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






Saul Scheinbach	  
Vice President, Northwest Bronx 
Democratic Alliance

Ramon Cabrera	 
President, Caribe Baseball 
Little League

Robert Rivers, Jr.	 
President, Thurgood Marshall 
Independent Democratic Club

Lilly Lonzao	 
Parkside Residence Council

Ed Mulrain	 
President, NAACP, Williamsbridge

Tomas Francisco Suero	 
President, Great Alliance 
Democratic Club

Luis Alvarez	  
Labor Organizer, Local 1199, 
Coalition for a Fair Representation
in the Bronx

Joe Goubeaud, Esq.	 
Representing City of Mount

Joe Solomine	 
Supervisor, Town of Pelham

James Vacca 	
District Manager, Community
Board #10, Bronx

John T. O'Toole
Resident, Yonkers

David Burrell	 
Eastchester Heights Tenants 
Advisory Board

Monica Berry	 
President, Parkside Association

Ray Solano	 
Resident, Bronx

Jonathan Agusto	
Representing the Hispanic 
Chamber of Commerce

Juan Carlos Polanco	
President, Norwood Volunteers,
Resident, Bronx

Honorable Peter DiPaola	 
Mayor, Pelham Manor, Westchester

James P. Sullivan	 
Resident, Riverdale, Bronx

John McAffree	 
Resident, Riverdale, Bronx

Garth Merchant	 
Resident, Queens, formerly of
Throgs Neck, Bronx

Manuel Sanchez, Esq.	 
Attorney, Bronx, New York

Rev. Jerome A. Green	 
Democratic District Leader, 77th
Assembly District, Pastor, Bronx 
Christian Charismatic Prayer 

Hilda Alvarez	 
Democratic District Leader, 77th
Assembly District, Bronx Unity
Democratic Club

Ted Jefferson	
Executive Director, Bronx Shepherds
Restoration Corporation

Robert A. Williams	
Black United Leadership of the

Rev. Robert Lewis Foley, Sr.	
Minister of Information, Black 
United Leadership of the Bronx,
Pastor, Cosmopolitan Church of 
the Lord Jesus

Catherine Stroud	
77th Assembly District, 
Riverwatch, Inc.

Ade A. Rasul	
Executive Director, Woodycrest 
Center for Human Development, Inc.

Eunice Ajaiyeoba	
Resident, 77th Assembly District

Marcella Brown	
Founder, Marcella R. Brown 
Foundation for Scholarship 
and Humanitarian Services

Sedelle Thomas	
Resident, 77th Assembly District

Pater Wagner 	
Assistant Director, Prison
Policy Initiative

Kay Roberts Dunham	

Inez Harvey	
Concourse Village

Pa' Saikou Kujabi	
The Gambian Society of New York

Louis Lithgow	
Dominican Liberation Party

Lucia Solano	
Dominican Students Association  

Carlton Baldwin	
Resident, Bronx

Duane Jenkins	
Vice President, Resident Council 
of Throgs Neck

Gloria Mangual	
Resident, Pelham Parkway

Michael Pricoli	
Resident, Northeast Bronx

Egidio Sementilli	
Resident, Bronx

Joseph Thompson	
President, 49th Police Precinct 
Council, Member Community Board 
# 11, Vice President, Pelham 
Parkway Little League

Irene Estrada Rukay	
Resident, Bronx

Sallie Caldwell	
Resident, Tracy Towers

Lucia Gomez	
Representing, Puerto Rican 
Legal Defense and Education

Kermit Allen	
Resident, Newburgh, New York
96th Assembly District

Silvio Mazzella	
Board Member, Morris Park Community 
Association, Community Board # 11, 
49th Precinct Council, Advisory Board,
Jacobi Hospital Center

James Pinsley	
Resident, Yonkers

Carol Craft	
Resident, Northern Yonkers

Julio Munoz	
Resident, Bronx

Ottis Edwards	
Resident, 77th Assembly District

Louise Brown	
Resident, 77th Assembly District

Mr. Rojas	
Resident, Bronx

Albert Tuitt
Publisher, Editor-in-Chief,
Uptown Express
			   SENATOR SKELOS:  We are going to start

the meeting.  My name is State Senator Dean Skelos.  I'm

Co-chair of the New York State Legislative Task Force on

Demographic Research and Reapportionment.

               The purpose of this hearing is to receive

input from you, the public as to the proposed lines that

have been published, and I underline the word proposed,

by the Task Force.

The Task Force's responsibility is to come up with

proposed lines, based upon, to the extent we can, your

input, and then at some point vote on the lines and make

a recommendation to the entire Legislature.  It is

ultimately the Senate, the Assembly and the Governor who

have to approve or disapprove the recommended lines of

the Task Force.

               So, we look forward to hearing your

testimony today and at this time I would like to

introduce my co-Chair, Assemblyman William Parment.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you,

Senator.  I'm happy to be here in the Bronx.  I am

hopeful of having a successful day and hearing from the

people of this community about the proposed district

plan, and with that, I would just say welcome, and we

look forward to your testimony.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  A member of the Task

Force, to my left, Mark Bonilla.


               MR. BONILLA:  Good morning, ladies and

gentlemen.  I am the newest member of the Task Force.

I'm a practicing attorney.  I have practiced in all the

boroughs of New York.   My parents are both from Puerto

Rico.  I am born and raised here  in New York.

               My parents had raised eight children, of

which I am the seventh of the eighth.  I am the only one

in my family who received a college degree, let alone a

law degree.  I say that, because I find myself very

fortunate to have received that opportunity, and I

recognize that minorities do have difficulty in

achieving a certain amount of success in society.

That's why I commend the Senator Majority for appointing

a minority to this Task Force, and acknowledging that

diversity is necessary in society, and certainly as part

of this process.

               So, thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Another member of the

Task Force is Roman Hedges.

               MR. HEDGES:  It's great to be here today.

I look forward to hearing from you over the course of

the day, today, and thank you for having us.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Senator Dollinger and

Assemblyman Ortloff are here.  When they come in,

certainly they can make their opening remarks.

               Our first speaker -- and certainly we

would ask everybody to stick to five minutes.  We have -

- right now, we're up to 82 speakers, and I'm sure there

will be more.  So, if you could keep your remarks to

five minutes, we would appreciate it, and certainly

those who follow you would appreciate it.

               The first speaker is Saul Scheinbach, of

the Northwest Bronx Democratic Alliance.


               MR. SCHEINBACH:  Good morning.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Good morning.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  I am the Vice President

of the Northwest Bronx Democratic Alliance.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Can you speak into the

mic, please?

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  The NBDA is a civic and

political organization created a little more than a year

ago, to address issues of concern --

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Excuse me, if you could

wait just a minute.

               If you could close the door in the back,

that might help.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  To address issues of

concern to residents of our community and expand

participation in the political process.  That's why we

are extremely interested in and concerned about how the

lines of our State Legislative Districts are redrawn.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  We can't hear you.  If

you could just

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  You can't hear me?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  No.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  How about now?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  That's better.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  I want to begin by

thanking the task force for its hard work thus far in

developing the draft of State Legislative Districts, and

for the opportunity for the community to be heard on

this matter.  The NBDA previously submitted a set of

recommendations to the Task Force as it prepared the

current proposed lines.  Our central recommendation was

that legislative districts should be drawn to encompass

the natural boundaries of whole neighborhoods and

communities, and even more specifically, that the

majority portion of any legislative district in our area

be located within the Bronx.

               Since elected officials may come and go,

we believe that legislative districts should not be

drawn to favor any political party or candidate for

office, but should encompass whole contiguous

communities, which naturally share common interests in

issues such as schools, parks, public safety, the

environment and housing.  We believe that since the

Bronx residents share a common experience and concern

regarding these issues, it would be beneficial for our

legislative districts to be predominantly Bronx based as

opposed to being only a small part of Manhattan or

Westchester legislative districts.

               We want to commend the Task Force for all

the work it has done in redrawing the lines for the 81st

Assembly District, which covers many of the communities

of concern to our members.  It is easy to see when

looking at a map, that this district encompasses a large

part of whole communities, such as Kingsbridge, Norwood,

Riverdale, and Woodlawn.  We think the residents of this

Assembly District will be well served in having a single

member of the Assembly represent them on a host of

issues, for which they share a commonality of interest.

               However, we are very concerned about the

State Senate Districts that overlap with the boundaries

of the 81st Assembly District.  The proposed 31st and

34th Senate Districts have been the source or ridicule

by almost every concerned citizen group and media

outlet, including the New York Times.  These two

tortured examples of political horse trading resemble

the random doodlings of a two-year old, rather than a

coherent attempt to group communities with common


               We recommend that the entire 81st

Assembly District be part of a single State Senate

District.  We believe this change will benefit all

communities within this newly configured Senate District

by consolidating representation into one elected

official and aggregating the voices and resources of its


               We would, also, like to take this

opportunity to comment on your upcoming task of

redrawing Congressional Districts in New York State.  We

strongly oppose the loss of a Congressional seat in the

New York City area.  The population of New York State

grew by only 5.5% because many of the counties in

upstate New York decreased in population.

               However, New York City grew by 9.4%, and

the Bronx gained 10.7% in population.  It would be a

gross injustice to the voters of the City of New York if

any downstate districts were lost.

               I guess, my time is up.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  A question, sir,

a question.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  Yes.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  I know we're

here on the State Legislative District lines, and you'll

have another opportunity to be heard on the

Congressional lines.  But, I want to point out that the

whole state is going to have to lose two Congressional

Districts, and if you want to know where those districts

are going to come from, the first thing I would suggest

you do is find out where the line is where half the

population is on one side, and half is on the other,

because certainly each half is going to have to lose a


               Up on the wall over here is the

proportionate populations of the three areas of the

state.  The 55 upstate counties, 8,214,000.  The five

counties of New York City, 8,008,000, and the two

counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 2,753,000.  Those are

the numbers that Congress, Senate and Assembly have to

go by.  So, as you're discussing and thinking about how

the math works out, perhaps, those numbers of there will

serve to guide us.

               MR. SCHEINBACH:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Louis Rojas.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Vinico Tavares, T-a-v-a-


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Ramon Cabrera.


               MR. CABRERA:  My name is Ramon Cabrera.

I live at 2124 Harrison Avenue, number 2, in University

Heights and represent the Caribe Baseball Little League.

I am the President.

               I have lived in the northwest Bronx for

15 years and seen the growth of our neighborhoods.  I

have devoted my time to work with baseball little league

ever since.

               In the northwest Bronx we have a big

Hispanic community.  We have approximately 15 baseball

little league organizations that serves 4,500 children

and adolescents of this community.  90% of this

population is Hispanic, and the majority of these are


               I am here today to testify that we

support the creation of the new proposed Assembly

District, which will allow our neighborhoods to elect a

representative of their choice, who knows and respect

our needs and concerns.  The growth of Latinos in the

Bronx make the creation of a new district in this area

an obvious choice.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               MR. CABRERA:  Okay.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  You're going to have to

help me with some of these names.  Y-u-g-e-l-k-a,

Tapiea, T-a-p-i-e-a.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Nelson Castro.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Robert Rivers.

               MR. RIVERS:  Good morning.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Welcome.

               MR. RIVERS:  My name is Robert Rivers,

Jr., and I use the Jr.

               I am from the Bronx.  It's nice to see

you gentlemen again, but I see the makeup of the

Committee is the same as it was the last time we met.  I

see you have taken to our suggestion and made this a

public meeting, where everyone can get into it, and I

applaud you on that.

               But, my objections are the same as they

were then, that we in the northeast Bronx -- you cannot

hear me?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Mr. Rivers, maybe, if

you speak directly into the microphone.

               MR. RIVERS:  That those of us who live in

the northeast Bronx, that I represent -- and since I met

you, I am the President of the Thurgood Marshall

Independent Democratic Club -- are happy and pleased

with the representation that we now have, that we are

getting into place, and we are reluctant to change the

demographics.  As the gentlemen previously said, I agree

with the gentlemen, that New York City itself gained in

population, and you showed us these numbers up here and

you keep telling us, according to the numbers we must

lose two -- not you, but your colleague showed us these

numbers and explained these numbers to us, and said

according to the numbers, is where the City will lose

two Congressional seats.  I know this is a State Senate

and Assembly District hearing, but again, we are happy

with the districts, and the representatives that we now

have, and you keep insisting that according to some

magical formula, you must change things.

               We hope that you change them for the

better, because it's a foregone conclusion that you're

going to change them.  We hope that you change them, and

you consider what the people here are telling you and

not just having us coming in to do this exercise in


               Again, you're back here in the Bronx, and

I understand that this is a Bronx-Westchester hearing.

There are no representatives on your panel from the

Bronx or Westchester.  The young man comes from Nassau

County, and it's great to see Mr. Bonilla, but I don't

see anyone there that looks like me, and it's time, if

we're running a democratic society, that people that

look like me, that represent me, be on these panels that

decide the fate and the configuration of the districts

in the City.

               Any questions, gentlemen?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. RIVERS:   Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  And we thank you for

applauding the Senate Majority in appointing Mr. Bonilla

to the Task Force.

               MR. RIVERS:  But, Mr. Bonilla is one of -

- and he doesn't represent the Bronx, nor Westchester

County.  I think the panel should be made up to show

representation from New York City and Westchester

County, and it doesn't reflect that.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  I think your complaints

should be taken up with the Minority Leader of the

Senate, Marty Connor, who comes from New York City, and

he opted to appoint somebody from upstate.  That was his


               MR. RIVERS:  But, I also made this

comment at the last hearing sir, and apparently, it was

ignored.  Not only did I make that comment, sir, other

people made the same comment.  So, apparently, it was

ignored by the panel is virtually the same.  There is no

New York City representation here or Westchester County,

and I think there should be if you're going to decide

the political structure down here in New York City, if

you're going to decide what the districts are going to

be.  I think we should have some input, up front, on the

panel that's drawing these different districts.

               Have a nice day, gentlemen, and lady.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Is Lilly here, come on up.  What we're

going to try to do is maybe move that table up a little


               MS. LONZAO:  Ladies and gentlemen, my

name is Lilly Lonzao.  I'm from Parkside Houses in the

north Bronx.  I'm also a Community Board member, and a

community activist, so I'm very proactive in my


               I'm here on behalf of Ruth Thompson.

She's been newly elected as Senator, and I would like

the present boundaries to remain.  In the past, we had a

Senator who was not a hands on Senator, who was not

committed, was never seen in our community.   We had the

opportunity to meet with Ruth Thompson.  She's made

herself available to our community and our constituents

as well, and she's demonstrated that she has true

dedication and concern as far as our community concerns.

               I, also, want to take this opportunity to

also support Assemblyman Jeff Klein.  I've worked with

him for a number of years.  I've had the opportunity to

work closely with him.  Any time any of my constituents

or any of my community or the surrounding community,

he's always been there.  I think you would be doing a

great disservice to our community at large for losing

Jeffrey Klein.

               I also want to take this opportunity,

that as a Hispanic and as a woman, I think that it is

important that you take into consideration that as

active parts of the community, we need the attention,

and when we have certain political people who show true

dedication in their public service, it should be at

least something that we should cherish.  As community

individuals, I think that you should take that into

consideration, because whatever changes -- have you ever

heard that phrase, if it's not broke don't fix it,

because maybe the changes that you do make may be the

biggest mistake ever.

               That's all I have to say.  Thank you and

have a good day.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  So, you think that one

of our considerations in drawing the lines should be,

perhaps, preserving existing lines in order to

facilitate the continuing relationships that people such

as yourself have established?

               MS. LONZAO:  Yes.

               I mean, for example, Jeff Klein has

always been -- any time we needed him, he's always been

there, and that's why his constituents time and time

again have elected him, because he's always been there

for the forefront.  Wherever there's a cause, whenever

there's been police brutality, whenever there's been

some injustice or something that isn't fair, he's always

showed his true convictions, and that's honorable, and

because of that, we don't have that many individuals in

public service that demonstrate that quality, it's very

rare in this day and age, and I think that it would be

doing a great disservice to the community at large to

change our district.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Well, I know that I've

had the opportunity to work with Mr. Klein on numerous

issues, whether it's concerning, the City, update or the

Island, and it's been a very, very responsible

relationship, and I thank you for being here today.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Could I ask one


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Yes.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  The question that I

have is, you've talked about the importance of

preserving the boundaries and relationships, but one of

the things we have to deal with is the rising new voices

in communities.  Communities change.

               My question to you is, you obviously have

stated a preference for maintaining current

relationships, but if a community changes, shouldn't

those relationships change as well, because of the

nature of change in the community on the ground, where

the neighborhoods change as new voices and new

communities need a voice, shouldn't those be a

consideration as well?

               MS. LONZAO:  Well, you know, I'm

privileged.  In my community, we're a diverse community,

and you know, this is not a Hispanic or Black issue,

this is a people issue, and I think that, you know -- I

mean, a perfect example, you know, the Assemblyman is

caucasian, he's Jewish, but he's never, never ever

demonstrated prejudice to a African-American, a

Hispanic, and he's always had a good rapport with the

community at large.

               I mean, the diversity doesn't bother me.

What bothers me is that if you have true dedicated

public servants, then don't you think that it would be

doing a grand disservice to take that away from the


               We're the ones that live in these

communities, we're the ones that are faced with all the

trials and tribulations.  If it's not because of people

such as myself and others who are proactive in their

community, would our voices be heard?

               I mean, it takes a few of us, like the

former First Lady, she says it only takes a couple of

people to build a small village.  Well, that's what we

are.  Each community is a small village,and it's up to

us to take responsibility, and don't insult our

intelligence, because we know that it's about time that

we stepped up to the plate, because the government can

no longer do it for us.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               MS. LONZAO:  Thank you, and have a good


               SENATOR SKELOS:  You, too, and thank you

for being here.

               Ed Mulrain, of the NAACP.

               MR. MULRAIN:  Good morning.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Good morning.

               MR. MULRAIN:  I'll read my testimony so

that no words will go unsaid, and if it's all right,

that we stand and I'll have my two assistants stand here

with the map; is that okay?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Yes.

               MR. MULRAIN:  So you can understand

clearly what we're talking about.  I think visual is


               The Coalition of Bronx NAACP branches

would like to thank the State Legislative Task Force on

Demographic Research and Reapportionment for allowing us

this opportunity to speak on behalf of our constituency

in the Bronx.  As you know, the NAACP is the oldest

civil rights organization in the United States, with

over 2,000 branches worldwide.  The Coalition of Bronx

NAACP branches, with over 2,00 members, make up four

branches throughout the Bronx, which includes Bronx

Branch, Co-op City Branch, Parkchester Branch and the

Williamsbridge Branch.

               The Coalition of Bronx Branches have

reviewed the redistricting lines proposed by the Task

Force and find them to be grossly misrepresenting at

best and totally unfair at worse.  The NAACP has always

protected the rights of African Americans who were under

represented or misrepresented.  This proposal by the

Task Force not only disempowers the African American

community, it denies it its basic right for fair and

proper representation.

               The 2000 Census suggests that 46% of the

Bronx population is Hispanic, while 34% is Black and 14%

is White.  The proposed plan by the Task Forces gives

Whites the same number of Assembly Districts as Blacks,

whose population is almost two times more.  The current

proposal by the Task Force would give Hispanics 46% of

the representation of the Bronx while giving Whites and

Blacks the same share of 27% representation.  This is

unfair and unequal representation.

               The Coalition of Bronx NAACP Branches

have proposed a way to fix the inadequacy and unfairness

of the Task Force proposal.  We have redrawn the lines

to promote a fair fight, better representative Assembly

District in the north Bronx.  The proposed Assembly

District by the NAACP would make it possible for African

Americans to compete for the district in order to better

represent a viable constituency in the Bronx.

