly, and in 
the state, et cetera.
	Our community opposes the approval of the 
proposed districts and demands that the plan proposed by 
the Latin Committee for Voters Rights in the New York 
metropolitan area be given consideration.  This 
committee is a consortium of community leaders and 
activists, who have collaborated to design a map that 
draws a new Assembly District in northern Queens, that 
really represents the needs of our community.
	I thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.  Thank you 
for your patience.
	Carmen Aponte.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Earl Williams.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Sister Janice Williams.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Deacon Jimmy Stillwell.
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  James Heyliger, H-e-y-l-
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Ludy Herrera.
	MS. HERRERA:  Thank you for the 
opportunity to represent or talk about why I'm here 
	Good afternoon to one and all.  My name 
is Ludy Lugo Herrera.  I am a bilingual school social 
worker, a mother of two children, and I have been a 
community activist for many years.  I am a member of 
Community Board No. 3, along with Norma Jimenez, who 
just had her discussion.
	I am, also, a member of La Gran Alianza 
de Queens, a political organization founded by my 
husband, Genaro Herrera, and Fernando Fernandez, two 
great community activists.
	I live in Jackson Heights, currently 
Assembly District 34, and Councilmanic District 21.  I 
am here to support the map drawn by the Latino Voting 
Rights Project and advocate on behalf of my community.
	According to the 2000 Census, our 
community has had the greatest population growth in any 
Community Board in the City, Community Board No. 3.  
Therefore, I firmly believe that this should enable us 
to have some say in how our map is redrawn.  
	As a community activist and social 
worker, I am privy to the social ills effecting our 
community.  I am very much aware of the lack of 
resources in our community, as I continuously refer 
clients to non-profit organizations and mental health 
facilities that are bursting at the seams with unending 
waiting lists of people awaiting for much needed 
	There is an under representation of 
Latino elected officials in the County of Queens, and 
although Latinos make up 25% of the population, only one 
Latino has been elected to office at the City Council 
level, and none at the legislative or federal level.  
Those of us in the community are willing to argue that 
undoubtedly Latinos are willing to back any candidate 
that speaks to our issues and concerns, and does not 
ignore our needs.  This is why now, more than ever, 
Latinos will not be divided in our communities which 
stand together to ensure that proper lines don't hinder 
our community's growth and prosperity in the next ten 
years.  For far too long we have been ignored in Queens, 
especially in Corona, and this cannot continue to happen 
any more.  
	Nevertheless, as a recent Hispanic 
Federation report on Latino political participation in 
New York City indicates, this lack of responsiveness 
from the political establishment has not stopped Latinos 
from mobilizing in Queens, as you have very well seen 
here toady.  This report states that of the net growth 
of 253,028 Latino registrants between 1990 and 2001, 28% 
took place in Queens alone, adding 68,689 new Latino 
registered voters.  And for those of you who are 
interested in these statistics, I would urge you to get 
in contact with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, and 
they will be very glad to provide you with a copy.
	In creating a new district, and redrawing 
the surrounding districts to respect the neighborhood 
realities of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, it 
would be more empowering to go with the maps drawn by 
the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund and Latino Voting 
Rights Project.  I believe that the current map drawn by 
the legislative bodies is splitting our neighborhoods 
and diluting our voice and our vote.  The proposed 
districts 39 and 34 do exactly that, and although both 
districts have Latino majority populations, neither 
district captures the neighborhood histories and changes 
that have taken place.
	I want to share with you the fact that I 
came to this country in 1961, started out living in 
Corona.  I am presently living in Jackson Heights, but 
have deep roots in Corona, and throughout the years as  
Community Board member, and community activist, I have 
seen how Corona has been over and over bypassed and 
ignored and neglected in regards to very much needed 
	I would, also, like to say that we have a 
library and a school that have been throughout the 
years, totally ignored, and that's the Corona Library, 
and that's P.S. 19, where I went to in 1961 when I came 
to this country, and which Reilly, the Education 
Secretary, had the privilege to attend with Crowley.
	So, to your board members, I know my time 
is up, I'd like to say thank you for allowing me to 
participate in this redistricting, and I hope that you 
will consider our map, because it is a cohesive map and 
will, also, allow the distribution of services and funds 
to a much needed community that has many community 
interests in mind.
	Thank you.
	(No response.)
