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Onondaga County Executive Indicates He Wants To See Changes Made To Proposed Legislative District Map

ce redist garland.jpg
Scott Willis
Onondaga County Legislator-elect Charles Garland tells County Executive McMahon that the GOP-drawn redistricting map is "racially gerrymandered" and dilutes the majority-minority voices in the 16th district.

It appears Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is leaning towards making some changes to the proposed redistricting map approved by lawmakers last week.  He plans to take into consideration the comments from about two dozen people who weighed in Friday at a final public hearing.

McMahon told reporters today after the hearing that he will take time to digest what he heard, and do some fact checking before making a decision. He says he even disagrees with the way some of the districts are drawn, which might indicate a veto. McMahon wanted more that combined city, suburban, and rural areas.

"I'm disappointed, quite frankly, that there aren't as many metropolitan districts right now. We're going from nine to two or three. I believe it has led to good governance, whether partisans agree with that or not. If I have concerns with some of the things we heard about, I'm going to bring the legislative leaders together and have a conversation."

Listen to some of the concerns voiced at Friday's public hearing on Onondaga County's proposed legislative district map

He says that includes concerns expressed about dividing the 16th district.

"By manipulating the boundaries of different electoral districts, this is an effort to silence marginalized voices, particularly Black voices."

McMahon says he shares those concerns.

"The population from what I saw is still heavily minority population. Specifically, one of our goals going into this was to increase minority representation."

McMahon says he’ll look closely to see if the map conflicts with that goal. But everyone who spoke at the meeting wanted to see more dramatic changes. Roger Misso says the map generally falls short.

"This map, by every objective measure, is inferior. It's not inferior by a Democratic standard or a Republican standard. It is inferior by a non-partisan, unbiased, mapping tool standard by the people who study redistricting around the country to make sure that it is fair."

McMahon says he’ll spend the next 2 to 3 weeks reviewing the map before making a decision. If he rejects it, the map would go back to lawmakers who would make the changes and vote on the revised version.

ce redist room.jpg
Scott Willis
The conference room was standing room only. Some were uncomfortable with the crowded space and waiting in the hallway. The county executive says he didn't chose the venue, but indicated that they weren't expecting such a large turnout for the public hearing.