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A New Day in NY Politics

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Now that the results are in from the first national census of the 21st century, the state’s political bosses are salivating at the thought of redrawing district lines in a manner that will further partisan interests. Elected officials believe gerrymandering is a legitimate part of the democratic process.

We disagree.

Gerrymandering is the corrupt practice of redrawing district lines to protect incumbents and further partisanship. The lines are drawn without respect to geography and common sense. In the city and state, Republicans and Democrats have engaged in this backroom political manipulation.

In a letter to the editor published last week, Patricia Dolan, president of the Queens Civic Congress, said the time has come to put an end to gerrymandering. We agree. The practice disenfranchises voters and contributes to a feeling of cynicism about the electoral process.

The state Senate has passed a resolution that would create a nonpartisan redistricting commission after the next census — 10 years from now. New York voters cannot wait that long.

Well Done, Mr. Tshaka

One of the privileges of being the hometown newspaper of northeast Queens is the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of people like Mandingo Tshaka. In June, Tshaka, a Baysider, will travel to Albany where he will be honored by the University of the State of New York’s Board of Regents for his contributions to the education of African and African diaspora history and culture.

Tshaka, 80, a well-known community activist, has been named the first recipient of the Sanford and Hines Families Award for Study and Research in the African Experience in New York State, the Americas and the Diaspora.

But that is only part of Tshaka’s story. He has also fought for the rights of the native Americans who were the first to call this area home. In his own words, in the 1980s the former doo-wop singer became “a force to be reckoned with,” chasing drug dealers out of minority neighborhoods with a machete.

For decades he has been the voice for people who had no voice and a fighter for the causes he believed in.

Congratulations, Mandingo, and on behalf of the people of Queens, thank you.

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