	(No response.)
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	MR. CUTLER:  Good evening.   It seems as 
though there are lots of problems in Queens, New York, 
all the different districts, and I hear a lot more than 
little ones, and I'm only talking about the Rockaways.  
Now, I realize that I think that the law that was passed 
was very just, and it's for a good reason, minority 
reasons, and I think it all is very good.  Everybody has 
a point to what they say.  It will be a slow process, 
very slow, take a long time, I think, until all the 
different queries, all the representatives that wish to 
represent different types of people, different races and 
different religions will take a long time.  But, there 
are a few mistakes, I think, that were pretty glaring 
that happened.  One of them that glares right out is the 
	My name is Leonard Cutler, and I live in 
the Rockaways.  I've been here many years.  I got 
married, and never left.  For the last ten years we have 
 had two representatives.  Rockaway has been split up 
and each section tied in with a mainland district.  This 
makes each representative not only responsible for his 
portion of the Rockaway peninsula, but to a larger 
portion on the mainland.  It doesn't work.  Rockaway 
must have one representative responsible for Rockaway 
only.  You can't tie us to other areas that have 
completely different needs.
	The Rockaway peninsula has special 
problems, as it has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and 
Jamaica Bay on the other.  Problems like transportation 
and unemployment are major issues that the mainland does 
not normally have, and New York City and the job market 
are easily accessible to them.  Anyone can see where the 
elected official will put his weight as his reelection 
depends on the majority of his district's population, 
which is the main land.  
	Look at the Rockaway peninsula.  Look how 
it was cut up.  This looks like tentacles of an octopus 
running in every direction.  This, of course, is 
Councilmanic.  Neighbors vote for different 
representatives, even though they live on the same 
block.  A close examination of the redistricting map 
will show the narrow band of connection used to tie the 
Rockaways to the mainland.  It is not only ridiculous, 
but the way it was done is unconstitutional, and it was 
proven so.  We have been terribly gerrymandered.
	One Rockaway peninsula representative, 
concentrating on Rockaway's problems will go a long ways 
toward helping people live on a beautiful peninsula.  
Presently, we are having a building boom.  Every empty 
piece of land is spoken for. Supposedly, two-family 
homes are selling like hot cakes with little money down. 
 The carrot dangled is that the rental apartment will 
defray the cost to the homeowner.  It all looks good on 
paper, but let the economy falter, like it is at the 
present time, and watch the foreclosure rate go up like 
a rocket.
	We need business and people with 
disposable income to build up the Rockaways, not people 
barely holding their own.  One representative will be 
able to focus on the whole picture of what all the 
Rockaways need, and wants to survive and flourish, 
rather than separate representatives dealing with small 
pockets on the peninsula where their districts may 
stretch into.  
	Mr. Lew Simon is a very good man, a very 
energetic man, and he does go over and above normal 
duty.  He works in districts that he doesn't even belong 
to.  Please, put us back together again, with one common 
voice.  In unity, there is strength.  I gave you all the 
reasons why, you heard from everybody, and you don't 
need any more from me.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Just one question.
Mr. Cutler.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Mr. Cutler, come back 
just for a second.
	How many people live in the Rockaways, do 
you know, the whole think put it all together, the east 
and the west?
	MR. SIMON:  According to the Census, 
110,000 people.
	MR. SIMON:  110,000; with Broad Channel, 
it would bring us to about --
	THE REPORTER:  You have to come up to the 
	MR. SIMON:  According to the Census, with 
Broad Channel, we're about 125,000.   The Rockaways, 
from one end to the other, between 110,000 and 120,000. 
 And there are enough votes there, if they put us back 
together, that we would be able to take in an Assembly 
District, and be part of a -- take in a part of a 
Council District, almost all of it, as well as a Senate 
District, and it can work.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  The only reason why I 
asked is because the Senate Districts have to have about 
	MR. SIMON:  Right.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Somewhere between 
305,000 and 315,000 people.
	MR. SIMON:  Right.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  The point I'm making 
is this.  Even if the Rockaways were combined in a 
single district, because of the population requirements, 
it would be no more than a third of a total Senate 
	MR. CUTLER:  We were always tied with 
Broad Channel, which has the same problems.
