Common Council begins to review Syracuse's redrawn district map
More than a year’s worth of work by Syracuse’s independent redistricting commission came under scrutiny Tuesday evening as the city's common councilors consider the redrawn map. Redistricting Commissioner Molly Lizzio said she and her 14 fellow commissioners are proud of the final product.
"I don't think that we could've made a better map with everything all combined. We're very pleased with our map. Overall, this is the best map given the timelines of both neighborhoods, our priorities, and also the laws that we had to follow," Lizzio said.
That includes state and federal laws, not to mention the ordinance approved by councilors that established and govern the commission’s operation. But councilors like Jennifer Schultz still wondered if the commission should have taken incumbency into consideration.
"At any point during this redistricting process did you consider the current council and the potential impact that it might have on their ability to run again in the same district?" Schultz said.
Commissioner Bruce Shefrin defended the commission's choice not to consider incumbency, given the fact that it is illegal.
"It is illegal to think about that. It's illegal for you as a councilor to reject this plan based on that. That's why we couldn't do it. It was not something that can be taken into account," Shefrin said.
Commissioner Lizzio also weighed in to emphasize on their impartial standards. The question was not only raised by councilors, but also members of the public who spoke at the meeting.
"We weren't even aware of everyone's [councilors] addresses or anything like that prior to this. Our understanding was that that was expressly prohibited to allow that to be a part of our decision-making process," Lizzio said.
Councilors have the option of approving the map or rejecting it, but can’t make any changes themselves. They can, however, send the map back to the commission with recommendations. The council will likely hold additional public meetings in the weeks ahead. The deadline for approval is Oct. 1.