               Using the 82nd Assembly District and Co-

op City as an anchor, the NAACP would reverse the Task

Force lines to the north and bring them west towards

Pelham Parkway and into the Norwood Section of the

Bronx, ending with the landmark buildings of Tracy


               These lines would better represent the

Bronx's overall population shift according to the

Census.  With the NAACP proposed lines for the new

Assembly District, Whites have 18% of the representation

and Blacks have 36% of the representation, all in

proportion to their population.

               What has kept the NAACP alive is the fear

of turning back the clock of time, those days when

discrimination and misrepresentation was the order of

the day and no justice could be found for miles.  We

don't want to turn back the clock.  Instead, we want to

declare, as we all raise our flags, that America is fair

and wrong can be turned to right and injustice to

justice.  We believe that those who hold the power of

the pen can draw the lines that fairly represent all

women and men.

               We hope that you will redraw the lines

that the NAACP has proposed, and that you will consider

our fair representation and our fair way of drawing

these lines.

               Thank you for your time in this matter.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Assemblyman Parment.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Yes, so that I

am sure I understand your proposal, these lines that you

show are suggested districts to be created in the Bronx,

the enclosed by the red line?

               MR. MULRAIN:  Right.  The red lines

outline the lines that we would like to propose for the

district.  Currently, the district goes toward the

north.  Instead, we would reverse the 82nd Assembly

District and move it towards the west, so that it takes

into the population that's in proportion to the Census

data in the Bronx, and that we could have a fair fight

district in the Bronx, so that another African American

could run for the seat, and it would simply be a fair

fight district, which means that it takes into the

population consistent with the information that we've


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  And would your

plan maintain the existing 83rd District westerly

boundary as is?

               MR. MULRAIN:  I'm sorry?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  The westerly

boundary on the current 83rd District, where would that


               MR. MULRAIN:  The westerly boundary would

go towards Pelham into Co-op City, all the way over to

Tracy Towers  in the Norwood section.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  What about the

west boundary of the current 83rd District; what shape

would that be?

               MR. MULRAIN:  The current 83rd Assembly

District would basically remain the same.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  It would; okay.

               MR. MULRAIN:  I mean, we went slightly

into the 83rd, but the overall 83rd Assembly District

would remain the same, and then it wouldn't take

anything away from any other constituency, because if

they felt like running, they could still run and

represent that constituency.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  You mentioned

percentages of population.  Do you have a number of what

the proposed district total populations would be in

those two districts that are outlined?

               MR. MULRAIN:  The proposed 82nd Assembly


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Correct.

               MR. MULRAIN:  It would be 42% Black, 32%

Hispanic, and 19% White.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  What would the

total population be?

               MR. MULRAIN:  Oh, 121,000.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  And that's the

case with the 82nd that you've drawn there, 121,000?

               MR. MULRAIN:  Right, 121,000 give or


               But, according to the Assembly Districts,

they're supposed to be within that range.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Okay. thank you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  May I?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Go ahead.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  I don't want

argue with you, but the appropriate average Assembly

District is 126,510.

               MR. MULRAIN:  Right.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  These districts

are already too small.

               MR. MULRAIN:  We used this as an average

of what we've given you here today.  We can make the


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  You can make the


               MR. MULRAIN:  We can make the 126,510.

Just keep it a fair fight district.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  I believe you

can.  That's a -- I just wanted to point out that it's

not 121,000, it's 126,000.

               Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Charles Quinlan.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Charles Quinlan here?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Tomas Suero, S-u-e-r-o.

               MR. SUERO:  Good morning.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  We welcome you.

               MR. SUERO:  I am Tomas Francisco Suero.

I live in the Bronx --

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Can you just get a

little bit closer to the microphone?

               MR. SUERO:  All right, I am Tomas

Francisco Suero.  I'm living in the Bronx for about ten

years.  I bought a house in 152 West 175th Street.  I

represent the Coalition for a Just Dominican and

Hispanic Representation in the District.  I'm going to

read my testimony in Spanish, but I'll give you ten of

them in English; all right?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  We do have a person that

can interpret it if you would like.

               MR. SUERO:  Mr. President, and members of

the committee of the political distribution of the State

of New York, the Coalition for a Just Representation in

the Bronx.  This coalition which includes more than 40

organizations, community leaders, professional

associations, commercial leaders, religious

congregations and others, take this opportunity to  let

it be known its wishes that districts be created that

reflect the characteristics of its population.

               We have seen the districts proposed by

the committee for the political distribution by the

Assembly of New York for the Bronx borough.  We have,

also, checked the plans presented by the committee for

the rights of the voters of the Metro New York area, and

we support the two plans.  Such plans include the

creation of a new Assembly District, which covers the

following neighborhoods, University Heights, Morris

Heights, Tremont, Fordham and Kingsbridge Heights.

               The creation of this new district would

maintain our community unified, which is in accordance

with the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United

States.  Also, such criteria of the  traditional

political distribution, which includes that the

communities be compact and contiguous, respecting

political subdivisions, also preserving the common

interests, and also protecting the  incumbents and

reaching the political goals, the court has recognized

as additional factors, the following.  Countries with a

common origin, cultural ties and economic

characteristics, common means of communication, public

services shared by the community, including health

clinics, stores, public transportation, work places, and

also, a means of voting.

               This new Assembly District satisfied all

the criteria of the political distribution previously

mentioned.  It will be a compact district, with a

majority of its population that resides in the northwest

of the Bronx.  It will preserve a common interest with

commercial ties.  This district will respect the

political subdivisions.  It will also protect incumbents

and will reach the political goal of empowerment, and it

will give a voice to the community with common interests

in the Assembly of the State.

               Also, it will be a great opportunity to

elect a representative which will understand the needs

and the wishes of the community.

               During the last decade the Hispanic

community in New York experienced a tremendous growth.

The 2000 Census registered that the Hispanic community

represents 27% of the total population of the City of

New York.  The Dominican community has experienced the

largest growth within that community, making it one of

the biggest Hispanic communities in the Bronx, of the

City of New York, and the nation.

               The Dominican Community has made great

contributions to the Bronx, the City, and the nation.

It is a hard working community, which owns approximately

1,500 small businesses in the northwest Bronx and over

6,000 in the entire City, and it has approximately $2

billion in its buying power.  Nevertheless, this

neighborhoods only count with the representation of a

member in the Assembly, and one member in the City


               The time has come for these common

interests to allow us to obtain a post in the political

table.  The time has come for this community in the

Bronx to have the opportunity to elect its favorite

candidate for the State Assembly.  The creation of a new

Assembly District will allow this community to simply do


               The organizations and individuals signing

below are all in support of the creation of the proposed

new Assembly District, which will finally give a voice

to this presently silent community.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.  It

won't be necessary to read all of them.  Would you

please give the stenographer the testimony so we can

make sure we have the names, and we thank you for being


               Luis Alvarez.


               MR. ALVAREZ:  Good morning to everybody.

My name is Luis Alvarez.  I am a labor organizer for

Local 1199 and, also, a community activist in the Bronx.

               Mr. Chairman, and members of the

Reapportionment Task Force, the Coalition for a Fair

Representation in the Bronx, comprising of more than 40

community based organizations, community leaders,

professional associations, business leaders, religious

congregations, among others, takes this opportunity to

make known its wishes for the creation of districts that

are reflective of the characteristics of the residents

that inhabit them.

               We have reviewed the proposed Task Force

districts for the Bronx, specifically the newly created

AD 86, and the proposed AD 78.  We, also, reviewed the

proposed plan from the Latino Voting Rights Committee of

Metro New York, and we strongly support both

submissions.  The new district will connect the

following neighborhoods.  University Heights, Morris

Heights, Tremont, Fordham and Kingsbridge Heights.

               The creation of this new district will

keep the community together in accord with the rulings

from the U.S. Supreme Court.  In addition to the

traditional redistricting criteria that include

compactness and contiguity, respecting political

subdivisions, preserving communities of interest,

protecting the incumbents, and meetings political goals,

the court has recognized as additional criteria to be

keep in mind.

               For example, common country of origin,

cultural background and economic status, common medical

markets, shared community services, including health

clinics, stores, public transportation and work places,

and voting patterns.

               This new Assembly District would satisfy

all of the redistricting criteria. It will be a compact

district with a majority of its inhabitants residing in

the northwest Bronx.   It will preserve an entire

community of interest bound together by business,

professional, cultural, health and community based

organizations.  It will respect the current political

subdivisions.  It will protect incumbents and meet

political goals, and the entire community of interest

will be empowered, giving it a voice in the New York

State Assembly, and an opportunity to elect a

representative of their choice.

               During the last decade, this Hispanic

community in New York, as you know, Mr. Chairman,

experienced tremendous growth.  The 2000 Census has the

Hispanic community representing 27% of the total

population of the City of New York.  The Dominican

community has experienced the most growth within the

Hispanic community, making it one of the largest

Hispanic communities in the Bronx, New York, and the


               The Dominican Community has made great

contributions to the Bronx, the City, and the nation.

It is a hard working community, which owns approximately

1,500 small businesses in the northwest Bronx and over

6,000 in the entire City, and has approximately $2

billion in its buying power.

               However, this community can only count

with the representation in our neighborhood of only one

the Assembly member, and one member in the City Council.

Mr. Chairman, the Dominican community have only two

representatives, a City Council member from Washington

Heights, and also, an Assembly member, also, in

Washington Heights.  We don't have any political

representation in the Bronx, even when we are the second

largest Hispanic group in the Bronx.

               The time has come for this common of

interest to obtain its own representation in the

political table.  The time has come for this emerging

community in the Bronx to have the opportunity to elect

a candidate of its choice to represent it in the State

Assembly.  The creation of the new Assembly District

will permit this community to do just that.

               The organizations and individuals signing

below are in support of the creation of that proposed

new Assembly District, which will finally give a voice

to this presently silent community.  I'm going to read

the following organizations.

               Episcopal Church The Mediator, Bronx

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Great Alliance Democratic

Club, Club Deportivo & Cultural 30 de Marzo, Dominican

Women Caucus, Dominican Coalition of New York, Center

for the Development and Protection of Dominicans, Caribe

Baseball Little League, Inc., Hermandad Dominicana,

Fundacion de Becas para Estudiantes Dominicanos, Alianza

Maena, Asociacion Egresados de la UASD, Asociacion

Cotuisana USA, US Healthcare, Liga Deportiva Los

Diamantes, Liga Deportiva Sol Naciente, Movimiento

Deportivo & Cultural Dominicano, La Mano News,

Asociacion de Mujeres Progresistas, Asosciacion de

Navarretes Ausentes, Centro Hispano Dominicano, All

Green Corporation, Parada Dominicana de New York,

Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, Partido de la

Liberacion Dominicana, Congreso Dominicano USA, Bhomea

Arte Vivo, Prestige Car Service, Asociacion de

Enriquillences Ausentes, Quick Services Center Corp.,

The Computer Repair Networking Organization, the Bridge

to Martial Arts, Rev. Luis Barrios, Dr. Rafael Lantigua,

Guillermo Linares, Miguel Martinez, City Council Member,

David Rivas, Dr. Bienvenido Fajardo.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. ALVAREZ:  As you know, Mr. Chairman,

I just only stress that this is a big opportunity to

allow our community to have a fair representation.

Thank you so much.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               I'm just going to remind everybody, the

Task Force has indicated in its notice, and at the

beginning of the meeting, and we're going to ask you to

keep your testimony to five minutes.  We have a lot of

people that are looking to testify.  The Task Force will

be here all day, all night if we have to be to take all

the testimony, but for those who are waiting patiently,

we're going to ask everybody for five minutes.  I you

have testimony, you can submit it.  It will be the same

weight as oral testimony, but please, from now on five


               Joe G-o-u-b-e-a-u-d.

               MR. GOUBEAUD:  Good morning.  It's Joe

Goubeaud, 22 West 1st Street, Mount Vernon, New York.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Nice to see you again.

               MR. GOUBEAUD:  Nice to see you.  I had

come before you when you were in Westchester back in

July.  I've had an opportunity to look at the plan that

you've come up with, and I'd like to thank you for

listening, at least part of the way, to that plan.  We

had asked you at that point in time, on behalf of the

citizens of Mount Vernon, to keep those cross county

line districts with respect to the Senate and, also, the

fact that we had two Assembly people at that point in


               I see that you did, with respect to the

Senate plan, continue the concept of having two

different Senators represent the City of Mount Vernon,

and while it does run over the Bronx and Westchester

border and people sometimes point out that that may not

be the best.  I would argue that it is, and I would ask

you to continue with that plan.

               As you see, if you draw on the map, and

you follow what would be, presumably the border between

the Bronx and Westchester, you see that there is a jut

which runs up into Westchester.  I don't know what

happened roughly 120 years ago, when they decided where

that line should go, but if you look at all of the

properties on the tax map in the City of Mount Vernon,

which abut the Bronx, every one of them has the city and

county line drawn through the middle of it and,

apparently, every tax lot there is part in the Bronx and

part in Westchester.

               Presumably, it goes back to the concept

that all of what is now Westchester County and much of

what was the Bronx was all Westchester County before the

turn of the century.  If you look at the earlier maps,

the town of Eastchester ran from where Eastchester

currently is today, all the way to Throgs Neck, which

was located in the Bronx as well, and was to the west of

that.  That's why it became Westchester.

               If you look even the murals that are

depicted here in this room, it indicates that

Westchester was in the Bronx.  So, they do have that

commonality of interest that we would think should be

considered by the new districts.

               I know there had been some talk of

extending one or two of the Senate Districts over into

Queens.  Having spoken with people from Representative

Lowey's office, which currently has part of Westchester,

part the Bronx, and part Queens, they had indicated

quite a bit of difficulty in terms of melding the

interests of the various counties.  The current plan

would, I believe, serve the City of Mount Vernon, and

the County of Westchester, and those people in the 34th

and 35th Senate District very well.

               Initially, I had said you hadn't done so

good, and that was with regard to Assembly Districts.  I

think with regard to Assemblyman Pretlow's (phonetic),

guidelines or boundaries, it might have been wiser to

run his district into that northern Bronx area, because

as I said, there is still a commonality of interest

among many of the people who are there.  I'm a

practicing attorney.  I practice in the City of Mount

Vernon, and you see many of the clients come in, they

come in from both areas.  They do feel that there is a

community there, and the communities that are there are

well represented.

               Mount Vernon, being only four square

miles, but containing 70,000 people, being one of the

most densely populated cities on the east coast, needs

to have more voices in Albany.  In the past, we've been

represented as many as three Senators.  1982 to 1992, we

were in three Senate Districts, and had three Senators

represent us.

               Prior to that, we were all in one

district, which was represented by Senator Pizzani

(phonetic), and it also included New Rochelle and the

south shore, and Mount Vernon was kind of the tail on

the cat.  Since we've been represented by more than one

Senator, we have, I believe, obtained our fair share.

As I said, it's only four square miles, but it contains

100 different divergent population sources.  We have a

parade each year where we honor the diversity that we do


               Accordingly, I believe we are represented

very well by the two Senators that we do have, and with

the currently Assembly where it is.

               It's been lovely to see you this morning,

and I do want to thank you for holding the Bronx

Westchester hearing at a time when we can all be here.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Let me ask you a

question.  Your Senators in Mount Vernon are?

               MR. GOUBEAUD:  The Senators we currently

have in Mount Vernon are Senator Guy Valella (phonetic),

and Senator Ruth Thompson.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  And you think it's

important that where we can as a task force, that we

preserve existing lines because you've established

relationships with your representatives, people are used

to who their representatives are, and that's something

that we should consider?

               MR. GOUBEAUD:  I think that that is

important.  Senator Valella and Senator Thompson have

represented the area very well.  And as I said, while it

does cross that imaginary boundary line between the

Bronx and Westchester, the communities that are there

are represented well by those that are currently in

office, and I believe there should be a continuity with

respect to that representation.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Any other questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

Good seeing you again.

               MR. GOUBEAUD:  Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Joe Solomine.

               How are you?

               MR. SOLOMINE:  I am Joe Solomine.  I am

the Supervisor for the Town of Pelham.  My comments will

be very brief.

               When last we met in White Plains, if you

recall, Mayor Davis and I stood together.  We talked

about advocating -

               SENATOR SKELOS:  I'm not sure if you have

to move the mic away a little bit or closer, we'll try

it that way.

               MR. SOLOMINE:  Is that any better?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  We can barely hear you.

               MR. SOLOMINE:  Is that better?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Yes.

               MR. SOLOMINE:  I'm the Supervisor for the

Town of Pelham.  Pelham is the southern most town in

Westchester County.  The population is 12,000.  We're

right between New Rochelle and Mount Vernon.

               When last we met in White Plains, I think

you'll recall Mayor Davis and I were advocating the

status quo in the 34th Senatorial District, which is

represented by Senator Valella.  I'd like to compliment

you, I think you listened.

               I think the Senatorial plan that you've

devised has identified what wished.  There's a general

feeling out there, in the locally elected officials,

that state elected officials just don't listen to us,

and you did, and I appreciate that.  I think it works.

The relationships that have been developed in the

southern tier with Ruth and Guy works, and I want to

thank you for that.

               Basically, you know, this feeling of

Bronx and Westchester and boundary lines, you know, I'm

originally from the Bronx, born and raised in the Bronx.

Pelham Bay.  I don't know if any of you are Kiwanians,

do any of you belong to the Kiwanis Clubs?

               I don't  know if you know this, but Bronx

and Westchester are a division.  The southern part of

the Bronx -- I mean, northern part of the Bronx, and the

southern part of Westchester are a division because of

the commonality, the hospitals that we service, the

churches that we service, the youth programs that we

service.  They interlock so much, so there is a real

commonality of interest.

               That's basically my statement.  If you

would like to engage me in a question or two, I'd be

happy to entertain them.  Otherwise, that's my


               Thank you for being so responsive.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               Jim Vacca.

               MR. VACCA:  Hello, my name is James

Vacca, and although I don't represent any organization

today, for identification purposes, I've been District

Manager of Community Board 10 in the Bronx for 21 years,

and I've also served as --

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you just wait a


               If you just move away from the mic, let's

try it that way, moving it away from the mic.

               MR. VACCA:  Okay.  My name is James

Vacca, V-a-c-c-a.  Is that better?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Just keep going.  If he

can hear you, that's what's important.

               MR. VACCA:  Okay.  My name is James

Vacca, and although I do not represent any organization

today, for identification purposes, I am the District

Manager of Community Board 10 in the Bronx, where I have

served for 21 years.  I have also served as Vice

President of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers, as an Executive

member of my Precinct Council.  I have been very, very

active in the northeast Bronx, and all of its civic

associations and fraternal groups for many, many years.

               When I look at the map for the 34th State

Senate District, I really have to say it brings back

memories, because in 1975, I served as President of the

Northeast Bronx Community Council, which was a

federation of 25 civic associations and those civic

associations spanned an entire community in the

northeast Bronx, and we were brought together to fight

common issues, high real estate taxes, the Pelham Bay

garbage dump.  These were issues that impacted many,

many communities.  Well, those communities banded

together in the '70s, and those communities have been

left intact by your proposed map of the 34th State

Senate District.  It's important that communities with

common interests be grouped into contiguous districts.

Insomuch as what I see at the 34th District, it's very

much like it is now.  It groups neighborhoods with

common concerns.

               In fact, in my community, I'm a resident

of Throgs Neck, we basically coined the term quality of

life, and quality of life issues are what dominate the

34th Senate District.