	MR. SIMON:  The Senate District right 
now, as it stands, is all of Rockaway.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Correct, that's my 
	MR. SIMON:  Right, and it will stay that 
way, but we are trying to keep our Senator.  But, the 
Assembly, it is split up.  You have blocks there, which 
he's talking about, one block is in the 31st, one block 
is in the 23rd, and if the peninsula, which is an 11-
mile island, which we -- I would love for you to come 
walk with me, I'd be glad to take you out and show you.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Malcolm Smith has 
made the same invitation.
	MR. SIMON:  Okay.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I'm understand.
	MR. SIMON:  I'm serious.  If I have to 
come to Westchester and pick you up, I'll do it.
	MR. SIMON:  Sorry.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  That's a long way to 
	MR. SIMON:  You know what I'll do, I'll 
pay for your flight in, back and forth, and we'll take 
you out there, and we'll show you.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I can't do that.  I 
promised never to take gifts, so I can't do that.
	MR. SIMON:  Well, we are --
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  But, at some point 
we'll get down here.
	MR. SIMON:  I just want to say, we are a 
good group.
	Now, Senator Skelos is the next district, 
in the Five Towns.  He knows us.  We've spoken with the 
planes and everything, we share the same problems.  All 
we're asking is, keep us together.  Don't break us up.
	I mean, honestly and truly, by breaking 
us up, all you do is -- like he told you, I go and I 
help everyone.  You're not letting me gain anything.  I 
love helping people.  I don't make any money as a 
District Leader, okay.  But, you're not helping me to -- 
this man lives in Bayswater.  He doesn't -- he can't 
vote for me, okay.  He'd like to go and vote for me.  He 
can't, okay.  I'm cut off at the Cross Bay Bridge, okay, 
I don't want to be cut off that way.
	I grew up in Arverne. I've spent my whole 
life in the Rockaways.  Don't cut me out.  That's what 
we're asking.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I'm not suggesting 
that that's not a legitimate concern.  My only concern 
was to explain that the -- even if we put the whole 
Rockaways as it currently is, it's only a third of a 
Senate District.  I won't speak for the Assembly 
District plan, but just to drive home that point.
	The Rockaways has to have a partner in a 
Senate District, and it will only be, at most, a third. 
 I understand that that's what you want.  
	MR. SIMON:  Right.
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I'm just suggesting 
that --
	MR. SIMON:  Well, we want to keep 
Malcolm.  We want to keep -- what would work for us is, 
keep the Senate line the way it is, it's perfect.  It's 
there, he's a minority representation, it works, we have 
no problem.  Then, what we ask you to do with the 
Assembly line, put us back to the way we were.  
	Back before you broke us up in '92, we 
were Rockaway, Broad Channel, and Breezy Point, and we 
even went into a part of Rosedale and Howard Beach.  
We'll take that.  We'll take that.
	MR. SIMON:  Thank you.
	VOICE:  I have a statement from her.
submit it.  Just leave it with the desk.  We'd be happy 
to receive it.
	VOICE:  Same thing.
receive their statement.  The record would reflect their 
	VOICE:  I have statements from people who 
wanted to be here from all parts of the Rockaways.
happy to receive them, and they will be placed in the 
record, and given the same weight as oral testimony.
	VOICE:  Thank you.
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	MR. BERGER:  I address the Co-Chairs and 
the members of this panel.  I thank you for hearing me 
out.  My name is Richard Berger, and I am a lifelong 
resident of the Belle Harbor community of the Rockaway 
	Now, it's my understanding that in order 
to -- back ten years ago, in order to get certain 
candidates in, they did the gerrymandering to move the  
lines around to reflect the races of the population.  
Okay, no problem with me.  I ended up with an African 
American gentleman, who did a very good job until he 
stepped down.  I have no problem with that.
	But, what I have a problem with is the 
fact that the lines that we are now proposing are going 
to split what should be one community into multiple 
communities again.  I'm actually hoping on getting the 
lines moved back to where they were in 1992.  It is, 
again, making the entire Rockaway peninsula, which as 
most of you might know is an 11-mile long stretch by one 
mile wide piece of basically reinforced sand bar, and 
the Broad Channel community.  If we get Howard Beach in 
it, okay.  We're all areas that are very close to the 
water, and areas that, if that force four hurricane 
comes in, we'll have to be evacuated.
	But, the thing is, we are ending up, with 
the way that the lines currently are, and the proposed 
moving of the lines, is going to divide the community.  
