Friday, December 28, 2012

Questionable Republican redistricting plan set for Friday

 A redistricting plan for Oswego County’s 25 legislative districts is scheduled to be voted on at 2 p.m. today.

But Legislator Daniel Farfaglia, D-Fulton, has completed an alternative redistricting plan and will submit it to his colleagues today.

Legislature Chairman Fred Beardsley said the original county plan still could be voted on today or, if legislators, want to study Farfaglia’s plan further, they could vote to do that.

The Oswego County Legislature’s redistricting committee worked on a plan to redistrict the 25 legislative districts to ensure they are all nearly equal in population.

But Farfaglia, the only member of the committee to oppose the plan, says the county plan is illegal because it doesn‘t follow the state Municipal Home Rule Law; it cuts too many towns into pieces. He also said the plan doesn’t count all prisoners who use Oswego County as their home address, as required by law.

Farfaglia gave the county plan to a Washington D.C. lawyer known as a redistricting expert to review. The lawyer, Jeffrey Wice, said Thursday he believes the county plan does not follow Municipal Home Rule Law, which states officials should “avoid splitting townships” when doing redistricting.

Farfaglia had drawn up a plan himself and submitted to the legislature Dec. 13. But he said there were some concerns with that plan.

So he decided to go further and hired Nicholas Hollingshead, an independent GIS (geographic information system) specialist in Ithaca. GIS is specialized computer software that helps draw maps.

He said his new alternate plan is legal, includes all prisoners and keeps nearly all towns intact. And only one district (District 7 covering Mexico) has more people than is allowed.  POST

Reapportionment MHR

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