ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A public hearing was held Wednesday on the proposed re-districting in the Monroe County Legislature. On the table is the creation of five Black-majority districts within the city that could potentially see five Black legislators elected.
Republicans and one Democrat — Rachel Barhart — are in favor of the creation of these districts, while the rest of the Democrats stand opposed. It’s something many speakers said they’re confused about, including Former Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
20 speakers took to the microphone Wednesday evening, mostly in favor of creating five majority Black districts in the county, centered in the City of Rochester. Councilmember LaShay Harris addressed those Democrat legislators opposed to the re-districting.
“You are jeopardizing our upcoming elections in this re-districting battle,” she said.
LaShana Boose, formally with the Monroe County Board of Elections, spoke on behalf of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. “…firmly asserts its position on the re-districting process for the City of Rochester in Monroe County,” she said.
However, some argued the proposed lines are unconstitutional. One man addressed the Republicans who support this. “Each day you continue to pretend that a map like this can be enacted — brings us closer to the point when we will have to wait for a court to decide the line,” he said.
The final speaker, former mayor Lovely Warren, asked legislators — specifically Democrats — what they’re fighting against here.
“I never thought I’d see the day where Democrats are arguing harder than Republicans about supporting five strong districts,” Warren said.
Warren said the Democrats opposed to this are spewing lies. She said Black leaders of the past — like Assemblyman David Gantt — are rolling over in their graves.
“Let me educate those of you that are more concerned about keeping your elected seats than representing your people,” she said. “The silence among you is deafening — literally deafening — on matters that matter most to the Black community.”
She said those opposed are a part of the status quo — and that status quo she says only benefits them, and allows the poor to continue to suffer.
“The map being proposed today is the best and most fair map to achieve the results that our next generation can be proud of,” she said.
The next meeting of the County Legislature is October 11th. This proposal still needs to go to County Executive Adam Bello’s desk for approval or not.