               I would add that I know it goes into

Westchester County, but those of you who know the Bronx,

and who know Westchester County, know that one house in

the Bronx is bordered by the next house that's in Pelham

Manor.  Mount Vernon is across the street from the

Bronx.  People who live in Yonkers lived in the Bronx

all their lives before moving to Yonkers.  We have

friends, family, we're not separated by bridges.  We're

not separated by vast park land.  It is really a

district where people in the suburbs border people in

the city and face common issues.  We have a continuity

of interests.

               So, therefore, I hope that when this

commission, who I know has worked very hard and who I

thank for your diligent efforts, that when this

commission reviews the testimony, you will decide to

keep the boundary lines of the proposed 34th intact, as

is, because they group neighborhoods with similar issues

and similar concerns together.

               Thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Jim O'Toole.

               If I could ask the people in the

audience, it's getting a little noisy, and it's very

difficult to hear.  So, if we could just keep the

chatter down or at least move it to the back, it would

be appreciated.

               Thank you.

               MR. O'TOOLE:  Ladies and gentlemen, my

name is John T. O'Toole.  I'm a resident of Yonkers,

however I did spend my more than formative years in the

Bronx.  I've been reminded of that by Mr. Vacca, who I

have not seen in 25 years.

               I want to thank you for hearing me today.

Most of all, I want to thank you for listening to the

community.  I, too, was one of those people who

testified before you in White Plains.  I testified

before you in favor of keeping Senator Guy Valella in

Yonkers, in Westchester County.

               I should precede this by saying that I am

Chairman of the Board of Bryn Mawr Knolls Taxpayers, and

the former Chairman of the Save Yonkers Federation,

which was na umbrella group in Yonkers of 40 taxpayer

groups, which is in reformation.

               I appreciate the fact that it appears

that you have listened to the community.  I have not

seen the lines, but what's been explained to me, the

proposed Senate plan is much better than any other plan

I have heard about.  I've heard the plans about Queens,

I've heard plans about taking the Senator and pushing

him down into the Bronx, all sorts of things.

               The community would be against any of

these changes.  The residents of Westchester and the

Bronx share certain issues, as has been indicated before

to you. Most of us, like myself grew up in the Bronx, or

lived in the Bronx at some time and now have moved to

Westchester.  We share issues on school, crime, property

tax, most of those.  Senator Guy Valella has been the

most responsive State Senator that I have experienced in

all my years of life.  Senator Valella works for his

district and its residents.  He is responsive, as I

said, he's helpful, and he's supportive to community

needs.  He has bridge the gap, if there is one, between

the Bronx, the northwest Bronx, the northeast Bronx, and

Westchester County.  He has brought them together,

brought their residents together, and we've addressed

issues together.

               There are natural borders, as has been

explained to you between the Bronx and Westchester.  I

feel like I've been listening here today, and I may be

in the minority.  You know, I believe in one nation

under God.  I believe that the best person to do a job,

the most successful person that does a job, should be

allowed or at least able to do a job.  I don't believe -

- you know, if what I've heard here today is followed by

you guys, we'll have a State Senate, and Assembly, and a

City Council of maybe 235 people, because everybody is

going to want one representative on it.  We have to

stick with what's best for the community, what's best

for the taxpayers, what's best for the voters.

               In my opinion, in Yonkers, that's keeping

Guy Valella, and I thank you very much.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  The next witness is

John, F-r-a-t-i-a.  Is John here?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  David Burrell.

               MR. BURRELL:  Good morning, all.  Before

I begin, I have to state that in my testimony before you

there is a typo, and when I reach that line, I will tell

you what that typo is.

               My name is David Burrell, and I am a

resident of the northeast Bronx, which is served by

State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson.  I am a member of

the Eastchester Heights Tenants Advisory Board, which

serves over 1,400 families.  I am, also, a community

activist, and I serve the Williamsbridge and Baychester

sections of the Bronx.

               I first met now State Senator Ruth

Hassell-Thompson, at a meeting of the Thurgood Marshall

Independent Democratic Club.  After examining her

record, I was impressed with her experience as a

legislator, and with her dedication to the people she

served in Mount Vernon.  Her past record included her

stand on community issues, such as children and

education, the elderly, health, the quality of life and

family values.  As a State Senator, she has maintained

her dedication to the people she serves, and has

established an open rapport and dialogue with the


               My community has not had the privilege of

such a legislator for many years.  I say now my

community is confident in its senatorial representation,

and I look forward to working with her for many years to


               At this time, I want to state that I am

in full support of the Task Force proposal for State

Senate District 36, and I welcome new constituents to my


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Now, you've indicated

that you're in support of the Task Force recommendation,

at this point, or proposed lines --

               MR. BURRELL:  That's correct.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  -- for this Senate

District, that is presently represented by Senator


               MR. BURRELL:  That's correct.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  And you think it's

important that, basically, the communities, whether it's

Westchester or the Bronx have developed a relationship

with her, that would be good to continue if we keep the

district the way it is?

               MR. BURRELL:  Absolutely.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Okay, thank you.

               MR. BURRELL:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Monica Berry.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Is Monica Berry here?


               MS. BERRY:  Good morning.

               Good morning, my name is Monica Berry,

and it's a pleasure for me to be here this morning on

behalf of Senator Ruth Thompson.  I am the President of

the Parkside Association, and our organization works

very, very hard in order to provide our residents and

our community with the assistance and the support that

they need to have.  Our community is a very diverse

community.  We try to have as many types of community

activities and meetings so that people can be proactive

in working together.

               Our community has, also, in the most

recent years, been kind of disenfranchised, because some

of the services of some of our political people were

words only.  Words are great, but we need someone who is

going to provide the services to our residents, and meet

their concerns.

               At this point, Senator Ruth  Thompson is

our newly elected Senator.  Our community came out and

voted strongly for her.  She has come out already to our

community and has reached out, inquired about some of

the concerns, and is moving to action to resolve some of

those.  Any change at this point in time would be very

heartfelt for our community.  We need to have Senator

Thompson remain with us.  We need the boundary lines to

remain the same, so that the services that she is now

beginning to fulfill for our community will remain


               It is important because we are a

community.  We are family.  Our needs are the same.  She

has said to us that she will be there for us.  Others

have said that, but others have not been. So, please,

with the boundary lines, please keep them the same so

that we can continue to forge our relationship with our

new Senator.

               I thank you.

               I would, also, like to use this time to

speak on behalf of Assemblyman Jeff Klein.  Again, our

community has worked very diligently with him.  He is a

person whose office door is always open.  We have worked

with him for many years.  He visits our community, he

holds meetings.  He hears what our constituents have to

say.  It is important, again, that these lines remain

the same, so that we can continue the relationship that

we have with him.

               As you all know, anyone who has worked

with Assemblyman Klein, knows his fairness, knows his

openness, and knows that he will do anything to try to

help a community or help an individual.  Because of his

involvement over the past number of years, again, our

residents, and our community have hope.  He has been the

beacon of light that has helped people to say there are

political people whose word can be trusted.  This is

important.  Communities need to know that there are

people working on their behalf.

               A lot of folks do not understand what the

changing of boundaries and lines can do.  They only know

that when their person that they have voted for is no

longer there, or is being threatened, that they will

come out on their behalf.

               I'd like to thank you for this

opportunity to speak on behalf of Senator Ruth Thompson,

and Assemblyman Jeff Klein.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  If I could just ask you

a question.  As I mentioned earlier, with Jeff Klein I,

too, have -- we're of opposite parties, but have

developed a wonderful relationship working on

legislation that I know that Senator Hannon has been

involved with as Chair of the Health Committee to help

Calvary Hospital, even though it's not within our

districts.  We've established tremendous relationships

there with Nassau and the Bronx, and I believe that's

what government should be about.

               MS. BERRY:  Absolutely.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  And certainly I would

say you're relatively or you are happy with the lines

that we've drawn right now for Senator Thompson, and for

Assemblyman Klein, and you would ask us to preserve

these district lines as drawn, because you have

established a relationship with these legislators, and

you think the lines are appropriate as drawn?

               MS. BERRY:  Absolutely.  For a community

at one time, which was not proactive, not interested,

and disenfranchised, a new light has been triggered by

their involvement, and as a community leader, it would

sadden us to have our constituents be disappointed.  So,

we do want those lines to remain the same.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MS. BERRY:  Thank you very much.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Ray Solano.

               Before you start, I would like to

mention, there are some of our members here.  I know

that Senator Valella is here.  Senator, we welcome you.

               I'm not sure if there are any other State

Senators here.  If you are, I do welcome you.

               Assemblyman Parment.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Yes, I would

like to recognize Peter Rivera, who is here in the

audience, and Gary Pretlow.  Hopefully, I haven't missed

any of my other colleagues, but I know those two are



               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. SOLANO:  Good morning.  Thank you for

this hearing.  I want to thank you specifically for

listening to us a few months ago, and for keeping the

34th Senate District similar to what it was before.

               I have to tell you, I'm a little biased

because I own a medical supply company in Westchester,

and I live in the Bronx.  So, I've had a tremendous

experience working with Senator Guy Valella's office.  I

have to tell you, having been a lifelong resident in the

north Bronx, that all of my friends either live in the

north Bronx, or live in Westchester, and their parents

still live in the north Bronx.  So, there is a

tremendous commonality of interest in terms of, just

thinking about my family, where my parents live, and

where my sisters live in Westchester.

               I'm very excited about you keeping the

lines the same, because if you recall, the lines were

redrawn about ten years ago, and if you look at what's

happened in the Bronx and Westchester County, you've

seen a tremendous success in delivering services to the

community, capital improvement, our roadways have

increased.  For me, it takes me about 15 minutes to go

to my business, and then to go back to my home.

               So, I can tell you friends and family --

I'm basically speaking from the heart, are very excited

about keeping the Senate District the same as it was,

that you developed ten years ago.

               One thing I am adamantly opposed to is

making this Senate District part of Queens County.  If

you know the history of Queens -- I don't know, some of

the Assemblyman, the communities you represent, but

Queens County probably about 100 years ago, was part of

Long Island, and as a matter of fact, as you said, when

you mail out a letter to somebody that lives in Queens

County, you must put the respective town, because there

are many 69th Avenues, Glendale, Fresh Meadows, Middle

Village, Maspeth.  Those communities have common

interests with Long Island.  So, I must tell you, that I

like to stay the course and keep Bronx-Westchester in

that 34th Senate District, and I am adamantly opposed to

putting Queens County in the district.

               Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               Jon Agusto.

               MR. AGUSTO:  Good morning.  My name is

Jonathan Agusto.  I'm representing the Hispanic Chamber

of Commerce.

               I agree with the proposed change of the

lines.  It's beneficial to all the communities, to all

the businesses in the Bronx.  As a Bronx resident

myself, I notice sometimes the districts are not fairly

represented, but I also feel that the new changes will

make this borough, and all the district in the borough

fairly represented.

               That's all I had to say today.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Juan Carlos Polanco.

               We welcome you.

               MR. POLANCO:  Good morning.  Thank you.

My name is J.C. Polanco, and I'm a Bronx resident.

Thank you for being here today.  I know you guys were

beaten up this morning for not being from the area, but

the fact that you care enough to be here this morning

speaks for itself.

               Again, you've paid careful attention in

the past to the concerns of the constituents, and I hope

that, once again, you take our concerns under


               I am here to express my concerns about

some who are not content with the plan presented by the

New York State Senate.  I have studied the alternative

ideas and can tell you ,without a doubt, that the

proposed Senate plan is by far what's best for us the

constituents.  The Senate has demonstrated, once again,

its understanding that keeping neighborhoods together is

vital.  It's vital for running the operations of day to

day government.

               Just think about it for a second.  In the

Bronx itself, our Senator, Guy Valella, has managed to

take neighborhoods from far northeast Bronx, and the

northwest Bronx and bring us together and, also,

neighborhoods from Westchester County, and I want to

take this opportunity to explain that we do share very

similar demographics in the northeast and northwest

Bronx, with our Westchester counterparts.  Demographics,

such as age group, annual income, and concerns such as

crime, education, high taxes, property taxes at that,

and you can even ask our neighbors in Westchester, being

Pelham, New Rochelle and Yonkers, whether they share

more with the northwest and northeast Bronx, than they

do with their Chappaqua, White Plains neighbors.  Just

ask the Clintons, I guess.

               The issue of Queens County, I think,

should be taken into consideration.  We have very

dissimilar interests, us and the 34th, that proposed

34th Senatorial District.

               For example, we don't have an airport in

our backyard, and that alone is a huge problem that us

in the 34th Senatorial District, we have nothing to do

with.  I want to make sure that the Committee

understands that Senator Valella leading the fight in

Albany, as a powerful member of the majority, has been

able to pay careful attention to the details in the

neighborhoods, whether it's parking or the Norwood

Volunteers, which I head.  He has been there for us day

to day.

               I want this committee to understand this

carefully.  Any plan of redistricting that you heard

this morning, for example, from one of the

organizations, based on race, is absolutely prejudicial,

and to think that we should make our districts

representative of some proportion of races and

ethnicities, and make an assumption of how they're going

to vote is absurd, and I want to make sure that this

committee decides to keep the 34th Senatorial District

the way it is.  It is incumbent that you do it.  We need

Senator Valella in there fighting for us in the Senate

in Albany and in our Bronx community.

               I thank you again, for taking this


               SENATOR SKELOS:  I have a question for


               MR. POLANCO:  Please.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  The Senate line as drawn

in the '90s, and as proposed now for the next ten years,

you believe that your community has been effectively


               MR. POLANCO:  Oh, without a doubt.

Without a doubt.  I think -- just picture it for a

second.  We have a powerful Senator in Albany, who cares

about the district.

               Why would anyone want to change a

powerful Senator?

               He not only cares about the district, but

has managed to keep people of all different ethnic

groups, and as you heard earlier from Mr. Vacca, all the

different civic groups and organizations together.  Why

mess with that on some proposal of prejudicial ideas

based on ethnicity and percentage is absolutely absurd.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  I believe two of the

prior witnesses, Mr. Burrell, and Ms. Berry, indicated

that their district they're very happy with their

district lines, the representation that Senator Hassell-

Thompson has provided, and they want us to keep those

lines the same, also.

               MR. POLANCO:  Right.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  So, what you're

basically saying, where a community has established a

relationship with a legislator, whether it's a

Republican or a Democrat, and sometimes the Assembly or

the Senate, that it is appropriate for the Task Force to

take this into consideration when drawing the lines.

               MR. POLANCO:  Definitely.  You must take

that into consideration.  Forget about race percentages,

and forget about voter registration, because we're in a

district in the 34th Senatorial District, where our

Senator is a four to one underdog, as far as Democrat to

Republican, but we continue sending him up there to

fight for us, and he continues to win.

               There is a point that you also forget

about race when it comes to this  and you consider

issues.  I'm an educator myself, and I can tell you that

Senator Valella has fought for education.  I'm a public

high school educator in the Bronx, and I can tell you

without a doubt, that he is a person that we need

representing the Bronx in terms of education in Albany,

and that's just one of the issues.

               We must keep him up there, we must keep

the Senatorial Districts the way they are.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. POLANCO:  Are there any other


               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I just have a quick

comment.  Your comment about race and other issues, I

would just point out that your suggestion that we can

ignore these really flies in the face of, frankly, legal

restraints that are placed upon us.  The Voting Rights

Act, the Federal Voting Rights Act, and other

requirements from the United States Supreme Court say

that we can't ignore it.  How we deal with it --


               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  How we deal with that

issue is a matter left to the Legislature, to this Task

Force, and to the State Legislature and the Governor.

               And the other thing I just want to say, I

appreciate your comments about the hardworking Senator

Valella.  There's no question we heard at the last

hearings, we've heard today, about the importance of

having someone who does a good job.  But, I would

suggest that the notion simply of having a good

legislator, somebody who works and does the right thing

is not the preeminent concern that we have.  We're

looking at contiguousness, compactness, Federal Voting

Rights requirements, State Constitutional requirements,

and Federal Constitutional requirements.  We can look at

incumbency.  We can look at the way communities have

representative who have served them well for a long

period of time, but the question we have to answer in

this Task Force, and in the State Legislature, is to

what extent that becomes the preeminent factor in all

those other factors.

               So, I appreciate your comments about

Senator Valella, we've heard them in the past.  But, in

considering the options and the choices and the

variables that we use, that's one of them.  It's not the

only one.  That's the point I want to make.

               MR. POLANCO:  Is that a question; can I


               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  You can comment if

you wish.

               MR. POLANCO:  Thank you, Senator.

               I appreciate the comment, however, I am,

also, a second year law student at Fordham Law School,

and I got an A in Constitutional Law, and I could tell

you I know very much about the Voting Rights Act, and

the Voting Rights Act, as it pertains to the 34th

Senatorial District, I need you to understand that

racial gerrymandering is what the Voting Rights Act was

after, and any sort of proposal brought to this

committee on the fact that we should not create

Senatorial lines and Assembly lines on the basis of race

is racial gerrymandering.  I think that it is wrong, and

it is wrong for the committee to undertake.

               Thank you once again, and I appreciate

your time.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  There is a proposal, I

believe, that would take this district, and I think it

was touched upon, and totally reverse it and put it into


               I mean, would you consider that a

political gerrymander?

               MR. POLANCO:  That would be a political

gerrymandering, of course.  Why take a community that is

so close together, as far as issues involving property

tax, education, and crime, quality of life issues, and

take millions of gallons of water, a bridge and some new

airports to divide us on the whole point of

gerrymandering.  I think it's totally wrong, and I think

the committee should really look at the interests of the

constituents, like you did in the past.

               You've done a great job as far as

listening to us, and I hope you take our concerns under

consideration again.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. POLANCO:  Thank you very much,


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Peter DiPaola.

               MAYOR DI PAOLA:  Well, you're going to

hear some more good things about Senator Valella.

               Good morning.  My name is Peter DiPaola.

I live in Pelham Manor, Westchester County, and

presently, I am the Mayor of Pelham Manor.  I want to

thank you for allowing me to speak today concerning the

Senate's plan for redistricting.

               In previous appearances before this

committee, the community had suggestions that were put

before you, and this committee listened and responded by

following those suggestions.  You understood that the

problems and concerns of the northeast Bronx, the

northwest Bronx and lower Westchester are similar.  Many

of these problems and concerns can't be separated by a

man made line on a map.

               There are issues that these neighboring

communities face such as crime, runaway property taxes,

school funding, and school security.  These problems and

situations need to be addressed by representatives who

are responsible and responsive to all who live in these

contiguous communities.

               We have nothing in common in this area

with the residents of Queens.  These people are not only

separated from us by a natural divide, they Long Island

Sound, but by different concerns.  They have needs

unrelated to the ones we have or are concerned with.

Queens is affected by airport traffic and sound

pollution problems.  They're affected by  of highway

congestion, flooding, shoreline erosion and concerns

that are not held in common with the northeast and

northwest Bronx, and lower Westchester County.

               As a representative of a lower

Westchester County community, I want to express my

gratitude to Senator Valella for all he has done for the

region he has represented.  Whatever the situation or

the need that has arisen, Senator Valella has always

been there for all the people he represents.  He has

been a champion for the aged, tending to their needs.

Whether it has been a community transport van, or fixing

up a senior citizens center or meals on wheels program,

the Senator has come through for his constituents.

               If a children's program has a need for

assistance, Senator Guy Valella is the guy you call.  He

has helped after school programs, organized recreation

and day care programs.  Our concerns for our children

have been his concerns.

               The respect he has for the great war

veterans of our glorious nation is evident in the

assistance he has secured for tax relief, medical

funding, and in securing funds for memorials to honor

our heroes.