I find it somewhat ridiculous that the community of 
Broad Channel, fine upstanding citizens that they are, I 
have many friend there, especially in the Broad Channel 
Fire Department, that they have one representative if 
they live on the east side of the main street running 
through the community, and they have other 
representation if they live in the west side of the same 
street.  Admittedly, politicians, even in the same 
party, will be in disagreement with each other, but I 
think that it should be more the case that they should 
be united in their representation, because they're all 
the same community, whether they live on the east side 
or the west side of Cross Bay Boulevard in the Broad 
Channel community, or they live on the east side or the 
west side of Beach 94th Street on the peninsula, or 
however the line may zigzag this time.
	Once again, I thank you for hearing me 
out.  I am kind of winging it at this time, but any 
questions that I might be able to answer.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  How can I get one of 
those buttons?
	MR. BERGER:  Well, this is left over from 
Malcolm Smith's last election.  As I should mention, I'm 
also a member of the Good Government Regular Democratic 
Club, which is Lew Simon's clubhouse.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  If I can get one of 
those buttons, not that it would influence me.
	MR. BERGER:  No idea.  This is the only 
one I collected.  
	SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Senator Skelos, he's 
our Malcolm, just so we lay claim to him.
	MR. BERGER:  Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  I can return that to you 
at some point.
	Thank you very much.
	MR. BERGER:  I thank you for your time.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Bernice Cutler.
	MS. CUTLER:  You know, I really didn't 
want to come here, because I pulled a tendon, but I like 
Rockaway too much.
	My name is Bernice Cutler.  I was born 
and raised in the Rockaways, and I've got sand in my 
shoes, and I've been here all my life.  I have seen 
Rockaway with one representative for the entire 
peninsula, and I've seen it with two representatives in 
the past ten years, and I can honestly say that, in this 
case, more is definitely less.
	There has rarely been unity between the 
two representatives over the past ten years, with regard 
to Rockaway.  In fact, greater divisiveness has been 
perpetuated due to it.  While many might say that the 
peninsula's problems began prior to the 1990 
redistricting, having two representatives only made it 
more difficult to address Rockaway's many problems.  
Residents have the double task of going to approach both 
representatives on many issues to try to get things 
done, and even after doing so, we often find that one 
representative doesn't want to step on the toes of the 
other.  Therefore, problems on our peninsula stay 
unaddressed or stalemated.
	Redistricting Rockaway so weirdly 
configurated, that people only blocks away from each 
other, with the same problems, do not have the ear of 
the same representative.  To make matters worse, neither 
part of the Rockaways has any clout in the peninsula's 
well being and survival.  Each part has been tagged on 
to separate parts of the mainland, which make up the 
more powerful constituency for each district.  And just 
like a businessman, who wants to stay in business, the 
two representatives must cater to the mainlanders, 
because that's where the bulk of their votes come from.
	Only by uniting Rockaway into one 
district, with one representative will our voices get 
heard, as that one representative will have to work for 
us alone to keep his or her job.  We Rockawayites are a 
lot wiser these days, and we want a more proactive say 
in what goes on here, without the veto power of 
	For example, we in Rockaway needed 
reactivation of the Long Island Rail Road to help 
economic development, a 38-minute ride to New York City, 
rather than a long, erratic, and sometimes dangerous A 
subway line we now have.  Mainlanders did not want their 
quality of life effected by the upheaval of the 
reactivated line, and guess who won?
	Certainly not Rockaway.
	According to the redistricting chart of 
ten years ago, A, districts shall not be drawn for the 
purpose of separating geographic concentrations of 
voters enrolled in the same political party in two or 
more districts, in order to diminish the effective 
representation of such voters.  Well, most of Rockaway 
are Democrats, and our clout as voters has been severely 
	B, district lines shall keep intact 
neighborhoods and communities with established lines of 
common interest and association, whether historical, 
racial, economic, ethnic, religious or other.  The 
Rockaways, like Broad Channel, which successfully fought 
redistricting ten years ago, is a contiguous body of 
land, geographically isolated, surrounded by water, 
whose residents certainly share common interests and 
problems.  In fact, with a total population more than 
100,000 when combined with Broad Channel, a community of 
similar interests, we have enough voters to be one full 
district.  The Rockaways is not the Balkans, and all 
neighbors and neighborhoods of the Rockaway peninsula 
need to speak with one loud voice, through one common 
	I would like to read a letter written by 
the Past President of the Rockaway Civic Association, 
and member of Community Board 14, if I may.
