District Drama Revisited as One Judge Flips Another


District Drama? As we reported on Saturday, “When the ‘independent’ commission failed to come up with legislative maps everybody could agree on earlier this year, Democrats who control the Capitol took matters into their own hands. Republicans cried foul and an Upstate judge has agreed with them.” Yesterday, that semi-flipped.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Roosevelt Island’s piece of the district drama

Senator José Serrano
For much of his 20 years in office, Senator José Serrano included Roosevelt Island as part of his constituency. The new maps pull him out while bringing in Astoria’s Michael Gianaris.

Lines were drawn and candidates got petitions signed making them eligible for June primary elections. In charge now, Democrats in Albany crafted districts that tilted results in their favor. For Roosevelt Island, that left elected officials unchanged, except for the state senate.

Current Senator José Serrano’s area altered while nearby Astoria/LIC Senator Michael Gianaris crossed the East River channel, absorbing the Island. The change, in essence, replaced one powerful senator with another powerful senator who lives nearby. Senator Serrano is #4 in the chamber’s hierarchy, and Gianaris is #2.

Interestingly, Gianaris was the leader in new map drawing, meaning he hooked up with Roosevelt Island by his own choice. But that all went out the window last week – on April Fools Day – when a Steuben County judge threw out the new maps, saying that Gianaris and company took gerrymandering too far.


With petitions reaching deadlines within a few days, turmoil ensued. For what territory, then, should Serrano and Gianaris collect signatures? That echoes through other districts throughout the state.

But mitigating the upset was the usual for New York – politics. The Steuben County judge is a Republican. So, Democrats took for granted that his ruling wouldn’t survive challenges in higher courts. And it took only until yesterday for that to come true.

A judge in Monroe County stayed the ruling – that is, restored the new maps – promising a final decision within three weeks. The likely result, with petitions already in and election day pending, is that the new maps will stay, at least, through November.

And that makes Michael Gianaris almost certainly our next state senator, beginning in January. But maybe for just one year.

More from the Roosevelt Island Daily News


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