4/21/2011

Proposed Ward Realignment

Posted by MJ

4/21/11

The Buffalo News and LUSJ both reported on the 4-2 vote to approve the new ward boundaries. Both Jack Smith and Andrew Chapman voted no questioning the representation of lower income residents.

...“We want to protect the district core,” Chapman said. “The best way to serve downtown is to have a single alderman.”

With the new redistricting, three different wards cover downtown Lockport: Wards 2, 4 and 5.

And while Smith and Chapman continued to argue that political and financial areas have been divided, First Ward Alderwoman Richelle Pasceri said “equality of representation” and to comply with the “one-man, one-vote” policy was their main goal.

“At the end of the day, everyone is represented fairly,” Mayor Mike Tucker added. “Some people are moved around, but at the end of the day everyone is represented the same.”...
The one downtown representative is interesting. Does one representative equal a 4-1 disadvantage if none of the other aldermen "care" about DT? If each had a piece would they then all care and work toward making it better? Lockport is not very big land wise and I find it a stretch to believe that an alderman could not equally represent a pie section. Any troubles north of High have a negative effect south of High due to the proximity of each. Preemtively addressing issues in the "bad" section will only add value (or retain it) in the "affluent" outer sections. An alderman responsible for a piece of each could be a bridging force.

4/14/11

The LUSJ reportred that Chapman has some issues with the proposed realignment:
...Drexelius proposed a redistricting that significantly alters the shape and geographic size of every ward, but manages to bring population differences to less than 1 percent.

Each ward appears to have been drawn to include the address of its current alderman, so that no two were put into the same new ward.

That irks Chapman. Covering incumbents should not be a parameter of or priority in redistricting, he said.

“This is a 10-year plan. Why are we drawing lines around where the aldermen live, when potentially none of us will be around in 10 years?” he asked. “If (Drexelius’) goal was to not pit incumbents against each other, that’s not a proper goal. I say draw the lines rationally and let the chips fall where they may.”...

As per the Buffalo News article, I thought the incumbent restriction was a legal requirement?

4/8/11

The Buffalo News reported on the public meeting date for the proposed Ward realignment from the 2010 census.
...scheduled a public hearing for April 20 on a revised ward map.
...Drexelius said he used the boundaries of the new County Legislature districts as ward borders as much as he could. The map reflects a long-standing shift in population away from the western part of the city toward the south and east....
...Drexelius said, “The goal was not to have any incumbents running against each other. That is a legal goal of reapportionment."...
 The PDF of the map is here and a copy of the proposed law is here.

The county maps can be found at the Niagara County website.

A thank you to Jack Smith for getting me the documents.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there a higher quality version of the ward redistricting? I can't tell from that image at all.

G.I Joe said...

here we go..now, suddenly we hired a consultant( we're good at keeping consultants employed)and he tells us that..well actually, If our Ward population structure was tested in court, we'd be in violation of the law.
This suddenly emerged when we have two descending votes on the common council. Well..we'll fix that!

But why shouldn't Lockport participate in gerrymandering? It works for most other politicians, I'm sure it will work here.

Anonymous said...

of course we hired a consultant because legally, those in power cannot set the districts

G.I. Joe said...

Either can a consultant. They're hired to make recommendations, and to provide a CYA when something unpopular is proposed. Not to enforced the law. I'm guessing your comment was tongue n' cheek.

Xavier said...

I agree that I can't tell where from what per Anon. 10:08 p.m.
This is not a situation of gerrymandering. It's a necessity due to the decennial census. An outside source was required - it's not a situation of fixing the Wards and/or Districts as charged.
The only place I see a bit of nonsense that I don't like is in Niagara Falls w/ Renae Kimble's district - and putting Lewiston in with the Falls? C'mon...
I need to study it more carefully before I make any accusations and/or defend anyone more than I already have. Please keep in mind that "we" had to take care of this VERY quickly as the Census info came out VERY late - the County info came LATER and it all has to be "done" before certain dates due to election requirements, i.e. petitions, etc.
Don't make ridiculous accusations before you have the facts.

Anonymous said...

