The Town of Hempstead board unanimously voted to adopt new district maps Tuesday night amid objections from the public and a series of boos from the audience.
Republican Supervisor Don Clavin sarcastically said to the upset crowd “That’s very polite of you,” following the jeers.
Earlier in the meeting, Clavin said he did not know when the maps would be voted on.
Portions of Floral Park, New Hyde Park and Mineola will remain in District 2, represented by Council member Thomas Muscarella, under the new maps.
Residents and civic associations have consistently been critical of the redistricting process and the maps themselves, which were released in December and drawn by Schenectady-based Skyline Consulting, a political data firm.
More than 12 residents spoke Tuesday night in what was a continuation of the public hearing held on Feb. 7. No one who spoke Tuesday said they were in favor of the new maps.
“These maps, frankly, are gerrymandering using the tactic of cracking,” said Terry Bain, a retired immigration judge from Rockville Centre.
Cracking in redistricting dilutes the voting power of the opposing party across different districts.
Baldwin, North Bellmore, Uniondale and West Hempstead were split into different districts despite opposition from the public and pleas to keep communities of color whole. Critics also called for minority-majority districts that better represent Hempstead.
Town Attorney John Maccarone said of the 60 total hamlets in the town, 56 of them remain whole under the new proposal.
Catherine DeSantis, of Rockville Centre, said the town board should consider new maps that provide alternative options.
“The board should make some adjustments to the current proposal and create a map that is more fair, compliant, compact, respectful of communities of color and has less cracking,” DeSantis said.
Every 10 years, following the once-a-decade census, the town participates revise districts to account for changes in population and ensure none contain a substantial difference in voter population.
Hempstead’s town board is currently made up of five Republican council members, Democrat Dorothy Goosby and Clavin.
Currently missing from the board is a replacement for Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) a former Hempstead council member who was elected to Congress in NY4.
The white, non-Hispanic or Latino population makes up 52.4% of Hempstead, according to the U.S. Census.
However, five of the six councilmanic districts are majority white and only one is predominantly minority.
Under the new maps, an average of 92% of the cores of each district are preserved. Twenty-one of the 22 incorporated villages remain whole from Hempstead Village, which was split to achieve equal populations, according to Skyline.
Hempstead’s adjusted population is 794,289, according to Skyline.
State law requires no more than 5% total population deviation between districts to keep them equal. The proposal ranges from a population deviation of nearly 12% to 1.39%, Skyline said in a report.
Multiple residents said the maps will be challenged in court as they were in 2013.
Clavin said the town has followed all appropriate laws and requirements when considering new maps.
I think each of the districts should be divided equally based on population and have nothing to do with color, race or ethnicity.
We are all just people, honestly.