	Do I have time?
	MS. LEVINE:  You have about a minute and 
a half.
	MS. CUTLER:  I'll make it quick.
	Petition to make the Rockaway Peninsula a 
single unit in future redistricting.  Redistricting, at 
present, appears to be based on two major principles.  
One, the party in power in the State Legislature 
arranges districts to promote the election of party 
	Two, districts are arranged on racial or 
ethnic grounds to favor Black, Hispanic, Orthodox, et 
cetera, candidates.  This results in a weirdly shaped 
district, with long skinny fingers, stretching in all 
	For example, Congressman Weiner, whose 
major area is in Brooklyn, has the south western part of 
the Rockaways, with a long narrow finger along the 
waterfront, directly opposite Congressman Meeks' office, 
to include an orthodox area along the Nassau border, 
which has named itself West Lawrence.  Some have said 
that Weiner was unaware that he represented the narrow 
finger along the water, and that the residents of the 
narrow finger thought that Congressman Meeks, whose 
office was across the street from where they lived, was 
their Congressman.  This type of redistricting presumes 
that Blacks cannot or will not ever vote for a white 
candidate as a better representative, and that whites 
would never choose a Black candidate.  It tends to 
perpetuate racial, ethnic and religious divisions in the 
	Rockaway is a fairly narrow, isolated 
peninsula with many common interests among its 
residents, including transportation, aircraft noise, 
proximity to the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and Jamaica 
Bay on the other, with many common waterfront planning 
problems.   The population is over 100,000, very close 
to a full district.  It would be just about a district 
size if Broad Channel, which has a precise similarity of 
interests were included.  
	Actually, this is the precise 
configuration of the Community Board District 14, 
Queens, which is based on geographical, contiguity,
and where residents of all colors, religious and ethnic 
origins are able to function in harmony.  
	Thank you so very much.  May I tell you 
something, I -- I'm a Hungarian, and I bake good 
strudel, and I make good Hungarian goulash.  This, I'm 
not good at, and I thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, you did 
	MS. LEVINE:  You should have brought us 
some goulash, then.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Let's see, Sara Berger.
	MS. BERGER:  I've been upstaged by my own 
son.  I have a prepared speech, but I'm going to change 
it a little bit.
	I think the statistics that we were given 
on the population are out of date and changing rapidly. 
 My oldest son lives in a major city in North Dakota, 
which has at present -- the whole city -- has less 
population than what we just gave you for Rockaway.  
But, Rockaway is being built up.  Everywhere you turn, 
there are new houses.  There are people moving in.  As 
fast as they are finished, they're sold, and they are 
occupied, and they're generally two and three-family 
houses being occupied.  You can't find a place to rent.
	I grew up in Rockaway.  I live in the 
west end of Rockaway, but I went to school in the east 
end.  I still live in the same house.  My daughter went 
to school in the west end.  When she married, she moved 
into the east end, and her son went to school up here, 
up in the west end.  It just worked out that way.
	How could we do that?
	Because we are one community.  We've 
always been a diverse community, and we are getting more 
and more so, but we all have the same problems.  We have 
the transportation problems, which have already been 
discussed.  We've had problems with airplanes, which 
have made headlines.  I don't have to go through that.
	We have more long term care facilities 
than any other part of the city.  We have more public 
housing than any other part of the city.  
	We need to keep a representative that 
represents all of us.  As has been mentioned, we are 
more of a white population than anything else, but we 
elected a Black Senator twice.  We had Senator Walden, 
and we elected Senator Smith, so that doesn't become a 
question.  If we get someone good, we're going to vote 
for him.
	You may notice that those of us who came 
together on the bus are all white --
	VOICE:  I'm not.
	MS. BERGER:  Except for two, that's what 
I was going to say.  I haven't forgotten you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  He, also, had the 
Republican line, too, I think.
	MS. BERGER:  Yes.  That wasn't my 
	MS. BERGER:  I forgot, we also have all 
these SROs.  Our problems are different from the 
problems of say, Forest Hills.  We're not a summer 
community any more, but we get a large number of people 
in t he summer, day trippers.  It presents a completely 
different problem for policing the area.  So, we've got 
transportation problems, we're at the end of the line.  
