Moroney told the Herald last month that conflicting public testimony offered by people in the same community who want different results could be a problem. That clearly didn’t appear to be the case in Long Beach, whose residents said that the city, with a population of over 33,000, along with other communities on the barrier island, more than meets the ideal population requirements.
“We have to make sure that we have elected officials who will represent our small city — you have to keep us together, whether it’s Atlantic Beach or Point Lookout,” said Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg. “Our area is so close together that we are intertwined.”
“Without a doubt, our barrier island is one community,” added resident Sarah Nicholas.
The meetings will continue over the next several weeks and months. Any map the commission creates, however, can be revised by the Legislature, which has the final say on district makeup.
Weisenberg and City Council President Len Torres said that communities in the 4th L.D. share many of the same concerns, whether they are environmental or political.
“One issue I have in excluding part of Island Park is that the children of Island Park attend Long Beach High School,” said Councilwoman Fran Adelson. “If you exclude Island Park from this whole thing, you are excluding children who go to the same school district. That makes no sense to me.”
The commission’s deadline for finalizing district lines is Jan. 5. This is only the second time the county has gone through redistricting. The Legislature was founded in 1996, and the original districts changed in 2004, after the 2000 census.
Moroney and others said that a number of residents had been misinformed after they raised concerns about Island Park’s being grouped with Seaford, a plan that was proposed last year when the Legislature’s GOP majority tried to implement new maps that would have gone into effect before the 2011 election. That plan was struck down in court. Moroney said that those maps are off the table.