Call for Action!
The NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment has proposed a new 38th State Senatorial District -- one in which the Village and Town of Ossining has lost representation by a Westchester Senator and have been connected to three towns in Rockland County.
The proposed 38th District would comprise the Town of Ossining on the East bank of the Hudson and Ramapo, Clarkstown, and Orangetown, with which Ossining does not have a commonality of interests, on the west. Orangetown and Clarkstown, while nominally river towns, are high on the Palisade; Ramapo is landlocked. As a result, we do not believe we will be equally represented.
In order to keep Ossining residents and merchants from being disenfranchised, I have vehemently opposed the plan in testimony written to the Task Force and Governor Cuomo, in letters to the editor of various news media, and in a discussion with the Editorial Board of the Journal News, which was streamed live on Wednesday.
Its difficult to imagine that a senator, whose office is in Rockland County, to which no Ossining constituent, seeking redress of a grievance or assistance, could either walk to or take public transportation, will be even cognizant of the needs of our population, diverse as it is in national origin, in socio-economic status, and in age.
There are many issues facing the Village, including the re-development of sites on the water’s edge, the historic Downtown, and properties along the main thoroughfare, which thoroughfare would produce a bridge between these properties. To meet DEC requirements, our reservoir and water filtration plant are in the final phases of a multi-year rehabilitation. We are concerned that any senator, whose primary constituency is in Rockland County, would prioritize a fight for the millions of dollars of State aid needed to complete the project.
There is also danger that such a senator may not appreciate the sharing of services that has been in effect between the Village and the Town since 1992, or the consolidation of departments, recent and proposed. Will a Rockland based senator, inappropriately try to force the Village into dissolution without having studied the facts and without concern for the consequences?
We do not believe that the interests of Ossining, as geographically remote as it will be if this proposal stands, will able to compete with the remainder of the District, or have equal access to a senator, who has no Westchester ties, experience, or history -- one who splits the majority of time between Rockland County and Albany.
The proposed Assembly districts are less problematic. But, the Task Force has not yet released its proposed Congressional redistricting, which could be worse than the Senatorial. National primary elections will take place on June 26. Signature Petitions must be filed to get on the ballot in March! The Task Force is waiting until they can claim it is “too late” to amend their proposals! Don’t let them.
There have been four hearings in New York City. It is unconscionable that no hearing was scheduled in Westchester County, even though the most dramatic change in Senatorial Districts that is proposed for the Lower Hudson Valley involves our Town of Ossining.
Now, it is up to you. Make them sit up and hear your voices. There exists a brief period now during which we way effect amending the Proposed Redistricting.
Write to the Task Force and the Governor. Send hard copy letters and emails. The addresses are below. Send letters to the news media. Ask your friends and neighbors to do so, as well. Speak out before it is too late.
Albany, NY 12224
Assemblyman John J. McEneny
Assemblyman Robert Oaks
Dr. Roman Hedges
Senator Michael F. Nozzollo
Senator Martin Dalavé Dilan
Sr. Welquis R. López
NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment
250 Broadway — Suite 2100
New York, NY 10007
William R. Hanauer, Mayor
Village of Ossining