When we ask for better transportation, they say, oh, we 
can't do it, the line that goes down there is the 
longest line, that's why you get such poor service.  I 
don't get the logic, but that's what they keep telling 
	I work with Senator Smith in a different 
category.  I've been a part of his Veteran's Advisory 
Committee.  I'm a World War II veteran.  I've seen him 
in operation, and I've seen how he works for the area.  
He was tied to the area, in many ways, before he ever 
became our representative.  He knows our problems.  I'd 
like to keep someone there who continues to work for us.
	Sure, we have to share the representative 
with another area.  That will happen no matter what.  
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Go on finish up, that's 
	MS. BERGER:  I'm used to using a timer 
myself.  I run a meeting
	At any rate, we know we have to share any 
representative, but if we're divided into a smaller and 
smaller portion, we become a smaller and smaller tail on 
a larger dog somewhere else.
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	Rochelle Guinness.
	MS. GUINNESS:  It's Guinness, like the 
	MS. GUINNESS:  Good evening everybody.  
My name is Rochelle Guinness.  I live in the Nesponsit 
section of Rockaway, and I work in the Far Rockaway 
area, as a mental health professional.
	I'm here tonight to appeal to you about 
our being able to keep Malcolm Smith.  I speak on it for 
a couple of reasons.  Because of the community interest 
that he has shown, not only with what we've been through 
in the last few months, which has been monumental, we 
are certainly on the map, and everyone knows where 
Rockaway Beach is now.  But, Mr. Smith has been 
ongoingly aware of what's going on with the development. 
 Development of the old urban renewal area, that's been 
vacant for years, since I was a tiny child, and I'm now 
	I work in the Far Rockaway area, and I 
work with a very diverse indigent population.  Malcolm 
Smith is aware of those issues.  He has worked very hard 
with us to maintain our hospital in Far Rockaway, that 
was in a Chapter 11, to be on board with the community 
and not close.   We are a highly underserved area in 
health care.
	I don't want to -- I want to again mirror 
what Sara said.  I live in the west end, I work as a 
health care professional in the east end.  We have two 
little hospitals.  I know that Malcolm has been on board 
with us with all of those issues, with getting 
development, not only with houses, but with schools, 
with businesses, because we're going to have a shortage 
of stores with the amount of homes that are being built. 
 Malcolm has been on top of this.  
	I think that with what we've been 
through, we need continuity and not fragmentation, and 
so I'm appealing to you as a board to please consider 
that we be able to keep him in our 10th Senatorial 
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  You would like to see 
the continuity and the continuation --
	MS. GUINNESS:  Of his being able to 
represent us.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Okay, thank you.
	Eva Farrell.
	MS. FARRELL:  Good evening.  I'm Eva 
Farrell. I'm from Rockaway Point.  I'm a resident of 
Rockaway Point, and I'm basically here to support the 
continuation of Malcolm Smith as our Senator.
	You really need to keep somebody in our 
community, who is in touch with our needs, aware of what 
the needs of Rockaway are, and willing to work with us 
in improving the problems that we have out in Rockaway. 
 Malcolm Smith has come to our Good Government 
Democratic Club on a number of occasions.  I've spoken 
to him personally, people in the club have.  He's aware 
of our problems with transportation into the Rockaways. 
 He's aware that ordinary residents who live there don't 
want to travel and hour and a half to two hours, both 
ways, to go to work.
	As a mother of two young children, he is 
aware that there is a great deal of overcrowding in our 
schools, and he is also aware that as time goes ont, 
that's, also going to become more problematic, because 
there's a lot of building in Rockaway, a lot of housing 
being built, a lot of people having children.  There's 
many people I know who are having children now, who are 
afraid they won't even be able to get their children 
into the schools that are in our community.  
	I feel that if the Senator was to change 
at this point, you're starting from ground zero again, 
trying to get somebody on board to be, at least, aware 
of the issues, and to start working on them.  People 
have to decide whether they're going to stay in the 
Rockaways or whether they're going to leave, and issues 
like it taking two hours to get to work, and not knowing 
if you can put your children in the local school are 
issues you're going to consider in whether you're going 
to stay in that community or not.
