Remapping a community
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County Legislator Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), who represents the current District 7 — comprising Inwood, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck, Woodsburgh, Lawrence, Harbor Isle, Island Park, South Valley Stream, Bay Park and parts of East Rockaway and Oceanside — said he still needs to hear the testimony about the proposed changes. “I think it’s highly questionable for the [Republican] map to be approved in its current form,” he said. “I accept the fact that although I like the district the way it is now, legally there has to be some changes, but I wouldn’t change a thing, honestly.”
If the Five Towns were to be split, Kopel said, he doesn’t think much would change in the community, since there are two incorporated villages, a few smaller hamlets, several unincorporated areas and a variety of school, sanitation, fire and Town of Hempstead council districts. “I don’t see it making a bit of difference in the character of the Five Towns,” he said.
Stephen Anchin, the Hewlett Democratic zone leader and a past president of the Five Towns Democratic Club, said he believes the Republican plan would hurt the Five Towns. “I think that we have a set of demographic and cultural identities that link us together, and the Republican plan just disperses us and scatters us,” Anchin said. “It’s like somebody drop[s] a bomb and explodes us into different directions, and it’s wrong.”
Anchin sees the Republican plan as politically motivated. “[Kopel] needs to stand up on the part of our integrity and vote for the people he’s been representing,” he said. “Dozens of Five Towns organizations may soon have to go to three or four political leaders for assistance.”
On Jan. 14, a third redistricting map was unveiled by several organizations that joined forces to form the Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition, including the Nassau County League of Women Voters, the New York Civil Liberties Union and Latino Justice. The coalition’s map keeps “communities of interest,” like the Five Towns, together.