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Legislator: 18th District Is Good the Way It Is

Glen Cove's DeRiggi-Whitton says local redistricting should be minimal; residents last week addressed commission that will draw new map of County's legislative districts.

The current boundaries of the Nassau County Legislature's 18th District do not need much adjustment in the course of the County's redistricting, according to Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton.

"The Democrats drew up, ten years ago, what I consider to have been a fair map that does group people of common interest so that they can feel a voice in their county legislature," the 18th district's representative said in a statement. "You can see the map was fair because it was created under Democrat control and Republicans were able to win the majority they now have."

A Redistricting Commission is tasked with preparing a new map based on the latest census data, which the law requires to ensure that districts properly represent shifting population sizes and communities which share common bonds.

At the commission's Sept. 27 public hearing at Landing Elementary School, chairman Francis Maroney said, "Each person has their own concept of what their community is."

Several residents stepped to the microphone to explain theirs.

Patricia Borne said she has lived in Glen Cove for more than 50 years, and said the map of the 18th district should be kept the way it is.

"The diversity of ethnic backgrounds and religions is Glen Cove," she said. Having a single representative is appropriate for a community with such a tradition of diversity, Borne explained.

Glen Cove resident Cindy Kouril is a co-chair of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council. She said the city and the municipalities that share the peninsula form a community which features another aspect which should be considered.

"The 18th is a compact and contiguous district, but it has another important feature - it covers most of the shoreline along the Long Island Sound" in Nassau County, she pointed out. "This has allowed the development of organizations and traditions to protect our waterfront."

A new map - like one submitted by the Legislature's late majority leader, Peter Schmitt - which unites this geographic area with landlocked communities further south and breaks up those with a shared maritime culture, would be unfair to communities who do not consider themselves separate from each other, Kouril said.

"To split those beaches would be to dilute the power of the people who use those beaches," she said.

Democratic committee member Dave Mejias agreed.

"A necessary critical mass of public power would be difficult to build if split between different legislators," he said.

DeRiggi-Whitton said in her statement that she agreed with Kouril's point about the waterfront, and that current districts are drawn so that they represent "various cohesive groups."

The 18th district extends from Glen Cove east to Bayville and Centre Island and south to Jericho and Old Westbury.

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