Here's a suggestion: In Section One of the new law dealing with redistricting, the constitution should require that officials guarantee that the microphones work at public hearings about legislative lines.
Because apparently, LATFOR's been having a bit of trouble hearing people out.
At a public hearing in Syracuse for the current task force that draws the Senate and Assembly lines, more than a half-dozen reps complained that St. Lawrence County was split among three Senate districts and four Assembly districts in LATFOR's first proposal.
So what did LATFOR do with that complaint when they sent out Round 2, the "new" and "improved" districts? Hot buttered nothing, it seems. St. Lawrence County is still split among seven Senate and Assembly districts.
Here's the problem: The more St. Lawrence County is split up, the more diminished its voice becomes. If a senator has to answer to St. Lawrence County and only St. Lawrence County, they're not going to ignore it. If it's only 20 percent of their district's population, maybe they'll swing by when an election is coming up, but the day-to-day focus won't be there.
"These not only fail to live up to not only the high expectations set for 2012, but they're worse than what we saw for 2002," said Bill Mahoney, an official at the New York Public Interest Research Group. He added that he didn't see much change from LATFOR No. 1 and LATFOR No. 2. "I would strongly encourage them to revisit the lines. I don't know what the likelihood will be."
Here are LATFOR's proposed maps. As you'll note, they have hardly changed at all.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru
Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, R-Black River
Republican Assemblyman Marc Butler
Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski (he gets one Jefferson County town)
Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury
Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome
Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton