Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was put on the defensive this week as Democrats sent around a document that they said shows the Republicans have only one thought in mind when it comes to redistricting: Will it help the GOP stay in the majority?
The memo, written on government paper, refers to parts of Long Island as "politically undesirable."
Mark Burgeson, who the Daily News said is still an analyst for the Legislative Task Force on Reapportionment, wrote the memo to Skelos nearly 10 years ago, when the Rockville Centre Republican was the task force chairman.
Burgeson writes about a few scenarios, including creating minority heavy districts and goes on to analyze whether it would help keep GOP incumbents entrenched in the Senate.
The memo became political fodder Tuesday when Bill Hammond of the Daily News wrote this:
This should have been a cut-and-dried decision driven by straightforwardly applying constitutional rules to head counts from the census. As the memo makes plain, however, the Senate GOP was eagerly manipulating the process for its own gain.
"The only reason to go to 63," Burgeson wrote, "is to strengthen the Long Island delegation by combining politically undesirable areas in the extra district."
Translation: If we can pack Latinos and blacks, who vote Democratic, into one district, it might make it easier for neighboring Republicans to get reelected.
A Skelos spokesman responded by saying "As we've said before, we're committed to a redistricting process that's bipartisan, transparent and fair." He would not respond to Daily News questions about the memo.