Well Xavier you may want to study the new map against the old and see whose wards are affected the most and then possibly you would understand better why many people have claimed this to be "gerrymandering" my dear.
Most interesting is how Mr.Schrader had recently claimed "Housing" as one of his new platforms before the maps even became public knowledge...and oh wait I guess now we all understand why. Not to mention that Mr. Prohaska was very mindful in pointing out that Mr. Drexelius is a Republican. Perhaps this should have been drawn up by a member of both parties.
Just the knowledge that the map accomodated our current aldermen is enough to question any improprieties. What's wrong with having some incumbents run against each other? Had Mr. Lombardi currently been alderman of the 5th, would the map look any different? How about if Mrs. Alexander was the 2nd ward alderwoman of present, how would the map appear to be drawn up then? I hope you now see why the accusation of gerrymandering was made.

MJ said...

"Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular group of constituents, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group."

Accomdating current incumbents also stops the party in majority from unfairly drawing representatives out of districts. It is a valid law which makes sure voters can decide who represents them and not the ruling party.

This map is pretty clean geographically except for the small part of pink and tan which go a couple blocks into another district. Part of which I think is meeting the incumbent law.

Lockport is too small to have any real democratic or rebublican strongholds, so I fail to see where any gerrymandering exists.

What do you propose would be a better map outline?

MJ said...

It is a big change though so I do find it valid to be questioned. I just see as being less gerrymandered than the old map.

Xavier said...

Sorry - my computer illiteracy is denying me access to any but the map above and I can't read the street names.
I managed to secure the written descriptions of the Ward boundaries - the two combined give me a basic idea but I still can't find specifics, particularly when it comes to changes to the current set-up.
Is there any way MJ can do an overlap of some sort? Preferably with street names? IDK - I know you can go to City Hall and see it on the wall but, if it could be done here, it would save me the trip!

Anonymous said...

If we are going to be cut down to five wards.
What is to become of the 8 ward members we currently heve.
Will they have to cut them or are they going to try and split the districts.
Or are they going to try define special jobs for these people.

G.I. Joe said...

gerrymandering, manipulation, what ever you would like to call it, it should be of concern to anyone seeking equal representation. My main concern is when the status quo is suddenly questioned, and changes are considered relative to circumstance that have remained unexplored and unchanged until now...We suddenly have descending votes on the council and if we don't have everyone agreeing Mike Tucker get's nervous. In my humble opinion changing the second ward from an inner-city ward to a ward that includes a more conservative, and more than likely affluent Republican population does not figure in favor of the re-election of Jack Smith. If I'm wrong shame on me..I'll go sit in the corner.

MJ said...

A valid point GI, but I'm not sure how "affluent" the new on is. It does make some logistical sence in that it follows S. Transit and Main, the "commercial" corridor. Except for a few blocks east of Transit and South of Willow I'd say a majority of the new 2nd is not what I would consider "affluent" in both land mass or number of residents. And I would be in that new ward.

And when Gerrymandering was brought up, it was noted it would be wrong to make sure either party had a strong hold. We may want to do some "good" gerrymandering bymaking sure a minority group is fairly represented etc. I'm not convinced yet that this map shows any bad intentions.

To Anon: There are currently 5 wards. Lockport is not losing any. We have 5 aldermen (1 per ward) and one "at-large" alderman. Nothing is changing in that regard. But I've always wondered: why have an even number panel?

And incase no one knew, off to the left is a link to the current ward map and aldermen.

MJ said...

Click on the PDF link to see th ehigher res version and the text version.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the at-large position, it's not necessary and can save us a couple of dollars. Also why allow our Mayor to choose the Common Council President each year? That position is supposed to represent the council not the Mayor! Let the council vote on who they want as their president? This is a serious flaw in our charter that should be addressed.

G.I. Joe said...

At Large should go..I agree with you. The Common council President is as you stated, appointed by the Mayor, and that process is unlikely to change. I don't have anything positive to say about that position..so I wont say anything. I listen closely to Mayor Tucker when it comes to his idea of who runs the city...it's simple ...he does. Each Councilperson only represents the population in his or her ward. They have no power. If you remember, the Mayor told them (council) they couldn't contact department head's because their is only one BOSS...and that is Mayor Tucker. Mike runs a "tight ship", and he is definitely in charge. No dis-loyalty goes un-punished. As I've said before..if you don't like it..don't vote for him.

Xavier said...