               Senator Valella has worked to improve

conditions for commuters in this district by upgrading

parking and stations.  This makes train travel more

attractive, and reduces automobile usage, and reduces

pollution and congestion.

               Senator Valella, along with Senator

Thompson, and Assembly persons Klein and Kaufman, have

served their community in a truly bipartisan fashion.

They have managed to bring together political

organizations, religious groups, and people of diverse

ethnic backgrounds in both the Bronx and Westchester.

               This is why I feel strongly that the

Senate plan is much better than any plan that anyone has

proposed.  The Senate plan is going to preserve the

status quo in the best way it can.  We want things to

remain the way they are now, and any attempt to change,

we are against, and we hope you will listen to our


               I thank you for listening to me, and hope

that you will heed the request of our joint communities.

               I, also, want to add that I am -- I was

born in the Bronx, and came from those roots, as they

say.  Presently, we have a family business, and we are

in the situation where half our building is in the

Bronx, half is in Westchester.  We have common concerns

with both communities.  It is true, we have very little

in common with Chappaqua and further north.  They're

different types of communities.  I work in those areas,


               So, to redistrict -- to change the

district from the Senate plan would be very wrong.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Any questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               Jim Sullivan.

               MR. SULLIVAN:  Good morning.  My name is

James P. Sullivan, and I'm a resident of the Bronx.  I

live in an area called Riverdale, which you may be

familiar with.

               just by a point of information, besides

being a community resident, I have, also, been a

Community School Board member.  I have been the

President of a Home School Association, and I have been

on a Parish Council.  Currently, I am a member of a co-

op board in Riverdale.

               I would like to say that I have been a

Bronx resident all my life, except for the time I spent

in the Marine Corps.  I want to thank this committee for

doing a good job in proposing the Senate District number

34 plan and following the suggestions of community


               I have seen the plan, and I am glad it

preserves the status quo as best that it can.  It keeps

the northwest Bronx, and the northeast Bronx together

with Westchester, where we share some of the common

concerns regarding crime, schools, and real estate tax


               On a personal note, I would like to say

when Gaelic Park -- those of you who are not familiar

with it, it's the Irish Athletic Field, which is still

in the Bronx, still in Senator Valella's district, he

was very supportive to keep it open and keep the lease

going for the athletic associations of Irish


               We, also, have coming up with the St.

Patrick's Day Parade, which I'm sure you're all familiar

with, that we have an East Bronx St. Patrick's Day

Parade, and we have other parades, whether in

Westchester or in other parts of New York City, which

continue the Irish heritage, which Senator Valella has

always supported.

               I would, also, like to say -- you've

heard some previous speakers mention a program, which

could be designed, which would include Queens as part of

a Senate District. You've heard numerous statements from

speakers here, and also, that there are a number of

bridges so you would have to pay tolls to go back and

forth to Queens County.  That would create some kind of

hardship for members of people who live in the Bronx.

Also, they have the Long Island Sound in between.

               I would, also, like to say that Senator

Valella has always been supportive and responsive to our

community needs in the Bronx and Westchester.  No matter

what they have been, Senator Valella has brought us all

together.  We now have many elected officials and

delegations, such as Senator Valella, Senator Thompson,

Assemblyman Klein, Assemblyman Kaufman, who have acted

in a truly bipartisan fashion, bringing together all

ethnic, religious and political organizations in the

Bronx and Westchester.  For those and many other

reasons, I would encourage you to support, which you

have done, the continuation of the present lines, which

is why we're holding this hearing today.

               Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  If I could ask a


               MR. SULLIVAN:  Surely.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  It seems that whether

it's Senator Valella's district, Senator Hassell-

Thompson's district, Jeff Klein's district or other

individuals in those communities, that your community

has established a relationship, a positive relationship

with that delegation, that they work hard for the

communities, and that you would like to see that


               MR. SULLIVAN:  Yes, that is true.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MR. SULLIVAN:  In addition, let me just

add, it's not just my community in the northwest Bronx,

because I know people both in Westchester, and also in

the east Bronx, some of the previous speakers whom I

know because of different organizations and committees,

we have all worked together.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Just one question.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Sure.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Mr. Sullivan, one of

the things that a number of speaker have focused on is

this relationship between Westchester and the northeast

Bronx.  But, there have been other changes in the Bronx,

in the character of its population, in the number of

people, and the communities in the Bronx itself.  So,

when people say to us, we've got to keep the status quo,

the problem is, that the status quo is not what exists

in the Bronx.  It's not the same community, the same

county it was ten years ago, and one of the things that

we have to do is take into account those kinds of

changes, changes on the ground.

               Does the fact that that's one of the

things we have to do, does that affect your testimony in

any way?

               I mean, if there were a portion of this

district that was -- that had changed, is there any

portion of it that you, as a representative coming from

this district would acknowledge has changed?

               MR. SULLIVAN:  Let me digress, if I may,

to your question.   Most of you, if not all of you will

recall the Bronx, probably, in the 1920s, '30s and '40s,

and possibly even into the '60s, where we had a Bronx

Borough President, James J. Lyons (phonetic), where we

had a lot of elected officials in the Bronx, who were

predominantly Irish, then Italian, then Jewish.  Having

lived in the Bronx all my life, and having been involved

in a lot of elections, both as running campaigns and

assisting campaigns, from the Mayor on down, I myself

have personally gotten involved and run campaigns in the

Bronx in the Assembly, State Senate and other offices

where I have supported minorities all throughout the

Bronx.  I'm familiar with the latest census, why we're

holding this hearing, that the Bronx is only 14%

ethnically white, and therefore, I know that it has


               Right now, I believe, and you probably

work in the State Senate, where you have three out of

the four State Senators from the Bronx, who are

Hispanic.  Therefore, I agree with you, it has changed,

and the demographics have changed from the different

ethnic groups, which I have mentioned.  So, I am

sensitive to that.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Okay.

               MR. SULLIVAN:  But, still, in the

district you have drawn, it includes, if I may dare say,

my group in that district, who have a lot of

commonalities, such as the Gaelic Park and such other

interests, such as the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

               So, I believe the State Senate now has

been fair to ethnic groups, where you have three out of

the four, meaning three-quarters of the Senate in the

Bronx, who are representing minorities, and only one-

quarter that would be representing people of my

distinction.  So, I appreciate your comment, and I'm

very much aware of that, and I hope I have answered your


               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Eme Davis.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  John McAffree.

               MR. MC AFFREE:  Good morning.  Almost


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Almost afternoon.

               MR. MC AFFREE:  Okay.  Ladies and

gentlemen of the committee.  My name is John McAffree,

and I'm a lifelong resident of that section of the Bronx

known as Riverdale.  I'd like to thank you for holding

these hearings on the proposed Senate Districts, and for

the opportunity to address the committee on such an

important issue.

               Let me begin by saying that the Senate

delegates have done and excellent job in accumulating

and analyzing the substantial critical information to

develop as fair an equitable proposal as possible.  I

know I am not alone when I am saying, I am pleased that

under the current proposal, Senator Guy Valella will

continue serving the citizens of the northeast and the

northwest Bronx.

               Senator Valella has proven to be a

representative of the people and for the people of his

district.  He has been acutely attentive to the issues

that affect all of his constituents.  As the Vice

President of the Riverdale Community Association, coach

in the North Riverdale Baseball League, parent of school

age children, and a homeowner, I have witnessed first-

hand the profound impact Senator Valella has had on our


               For example, when the Russian mission

proposed a five-year construction project in our area,

without financial guarantees for completion, Senator

Valella listened to our concerns, and was instrumental

in its defeat.  When a group of well intentioned

individuals wanted to open a homeless shelter in an area

highly populated with young children, Senator Guy

Valella was the only politician who did not disappear

into the woodwork on this very sensitive issue.  He was

not swayed by the social agendas of the Riverdale elite,

but instead, heeded the concerns of his working class

constituents, the people most directly effected.

               Our the years, Senator Valella has

continuously responded to our community's quality of

life issues, by negotiating with the MTA to preserve the

Gaelic Park, keeping buses off side streets, steam

cleaning graffiti from our commercial strips, boarding

up abandoned houses, and funding Bronx based special

prosecutors, whose sole purpose is to prosecute car

theft.  Senator Valella has, also, initiated substantial

legislation in the areas of crime, gun control, health

and education.  He has accomplished all this despite the

fact that he is a Republican and has been elected time

after time in what is considered a Democratic

stronghold.  This is because he truly understands the

needs of his constituents crossing party lines.

               I'm honored to have this opportunity to

speak out for the man who has for so long spoke out for

us.  I strongly urge this committee to implement your

redistricting proposals as drawn.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Manny Sanchez.

               MS. LEVINE:  You passed number 26.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  I'm sorry, Garth


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Garth Merchant, and then

Manny Sanchez.

               MR. MERCHANT:  My name is Garth Merchant.

I've been a lifelong resident of the Bronx, in Throgs

Neck, and recently moved to Queens, and been active in

Queens politics.

               I'm here to say that the proposed

district for the Senate, where Senator Valella

represents, I oppose it moving into Queens, and the

lines should remain moving into Westchester, and the way

the Senate generate their lines, because I'm quite sure

that as a resident of Queens, we don't want to see that

district moving into Queens.

               Naturally, what the Senator has

represented is very good for the district, and it should

remain that way.

               Secondly, for the Assembly Districts, I

think it's a shame.  37% of the residents of the Bronx

are African American, yet out of 11 district proposed

for Bronx County, only one African American major

district.  So you need to go back to the drawing board

and take a look at that, because that's very

discriminatory.  You couldn't find, out of 11 districts,

with 37% of the population being African American to

only draw one district majority African American.

               So, therefore, some more proposals will

come before you to reflect some changes, and we reflect

the changes proposed by members of the NAACP for the

Assembly Districts.  It's just too discriminatory to

have only one district with 37% of the population.

               Thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Now, Manny Sanchez.

               MR. SANCHEZ:  My name is Manuel Sanchez.

I am an attorney.  My office is in the Bronx.  I have

looked at the plan that's been suggested, and I support

it wholeheartedly.

               I find that the way it is proposed, you

have parts of different communities, you have what we

call the northeast Bronx, the west Bronx, part of

Westchester.  If you are familiar with these

communities, I wouldn't necessarily say that they are

homogenous, but there is a sort of a common denominator.

They're very similar in many ways, and I think that the

plan, as proposed, is a very good plan.  It provides for

representative government in its best sense.

               I've known Senator Valella for many, many

years.  He has served on Community School Board.  My

wife, at the time, was a Community School Board member,

so I got to know him quite well, and I can tell you that

as a board member, and as a State Senator, he's been

very responsive to his community, and that includes

everybody.  I speak now, not only as an attorney, but as

Puerto Rican, and Guy Valella has always been there for

my community, and I applaud him for that.

               I think, basically, what I'm saying is,

to summarize, I fully support the plan.  I think it's a

well thought out plan, which includes parts of the Bronx

and Westchester which are very similar in its


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               Marnio M-e-j-i-a.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Miriam Ventura.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Hector Ramirez.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Reverend Jerome A.


               REV. GREEN:  Good morning.  I am Reverend

Jerome A. Green.  I am the Democratic District Leader

for the 77th Assembly District, and I am, also, Pastor

at the Bronx Christian Charismatic Prayer Fellowship.

               I appear before you, today, to voice my

support for the proposed district lines delineating the

77th Assembly District, which is represented by my wife,

the Honorable Assemblywoman Aurelia Green.  As proposed,

the planned 77th Assembly District preserves African

American and Hispanic voting strength by keeping

neighborhoods intact.

               I want to commend the Task Force for

maintaining the fair and meaningful representation of

African American and Hispanic populations in the redrawn

Assembly District.  The public should know that with

regard to the 77th Assembly District, the Task Force has

preserved local communities of interest, by respecting

the political traditions and histories of the

Highbridge, Claremont and Concourse neighborhoods.

These neighborhoods have been in the same Assembly

District for over 20 years.

               As proposed, and in compliance with the

Voting Rights Act of 1965, and its amendments, the plan

preserves and does not dilute the voting strength of the

African American community in the 77th Assembly

District.  Further, under the proposed plan, minority

voters in the 77th Assembly District, have an equal

voice or an equal chance to elect their candidate of

choice.  It is incumbent upon me to remind critics of

this plan, that it is permissible for the State

Legislature to draft a district most likely to return an

incumbent to office.  Voters in the 77th Assembly

District have returned my wife and my Assemblywoman to

office very year since 1982.

               I mention this fact, because I understand

that other plans had proposed concentrating African

Americans into one South Bronx Assembly District.  Such

plans, if acted upon, would do a great disservice to the

Highbridge, Claremont and Concourse neighborhoods.

               In conclusion, I want to thank the Task

Force for conducting the redistricting hearing in a

manner that is open and accessible to the public.  Thank

you for giving your time and attention to this important

matter, and please have a blessed day.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.

               Hilda Alvarez, 77th A.D. Leader.

               MS. ALVAREZ:  Good afternoon.  My name is

Hilda Alvarez, and I'm the District Leader for the 77th

A.D., and I'm speaking for my constituents, and I also,

work with Ms. Aurelia Green.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you just speak up

a little bit, thank you.

               MS. ALVAREZ:  In my testimony all I want

to ask is to be left intact.  Upholding the fair and

meaningful representation of African American and

Hispanic populations in the redrawn State Assembly,

preserving African American voting strength, and

adhering to the Voting Rights act by not diluting the

community's voting strength.  Redrawn districts must

ensure that the Bronx African American communities have

full and fair opportunities to elect candidates of their


               As proposed, the 77th Assembly District

preserves African American voting strength by keeping

neighborhoods intact.  Communities of interest are

preserved by respecting the political traditions and

histories of the Highbridge, Claremont and Concourse

neighborhoods.  As proposed, minority voters in the 77th

Assembly District have an equal chance to elect their

candidate of choice.  That it is permissible to draft a

district most likely to return an incumbent to office.

The proposed 77th Assembly District will still, most

likely, elect a Democrat, since we're mostly a Democrat

area.  The proposed 77th Assembly District is compact

and contiguous.

               I would like to state the following, that

according to the Census of 2000, over 450,000 Bronx

residents, which is 33.9%, are African American and

Hispanics.  Whites fell to 14.5% of the total

population. As the African American community has grown,

so should our political representation.

               Thank the commission for conducting the

redistricting process in a manner that is open and

accessible to the public.

               Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Ted Jefferson; is Ted

Jefferson here?

               MR. JEFFERSON:  Yes.

               Good afternoon, gentlemen.  I rise to

give testimony, today, to what are the very essence and

principles on which this country is founded.  The

original settlers died for it, some of which were

African Americans.  Though unable to exercise their

precious right, nonetheless, laid down their lives in

support of the principle.

               The founding fathers struggled and

grappled with this critical issue in the formidable days

of the country that we love so well.  I speak of the

inalienable and, yes, sacred concept of one man, one

vote concept.

               My name is Ted Jefferson.  I am the

Executive Director of the Bronx Shepherds Restoration

Corporation, located at 1932 Washington Avenue, in the

Tremont Section of the Bronx.  The Shepherds are a

borough wide faith based organization, whose churches

and constituents across the Bronx, represent an

aggregate number that exceeds 7,000.

               I am, also, here on behalf of the Black

United Leadership of the Bronx, located at 1874

Washington Avenue, which has a combined membership which

represents more than 200 and growing.

               We welcome this proceeding this morning,

for it provides an opportunity to express our concerns

with the disproportionate representation in the State

Assembly.  The 2000 Census shows that the borough

currently has a total of approximately 1.3 million

people.  When broken down into ethnic compositions,

Black comprised, approximately, 33.9, whites comprise

14.5, and Hispanics comprise approximately 48.4.

               I support the proposed Assembly District

boundary lines that have been presented by the State

Legislature for the 78th, 79th, and 83rd.  I further

support the majority minority 80th Assembly District

proposed by the NAACP in the northeast Bronx.  The

proposal is compact and contiguous and unite Co-op City,

Olinville, and the minority of the upper northeast


               I trust that you hear our concerns and

will act on them with equity and fairness.  I beseech

you to be mindful of the one man one vote concept, and

how important it is, in that it is our passport to

government.  It is our passport to services, it is our

passport to community.

               I thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Robert A. Williams; is

Mr. Williams here?

               MR. WILLIAMS:  Good afternoon, lady and

gentlemen.  My name is Robert A. Williams.  I reside in

the Parkchester section of the Bronx, at 81 Metropolitan

Oval, which is located in the 17th Congressional

District, the 18th Councilmanic District, the 76th

Assembly District, the 32nd State Senatorial District,

and in Community Board #9.

               I am a member of BULB, the Black United

Leadership in the Bronx.  I am the Governing officer of

Sports Foundation, Incorporated, which is a Bronx

organization for over 33 years, and I am, also, the

Chairman of the New York Yankee Community Council.

               The Foundation was incorporated March

19th, 1969, as a 501-c-3 public, not-for-profit

corporation.  I am not going to read my testimony that

describes the accomplishments of the Foundation.  I'll

go forward to thank you for conducting the redistricting

process in a manner that is open and accessible to the

public.  It provides me with a public forum to speak out

against inequities, policies and actions that we know

will be detrimental to youth and other populations of

Bronx County for generations to come if demographics,

simple mathematics, fairness and sanity do not rule at

the end of the day.

               The Sports Foundation's motto is,

building social responsibilities through sports, with

the notion that our youth and adult leadership

development programs will help to motivate and

facilitate local resident participation in social, civic

and political matters that affect their day to day

lives.  This is a part of the strategy to help build the

Bronx communities from within.

               I come before you today to discuss two

matters pursuant to the 2000 Census.  Specifically, the

modification and redistricting of the Bronx State

Assembly boundaries, and the creation of a new 80th

State Assembly District in Bronx County.  The Bronx

County population has grown to over 1.3 million people

over the past ten years, justifying the 11 Assembly

Districts for the Bronx.

               First, I rise in support of the Assembly

boundary lines that have been presented by the State

Legislature to the incumbent Assembly person in the 77th

A.D. -- and I've included the map for your edification -

- and  the proposed Assembly boundary lines that have

been presented by the State Legislature to the incumbent

Assembly person of the 79th A.D.  That map is, also,

included.  And the proposed Assembly District boundary

lines that have been presented by the State Legislature

to the incumbent Assembly person in the 83rd A.D.  All

three of those maps have been submitted with my


               Secondly, if logic and fairness are the

standards applied regarding the creation of a new

Assembly District in the Bronx, then the 2000 Census

population count and demographics must determine what

are fair and equitable ethnic distribution of

representatives in the New York State Assembly is.  If

this is acknowledged and provided for by this committee,

and the State Legislature, then Blacks in Bronx County

will no longer be forced to endure the circumstance of

de facto taxation without representation.

               We insist that the redrawn districts must

ensure that the Bronx's racial and ethnic minority

communities have full and fair opportunity to elect

candidates of their choice.  District must preserve

Black residents voting strength in the Bronx by adhering

to the Voting Rights Act, by not diluting Black

communities' voting strength.  Frankly, what motivated

me to testify today, is that the numbers are so clear to

me, and the current distribution of power simply defies

decency and logic.  Or it may represent a higher form of

mathematics, one that I cannot grasp.

               If I am not mistaken, the 2000 Census

reported the ethnic distribution in the Bronx as only

14.5% of Bronx residents are non-Hispanic Whites.

Currently, the Bronx has three White Assembly

representatives.  I strongly oppose the three districts

proposed by the Task Force, 80th, 81st, and 82nd, where

Whites will prevail again, retaining a disproportionate

27% of the 11 Assembly Districts.

