Hempstead releases new redistricting proposal

Hempstead releases new redistricting proposal
A proposal of the Town of Hempstead's six councilmanic districts. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hempstead)

A new council district map proposal has been released as the Town of Hempstead continues its redistricting process into the new year. 

Hempstead’s temporary redistricting committee will also hold a public meeting on the maps on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 10:30 a.m. and Monday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. at town hall. 

Every 10 years, the town is directed to participate in the redistricting process by town code in order to revise districts to ensure none contain a substantially disproportionate difference in the size of the voter population compared to other districts.

As it stands, Hempstead currently has six councilmanic districts, which are each represented by one member of the Town Board. In addition to the six elected officials, the town supervisor also sits on the seven-member board.

Hempstead’s Town Board is currently made up of five Republican council members, Democrat Dorothy Goosby and Republican Supervisor Don Clavin. 

The new maps were drawn by consultants from Schenectady-based Skylin Consulting, a political data firm. 

Portions of Floral Park, New Hyde Park and Mineola currently sit in District 2, represented by Council Member Thomas Muscarella. According to the new proposal, they would all remain in District 2.

Hempstead’s adjusted population is 794,289, according to Skyline. State law requires no more than 5% total population deviation is allowed between districts to keep them equal. The proposal goes from a population deviation of nearly 12% to 1.39%, Skyline said in a report. 

The Town of Hempstead’s District 2 as it currently stands. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hempstead)
The Town of Hempstead’s District 2 under the newest redistricting proposal. (Photo courtesy of the Town of Hempstead)

Under the proposal, an average of 92% of the cores of each district is preserved. Twenty-one of the 22 incorporated villages remain whole in the new proposal aside from Hempstead Village, which was split to achieve equal populations, according to Skyline. 

Out of the 35 unincorporated areas, known as “Census Designated Places,” 28 are kept whole. 

East Meadow, Franklin Square, North Valley Stream, Baldwin, Uniondale and Woodmere each contain portions of two Districts each while West Hempstead contains portions of three districts.

During the most recent public hearing, many residents called to keep communities of color together. 

“My communities Elmont and Valley Stream have been separated by all levels of redistricting for the last 10 years,” said Mimi Pierre Johnson of the Elmont Cultural Center. “It is a systematic way of stopping us from growing. Black and brown people have fought for every little thing that should come naturally in government.”

This redistricting process is the first time in the town’s 378-year history the board chose to use an independent commission, which is comprised of three people who were appointed unanimously. 

Gary Hudes, a former Republican councilman for the 6th District, chairs the commission, and sits alongside Albert D’Agostino, a Republican, and Dorothy Brazley, a Democrat.

There were also additional calls to maintain the areas of Baldwin, a hamlet, Uniondale and Elmont within one district.

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 while 47% of the town are people of color. 

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