	I have to say that Malcolm Smith has 
personally assured us that he will take these 
considerations we've brought to him seriously.  He will 
take them seriously, he will try to work on them with 
us.  He shares our interest in these issues.  That's 
very important, because in the past, we don't feel we 
had that kind of representation on many issues.  I don't 
know if it will be any different in the future.  We 
understand he is not a miracle worker.  He has 
constraints to work within, but at least he's willing to 
try, and he's willing to look at these issues, and to 
help the ordinary people of Rockaway who live there.
	So, I'm here tonight to just reiterate 
some of my colleagues point of view, that we want the 
lines to retain the same Senator from the 10th District 
that we have now.  We feel he shares our commonality of 
interest, and we would like to keep Breezy Point, Broad 
Channel, and Rockaway together as one, because it does 
have a very divisive effect on the community for people 
who are living across the street from each other to have 
different representation, and for there to be certain 
political backlash if one representative is able to help 
one side of the community, and another representative 
helps another side of the community. 
	We're a racially and religiously mixed 
peninsula as a whole, and we would like to have somebody 
who can represent all of us.  We share the same 
libraries, we share the same Post Offices, we share the 
same schools, we share the same water, we share the same 
air traffic noise, and we have common problems.  So, I 
would ask you to consider keeping those three 
communities together, in terms of your redistricting 
decisions, and to please consider keeping Malcolm Smith 
in his position as our representative.
	Thank you very much.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Let me assure you that 
representing Long Beach, I share the noise with you, and 
I certainly do understand that.
	But, you do feel its important to 
maintain the core and the continuity of the district for 
the people of the Rockaways and the neighborhoods?
	MS. GUINNESS:  Yes, I do.  I think for 
him to -- for the ball to be dropped now, would be to 
the entire communities detriment.  He's at least aware 
of these issues.  He's asked for our survey in terms of 
restoring transportation to the Rockaways.  He wants to 
review that survey.  He's not promising us anything, but 
he will review it.  We'll have another survey done, 
possibly, if we have to.
	At least he is taking our complaints 
seriously, and I think to switch now to somebody else, 
who would have to start from square one would just set 
us back in time.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	MS. GUINNESS:  Thank you very much. 
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Eric Strangeweiss.
	MR. STRANGEWEISS:  I'm from Sheepshead 
Bay Brooklyn, and I'm here because, of course, the 
Brooklyn hearing was during the day.
	The fact that these hearings are not 
scheduled in the evening at a convenient time is part of 
the low priority that's given to this matter, not 
necessarily from your commission, but from the 
Legislature and, I guess, ultimately, the people of the 
state have given this a whole effort a low priority.  
That's, also, seen in the web site.
	For instance, if the web site has maps, 
which are black and white, not only not very easy on the 
eyes, but hard to read.  If you look at the meeting 
transcripts, you click on that, you not only find 
there's no meeting transcripts available, you find, 
also, that you get, like X40 parentheses input error.  
So, there's some sort of technical error.  Obviously, 
not much resources were put into that or any aspect of 
	Turning to the substance of things, what 
I suppose energized me was the creation of a district in 
Sheepshead Bay.  Before I mention that, I want to start 
with one quote that really struck me, and that was this. 
 It was referring to the Councilmanic race, but -- the 
same redistricting, but the same principles apply to 
	If they cooperate with us, we'll 
cooperate.  If they're wiseguys about it, we'll 
redistrict them out to Weehawken.  That comment was made 
by representative -- not representative, Councilmember 
Giamato, Republican of mostly Staten Island.  He gets a 
piece of Brooklyn, too, the way the districts go.
	Now, you can't really blame him.  It's 
defensive against what he perceives.  He's in the 
minority, but getting back to Sheepshead Bay, we have 
this narrow corridor going down between Y and Z, Avenues 
Y and Z, a single block wide, to connect between 
Bensonhurst or Dyker Heights area and Bay Ridge, and 
over to Mill Basin.  According to John Hamilton, the 
political columnist of the Bay News and other Courier 
Life Papers, this was created as a seat for Marty 
Golden, to have a large number of Irish Americans, and 
to not have as many Jews.
	Now, I don't know whether that's true or 
not.  Maybe, it's in the meetings with the non-existent 
transcripts.  Maybe, you haven't had meetings.  So, 
welcome to get to know each other.  According to the 
site, there's no meeting transcripts.  
