The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

January 20, 2012


Congressional redistricting holds up the
election process

Don’t get too attached to the 19th Congressional District. The district, which Bedford and Pound Ridge have been a part of since 1993, is currently being considered for reapportionment by the state Legislature, which handles these matters. While the Legislature moseys its way toward a decision to eliminate two districts, from 29 total districts to 27, new maps released by the nonprofit government reform group Common Cause show that the 19th Congressional District as we know it may soon be a thing of the past.

As New York State’s Legislature responds to federal demands to reshape our districts due to population loss, Common Cause suggests that the 19th District — occupied by Rep. Nan Hayworth, who lives in Bedford — may be eliminated.

Where would this put us and what would it change? Right now we are at the southeastern tip of a district that is neither solidly Democrat nor solidly Republican. While Congresswoman Sue Kelly successfully occupied the seat from 1994 to 2006, a Democrat, John Hall, took her place in 2006, until his defeat in 2010. Ms. Hayworth, a Republican, currently serves in Washington, D.C., but in the 2008 election, the district voted for Barack Obama.

A new map released by Common Cause shows the potential for a shift along geographic lines, moving our towns into the 17th Congressional District, currently occupied by Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat. The district would cover the suburban communities of Westchester and Rockland counties, connected by the Tappan Zee Bridge. The district includes all of Rockland and most of central and northern Westchester with the exception of Cortlandt and Peekskill, which would be moved, along with Orange and Putnam counties, to a new District 18.

Republicans may rightly fear their absorption into a heavily Democratic down-county population, which voted for President Obama over John McCain by a 62 to 38 percent vote.

In addition, area voters of all parties concerned about the issues relating to northern Westchester — land preservation, biodiversity, rural quality of life, Indian Point — could also find their voices proportionally diminished.  

The new District 18 could combine a more conservative rural vote with the diverse cities of Peekskill and Poughkeepsie. There are currently no incumbents who serve the potential district.

There are a couple scenarios. Right now, there are three Democratic opponents to Nan Hayworth: Tuxedo Park Mayor Tom Wilson, Dr. Richard Becker and Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander. They are potential candidates in an election that may never take place, but Ms. Hayworth should be confident if she were to be challenged by any of these. If redistricting takes place and should November’s election pit Nita Lowey against Nan Hayworth, Ms. Hayworth would undoubtedly face an uphill battle. (Another wild card here: potential retirement of the 12-term Ms. Lowey, who is 74.)

The creation of a new District 18 would open up a new playing field, one that would be ripe for an ambitious newcomer to the federal scene. Ms. Hayworth could also choose to run in the 18th. However, it may not be presumptuous to imagine State Senator Greg Ball taking that leap and challenging her as a Republican.

The announcement of the retirement of 10-term congressman Rep. Maurice Hinchey this week sparks other questions, as legislators may take the easy way out and retire his 22nd congressional district instead of displacing a sitting representative.

While New York State’s presidential primary is scheduled to take place on April 24, the congressional primary is not until Sept. 11, a date the federal government lists as “likely to change.” However, the filing deadline is July 12, which is just around the corner, considering we are no closer to knowing the shape of the districts other than speculation.

The state’s Legislative Action Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, which aids the Legislature by providing technical plans for meeting the requirements of legislative timetables for the reapportionment of Senate, Assembly and congressional districts, meets irregularly. Their website shows no future meetings, and their last meeting, held earlier this month, merely rubber-stamped a federal court decision regarding the counting of prisoners. It is likely, as in year’s past, that the process will end up in the courts.

In the meantime, voters and candidates alike are being cheated out of the opportunity to select and support a candidate of their choice. There is little doubt that potential candidates will be willing to put up the sizable resources — financial and otherwise — required to make a congressional bid. If we are truly dedicated to finding candidates who represent the needs and concerns of our district, it might be wiser first to determine just what our district will be.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

Editorial

NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    


South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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