               As proposed, the Assembly Districts in

the north Bronx dilute minority voting strength.  This

dilution occurs by splitting concentrated minority

populations between the proposed 80th, 82nd and 83rd

Assembly Districts.  As proposed by the Task Force,

minority voters in the 80th and 82nd District will have

less chance than other voters to elect their candidates

of choice.  It is highly probable that White voters in

both the 80th and 82nd Districts will elect their

candidate of choice, because historically they

constitute the majority of likely voters.

               Blacks comprise 33.9% of the Bronx

population, over 450,000 people.  Currently, the Bronx

has three Black Assembly reps.  Hispanics comprise 48.4%

of the Bronx population.  Currently, the Bronx has four

Hispanic Assembly reps.  Given the Bronx's ethnic

breakdown percentage, there is a flagrant and obvious

disparity in the corresponding number of Bronx ethnic

representatives in the Assembly.

               I understand how this circumstance came

about, and how, as a consequence, Blacks in Bronx County

have suffered from under representation for the past ten

years or more.  This trend must stop, and it will,

because we trust that this hearing is not simply an

exercise in pacification.

               Therefore, as a remedy to this

unacceptable situation, I propose the following

boundaries for the creation of the new State Assembly

District in Bronx County.  I believe that it represents

and qualifies as a fair fight opportunity district, and

I support strongly the majority minority 80th Assembly

District proposed by the NAACP in the north Bronx.  It

unites Co-op City, Olinville, and the minority

neighborhoods of the northwest Bronx.  With this

proposal, uniting north Bronx neighborhoods of color

preserves communities of interest and the NAACP's

proposed district is compact and contiguous.

               Finally, I suppose the sentiment and

theme of my presentation is, in part, inspired by the

character, Piggy, in George Orwell's novel, "Animal

Farm", when he said, in this democracy all people are

equal, but some people are more equal than others.

               This committee has the power to change

this glaring inequity.  Give us a fair deal.  Don't

consciously let this circumstance of under

representation of Blacks in the New York State Assembly

continue in Bronx County.

               Thanks again.  Thank you for your time,

and attention.  Good day.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Rev. Robert L. Foley.

               REV. FOLEY:  To the honorable members of

the State of New York Legislative Task Force on

Demographic Research and Reapportionment, I am Pastor

Robert Lewis Foley, Sr., the Senior Minister of the

Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus, and the Minister

of Information for the Black United Leadership of the


               Cosmopolitan Church is a Christian

congregation, whose membership is predominantly people

of African descent.  Our house of worship is located at

the corner of West 190th Street and grand Avenue, which

is situated within the boundaries of the 78th Assembly

District.  Although the church property is within the

boundaries of the 78th Assembly District, the members of

our congregation are scattered throughout Bronx County

and we, therefore, have some members residing in all of

the Assembly Districts presently existing, as well as

those Assembly Districts being proposed.  It is in their

interest and, indeed, the interest of all people of

African descent residing in Bronx County that I appear

before you here today.

               According to the information that I have

received this Task Force is proposing the creation of 11

Assembly Districts, as per the results of the Census for

the year 2000.  A careful analysis of the 11 Assembly

Districts proposed, suggests that the likely result of

an election would yield five Latino or Hispanic members,

three Black Assembly members, and three White Assembly

members.  At first glance, that seems innocuous.

               However, when one considers that people

of African descent compose 34% of the population of

Bronx County, and whites only 14% of the population of

Bronx County, to deliberately set forth district lines

that would likely provide parity between these two

populations does not satisfy a logical, mathematical or

reasonable standard of equity or justice.  It may be

legal, but it is not just, and it is not fair.

               It is the position of the NAACP, the

Black United Leadership of the Bronx, and my own

personal view, that this unjust and unfair imbalance

with respect to the representation of people of African

descent from Bronx County in the State Assembly can

probably be cured by a redrawing of the lines of the

80th, the 82nd, and the 83rd Assembly Districts.  As

presently constructed and as presently proposed by the

Task Force, these districts dilute the voting strength

and the election opportunities of people of African

descent residing in the north Bronx.

               I, therefore, appeal to you, the Task

Force, to withdraw the proposed district lines for the

80th, the 82nd, and the 83rd Assembly Districts and make

as a part of your official report and recommendation,

the 80th Assembly District lines proposed at this

hearing by the NAACP.  This proposed district will

extend westward from Co-op City across the north Bronx

to Jerome Park Reservoir.  A copy of the outline of this

proposed 80th Assembly District is herein attached.

               On behalf of the residents of the Bronx,

who are members of our congregation, and on behalf of

the general assembly of the Black United Leadership of

the Bronx, I thank you for the opportunity to testify

today as an advocate for equity and justice regarding

the voting rights of people of African descent residing

in Bronx County.

               Thank you.


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Mr. Ken Mercer.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Is Ken Mercer


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Catherine


               MS. STROUD:   Good afternoon.  My name is

Cathy Stroud, and I am the female State Committee member

in the 77th A.D.  I, also, like to think that I was one

of the representatives that went to Kansas City, and we

brought back the All American City award for the Bronx.

               I am the President of my Tenants

Association, also Co-convener of the Sedgwick

Undercliff Safety Council.  So, I've been a community

activist for some time here in the Bronx, and in my

area, at least, I've been here over 30 years now.

               It is imperative that we keep the

district as close intact as possible.  It affords those

of us -- we are in an area where it's necessary for us

to know that we need a fair representation of the

African American and Hispanic population in the redrawn

State Assembly.  We need to preserve the voting rights.

We need districts that will ensure that the Bronx's

African American communities will continue to have their

opportunities to elect the candidates of their choice.

               Our desire is that our Assembly District

preserve the voting strength to keep our neighborhoods

intact.  Our communities of interest are preserved by

respecting the political traditions and histories of the

Highbridge, the Claremont and the Concourse

neighborhoods.  As it is now, it will be permissible to

draft a district most likely to return an incumbent to

office, and we would like to say our Assemblywoman,

Aurelia Green, has been in office for the last 20 years,

and she has been there as one who is for our community.

She has kept an open door, where we are free to go to

her and get results.  She has been one for whatever

needs that we have had.  Health issues, those who are

uninsured, senior citizens, she's been there for us, and

we would like to make sure that our district is intact,

as close as possible, to maintain the issues.

               I would like to take this opportunity to

thank the Task Force for being here, for making

yourselves available for us to address these issues.

Thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Ade Rasul, R-a-s-u-l.

               MR. RASUL:  Good afternoon.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Welcome.

               MR. RASUL:  My name is Ade A. Rasul.  I'm

the Executive Director of Woodycrest Center for Human

Development, Inc, which is a youth development agency in

the 77th Assembly District.

               Woodycrest Center for Human Development

has been providing youth and family services for

thousands of community residents for more than 20 years.

I am one of the co-founders of the agency, and I am a

registered voter in the 77th Assembly District, which is

represented by the Honorable Aurelia Green.

               Let me thank you for providing me with an

opportunity to speak at this redistricting hearing and

to voice my support for preserving African American

voting strength by adhering to the Voting Rights Act,

designed not to dilute the community's voting strength.

I am concerned about my community, where I have had the

fortunate honor or working and voting in for more than a

quarter of a century.  I insist and ask that we continue

to preserve the interests of my community, by respecting

our right to have full and fair opportunity to elect

qualified candidates of our choice.

               According to Census 2000, over 450,000

Bronx residents, 33.9% once again, 33.9% are African

American, and non-Hispanic Whites fell to 14.5% of the

total population.  As the African American community has

grown in the Bronx, so should our political

representation.  Do not unfairly change the rules of

representation through a redistricting when we start

participating in the political game.  I oppose any

redistricting in the 77th Assembly District if it is not

permissible to return an incumbent to office.

               I, also, request that redrawn districts

adequately reflect the 2000 Census and provide people of

color, particularly African Americans with the maximum

opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.  I am

specifically to or particularly referring to the 80th,

82nd and 83rd Assembly Districts.

               In closing, I would like to state that we

are all well pleased with our Assembly representative,

Assemblywoman Aurelia Green, who we have elected to

office for the last 20 years.  She is a woman of

integrity, moral strength, and a much needed role model

of political success in our community.

               Thank you for allowing me to speak in a

manner that is open and accessible to the public.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               D. Lee Ezell, E-z-e-l-l.

               SENATOR SKELOS:

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Eunice A-j-a-y-i-e-o-b-



               MS. AJAIYEOBA:  Good afternoon.  I am

here representing the African American community and

Assemblywoman Aurelia Green.  My name is Eunice

Ajaiyeoba.  I live at 112 Tudor Place, apartment 2A,

Bronx, New York.

               I would like the Task Force to be mindful

of the following.  Redrawn districts much ensure that

the Bronx African American communities have full and

fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choice.

Redrawn districts must ensure that they preserve the

African American voting strength by adhering to the

Voting Rights Act by not diluting the community's voting


               Also, I would like the Task Force to

please be mindful of the history,  the tradition of the

Highbridge, Claremont, and the Concourse Houses.

Presently, we have something great going.  We have

Assemblywoman Aurelia Green.  She's been there for 20

years, and she has done an excellent job.  Her door is

always opened.  She has helped the community in so many

ways, in terms of health, in terms of education, you

know, different issues, and she is a woman of integrity.

               We would like to have a fair

representation of African Americans.  I am in support of

the redistricting, but I would like for the Task Force

to please bear in mind, the African American community,

because if you go back through the history of America,

they did a lot to contribute to this country, to this

nation.  So, please, as you work on this, I am in

support of this, but please, bear the African American

community in mind.

               In conclusion, I would like to commend

the Task Force on the manner in which you have handled

the public hearings.

               Thank you very much.


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Loretta Ruddock


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Loretta Smith.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Marcella Brown.

               MS. BROWN:  Good afternoon, gentlemen.

My name is Marcella Brown.  I live at 1162 Washington

Avenue, in the 79th Assembly District.  I am the founder

of the Marcella R. Brown Foundation for Scholarship and

Humanitarian Services.  I'm a former District Leader of

the old 76th Assembly District.  I am the immediate past

Chairperson of Community Board #3.  I served as a member

for 20 years, and out of the 20 years, I served 12 as

the Chairperson of Board #3.  I am the President and the

founder of the 1162 Washington Avenue Tenants

Association in that particular development, and also, a

founder of the 1162 Community Center for children.  We

service over 200 children daily in the Morrisania area.

               I am a member of the Black United

Leadership of the Bronx, BULB, and a member of the

NAACP.  Today, I come before you to voice my support for

the proposed district lines and the 79th Assembly

District.  My concern is to preserve my community.

After living there for 43 years, and been involved in

the community life for 35 of those years, by respecting

the tradition and the history of the Morrisania,

Claremont Village, and the Concourse Village

neighborhoods.  These are strongly African American

neighborhoods, that have been in the same Assembly

District for over 20 years, and I want to make sure that

the interests and those of my neighbors continue to be

represented in Albany by the candidate of our choosing.

               I just want to continue to give my

support to the NAACP and BULB, for a stronger majority

minority Assembly District in the north Bronx which

unites Co-op City, Olinville, and the minority

neighborhood of the northeast Bronx.

               In closing, I want you to remember that

under the Voting Rights Act, redistricting should not be

diluting minority voting and strengthen the process.  We

would like not to be short changed.

               I would like to thank you for coming here

to the Bronx today and conducting this redistricting

hearing.  Thank you and God bless you all.


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Willie E.P.


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Willie Bowman.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Gregory


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Gregory


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Beverly Smith.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Ottis Edwards.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Leah Ray.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Keith Glover.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Helen Ransom.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Dorian Marshall.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Sedelle Thomas.

               MS. THOMAS:  Good afternoon.  My name is

Sedelle Thomas.  I am a constituent of Assemblywoman

Aurelia Green.  I have been living in that district even

before it became the 77th Assembly District.  I am a

member of the Undercliff Sedgwick Safety Council.

               First, I should like for you to consider

the following objectives, and I think you have.  One, to

uphold the fair and reasonable representation of the

African American and Hispanic American residents in the

realigned Assembly Districts.

               Two, to not dilute the African American

voting strength, by using the Voting Rights Act as your


               Three, to ensure to the fullest extent

that the African American population of the Bronx have a

fair opportunity to elect the candidates of their

choice.  In our favor, and as you'll see, I do favor the

proposed realignment, the proposal for the 77th Assembly

District seems to keep intact African American voting

strength.  It seems to respect the traditional voting

history of the Highbridge, Concourse and Claremont

neighborhoods, and no matter where I work, or where I

live, I seem to be still in the 77th Assembly District.

               Three, allow minority voters in the 77th

Assembly District to have an equal chance to elect the

candidates of their choice.

               Four, most likely provide for the

election of a Democrat, and as has been said before, it

is permissible to draft the district to return the

incumbent to office.

               Five, show the Assembly District to be

compact and contiguous.

               Finally, I should like to bring to your

attention that according to the Census of 2000, there is

approximately 34% of the total population of the Bronx

that are African American, meaning that our numbers have

grown.  In that respect, so should our representation.

               In closing, thank you for making this

process open and accessible to the public, and now I can

return to work, because I'm on my lunch your.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               Fannie Hatter.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Florine Watson.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thomasina Busby.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Is Thomasina


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Peter Wagner.

               MR. WAGNER:  Good afternoon, Mr.

Chairman, members of the Task Force.  Thank you for the

opportunity to testify today.

               My name is Peter Wagner, and I am

Assistant Director of the Prison Policy Initiative, an

organization that conducts research and policy advocacy

around incarceration policy.  I am, also, a third year

law student at Western New England College School of Law

in Springfield, Massachusetts.  For the last year, I

have been researching the constitutional requirements

for redistricting, given the unique demographics of New

York State's prisoners and New York State prison


               I urge you to adjust the U.S. Census data

you use to redraw state legislative district lines,

because the Census methodology is not applicable for

purposes of state redistricting.  The purpose of the

U.S. Census is to conduct a count for purposes of

apportioning representatives between the states.  To

fulfill this national aim, the Census counts prisoners

where they are incarcerated.  Such a procedure is a low

cost way to accurately count populations between the

states, but the Census methodology is not applicable to

New York.

               New York State has experienced a

tremendous growth in the size of its prison population

since 1980.  20 years ago, New York incarcerated 123 for

every 100,000 citizens.  Now, the state incarcerates

more than three times that number.  66% of New York

State's prisoners are from New York City, but since

1982, all new prisons built in New York have been


               As you know, since 1963, in REynolds

versus Simms, the Supreme Court has required state

legislative districts to be divided on an equal

population basis.  As the Court remarked, legislators

represent people not trees or acres.  Legislators are

elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic


               The principle is that the weight of a

citizens vote cannot be made to depend on where he

lives.  Rural prisons reduce the weight of urban voters,

in violation of Reynolds versus Simms.

               Unlike Congressional districts, which

much be as equal as is nearly as is practicable, state

legislative districts are within limits, allowed to

deviate from precisely equal sizes to protect

traditional state community boundaries.

               However, in my position, taking in large

numbers of prisoners from elsewhere in the state to

boost population, violates the concept of respecting

traditional community boundaries.  Actual population

must be the starting point for any redistricting, and

counting urban prisoners as rural residents violates the

equal protection requirements of the Fourteenth

Amendment.  Urban prisoners are far from traditional

rural residents.

               Because of the large increase in the

prison population, and where the prisons have been

built, the impact on redistricting is not slight.  The

more than 11,000 prisoners in Senator Volker's district

make up 13.3% of his district.  Senator STafford's

district is 4.4% prisoners.

               Assemblyman Ortloff, your current

district is 7.5% prisoners.  86% of the Black adults

that you represent are not allowed to vote for you,

because they were shipped in and then in prison, they're

not allowed to vote.

               The remedy here is simple.  Adjust the

Census data by restoring prisoners to their home

addresses via the addresses on file with the State

Department of Correction.  Future Censuses should be

planned around letting prisoners disclose if their home

of record has changed from the address on file.  The

idea of using home of record to address special Census

populations is not new.  At the last minute, when the

1990 Census decided to count military personnel

stationed abroad, they used home of record, despite

information that this might have been a little bit

outdated or biased toward the state tax laws of New


               The best solution would be to adopt the

rule of the Federal Courts when determining a prisoner's

residence for purposes of diversity jurisdiction, namely

to create a rebuttable presumption that the prisoner's

last address is his home address.  Let me quote briefly

from the Second Circuit's rationale in Stifle v.


               "It makes eminent good sense to say as a

matter of law that one who is in a place solely by

virtue of superior force exerted by another should not

be held to have abandoned his former domicile."

               I'm not here, however, to ask you to let

prisoners vote, because while the New York State

Constitution does explicitly authorize the State

Legislature to disenfranchise prisoners, it also

explicitly instructs as to where prisoners should be


               Quote, "for the purpose of voting, no

person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a

residence by reason of his presence or absence while

confined in any public prison".

               I believe I'm out of time, but Reynolds

and the State Constitution require you, for purposes of

your redistricting, the Census data to count prisoners

at their home districts, where they will return when

they are released.

               Thank you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Mr. Chairman,

may I ask a question?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Go ahead.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Are you aware of

the total population of the State Correctional system?

               MR. WAGNER:  Yes, as of January 1st,

2000, it was 71 or 72,000 people.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Okay, and where

are all of those facilities located?

               MR. WAGNER:  They are spread throughout

the state.  The majority of them are in upstate and

western upstate New York.  42,000 of the prisoners in

the state system are from New York City and housed

outside of the City.

               It's essentially a third of an Assembly

seat has been taken from New York City and distributed

out to various rural Assembly Districts.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  So, your

contention is that New York City ought to have the

equivalent of an adjusted population, which would be

42,000 larger than it does now?

               MR. WAGNER:  I had a hard time hearing

your question.  My position is that there are 42,000

residents that were impermissibly removed from New York

City by a result of the Census methodology.  So, 42,000

people counted upstate are prisoners that belong to New

York City, and there's another 25,000 that go to Long

Island or other parts of upstate.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  So, at the very

least, you're suggesting that if we could, and you know

we can't, but if we could, that you would adjust the

population of New York City upward by 42,000.

               MR. WAGNER:  Yes, I would.

               I believe --

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Are you aware

that the Assembly plan already adjusts the population of

New York City upward by 206,000?

               MR. WAGNER:  Does that include prisoners,

or is that a separate adjustment?

               Because I know that you have made a

number of adjustments, but I don't believe you have

included and adjustment for the prisoners; is that


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  I don't believe

they've made an adjustment for the prisoners. They've

just made an arbitrary adjustment that New York City

gets two additional seats, to which it's not entitled by

the Census population.

               If you look at the numbers on the chart

over there, the upper number, 8,214,000, is the

population of the 55 upstate counties.  The lower

number, 8,008,000, is the population of the five

counties in New York City.  Now taking your argument,

let's just add that 42,000 to the lower figures.  I

think we can probably do the math in our heads.  It

still comes out that upstate should have at least one

more seat in the Assembly than New York City.

               Do you follow me?

               MR. WAGNER:  I follow you, except I have

not studied the reasons why you did adjust the Census

numbers to give New York City 200,000 additional people.

I'm not sure specifically how you decided to do that and

what that estimate was based on.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Well --

               MR. WAGNER:  But, the question with the

Department of Corrections is, those are real people

where we can very explicitly count.  I can see how there

is certainly a critique of the 200,000 number that

you're calling arbitrary.  I haven't heard of it or seen

where it comes from.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Well, I don't

know where it came from either, it just kind of

happened.  I think it was just kind of grabbed and

that's going to be the contention of upstate in this


               My point to you is, you've already gotten

more than you should have, even if you include your

42,000.  So, I would ask that you join with upstate in

seeking a mutual adjustment, which would come out at

least with upstate having 65 seats and New York City

having 64, not the other way around.

