Possible court battle over voting rights district
The New York State Black, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is prepared to go to court to stop the state senate’s proposed new senate district lines.
“This is not about protecting incumbents, it’s about adhering to the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and renewed by Congress in 2006,” said Assemblyman and Caucus Chair Karim Camara.
The caucus collectively put out a press release alleging the districts drawn by Senate Republicans “crack and pack minorities with blatant disregard to communities of interest and in some instances county lines so that the Senate Republicans can maintain their current strongholds and dilute the power of minority communities.”
Camara said while it has been the traditional practice to allow each house of the legislature to determine its own lines, standing idly by as theses lines are proposed would be an injustice to the caucus.
While Camara stopped short of saying this was the case in Brooklyn, he said the proposed lines diminish the strength or racial minorities in other counties including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Erie and the city of Rochester.
“If these lines pass, we will consider all options including legal-based voting rights violations,” Camara said.
Turner to challenge Gillibrand
In an abrupt about-face, Republican Congressman Bob Turner announced this week he will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Turner won a special election last year to replace the disgraced Anthony Weiner in a congressional district that spanned both Queens and Brooklyn. That district was one of the two statewide that was eliminated due to the last census figures.
A good portion of that district was added into Rep. Ed Towns newly created 8th Congressional District, which also happens to be a federal Voting Rights District.
Thus, while blacks continue to have a slim voting age majority in the district, it now includes such historically white neighborhoods as Howard Beach and Manhattan Beach, joining with such historically black neighborhoods as East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Ironically, Brownsville (which has also historically been in Towns’ district) was put into Congresswoman Yvette Clarke’s district, which is also a Voting Rights District.
In any event, Turner, who previously said he’ll run for Congress under any new lines, now says he will challenge Gillibrand.
Among his supporters for the senate bid is Kings County GOP Chair Craig Eaton.
“Bob Turner can beat Kirsten Gillibrand – I know that and so will the public,” Eaton reportedly wrote in a confidential e-mail to other county chairs.
Brook-Krasny not looking at Congress
Popular Brighton Beach Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny told KCP this week that he will not enter the newly created 8th Congressional District Democratic Primary race.
Thus far, Incumbent Ed Towns, Fort Greene Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and City Councilman Charles Barron are in the June 26 primary in a Federal Voting Rights District that has a razor-thin majority of black voters – about 58% – thus opening the door for a possible white candidate looking to take advantage of a split black vote.
But Brook-Krasny, the first elected official from the former Soviet Union, said he’s not interested in the seat.
“I don’t feel like it’s my year for Congress,” said Brook-Krasny. “I am considering running for the City Council in Domenic’s (Recchia) seat next year.”
Like many in Southern Brooklyn, Brook-Krasny said he is currently preoccupied with the heated contest between Democrat City Councilman Lew Fidler and Republican David Storobin, also a Russian immigrant, to replace convicted felon and former state Sen. Carl Kruger.
Ultimately, Kruger’s old seat might be swallowed up in a newly created “Super Jewish” senate district.