Thanks MJ - will do.
The consensus in City Hall is that the at-large seat will be dropped in 2 1/2 years. Joe wants one more term. I like Joe and wouldn't disagree with this. He does a lot that the citizens don't see. He's a valuable resource & a nice guy.
Legally-this sort of thing has to be run by the voters in a referendum so, right there, we're not losing the seat until some time has passed.
Joe - I do not disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

Again save us a couple of bucks and let Joe bow out gracefully. The man doesn't know what's going on most of the time anyhow and gives out missinformation. He admitted on WLVL that he's not running to help the city but feels that because he's home and retired that he is more accessible than anyone else. He can still oversee the Community Pride but doesn't need to do it as an alderman. In my book, he's been nothing but a Mayoral Mouthpiece this past term anyhow.

G.I. Joe said...

In other words...we should expect politician to act like something other than politicians?
Joe Kibler.. Nice guy yes...an integral part of city government? That would be stretching it a bit. I do resent the Kabuki Dance that is referred to as a council meeting. Sometimes it's down right scary to hear some of the comments emanating from the dais. Six minutes..and it's over. It's quite a show.Maybe we should wipe the slate clean and start over..

Anonymous said...

"Joe wants one more term. I like Joe and wouldn't disagree with this...& he's a nice guy."

C'mon now, that's why we have the problems we have in politics. I don't want to waste money on a "nice guy". That is a poor excuse to keep someone who is ineffective in.

Xavier said...

We're not going to be able to lose the at-large seat this election. This election should include a referendum to eliminate the spot. THEN they can lose the spot. IMO Joe does a lot less harm than most anyone else would. Some of these people are a joke and a half.
Get rid of Joe? Who do you get? He's safe and we can't afford more guys who take weeks to understand the tiniest little thing - or who beat up on people 'cause they simply don't like the guy or don't approve of what he had for dinner. (sarcasm) You all really should go to some of the other meetings and see how they grind the sausage - it IS ugly.
I now recognize that my comment reads like an absolute "in the bag" idiot. Sorry 'bout that. Happy to take my deserved slaps. I don't think he's ineffective - he gets a lot of stuff done and is a font of information. G-d help us when Dick Mullaney retires.

Xavier said...

I finally called my Alderwoman to see what Ward I'm in on the new map. I don't have 20/20 vision, but I couldn't make heads nor tails of these, most likely because one side of the street is in one ward and the other side another.
She confirmed that I stay with her - which is fine with me because I believe she does as good a job as anyone. I sure wouldn't want that amount of aggravation for such a paltry salary.

Anonymous said...

My alderwoman whom I think X is referring to has been useless in helping me, so pardon me if I don't agree with your opinion..

Xavier said...

I wouldn't think of even suggesting that you automatically like her if she hasn't done what you have asked of her. I'm not saying she's perfect - I just happen to like her as a person and think she does a pretty good job.
You might want to try again. Call her at home-she's always taken my calls or called me back-and see if there's something she can do.
It can't hurt! Good luck!

G.I. Joe said...

I have a great idea...why don't we elect people who are capable of doing more than " a pretty good job". I don't know Ald. Pasceri. My opinion is she's "in way over her head."She's not alone however,there are a few others on that council that lack basics like....English, history, social economics. She's my Alderwoman, but I don't need her help to solve my problems. Just remember Mike Tucker is the leader of the pack. Nothing get's done util and unless Mike say's so. He controls the department heads, not the Alder-persons.

Anonymous said...

Your discussions about the alderman are all for naught.... The problems start right at the top because Tucker thinks he is the greatest and no one else can have a say or an opinion

GuyFawkes said...

stupid is as stupid does...The whole thing is a Kabuki dance. You're 100% right when you say Mike Tucker runs the show. The best thing that could happen is for the "Tucker Sun and Journal" to grow-a-pair, and investigate some of the obvious breaches that are taking place....but don't hold your breath.

Patti said...

I find it downright silly that Mr. Chapman, who, with Mr. Smith, is so anxious to cut the current number of districts and aldermen now is going to run for the at-large seat which will be the first to go.
There has to be something more to it.

Moe said...

I missed it..when did he say he was anxious to reduce the number of Wards?

Patti said...

It's been an ongoing theme for Messrs. Chapman and Smith. Ask him - it's what both of them want and I'm not necessarily opposed to a downsizing. They wanted to do it this November but there's a lot of prep work that needs to happen first - like a referendum.

Moe said...

ok..Thanks for the info...

Good question about the AT Large position..

I agree At Large should be the first to go.

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