               MR. WAGNER:  I would certainly be open to

looking at any discussion, in terms of what adjustments

should be made.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  Thanks very


               MR. WAGNER:  Thank you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER ORTLOFF:  We'll be in

contact with you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Albert Tuitt.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Kay Roberts


               MS. DUNHAM:  Good afternoon, everyone on

the New York State Task Force.  I'm Kay Roberts Dunham,

and I just wanted to do a small memorium for the

Honorable Pauline Grace Monica Cummings (phonetic), who

was of the Bronx prior to be located in Brooklyn and

being elected in the Assembly, the 31st District out in

Far Rockaway.  She passed in January, so I just wanted

to mention it, because she lived in the Bronx at some


               The proposal submitted to the Task Force

by several organizations, the Latino Voting Rights

Committee of Metro New York, the African American

Political Action Committee of New York State, the Dubois-

Bunche Center for Public Policy, and the Majority

Coalition of Redistricting Professionals show how an

additional compact Hispanic majority district could have

been created, including the Highbridge section of the


               Compact districts should be created, and

keeping existing political subdivisions intact, the

Senate Majority's proposal has a highly non-compact 34th

Senate District based entirely on racial considerations.

The proposed 34th Senate District meticulously divides

the Bronx and Mount Vernon along racial lines, and links

together distantly separated, non-Hispanic White

populations.  This results in a district with a 59.7%

non-Hispanic White voting age population, and an

increase from the 52.6% non-Hispanic White voting age

population that the 2000 Census shows in the existing

34th Senate District.  This racially gerrymandered

district violates the equal protection clause of the

Fourteenth Amendment.

               The creation of the non-compact racially

gerrymandered 34th Senate District is precisely what

stands in the way of creating an additional compact

Hispanic majority district.  This is further evidence

that failure to create the additional compact Hispanic

majority district would be discriminatory both in

purpose and in effect.

               The Legislature should create Senate

Districts that include an additional compact Hispanic

majority district in northern Manhattan and in the

Bronx.  Proposed Senate and Assembly District lines,

2002, should caption the county as it captions the

Assembly District or the Senate District.  I only know

where I am by certain streets when I do the maps.

               Tributes to Assembly Districts in the

Bronx, 76, Peter River; 77, A. Green; 78, Jose Rivera;

79, G. Davis; 80, J. Klein; 81, J. Dinowitz; 82, S.B.

Kaufman; 83, Carl Hasting; 84, Gerry Pretlow; 85, R.C.

Tossy; 86, R.L. Brodsky; and in the Senate, 31,

Gonzalez; 32, Espada; 33, H. Thompson; 34, Valella.

               I left the 28th for last, because I had a

problem when I looked at the 28th.  That should be

Mendez.  You know, it's -- it looks broken up very bad.

Harlem River Drive, East -- FDR, East 93rd, then it goes

all the way up to Grand Concourse.  Please take a look

at it.  I'll be finished in a minute.

               The book of proposed Senate and Assembly

District lines 2002 is available and the telephone

number is 212-618-1100.  I think that you should each

have a copy, so I thought I'd give the number to you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Can you repeat

that phone number?

               MS. DUNHAM:  It's the one at your office,

the number is 212-618-1100, and the address is 250

Broadway, Suite 2100.  That will give you all the maps,

the Assembly Districts and the Senate Districts for what

the hearing is all about.

               Thank you very much.  I have to go to


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               Hilda Hernandez.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Inez Harvey.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Mamadou Jaiteh.

               MS. HARVEY:  Wait a minute, wait a


               Good afternoon to the distinguished

panel.  My name is Inez Harvey.  I've lived in Concourse

Village for more than 30 years.  I have served on the

Board of Governors, and seen many politicians come and

go, but I accept that as the natural course of things.

If we lose representation by Senator Ruth Thompson, it

will be most unusual and most insulting for us at

Concourse Village.

               Unusual, because we have had proper

representation, as required by the Voting Rights Act,

for more than 30 years.  First, by our own, the former

Senator Joseph Galiber (phonetic).  We claimed him

there, because he was a resident of Concourse Village.

He represented us until he could do no more.  He passed

away.  He was succeeded by Senator Larry Seabrook

(phonetic), and even though Senator Seabrook lived in

the north Bronx, he kept us and continued to work for

our interests.  We, in turn, continued to vote for him,

keeping our representation secure.  Senator Seabrook

relinquished his post when he decided to seek higher


               Then candidate Ruth Thompson, someone we

had never heard of, came to us and asked that we vote

for her.  Let me say that we got a lot of those

requests, because of our well documented high voter

turnout.  We did not know her or her opponent.  He,

also, came to ask for our vote.  We did not know him,

and we took Ms. Thompson at her word, that she wanted to

represent us, and we voted for her in high numbers.

               So, second, we find it insulting that

after only one term, and with restructuring, she chose

to let us go, taking this historical seat from us and

securing it for herself and anyone else in Westchester

who wants to run for us.  In fact, she is abandoning us,

stripping us of this historical Black seat and of our

protection under the Voting Rights Act.  She is the only

African American State Senator in the Bronx.  This seat,

if you allow it, is moving more and more into

Westchester, changing the entire dynamic of our

representation, and stripping us of our rights.

               Most politicians want to represent us and

seek our support, just like Senator Thompson did,

because we vote, and because we are loyal voters.  This,

again, is insulting.  No one ever gives up.  I know in

politics it's all about winning, but we can win in

Concourse Village.  I see no reason that the complex of

registered voters and with a percentage of who votes,

people who believe that their votes count, could be

treated in such a fashion.

               I don't want to bring up Florida, but if

you let this go through, what you'll be telling us is

that our votes, and our loyalty really do not count, and

that the Voting Rights Act excludes us.  I hope this is

not so.  We're asking to continue with our

representation we have historically had, and that we are

in need of by redrawing the lines of our Senatorial

District, giving us a fair chance at proper


               Our request is that we be redrawn into

the 33rd Senatorial District line and remain there,

instead of being redistricted out.  This is the only way

that we can be sure that we have the representation that

we need and keep our seat in the Bronx.

               Thank you very much for listening.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               Mamadou Jaiteh.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Bakari Camara.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Omar Trawala.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Lamin Ceesay.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Pa' Saikou

Kujabi; how close did I come?

               Close enough you recognized it; all


               MR. KUJABI:  Good afternoon.  I don't

intend to waste your time.  Actually, most of my points

have already been dealt with.  I just want to emphasize

some of the important points.

               I represent the Gambian Society in New

York, which is in District 77, under Honorable Aurelia

Green.  First of all, we want to thank you for

conducting this hearing, which we actually feel is done

in a manner that is accessible to the public.

               The few points I want to deal with is, as

this is a very important process, it is important for

this Task Force to put into consideration as proposed,

that District 77 preserves African American and African

immigrant voting strength by keeping neighborhoods

intact.  It is a fact that communities of interest are

preserved by respecting the political tradition and

histories of Highbridge, Claremont and Concourse

neighborhoods, where my community, African immigrants,

are highly concentrated.

               As, also, proposed by this Task Force,

minorities in District 77 will actually have, in our

opinion, an equal chance to elect candidates of their

choice.  As the African American, Hispanic and African

immigrant communities have grown, it is our belief that

our political representation also should change and

grow.  In this regard, we want to take this opportunity

to express our appreciation to Honorable Aurelia Green,

who we have been working with for the past eight years

in District 77, in the areas of health, education, and

other social activities.  Most importantly, on our

endeavor on community health education on HIV-AIDS

prevention campaigns, which she really is a champion

working with the African communities within her

district.   So, we felt it is only fair to express our

appreciation at this very important forum.

               On that note, we want to thank you again

for your time and willingness to go through this

process.  We thank you very much.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               Jeannette Puryear.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Walter Houston.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Shirley Johnson.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Diego Delgado.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Louis Lithgow.

               MR. LITHGOW:  Good afternoon, Mr.

Chairman, and the distinguished members of the

committee.  My name is Louis Lithgow.  I'm representing

the Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana, a well known

organization from the Dominican Republic.

               The Hispanic community in the last few

years, is a community that grow and make great

contributions to the City and the nation.  Mr. Chairman,

it's a good time to recognize the value of the growth of

the Hispanic community.  In the Bronx, where the

Hispanic community has grown so much that considering

the important issues that this committee has in front of

them, I think that our consideration is strongly

supporting that this committee at the time, at the

moment when a new district is created, we think it would

be right for the Latin community to give them the

opportunity to have a new representative.

               In the Hispanic community, we're seeing

the Dominican community, a community that has made great

contributions to the City and to the Bronx.  As a member

of the Dominican community, I know how important it is

for us to take this opportunity to ask you to make a big

consideration at the moment of your decision.

Dominicans love baseball.  Dominicans love politics.

Sometimes I think that we could live without food and

live with baseball and politics.  The value of the

Dominican community can't exactly in the last 2000

decision of the creation of a new district.  That's why,

Mr. Chairman, the new district will be connected to the

following neighborhoods.  University Heights, Morris

Heights, Tremont, Fordham and Kingsbridge Heights.  If

that consideration is made for this committee, we're

going to have a new Hispanic representative, the first

Dominican representative in the Bronx.

               Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.

               Lucia Solano.

               MS. SOLANO:  Hello everybody.  My name is

Lucia Solano, but I need the translation, please.

               She has lived in New York City, in the

Morris Heights community for nine years and works in the

education community.  I have noticed the large growth of

the Dominican community during this period, and they

believe that they should have a representative in the

Assembly representing the Dominican community.

               She works in teaching, and she has

noticed that in her classrooms most of the new students,

up to 17 per class, tend to be Dominican.  And for this

reason, I thank you for allowing me to express my views.

It is my hope that the new district that will be created

in the Bronx will be beneficial to the Dominican

community, as well as the whole Hispanic community.

               Thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Raysa Castillo.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Sandra Brown.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Richard Dubois.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Dorothy Young.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Marie Thompson.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Daniel Figueroa.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Melda Torres.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Luis M. Diaz.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Peter Rivera.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Ellie Jurado.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Ruben Franco.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Carlton Baldwin.

               MR. BALDWIN:  To the honorable members of

this New York State Legislative Task Force, I thank you

for holding these hearings.  I rise today to point out

the extent to which some of your proposed Bronx district

lines fail to provide opportunities for minorities to

elect candidates of their choice or occupy seats in the

New York State Legislature, in proportion to their

percentages in the population of the Bronx.

               The existence of a disproportionately

small number of Assembly persons of African descent

suggests the extent of the problem of minority voter

disenfranchisement.  According to the 2000 census, the

Bronx population increased to over 450,000 residents,

and that increase warranted the creation of 11 Bronx

Assembly Districts.  The non-Hispanic Black population

increased to 33.9%, but the non-Hispanic White

population fell to 14.5%.

               However, the Assembly District lines

proposed by you would create a situation wherein this

small 14.5% of the residents, non-Hispanic Whites, would

prevail not only in the 81st and 82nd Assembly

Districts,  but this small block of White voters would,

also, control the new 80th Assembly District.

Therefore, this small non-Hispanic White population of

14% would prevail in a disproportionate share, 27.3%, of

the 11 Assembly Districts.

               The consequences of discrimination have

resulted in minorities of African descent residing in

concentrated housing clusters.  Some relatively large,

others relatively small.  These clusters are scattered

throughout the Bronx.  In several cases, your proposed

district lines cut across such Black neighborhoods, and

then combine them, the resulting weakened Black voting

factions, with other non-Black voting factions, often

with conflicting or hostile interests, thus effectively

eliminating the opportunity for persons of African

descent to elect representatives of their choice or

occupy a proportionate number of seats in the State


               This is precisely what happened in the

north Bronx.  As presently drawn, the lines in the north

Bronx dilute minority voting strength in violation of

the several laws, including the Voting Rights Act, by

splitting concentrated minority populations between the

proposed 80th, 82nd, and 83rd Assembly Districts.

Consequently, minority voters in both the 80th and 82nd

Districts do not have an equal opportunity with their

non-Hispanic White counterparts to elect candidates of

their choice.  Since non-Hispanic Whites constitute an

electoral majority in each of these proposed districts,

they are likely to elect candidates of their choice in


               Therefore, I encourage your task force to

revisit the proposed 80th Assembly District and seize

the opportunity to redraw its lines to, one, diminish

the aforementioned glaring inequity and, two, preserve

the voting strength of persons of African descent, as

required by State and Federal law, including the Voting

Rights Act.

               I am convinced that the injustices which

would result from the implementation of the lines as

presently proposed, could be significantly reduced if

not completely eliminated by substituting the NAACP plan

for drawing the lines for the 80th Assembly District.

The NAACP proposal unites Co-op City, Tracy Towers,

Gunhill Houses, Allerton and Olinville.  The NAACP

proposal will enable minority residents to elect

candidates of their choice, while satisfying the

prevailing principles of redistricting, including the

principle of compactness and contiguity.

               Finally, it should be noted that the new

majority minority Assembly District, as proposed by the

NAACP and recommended by me, appears to come closer to

satisfying all legal requirements, including those of

the United States Department of Justice, than does your

proposal in its present form.  Please see the attached

map and please implement this NAACP plan as

expeditiously as possible.

               In conclusion, I would like to thank you

for conducting these hearings, and for providing me an

opportunity to testify.  Thank you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               I'd like to recognize the presence of

Assemblyman Klein, who has joined us.

               Margie Harris.

               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Sobeyda Rogue, R-


               (No response.)

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Duane Jenkins.


               MR. JENKINS:  Good afternoon.  Good

afternoon to all.  You guys must have to practice like a

boxer to hear all these testimonies here and endure it.

It's a beautiful day out there.

               My name is Duane Jenkins, and I'm Vice

President of the Resident Council of Throgs Neck.  I

speak for nearly 6,000 tenants that live in that

development, and that falls in the line of the 34th

Senatorial District, which is Guy Valella.

               Guy Valella has been a great Senator and

a great person for the people in that development.  The

development has a annual income of roughly $15,000.  Guy

Valella has been able to come in and help out on Throgs

Neck day, which is a summer day where Guy Valella

donates his time and his money to help the kids out in

the community.  He comes to Christmas parties and shows

his support.

               First, I want to support the proposed

Assembly lines submitted by Ed Moran, of the NAACP and

Ted Jefferson, of BULB for creating a district that

compresses Co-op City and Tracy Towers, at the same time

merging the 80th and the 82nd Assembly District

together.  I believe it would make our community more

compact and give us the opportunity to better the

resources and also give us a stronger political voice.

Senator Valella has an open door policy with the Throgs

Neck Resident Council.  There was a underpath where the

bird droppings were dropping on people as they were

going to work in the morning.  We contacted Guy

Valella's office.  They resolved the situation, moved

the bus stop back to its original spot so now people can

go to work without bird droppings on them.

               Lastly, our Senator, Guy Valella, has

provided great strong leadership.  He helps resolve all

our issues and our special needs.  We need to keep

Senator Guy Valella as our representative, and most

important we need to keep this district as one.

               Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, sir.

               Any questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               Gloria Manguash, M-a-n-g-u-a-s-h.

               MS. MANGUAL:  Good afternoon everyone.

My name is Gloria Mangual.  I'm from the Pelham Parkway

section in the community of the Bronx, and I am, also, a

member of the American Legion in Portchester, New York.

               I'm here, today, because I wanted to find

out.  I got a little information, but I wanted to know -


               MS. LEVINE:  We can't hear you.

               MS. MANGUAL:  I'm from the north side of

Pelham Parkway and my Assemblyman is Jeff Klein, and I

just wanted to know if we can keep him in our community.

I have know Jeff Klein for over seven years now, and

during this time I've had the pleasure or working with

him on numerous occasions, attending community functions

and community meetings.  He has always displayed a

strong leadership quality and a professional demeanor

over the years in the community of Pelham Parkway.  He

has helped the community in every way.  He has worked

with us numerous times, and we would like him to be our

Assemblyman for the north Bronx, and it would be a shame

to have him just stay on the south side, and not the

north side of Pelham Parkway.

               He has made a big difference in the

community, he has made a big difference in all our lives

at Pelham Parkway, and I don't know if I'm ready for a

new Assemblyman, so let's just keep Jeff.  He's been

doing a wonderful job for the neighborhood.

               I thank you all very much for being here

and taking your time.  Thank you so much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Joanne Smitherman; is Joanne here?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Miguelina Reyes.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  John Lemon, NAACP of the


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Michael Pricoli.

               MR. PRICOLI:  Hello, sirs, good

afternoon.  Thank you for affording me the time to speak


               My name is Michael Pricoli, and I'm a

long time resident of the northeast Bronx, except for

when I was in the military.  I've, also, for the last 17

years been privileged to work in HRA and, also, serving

the same communities that I live in.

               Redistricting should not be done to aid

elected officials or small population enclaves at the

expense of fair representation of a district.  The Bronx

has had an increase in population, not a decrease as in

other districts of New York State.  Proposals should not

be further limiting in fair representation to the

northeast Bronx.  The district in which I reside already

shares both a Congressman with Queens County and a State

Senator with Westchester County.   Further dilution of

representation would greatly impact on the quality of

life for all the residents in the area in which I live.

               In an environment where cooperation and

putting aside party politics exist, the state

politicians seem intent on doing business as usual and

on punishing the same old punching bag, the northeast

Bronx.  Proposals floating around would combine two

Assembly Districts into one and have a face off between

those two elected officials.  Another proposal would

further widen a State Senator's Westchester County

district and decrease parts of the Bronx the Senator


               Is there no other are that can be


               Perhaps a Republican upstate district

that has seen a dramatic decrease in population not an

increase as in the Bronx.

               Hopefully, this honorable Task Force will

try to improve the northeast Bronx representation by

either having an additional representative or having a

representative that solely serves the residents of the

northeast Bronx.  I could think of no greater honor for

that representative.

               This community has been increasingly

affected by a decrease in representation shown in the

shortage of police, parking spots, supportive services

for all the social institutions in the area that care of

not only its residents, but many others throughout the


               Thank you very much for your time.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Ursula Aybar, A-y-b-a-r.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Louise Brown; is Louise


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Mr. Sementilli, S-e-m-e-


               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Good day.  For the

record, Egidio Sementilli, E-g-i-d-i-o, S-e-m-e-n-t-i-l-

l-i.  Apparently, everybody gets my name wrong, so I

want to make sure for the record.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Welcome.

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  I'm here -- I testified

prior, at the earlier meeting in the Bronx at Lehman

College, and I just want to say congratulations to all

the members of the Task Force.  You did extremely great

job on the Senate lines.  I understand this is a

bipartisan organization, and you came up with lines that

are reflective of the Bronx, specifically with reference

to Senator Guy Valella.  Senator Valella's district is

compact, it's solid, it represents the interests of the

community, and I just wanted to be on the record that

I'm in favor of it, I support it, and it's a plan that

we could adopt.

               In reference to the Assembly lines, I

want to say it very clear, that I support the NAACP plan

to merge and create a district from Co-op City to Tracy

Towers.  I think it's a great plan.  I mentioned this at

the prior hearings, that the Throgs Neck community,

Pelham Bay community, country club community has

different needs, especially with Co-op City.  Co-op City

should never have been part of the 82nd Assembly

District.  It is a great plan, and I support it.  A lot

of the community supports that plan.

               In turn, we will receive, also, a compact

district, derived from the 80th Assembly District and

the 82nd Assembly District.  So, I just want to go on

the record for that, and whatever it takes, I will

support the NAACP.  If we need to go to court, we have

lawyers ready to do pro bono work on the issue.

