Some Erie County Redistricting Maps Spark Controversy

May 9, 2011 Updated May 9, 2011 at 6:30 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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May 9, 2011 Updated May 9, 2011 at 6:30 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - The successful downsizing of the Erie County Legislature will lead to the county's district lines being re-drawn, and some proposed maps are already sparking controversy. Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte is outraged by the proposed redistricting plan submitted by the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Reapportionment Adam Perry. Whyte says his plan is an assault on minority voting rights and an 'incumbent protection plan.'

In a statement, Whyte contends that the plan:
-divides the Latino community into 4 districts
- makes it likely that there will be no African American representation in the Erie County Legislature at some point over the next decade
- Weakens representation for the City of Buffalo as it is spread over 5 districts
- Unnecessarily and unlawfully splits up the towns of Cheektowaga, Lancaster, Hamburg, and Tonawanda.

"I really feel this map takes us backwards by more than a decade because we already have the Latino community united under one district," said Legislator Whyte. "We'll be going backwards if this is passed."

During a committee meeting Monday, Perry says he'll wait to answer all the questions and concerns until a public hearing scheduled for later this week, but did briefly address the latino community's concern over his proposal.

"Splitting the hispanic community into 3 districts...you would have 3 legislators in 3 districts saying, 'I represent the hispanic community'. Instead of packing it into one district," said Perry.

The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at ECC City Campus starting at 5:30pm. For more information about redistricting, or to view all the proposed maps visit: http://www2.erie.gov/legislature/index.php?q=advisory-committee-reapportionment