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You are here: Home Section Table Around Town LWVS Calls Splitting Scarsdale Into Two NYS Assembly Districts "A Grievous Error"
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LWVS Calls Splitting Scarsdale Into Two NYS Assembly Districts "A Grievous Error"

StateAssemblyMapOne of the proposed districting maps for the NYS Assembly would divide Scarsdale into two districtsNY State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has represented the 88th District, that includes Scarsdale since 2001. A Scarsdale resident, she is one of the most powerful legislators in the Assembly and has sponsored legislation on state government reform, children and families, domestic violence, sex trafficking, education, health care, animal welfare, and preventing gun violence

However, all this could change, depending on the outcome of the work of the Independent Commission that is charged with drawing district maps. Though it is supposed to keep "communities of interest" together, the commission has submitted two proposed maps for the state assembly, one which divides Scarsdale among two districts.

On Monday November 8, Alissa Baum, President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale testified before the Independent Commission that is charged with drawing new district maps for Congress, the NY State Senate and the NY State Assembly, based on the 2020 U.S. Census.

She said, “Both the League of Women Voters of Westchester and the League of Women Voters of New York State have expressed their disappointment regarding the conduct of the redistricting process thus far. We share their concerns about the partisanship and lack of transparency which continue to embroil the drafting of proposed legislative maps.”

“The Scarsdale League Board was surprised to see that Scarsdale, which is thoroughly encompassed in the current Assembly District 88, has been split between two separate Assembly districts in the “Names” map released to the public. We are puzzled by the configuration of this map, and really by all of the recently released maps, because the Commission has provided no explanation whatsoever to justify the configuration of any of them.”

Three of the core requirements in shaping districts set forth in the New York State Constitution are to keep communities of interest together, keep municipal boundaries intact/preserve political subdivisions, and maintain cores of existing districts. The “Names” map violates all three requirements as they apply to the Village of Scarsdale.

Scarsdale is a unique community, sharing common interests in its exceptional school system, nonpartisan election systems of Village and school governance, and its village-in-a-park zoning/planning and municipal services. Despite its relatively small size, it contains numerous Village-based volunteer-led community organizations, has an active local business alliance for brick and mortar shops within its borders, and remains one of few communities to have been able to sustain a printed newspaper of local circulation, serving as the official paper of record for both the co-terminous town/village and the school district. Why did the Commission disregard municipal lines and remove portions of four of the five Scarsdale neighborhoods from representation in a single Assembly district?

Scarsdale’s school district comprises one high school, one middle school and five elementary schools. In the “Names” map, segments of four of the five elementary schools - Edgewood, Fox Meadow, Heathcote, and Quaker Ridge -- have been cut off from the rest of the town of Scarsdale and placed into a different Assembly district, literally splitting the neighborhoods of four elementary schools that serve as the Village’s traditional polling sites. This result is totally unacceptable, and we fully expect the Commission to correct this grievous error.AmyPaulin

The drawing of legislative districts may be an art rather than a science, requiring the commission to balance several factors in order to configure maps encompassing the entire state. However, without the opportunity to see the negotiation process or consider the Commission’s rationale, we have to wonder if the split of Assembly District 88 was due to an unlawful partisan or political factor.

The Village of Scarsdale, with its strong school system and common interests, deserves the representation of a s\ingle legislator in each of the Assembly, Senate, and U.S. Congressional districts. We hope that the Commission takes its charge seriously and listens to the public so that it can draw political boundaries that are in the public’s best interest.”

Paulin said, "Municipalities should be kept whole in legislative districts whenever possible. Dividing towns, villages and cities dilutes the vote of residents and leaves them without a clear, singular representative to advocate on their behalf. To break up the Village of Scarsdale would be a disservice to its residents - Scarsdale is a cohesive community and should remain whole in a single State Assembly district. I commend the Scarsdale League of Women Voters for engaging in public comment before the Independent Redistricting Commission and for strongly advocating to keep Scarsdale whole.”

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