               I, also, need to say that back to the

Senatorial lines, the so-called proposed new lines that

the Task Force has not brought forth, and is being

brought forth so-called by the NAACP Chapter, which it's

not a local Bronx chapter, it's not a Westchester

chapter, and since we're in the Bronx, and we have a

room full of political hacks, we all know where the plan

is coming from, but I want to go on the record.  We

understand that this is Marty Connor's plan.

Regrettably and shamefully, and I repeat, shamefully,

Marty Connor is utilizing the NAACP's good name to push

an agenda for his own political gain, and what

specifically especially the district that he proposes to

split up, Senator Guy Valella and merge it into Queens,

this is what he calls a compact district, with a big

ocean or river, I would like to say an ocean, that

splits us and Queens.  This is his so-called compact


               The transparency of Marty Connor's bad

plan is obvious here.  All the political hacks in this

room know it, and I want to make sure that it's on the

record, because we need to follow up on it.  We find it

insulting and I'm sure a lot of the members of the NAACP

that have not endorsed Marty Connor's plan find this

insulting and racist, that he cannot stand and propose

these plans on his own merits.

               So, I thank you for the time.  God bless

you, and once again, you did a terrific job on the

Senatorial lines, although we need to change the

Assembly lines, and I support the local branch of the

NAACP's proposed plan to merge Co-op City and create a

majority district.

               Thank you so much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Senator Dollinger has

some questions.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  If you could just

stay there for one second.

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Of course, sir.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I guess, I don't know

you're referring to as political hacks.

               I mean, you look at four elected

officials from --

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  I was not referring to -

- the reason I made that reference to --

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Let me finish for a


               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Of course.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  With all due respect,

the four elected members of this Task Force, I think

this is our seventeenth or eighteenth hearing, where

we've toured around the state to hear what people have

to say about these plans, and I would just strongly -- I

personally, I guess, resent being called a political

hack, when I am one of four elected officials out here

trying to come out and listen to what people have to

say, including you.

               So, I frankly, since you had suggested

there were people in the room who fit that definition, I

would ask for an apology for myself and, frankly, for

the other hardworking members of the Task Force.

               Secondly, you refer to the Minority

Leader of the State Senate for his shameful conduct.  I

would -- I strongly suggest that before you do that,

one, you have some facts to back it up; and

               Number two, number two, that if this plan

is submitted from the NAACP of the State of New York, I

would suggest you go talk to them about whether they

think this is the right plan for New York State,

including the Bronx, because they may have a bigger

perspective than you do.

               Finally, if you can answer just one

question; is it your testimony today that the current

drafted plan for the 34th District meets your definition

of compactness, the district that starts on one side of

the Bronx, marches north into Westchester, marches down

the other side of the Bronx, and then circles around,

that is your definition of compactness?

               You described it as compact; is that your

definition of compactness?

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Absolutely.  Especially,

the other alternative would be what, to bring it out to


               Apparently, the hack statement is -- went

to heart, and I'm sorry for that, but --

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  No, no.

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  -- let me tell you


               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  It hasn't gone to my

heart, sir, because --

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Let me tell you

something --

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  -- I don't fit that


               MR. SEMENTILLI:  -- I went to a meeting

at Co-op City, of the local branch of the NAACP, and

they were proposing the new Assembly District from Co-op

City to Tracy Towers.  I was there to support it, and I

stood up and I supported their plan in favor of it.

               Do you know who was there?

               There was a gentleman from the Minority

Leader, Marty Connor's office there, proposing the so-

called new Senate lines, that was supposed to be from

the NAACP.  None of the local NAACP from Yonkers to the

Bronx were aware of that plan.

               So, that's where I got my facts, sir.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  Okay.

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  For the record, of

course.  Thank you.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  I would suggest your


               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Anything else?

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  No, nothing, thanks.

               MR. SEMENTILLI:  Thank you.

               SENATOR DOLLINGER:  You've made your


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Dawn J-a-v-e-s.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Pauline Galvin; is

Pauline here.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Joseph Thompson.

               MR. THOMPSON:  Don't feel bad, I'm a

community hack.  My name is Joe Thompson, and I'm the

President of the 49th Precinct Council.  I sit on

Community Board 11, I chair a couple of committees, and

I'm a Vice President of Pelham Parkway Little League,

and I do have a community patrol.  I say that merely to

state that in District 11, this is my community, and

that's what I'm here to talk about, is the community.

               I'm almost sorry I came to this hearing,

because I hate to see everything equated along racial

lines, because what we're trying to do in District 11 is

create a community, and we've had the kind of leadership

that has responded to that very, very strongly.  We've

had Senator Valella, and Jeff Klein, Madeline Provenzano

(phonetic), from the Council, and our people seem to

work together, and they work together with the same

objectives.  Here we are in our community.  We have

senior citizens programs.  We have youth programs.

We've got five separate community patrols in our area,

all supported by these political leaders.  I'm just not

talking about them.  I'm talking about what we demand as

a community.  We demand from our community, that you

look after us.  That you make sure that our quality of

life continues to grow.  Luckily, our people have been


               There's any number of programs.  Every

program that I'm connected with, whether it's the youth

program, whether it's the patrol programs, every one of

these programs is always supported by these three

individuals, and it's supported by the new people that

have come in, which is Assemblyman Hasty (phonetic),

which is Senator Ruth Thompson.  So, in our District 11,

and that's the only one I can speak about, but I do know

that they work together very closely with the community.

We look at the community, and when we're talking about

racial lines, I was just elected President of the 49th

Precinct Council.  In that election, 90% of the people

were White.  I ran against a White candidate, and I did

win.  So, it's -- there are a lot of ingredients to

running a community, and those ingredients have to be we

demand not just rhetoric from the people that we elect.

We demand people that can perform, people that will help

our community.  So, this is how we reach out for that.

               So, I am very, very much in favor of

maintaining our 80th District intact.  Thank you very


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Irene Estrada R-u-k-a-y.

               MS. RUKAY:  Irene Estrada Rukay.  I'm

here to represent Community District 11.  I am a member

of the 49th Council, with Mr. Thompson, and we work

together with the 49th Precinct, with Captain Shea, and

a lot of other wonderful people.

               But, the reason I decided to come today

is, not to so much go into the redistricting of District

80, because I am on the border line of District 12 and

District 11, and I've been, for the last 20 years

furious of the people who have represented me for

District 12.

               Now, in District 11, at that time when I

met State Assemblyman Jeff Klein, he was a Councilman.

At that time, he didn't have to come and hear my

problems, because I'm not in his district.  But, he took

out the time to come and listen to us.  He is what I

call the backbone of my district, and I'll tell you the

wonderful things about why it's going to have to stay

the same, and why it should not be changed.

               First of all, he's not only the backbone,

he's also one of my friends.  He became my friend

because in 1994, I had a children's organization called

the mini Olympics.  I belong, again, to District 12.

There is no youth programs right at this corner.  When

you work with District 12, it goes all the way up

towards Co-op City.  Everybody's concern is Co-op City.

It's never been Gunhill all the way to Wakefield.  When

you take a look at that area, and if you ever drive

through that area, it's all desolate.  There is nothing

happening there, there is nothing working there for 20

years.  Under this program, our representatives were

Larry Seabrook, and I believe, Mr. Warren.  During all

these 20 years that I have been at this same corner on

Wallace and Arnold, I have contacted them, and not one

time have they called me back for any of our problems.

               1994, before that, five years ago, we had

nothing but drugs at that corner.  We lived in the

hottest hot spot in the Bronx for drugs.  We called the

D.A.'s office, we called everybody's office, and no one

would hear us.  So, we took the initiative as a tenant

association to take them out of our own building, and

our building has been clean since 1994.  They have not

come back, and they're not going to come back.  But, no

representative -- we didn't have nobody representing us.

We took the initiative to save our own community.

               If a State Assemblyman has a certain map

that he has to be concerned with, that it one man; how

much blood do you want to squeeze out of a person when

you have so many people you have to represent?

               The people have to take the initiative to

take care of their own communities.  They, also, have to

align themselves with their leaders, Community Council

members or the Councilman or woman, or the State

Assemblyman.  They have to align themselves to find out

what kind of programs they offer to help their own

communities.  They can't wait for somebody to come save

them, they have to save themselves.

               I'll try not to be long, but I would like

to share something with you, why Jeff Klein is important

to me, and why I believe it's going to stay the same, by

the faith of God, is one reason.  He's not only my

backbone with my youth organization, the mini Olympics,

that caters to over 150 children just on Arnold and

Wallace Avenue.  Every Wednesday night we take 30

children faithfully to the 49th Precinct Council for the

Explorers Program.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be

getting a van that the Police Department brings to me

every Wednesday night, so they can take the children and

transport them to the Police Department every Wednesday

since November faithfully.  Last night, the van wasn't

there, and to show you how effective this program is,

the kids were willing to walk in the rain all the way to

the 49th Council.  These kids are good kids.  Our

program teaches them home, school, and community, but at

the same time, we teach them how to be leaders in the

future.  We cannot wait for somebody to save our kids

when we're not teaching them the right way.

               I personally have been very offended at

this meeting today by all this racism and all these

other cultures speaking about another culture, because

number one, we all come from the same God.  Number two,

if you squeeze any of us, we all have the same color


               My opinion to this meeting, today, I have

a Promise Garden, called the Community Garden from the

New York Botanical Gardens.  Jeff Klein was at my event;


               Because I called him.  We had the Cinqo

de Mayo Festival.  I'm Mexican American.  I grew up with

Randy Vallardi, who plays for the Yankees.  I grew up

with George Bush, who is the President of the United

States, and I do not value anybody more than Jeff Klein

as my State Assemblyman; why?

               He took the time out to give me away at

my wedding last year in April, because my father

couldn't come.  I am Mexican American.  I just recently

found out what nationality he was.  Community District

11 is not about racism.  We're about a body.  We work

together.  If the head hurts, the leg cannot function.

If your arm is dysfunctional, then the body can't go,

and we all work in one mind, and one spirit.

               Before I go, I'll share something with

you.  We must take care of our own community and not

wait for someone to be our hero.  With the budget cuts

everywhere, we will test where the redistricting lines

over the workshops that people should be having in their

own communities to learn to work with their State

Assemblyman, their Senators, their Council, and their

leaders.  They must be involved with their own

precincts.  I love my State Assemblyman.  He is at every

event in our community.  In Christmas, he comes to my

Christmas parties, where the children are Jamaicans,

Haitians, Africans, Mexicans, Albanians.  We're a

multicultural building.  He comes to my parties, and he

brings my kids toys for Christmas.

               When I call him, if I need anything, he

is at my disposal.  If he cannot fix it, he will tell me

where I can go and get my resources.

               I am not welfare oriented.  I do not

teach my tenants in my building, let's lean on the

system.  If we don't like something, we change it.

Right now, the porters and the supers are on strike, so

because of them we're not going to have a clean


               You come to my building, it will be

clean.  We're not going to wait on somebody to come and

put the blame on anybody else.

               Another issue, when you look at youth

programs anywhere in the Bronx, everything costs.

There's no youth programs anywhere.  We took the

initiative to start our own youth program.  It's vital,

it's supportive, and it works.  Our kids are not on the

street, they're doing good in school, and I invite you

to come to the 49th Council meetings, to the 49th

Precinct for the Explorers on Wednesday, and you will

see the difference it is when a community works together

with your State Assemblyman, and you work hand in hand

how much fruit you will know.

               You know how you know a good person, and

you know how you learn?

               The people who are wrong are the people

who continue day in and day out every year faithfully

vote for someone who will not do nothing for you.  Well,

today I stand here by faith to tell you that I have seen

the fruit of my friend, the fruit of my State

Assemblyman Jeff Klein.  I have seen fruit of his head

with the senior citizens program, the Promise Garden in

the Botanical Garden, my youth program, the mini

Olympics, the 49th Council faithfully there.  He selects

a Cop of the Month every month faithfully.

               He worked in 9-11.  I have never seen

anybody work so hard.  I'm having a hard time keeping up

with him, because he is very energetic.

               So, before I leave, I plead with you,

that if you make the mistake and change the boundaries,

that's going to effect me.  If you could do me the favor

and change me to District 11, because I'm right on the

borderline, then you would be doing me a favor.  But,

when you're changing the 80th District, when you're

looking at Co-op City all the way to Tracy Towers,

there's no possible way today, tomorrow, or any time in

the future that these people in Tracy Towers and Gunhill

Houses or even Edenwald will get the same representation

as Co-op City, because it does not align itself with the

leaders, and they do not have the same judgment and the

same goals as we as a people have.  But, before I leave,

I would like everyone to think about it.  When you

squeeze yourself, and you're bleeding, think of the

color you are, because we all have the same blood.

               Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Sallie Caldwell; is Sallie Caldwell here?

               MS. CALDWELL:  Good afternoon.  My name

is Sallie Caldwell, and I am from Tracy Towers.  Since

Tracy Towers seems to be one of the top things here,

today, I represent Tracy Towers.

               Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein have been the

best thing that ever happened to Tracy Towers.  All

before, no one even know we even exist.  Assemblyman

Jeffrey Klein came along, and he start helping us with

the quality of life in Tracy Towers, the senior

citizens, everything that we as taxpayers in Tracy

Towers deserve just like anyone else.

               The most beautiful and important thing

about Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein, he started the first

Black History program in Tracy Towers.  It's been eight

years since he been doing this, and he also contribute

to all the other activities that we have in Tracy

Towers, and they way we feel about him is like part of

the family.

               We do not want to lose Assemblyman

Jeffrey Klein, because we feel like if we lose him,

we're out of the picture.  I don't think anyone could be

as much important to us as Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein.

No one would do the things that he have helped us to

accomplish in Tracy Towers.  We wouldn't be where we are

today if it weren't for Assemblyman Jeff Klein.  I speak

for everyone in Tracy Towers.

               Thank you very much.


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Lucia Gomez, from PRLDEF.

               MS. GOMEZ:  Good afternoon.  I really

wasn't planning on testifying, but I heard a couple of

testimonies today that I thought I had to bring some

clarity to.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you move back from

the mic?

               MS. GOMEZ:  Move away?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Yes, it's better for us

to hear.

               MS. GOMEZ:  My name is Lucia Gomez.  I

represent the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education

Fund, and I'm sure many of you continue to hear

references to the Latino Voting Rights Committee of

Metro New York.  In fact, I felt that there might be a

need to actually explain what the Latino Voting Rights

Committee of Metro New York was, and then I, also, want

to be able to speak a little bit regarding this issue of

using race as a factor during the redistricting process.

               I found it a little troubling to hear the

different testimonies regarding the use of race, and I

felt that there was a need to make some clarity.

               The Latino Voting Rights Committee of

Metro New York was founded in May of last year, as a

result of the Latino Voting Rights Project of the Puerto

Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, where our desire

is ultimately to get Latinos to participate during this

redistricting process.  We felt that if anybody was

going to be asking -- if anybody was going to be drawing

lines, it should be the people who are going to be

mostly effected by these lines.  So, we provided

technical and legal support to this committee, so that

they can, in fact, propose lines that they can make

reference to  when, in fact, lines would be proposed by

the Task Force and they had already been able to

understand the geography and the numbers and the way in

which those numbers impact the neighborhood in which

they live in.  So, that is, in fact, the proposal that

people constantly keep referring to in some of the maps

that they, themselves, have actually taken Sundays,

Saturdays, and evenings and nights to put together.

               So, I think between the Puerto Rican

Legal Defense Fund, and the Latino Voting Rights

Committee, they've come up with some type of what they

consider to be a neighborhood analysis of where the

neighborhoods exist and where, politically, they might

be able to have a stronger impact.

               In regard to the issue of race, I do have

something prepared that unfortunately seems to have to

be repeated every state that I --

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Excuse me, can you speak

up just a little bit?

               MS. GOMEZ:  Yes, of course.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               MS. GOMEZ:  I can speak very loud.

               One, that race can be a factor in

redistricting.  The courts have recognized that those

drawing district lines are always aware of where people

live, and usually know the race and ethnicity of those

individuals.  Race is thus always a part of

redistricting, always.

               The Census numbers, the PO94171, all you

actually get is just racial breakdown, whether or not

these racial breakdowns are 18 and over, and total

populations numbers.  That's about the only thing you

get when drawing these lines.  The fact is, as socio and

economic characteristics, the only type of data that you

have available are the local data.  Data from the Census

bureau will not be out until May.  As a matter of fact,

we're expecting New York City not to be out until

August.  So, the only other data you have to work with

is 1990 data.  I wouldn't rely heavily on that data,

considering the racial composition, and the way in which

New York City has changed so dramatically, although I

would have to say that many of the Latino neighborhoods

continue to have the same issues, and the same socio-

economic indicators as, in fact, in the 1990s.  So, that

socio-economic status hasn't really changed much since

the 1990s.

               States must be race conscious enough to

make sure that the redistricting plans that they create

do not dilute minority voting strength, and a

redistricting plan would not necessarily be held

invalid, simply because the redistricting is performed

with consciousness of race.  The courts said it

themselves, you can be conscious of race as long as

traditional redistricting principles are not violated;

compactness, contiguity, incumbency, although the Latino

Voting Rights Committee of Metro New York didn't get

incumbency home addresses from the web site.  So,

insomuch as either party or either friends one has

within the Task Force provides that type of information,

that's about the only way the community is able to know

whether or not the lines proposed are even feasible, are

even protecting incumbency.

               So, we know that that's one of the

factors, and luckily we had the opportunity to take that

into account.  So, the lines that people are referring

to, also, take incumbency into account, and minority

incumbents in particular have to be respected.

Therefore, race can be one of many factors line drawers

may consider in redistricting.

               However, even though race can be a part

of drawing district lines, everybody knows, and the

courts emphasize that traditional redistricting

principles must, in fact, not be violated.

               Lastly, there is lines of law that do

indicate that when possible, majority minority districts

may, in fact, need to be drawn in order not to violate

the Voting Rights Act.  One of the major things, one of

the major things that New York City and New York State

has to really consider is the fact that they have to

undergo Section 5 pre-clearance, and I would strongly

say, lastly, regarding some of the comments in which the

Assembly drew the lines, and the way in which -- I found

it very ironic how Democrats who dominate the Assembly,

drew the plans to favor the Democrats in New York City,

and then the Republicans who dominate the Senate, drew

the lines in order not to give New York City that much

power.  So, everybody knows that little power play and

whatever negotiations you may have behind closed doors,

certain things are just apparent.  So, what the

Democrats did to the Republicans, the Republicans just

went ahead and screwed the Democrats in return, and I

would caution you to note one thing.  The community is

aware of these things.

               I mean, it's not like nobody knows.  So,

do not put the community and the voters on the back

burner, because in the end, that's going to cost you a

lot of money in court.  It's going to cost you.  You

might want to undergo those battles, and that's fine,

because I'm all excited and ready for it, but I will

tell you right now, that one of the things that we are

not going to be supporting is the elimination of these

two new districts, both in the Bronx and Queens, because

ironically enough, the community also has been talking

about that since they got the Census data in late March.

               So, these two new districts in the Bronx

and Queens, they shouldn't be tampered with.  The lines,

we might want to have a discussion about the way in

which these district lines are drawn, but the creation

of two new districts in heavily populated areas, based

on Census numbers, I think we can prove the issue of the

under count in these areas, and I think we can prove the

fact that these districts have grown immensely,

immensely since 1990, and they deserve these two new


               With that, that's it.  Thank you.


               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  You represent


               MS. GOMEZ:  Yes.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  I wanted to just

point out to you that I've looked at the plan that was

presented to us by PRLDEF for boroughs in the City of

New York, and one of the suggestions I would make to

your group is that they attempt to adjust the plans that

they have presented to us to reflect the New York State

Constitutional requirement for a balance on block on

border.  It's difficult for us to respond to your plan,

specifically, because the district populations that are

associated with the plan that you've presented to us are

so disparate in their population as to suggest to me

that they have not been balanced in accordance with the

New York State Constitution.