	But,  whether or not it's true, the fact 
that this kind of specter of prejudice and bad feeling 
is even being raised is serious, and it illustrates the 
fact that there has to be a higher level of rationality 
and humaneness in this process of redistricting.  
	The two-party system is existing at the 
sufferance of the American people.  There is no 
representation of the Green Party, or the Working 
Families Party in the redistricting process.  It's a 
throw back to just a two-party system, to bossism and 
things like that, and if it doesn't work, the American 
people, and the people of New York State will change it.
	Now, according to everything that I 
understand, the Assembly and the Senate, when they're 
controlled by opposite parties like this, have a 
gentleman's agreement.  They each don't bother the other 
side if they let the dominant party in each house set 
the district lines, and they don't bother the others.  
This should not be, and you can imagine how polarized 
the staff must be.  I can only appeal to the staff to 
try to maintain some principles in all of this.
	When a bill, a certain type of bill, the 
Speaker or the Majority leader of the Senate release 
their legislators, they could vote their conscience, 
this is the way the redistricting should be done.  The 
staff working with the commission members, should be 
released from party obligations to come up with a 
rational and humane system of redistricting.
	I just want to say quickly, I do not go 
along with some of the people who want to keep 
communities insular.  Of course, there are going to be 
district lines, and they may cross neighborhoods, but 
they should be rational.  They shouldn't be odd shaped 
	Thank you.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.
	That completes --
	VOICE:  She didn't sign in, but she wants 
to speak.
	MS. HARRIS:  Good evening, and thank you 
for allowing me to speak without a card.
	My name is Terry Harris.  I'm the 
President of Bay Towers Tenant's Association, and I, 
too, come from the Rockaways, and I share the same 
interests as my former residents, partners, associates. 
 We all live in the same area.  We all have the same 
problems, as you already have heard.
	But, someone spoke about you live across 
the street from your neighbor, and someone else is 
representing you.  That is so true.  Bay Towers is 
consists of two buildings, a total of 375 apartments.  
When we vote, one have to go to one area of one 
building, and the other building has to go to somewhere 
	Now, for the past five, ten years or so, 
many people thought one building thought they were 
represented by someone else, Malcolm Smith represented 
the other half, of Anthony Weiner represented one, and 
somebody else represented the other one.  Now, what we 
are trying to do right now, as you heard from Lenny, is 
to keep everybody together.
	I am a member of St. John's Baptist 
Church, located on 74th Street.  We were looking at some 
property around the area,74th Street and Rockaway Beach 
Boulevard.  When I went to one Congressman, it wasn't 
his district.  I had to go to someone else.  When I went 
to this other person, they said, well, this is not my 
district, but I'll help you the best way I can.
	The thing is, if we had one person, then 
I, too, would remember that one person's name, and we 
could go to this one person for whatever information we 
need or whatever assistance we need.  Right now, 
development is going on all around us at St. John's 
Baptist Church, and we still don't know if we will be 
able to get assistance from anyone, because of the 
different many people that are supposed to be in our 
area, that we don't even know who they are.
	So, I, too, join with my colleagues.  If 
we had one person, and Senator Malcolm Smith has been 
there for us, both in the tenant's association, in the 
community and all around us, he has been there.  And if 
we can truly keep him as our representative, we'd be 
more than happy to do so.
	Of course, we cannot do so without your 
help, so we are pleading to you this evening for your 
assistance, your help in allowing us to keep Malcolm 
Smith as our Senator.
	Thank you.  Of course, before I leave, 
you can see I am one of the minority.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.
	MS. LEVINE:  That would be female; right?
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Is there anybody who 
would like to speak, who has not already had the 
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Seeing no hands, I move 
we adjourn.
	SENATOR SKELOS:  All in favor?
	(No response.)
	SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.
	(Whereupon, 7:10 p.m., the Hearing was 

	C E R T I F I C A T I O N 
	I, FRANK X. GRAY, a Notary Public in and for the 
State of New York, do hereby state:
	THAT I attended at the time and place above-men-
tioned and took stenographic record of the proceedings in 
the above-entitled matter;
	THAT the foregoing is a true and correct transcript 
of the same and the whole thereof, according to the best 
of my ability and belief.
	IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 
21st day of March, 2002.