It’s not a fair process — don’t
ask me why, it just isn’t. When a political body is responsible to
draw new district lines, which impact its own members and other
elected officials from their party and state, fairness cannot be
The New York State Legislature will have
released, by the time you read this column, new Assembly and Senate
district lines based on their interpretation of the 2000 census data.
Once final small adjustments are made to please sitting legislators
and the ink is dry, they will attend to the lines of the New York
United States Congressional delegation.
The only thing keeping the process
honest is fear of court intervention. Perhaps, they also don’t want
to look too corrupt in the media. With the slight concern of the media
and attempting to walk above the constitutional quagmire as
interpreted by the courts and the voting rights act, the legislature
sets out to cut deals to help their own members.
Do they consider the people?
The deal goes like this: Assembly
Speaker Dem Shelly Silver draws the Assembly lines, Senate Majority
Leader Repub Joe Bruno draws the Senate lines. They each try to
protect the members of their own party. Therefore, just like 10 years
ago — the last redistricting — watch for the Assembly to remain
Democratic and the Senate to remain Republican.
On Congressional lines they cut a
different deal. Since New York loses 2 Congressional seats due to
national population shifts, they try to find districts where they can
have “fair fights” between Dem and Republican incumbents who are
expendable. Meaning, the guys and gals with power get to direct the
drawing of their lines.
Redistricting and its impact will be the
subject of this column and news accounts between now and the summer
when all new map lines will be finalized.
We write this over the weekend, without
having the benefit of seeing the first NYS legislative map release.
Nevertheless, we share a couple of observations and thoughts.
The Assembly: Queens will almost
certainly acquire two new Assembly seats. One will be drawn around the
Jackson Heights Hispanic area with the expectation of electing a
Latino. The other will be drawn to encompass downtown Flushing taking
the lion’s share of Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin’s Asian
population with the hope of giving an Asian a solid shot at election. The growth in the
number of Latinos and Asians accounts for the lion’s share of Queens
population growth, which accounts for the new seats.
The names abound for the Latino seat.
Watch for labor-backed Jose Peralta to
emerge as the early frontrunner. Peralta has retained the Parkside
Group whose impressive showing in the recent Council elections has
elevated them as premiere Queens political consultants.
Also mentioned is defeated Council
candidate Luis Rosario as well as his first cousin District
Leader-at-large Francisco Moya. Newly-elected Councilman Hiram
Monserrate is likely to play a role and back one of his club’s
wanabees. Jimmy Lisa, whose Italian family once ruled the political
roost in the area, lost his Dem Leadership to Monserrate but may be
interested for a go at the Assembly. Gay activist Danny Dromm is
another very viable alternative in a Democratic primary race where the
Latino vote is splintered.
For an Asian to have a shot at the
“Asian” seat, powerful labor leader Brian McLaughlin must first
decide to move over and run in a district which is made up of less
than 25 percent of his present district. His advisors, we hear, are
encouraging him to take the new district and back an Asian to victory
in the other district thus expanding his already impressive powerbase.
McLaughlin, we are told, has been approached by many wanabees.
Look for recently defeated Council
candidates Ethel Chen (Chinese) and Terence Park (Korean) to explore
the possibilities. Pauline Chu has been a longtime political activist
who would be worth watching.
Other non-Asians who have been mentioned
depending upon where and how the lines finally are drawn, include Evan
Stavisky, the Parkside consulting guru (who has too good a career
ahead of himself to give up for public office); Claire Shulman protégé
defeated Council wanabee Barry Grodenchik; and perenniel wannabes
Debbie Marcal and Rory Lancman. Julia Harrison, the senior Democratic
anti-Asian former Councilwoman has a solid claim on this seat but her
age might discourage the former Assemblywoman from the race and weekly
Although we know less of the State
Senate remapping, Queens may also acquire a new Senate seat. If so,
this too would likely be Jackson Heights centered, but being a larger
district than the Assembly one may, depending on the lines, be custom-
made for John Sabini, the just-term-limited Jackson Heights
Councilman. Other names are sure to appear as soon as the legislature
releases the maps and politicos have a chance to see if the gods and
Albany leadership have smiled upon them.
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Ignorance and hatred know few limits.
Last week, I shared the story of how my
son Lee was beaten up in Keene, New Hampshire because he was Jewish.
The endless wishes of support I’ve received are truly appreciated.
The people of Queens, the metropolitan area and my extended network
have written in large numbers saying those wonderfully appropriate
things that compassionate people of goodwill say.
The support of our readers and friends
in face of the hate experienced by our son is of course helpful. But
somehow, I feel like we are constantly preaching to the converted
while hate and ignorance continue to flourish unabated. Those who
identify and appreciate last week’s message in this column, came
forward. No one seems to ever come forward and say, “Your argument
won me over, I’m not going to be prejudiced again. I’m going to
It just doesn’t happen.
Hate continues to flourish.
This time, the hate story is not
personal; but it’s awfully close to home.
I received an English translation of a
lead story in this week’s Korean Times. Although, by sight,
I’m familiar with the publication, it’s in Korean. Other than my
son’s trip this past summer to Korea and his visit to the DMZ and
the few words he brought home, Korean is Greek to me. Lee can manage,
hello, thank you, happy new year and some more gim chee, please.
The article or its translation that I
share with you on the top right side of this page, will likely be the
subject of news reports elsewhere in this paper and in the general
Although, we are reaching out to confirm
the accuracy of the translation we received, our ability to report on
this story may be limited due to language difficulty. Nevertheless, it
is too important to disregard.
I think the message and meaning of the
article ignorantly continues the hate and undermines the multicultural
fiber that holds us all together. This one should not be allowed to go
Take a moment and read the story.
Entrepreneurial Chinese businessmen have
raised huge amounts of capital and are actively buying land and
building in the downtown Flushing area. Chinese merchants are
cross-marketing to a Korean clientele offering goods (and services) at
lower prices than at Korean shops. The Chinese businessmen and
merchants apparently are prospering while some Korean businesses are
Now let me get this right: The same
quality fish, jewelry, goods are available down the block from Korean
merchants at a 20% lower price but the shop is owned by or employs
Chinese and therefore, Koreans should not shop there?
Is that the message of Mr. Jonghak Hong
and perhaps the assignment editor at the Korean Times?
Such a message is one of hate and
prejudice. It is made of the same ugly sentiments that caused six
young men in Keene New Hampshire to attack my son because he was
Jewish. It is a message built on fear. It is a message that must be
rejected by people of goodwill.
Welcome to America . . . land of
Welcome to the marketplace. Welcome to a
community where quality and price rule that marketplace.
Welcome to a Korean community that has
made the intelligent decision to shop based on their pocketbooks and
It is to the credit of the Chinese
business people who have reached beyond their own insular community to
woo Korean customers.
Korean business people can learn and
follow. Perhaps businessmen everywhere can learn something.
In addition to effective marketing,
there is a greater message to be learned. The message, not much
different than the one that eluded those six young men in Keene, New
Hampshire, seems to be eluding those who protest Korean consumers
buying in Chinese shops.
Somehow, someday, everyone may
understand that although we may all be different, there is a lot more
we all have in common.
But until that day comes, there is much
more to be done.
The thriving downtown Flushing
marketplace has not adequately reached out and attracted the non-Asian
consumer. I wonder if the old American marketplace has made all new
The future Queens I dream of is not
going to care about your race, color, religion, sexual preference or
Now, where can I get some gim chee?