Valley Viewpoints: Why you should care

by Dan Farfaglia, Legislator

Every 10 years, the county legislative districts we live in are reviewed and changed when necessary because of changes in population.

These changes are supposed to ensure that all the county’s districts are roughly equal in population.

Just as important, these new districts are supposed to be designed in a way that voters and communities are fairly represented in the county legislature.

Sadly, the mostly secretive and blatantly partisan process that produced the new proposed county legislative districts doesn’t meet that standard. It disrespects our communities, is a disservice to voters, and wastes taxpayer money.

The secretive process that created these new districts unnecessarily divided communities and paired up some towns and cities that have previously never been historically connected and, frankly, have different interests.

The Town of New Haven should not be in a district with a part of the Town of Palermo and the Town of Minetto should not be split up. The Town of Hannibal should be its own district.

A neighborhood in the City of Oswego should not be in a district with part of the Town of Volney and part of the Town of Oswego should certainly not have a legislator that also represents part of the City of Fulton.

My goal and the goal of my Democratic colleagues on the county legislature has always been to make government leaner, more responsible, and more accessible to county residents.

This plan does the opposite. Anyone who has lived in this county for six months even recognizes that Oswego Town, for example, has more in common with the City of Oswego than the City of Fulton.

The Town of Oswego and the City of Oswego shop in the same places are served by the same media and their kids go to the same school district. To put it simply, ask a resident of the Town of Oswego where he lives. Do you think he’s going to say Fulton?

For the record, the reapportionment committee was presented with an alternative plan. A plan that would balance the district populations as required by law, keeps most of the districts intact, respects our communities and would even cost less to implement.

Predictably, there was little support for the simpler initiative. Since I was the only Democratic member of this committee, I was the only who was raising objections to their unfair redistricting plan.

These new districts are not law yet. And they should not become law.

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