               I think that because of that, people may

have assumed that things could be done that, in fact, we

have had a very difficult time in doing, because our

plan does comport with the New York State Constitutional

requirements.  And I would respectfully say that the

plans submitted to us by PRLDEF does not.

               MS. GOMEZ:  I'm sorry, you're making

reference to Assembly or Senate?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  I'm looking at

the Assembly plan.

               MS. GOMEZ:  You're looking at the

Assembly plan, and you're looking at the deviations; is

that what you're making reference to?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Well, let me

just --

               MS. GOMEZ:  The difference in deviations

between some counties and other counties?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Let me just

point out to you that in the PRLDEF plan, as I

understand it, the suggested 84th Assembly District

would have 121,698 people.

               MS. GOMEZ:  Within the deviation.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  The next door

seat, 78, would have 126,617 individuals.  If you comply

with the State Constitutional requirement to balance

districts by the smallest block on the border of

adjoining districts, it is very difficult to have

districts that vary in population within a county by an

amount greater than 30 or 40 people.  So, to have a

difference within a county of nearly 5,000, suggest to

me that the people who have drawn this plan have not

complied with the New York State constitutional

requirement to balance block on border.

               Without balancing block on border, it is

difficult to know whether the plan would, in fact, pass

constitutional muster and, also, it brings people to

believe that percentages of minority voters in these

districts are, in fact, in compliance with the

requirements that we must adhere to.

               MS. GOMEZ:  The minority requirements,

you mean the total population of ethnic minorities

within these districts?

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Well, there is -


               MS. GOMEZ:  Because from my understanding

neither 78 nor --

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  There are claims

made for the percentage of minority population within

these districts, and those claims may, in fact, be

accurate.  But, it doesn't mean that we are allowed,

under the State Constitution, to draw the districts the

way PRLDEF has drawn them, and I think, consequently, it

puts into people's minds that we, in fact, could draw

the districts the way you have presented them, and I can

assure you that we cannot do that and be in compliance

with the New York State Constitution.

               MS. GOMEZ:  I guess, what you're

referring to is the fact that some districts are zero

deviation, whereas other districts are a negative four

deviation; is that what you're making reference to?

               And I'm finding it interesting that

you're saying that where we go from 4% deviation in one

area, and then negative two deviation in upstate -- I

mean, in downstate a negative two.  I'm just wondering

how -- you're right.

               I mean, I guess, in that sense then the

unproportionate way in which the Assembly Districts, and

the Senate Districts, both, are drawn --

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Let me just

point out that deviation in regard to the U.S. Supreme

Court's requirements for one person one vote, are a

different deviation than that that is allowed by the New

York State Constitution.  We have to comply with both

the New York State Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme

Court's interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment in

regard to one person, one vote.  We believe that the

plan we have presented to the public does meet both of

those conditions.

               The plan that PRLDEF has presented would

possibly meet, although I am somewhat skeptical of that,

it would possibly meet the U.S. Supreme Court

requirements for one person, one vote, but I am almost

certain that it does not meet the State Constitution's

requirement that adjoining Assembly Districts within a

city cannot vary by an amount greater than the smallest

block on their common border.  That's why I would say

that a district that is 121,000 next to a district that

is 126,000 cannot possibly be balanced to meet the

requirements of the New York State Constitution.

               I would just urge you to look at that and

have your group resubmit the plan with a balance that

does comport with that requirement, because we will have

to do that.

               MS. GOMEZ:  In that sense, your comment

is noted, and I will make that recommendation in order

for them to reconfigure the plans according to New York

State constitutional requirements.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:   Thank you.

               MS. GOMEZ:  You're welcome.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Neil Grimaldi.

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Kermit Allen.

               MR. ALLEN:  Good afternoon, Assemblyman

Parment, Senator Skelos.

               My name is Kermit Allen.  I presently

reside in the City of Newburgh, which is currently in

Assembly District 96.  I've been requested by some

associates to come and propose a question to the

Legislative Task Force

               And the question is, why change the 96th

Assembly District?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you back from the

mic just a little bit?

               MR. ALLEN:  Sure.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Just back up a little

bit, and then speak louder.  The acoustics are a little

bit better.

               MR. ALLEN:  Can you hear me now?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Just a little bit

louder, and we'll be good.

               MR. ALLEN:  Can you hear me now?

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Yes.

               MR. ALLEN:  Currently, it consists of

three cities and surrounding towns in Orange, Duchess

and Ulster County.  It includes the three cities of

Newburgh, Beacon, and Poughkeepsie, and the Towns of

Newburgh and Orange, and three towns in Ulster.  The

enrollment is slightly Democratic, although a Republican

represents us in the Assembly.

               Since its creation in 1982, there has

been one Democrat until he retired in 1994, and a

Republican since.  The margin of victory over the past

eight years has generally been between 1,000 and 4,000

votes.  It is a competitive district.

               It joins three cities along the Hudson

with a common bond of the river and history. The new

district has the City of Newburgh, and the Town of

Newburgh in Orange County, and the City of Beacon,

Fishkill, East Fishkill and LeGrange in Duchess County.

               Why change?

               The current district is competitive

politically.  While politics does exist in an ideal

world, the district will be competitive so that there

can be a fair contest of competing ideas, which would

foster participation and community involvement.  As

noted, it is slightly Democratic by about 2,100, but

with a conservative enrollment that evens the district.

               The new district is Republican dominated

by 4,800 votes, and 6,100 if Conservatives are included.

The current district is competitive.  Why change?

               There is a common history and economic

interest of the current district among the communities.

The district borders the Hudson River, joined by the

Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and the Mid Hudson Bridge at

Poughkeepsie.  Economically, the area has been

interdependent.  The three cities have similar prospects

and problems, similar solutions and population mix.  The

new district is more a commuting district in Duchess,

and ignores common interests of the cities.  A

significant minority population would be ignored in the

new district, since the minority vote would be diluted.

               The City of Newburgh is over 65% African

American and Hispanic.  The City of Beacon is about 40%,

and the City of Poughkeepsie is approximately 50%.  The

cities and their minority populations have a chance to

be heard in the current district.  Their voices will be

drowned out by the suburban communities in the new


               The Legislature should take this into

consideration, as well as the applicability of the

Voting Rights Act, and the possible legal challenges

which would throw the entire redistricting plan into


               I know that you do not have an easy job.

There are legitimate competing interests here, but the

current 96th District need not be changed, not for

population reasons, not for an imbalance in enrollment,

not for conflicting interests among communities, and not

for the dilution of a significant proportion of the

voters.  The current district is competitive

politically.  There is a common history and economic

interests among the community.  As state earlier, a

significant minority population will be ignored in the

new district, since the minority vote will be diluted.

               Thank you for your time.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Would your

position be that if the three river cities were

separated, that it would tend to dilute the opportunity

for African Americans to elect a candidate of their


               MR. ALLEN:  Yes, sir.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Any other questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               MR. ALLEN:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Silvio Mazzella.

               MR. MAZZELLA:  My name is Silvio

Mazzella.  I am a board member of the Morris Park

Community Association, Community Board 11, 49th Precinct

Council, and the Advisory Board on Jacobi Hospital.

               First, I want to thank the board.  Last

time I came before the board, you came in agreement with

the community.  We do appreciate that very much that

you're listening to us.

               I've seen the Senate plans, and I have to

say, I am in complete agreement.  The community is

completely supporting that.  We have a lot in common

with the Westchester neighborhoods, okay, our schools,

crime, taxes, and even health care.

               As you know, 9-11 effected all of us and

changed our lives.  What was important before is not

important now.  But, I can tell you during 9-11 we went

through a lot of crisis and a lot of pain.  It actually

brought the communities together.  Community coalitions

were formed with our neighbors in Westchester, and they

created an emergency preparation coalition.  The purpose

was networking resources, and that was for mass casualty

beds, ventilators, transporting vehicles, cardiac

monitors, decontamination supplies.

               Senator Valella was very instrumental, by

the way, in keeping our microbiology lab at Jacobi.  I

have to commend him completely.  They wanted to move

that to Queens.  As you know, during 9-11, all the

bridges were closed.  Jacobi is in the number one trauma

unit and burn unit.  It could have effected a lot of

lives, especially our police and firefighters, who use

that trauma unit quite often.

               I need to say that we're blessed by our

elected officials, Senator Valella, Assemblyman Jeff

Klein, Assemblyman Kaufman, and Senator Thompson.  We

support them completely.  They supported us, the

community, and always had an ear towards us.

               I have to say Queens has different

priorities and different concerns.  They have problems

with the airports, the pollution, and again, if you --

this plan is actually best for the community, that's all

I can actually say to you.

               Again, I want to thank you because you

took the opportunity to be here.  You don't know how

important it is that you come out here to the community,

to the people to hear what they have to say.  It's a

blessing.  This is what makes America.

               I want to thank you, again, for your


               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               Any questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much,


               MR. MAZZELLA:  Thank you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  James Pinsley.

               MR. PINSLEY:  My name is James Pinsley.

I've been a resident of Yonkers for over 40 years, and

I'm in favor of the plan, because it's going to give

Yonkers an extra voice in the Assembly, which is

something that can always help.  We have two very strong

Assemblyman, but to have three, I believe is something

positive, and we need that, because right now with the

Governor's budget for education being as bad as it is,

we need all the voices we can to avoid layoffs and

problems obtaining materials and supplies for the school

system, which has always needed help, and we haven't

gotten enough of it.

               So, I just hope I'm in favor of the plan.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Carol Craft.

               MS. CRAFT:  I'm Carol Craft.  I'm a

resident of northern Yonkers.  I am a former Executive

Vice President of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers.  I

am presently am a retired teacher.

               I came to support the fact that Richard

Brodsky will be back in Yonkers again.  When I first

moved to Yonkers, Richard represented our section of

Yonkers.  He was taken away from us, and now I

understand under the new plan he'll be coming back.

               During this time, he's always been

concerned with things that are happening in Yonkers.  We

have many problems in Yonkers.  As Jim just said in his

comments, we have a big budget gap.  Education is an

important feature in Yonkers.  We need somebody who will

fight for us.  We have a very fine Assemblyman, two very

fine Assemblymen now, but a third Assemblyman can do

nothing but help us.  We'd like to have him, and we

appreciate the fact that we'll be getting a Democrat in

a Democratic district to represent us for a change.

               I, also, happen to be a Democratic

District Leader.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.


               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  That completes the two

lists that I have.  At this time, does anybody else wish

to be heard?

               The gentleman, then you.  We'll get


               MR. MUNOZ:  Thank you, Senator.  I just

wanted to say for the record, that I had called on

Tuesday to --

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Give you name, please.

               MR. MUNOZ:  My name is Julio Munoz, M-u-n-

o-z.  I want to testify, just for the record, that I

called on Tuesday to get on the list.  I wasn't on the

list this morning, I registered again, and I'm still

being left.  So, I thank you for listening to my

comments today.  I'm going to make them brief.

               I've been a resident of the Bronx for the

last 40 years.  Prior to that, I lived in Puerto Rico.

During the time that I lived here in the United States,

I've had the opportunity to take advantage of the

educational system, and all the things that America has

to offer.  So, I'm proud to be an American.

               I'm here today as a Puerto Rican

representative of our community.  As I saw the lists of

numbers you have on the web site.  I noticed that our

community, the Puerto Rican community has been lumped

together with the Hispanic groups in each of the

districts, and I'm speaking now about the Bronx, our

numbers come up to about 45, 46, 47%.  If I'm incorrect,

I'm willing to listen and be corrected.  Within that 45

to 46% Hispanic, quote, unquote, the Puerto Rican

community has 25 to 30%, maybe, less.  I'm concerned,

and I think that Senator Olga Mendez has made it for the

last 20 years, a promise in reference to that the Puerto

Rican community, our customs, our traditions, are being

lost in the overall picture.

               As it stands right now, I oppose the

Assembly seats that you've proposed.  I think that as a

resident of the central Bronx, there is space and

opportunity to develop Puerto Rican districts, where the

majority are not Hispanic, but Puerto Rican, and I do

not apologize for the fact that we're again, the way the

lines are being written, are marginally kept in each

district.  The numbers are kept to 25 to 30%.  We're

lumped together with the Hispanic larger group, but it

is instead, we lost out.

               Now, I'm sure there's no master plan.  No

one sat down to write this up.  I'm just bringing this

observation.  I have no comment on the Senate seat, as I

have not seen it, and I have not read the numbers.

Tonight, I'll b studying it on the web site.  But, I am

concerned, again, as an activist in this are, Puerto

Rican civil rights, that we're being lumped again

together with other groups and our political power is

being diffused.  I hope that the committee, before

making a final decision, will look at this situation.

               Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Just a comment.

In our work, we are not given data that would

demonstrate to us the national origin of any of the

populations.  We, basically, are required to work with

U.S. Census data, which has several identifications for

ethnicity, but it does not divide any of the ethnic

groups by the heritage of individuals in relationship to

any specific previous community.

               So, what we have to work with is a

category of Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black or Asian or

White, and beyond that, we don't have data that would

allow us to do, I think, what you've asked us to do.

               MR. MUNOZ:  I understand that

Assemblyman.  >From the data that I saw last night on

your web site, there are -- again, you have a breakdown

of Hispanic, and in the Hispanic category there is a

further breakdown.  What I'm saying to you is that

common interests and tradition, I think, are factors

that I'm asking you to look at, and in our community,

the Puerto Rican community, there are common traditions

and factors.

               I would just, for a remedy, just off the

top of my head looking at your map, I would say that in

the central Bronx, where Community Planning Board 6 is

presently, and a piece of Planning Board 5, you could

make that the new district, where it would be the

majority Puerto Rican.

               Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               She's next.  I'm just trying to do it by

the way I saw the hands, and then I believe you, and

then over there.

               MS. EDWARDS:  Thank you.

               Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is

Ottis Edwards.  I live at 1100 Grand Concourse, in the

77th Assembly District.  Thank you for the opportunity

to speak at this redistricting hearing.

               I came today to voice my support for the

proposed district lines delineating the 77th Assembly

District, which is represented by Assemblywoman Aurelia


               I am concerned about this community, and

I ask that we continue to preserve the interests of this

community by respecting the political traditions and

histories of the Highbridge, Claremont, and Concourse

neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods have been in the

same Assembly District for over 20 years.  We are

pleased with our representative in Albany, Assemblywoman

Aurelia Green, who we have elected to office for the

past 20 years.

               In closing, I want to thank the Task

Force for conducting this redistricting hearing in a

manner that is open and accessible to the public.  Thank

you for giving us your time and attention.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  We thank you for taking

the time to be here.

               Any questions?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               This lady is next.

               MS. BROWN:  Good evening.  My name is

Louise Brown, and I'm from the 77th Assembly District.

               I am an advocate for breast cancer.  I'm,

also, the President of my tenants league.  I'm a

community person who live here.  My youngest son went to

school here for 27 years right where I live at now.  I

would like to see the lines of the 77th Assembly

District remain the same to ensure adequate African

American and Latino representation in the New York State


               I understand that the Task Force has done

a monumental job in projecting the equitable

distribution of the meaningful representation for

African American and Latino populations in the redrawing

of this Assembly District.  I hope that you continue to

be in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

               Thank you for the opportunity to voice my

opinion in front of this panel.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

Thank you for your time.

               This gentleman is next.

               MR. ROJAS:  Good afternoon.  I will

testify in Spanish, please.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could we have your name,


               MR. ROJAS:  My name is Rojas.  I am a

superintendent in a building.

               Good afternoon, and thank you for giving

me the opportunity to testify before you, and also,

thank you for allowing me to speak in Spanish.  I do it

in Spanish because I've been a super for 18 years, and

member of the 32 BJ.

               I want to testify because during these 18

years, I have noticed the population that was displaced

from Fordham, University Heights, and

they left all the buildings empty and burned.  The power

of a community which has been growing in the Bronx,

which is the Hispanic community, fixed those

neighborhoods.  If we look at the Census data from the

last census, we can see that the Hispanic community is

the one that has been growing the most in the Bronx, and

within that group of Hispanics, the group with the

greatest growth has been the Dominican community.

               I want to testify that 95% of the supers

in all of the buildings in the Bronx are Hispanic, and

out of those 95%, 62% are Dominican.  The citizens of

our buildings, especially the building where I work, has

changed.  100% of the citizens in this building is

Hispanic, which is why I support the new map drawn by

the Assembly, because it recognizes the growth of the

Hispanic community, especially that sector of the


               Thank you very much.  Good afternoon, and

God bless you.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  This gentleman is next.

               MR. TUITT:  Good afternoon.  My name is

Albert Tuitt, a native of the Bronx, born and bred in

the Bronx.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Could you spell your

last name.

               MR. TUITT:  T-u-i-t-t.

               I did call in to speak, but I had to go

out and come back, so I'm glad to be given the

opportunity to speak at this time.

               It is factual, that because of racial

discrimination, Blacks and other minorities have been

denied the right to vote through restrictions such as

poll taxes, literacy tests, language tests, property

ownership, et cetera.  The purpose of these restrictions

were to prevent minorities from voting and electing

representatives of their choice.  The Voting Rights Act

of 1965 was enacted to prevent racial discrimination in

voting practices by state and local governments.  One of

the broadest state actions effecting voting is


               The Bronx, one of the three counties in

New York State, which is covered by Section 5 of the

Voting Rights Act, requires that any jurisdiction with a

history of discrimination in voting to submit any law

that could effect voting changes to the Federal

government for review

               In the last five years we have seen a

dramatic population shift in the Bronx.  A sizable

number of African Americans,most from the South Bronx,

have moved into the north Bronx, to the extent that it

now has one of the densest concentrations of African

Americans in New York City.  At the same time, we have

seen a substantial reduction in the numbers in the

White population in the north Bronx.  This population

shift requires that as the Black population of the north

Bronx has expanded, so should our political

representation.  The redistricting process must adhere

to the Voting Rights Act, by not diluting Black voting

strength.  Redrawn districts must ensure the Bronx Black

communities have full and clear opportunities to elect

candidates of their choice.

               The plan proposed by your Task Force has

redrawn the Bronx, particularly the north Bronx, as if

there were no population shift with a substantial

increase of Blacks in the past ten years.  I strongly

support the redistricting plan submitted by the

Coalition of Bronx NAACP branches, and the Black United

Leadership of the Bronx, which fully reflects the

population trends in the north Bronx, and recommends new

Assembly Districts in the north Bronx.  Section 5 of the

Voting Rights Act specifically speaks to the worsening

of the position of a group in the redistricting process.

The Black community in the north Bronx if the proposal

on the table is adopted, and I recommend you incorporate

the proposals of the NAACP branches and BULB into your

redistricting plan.

               Respectfully submitted, Albert E. Tuitt,

Sr., Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Uptown


               Just on a personal note, I noticed a lot

of my good friends were here today, speaking of their

desire not to lose Jeff Klein and Steve Kaufman, who are

both friends of mine.  They are both wonderful

gentlemen.  But, you are going to draw lines for ten

years, and we're not drawing them for personalities,

we're drawing them because they should be fair, and I

urge you to draw these lines as we propose.

               Thank you very much.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you.

               Does anybody else wish to be heard at

this time?

               (No response.)

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Seeing nobody, I move to

adjourn the meeting.

               ASSEMBLYMEMBER PARMENT:  Second.

               SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you very much.

               (Whereupon, 2:45 p.m., the Hearing was



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
27th day of March, 2002.