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Lej approves redistricting plan, with term changes

Jeremy Moule

The Monroe County Legislature's next three elections will be an electoral free-for-all under the redistricting plan legislators adopted last night.

Under the plan, which passed 21 to 7, all 29 legislators will run at the same time during the 2015 and 2019 elections. All 29 are also up for election this year. The 2011 and 2015 elections will be for four-year terms, while the 2019 election will be for two-year terms. Previously the terms were staggered so that a group of legislators was up for election every two years.

Legislature President Jeff Adair, who served on the redistricting commission, said the change was a matter of continuity. Over the next few years, 15 to 16 legislators will be term-limited out of the Lej, Adair said. It's important to preserve some institutional knowledge, he said.

Democrats protested the change and introduced two amendments to restore staggered terms; both failed. As she introduced her set of amendments, Democratic Legislator Carrie Andrews said that staggering the terms allows for community input every two year, as opposed to the new plan.

While some Legislature Democrats said they thought the mapmakers did a fair job redrawing the lines, others were upset that it divided specific neighborhoods. Cynthia Kaleh did not like that the map divides the Maplewood neighborhood and places it into three districts.

"This plan continues to separate the heart of the Latino community in Northeast Rochester," said Democratic Legislator Saul Maneiro.

Some Democratic legislators said the plan also divides the village of Brockport, North Winton Village in the city, Charlotte, and the Twelve Corners neighborhood in Brighton.

In the end, Andrews, Kaleh, and Maneiro voted against the plan, as did Democrats Dick Beebe, Steve Eckel, Vinnie Esposito, and Paul Haney.