Nassau County Presiding Officer, Norma L Gonsalves, holds a second title – Chair of the Nassau County Minority Affairs Committee. But you would not have guessed it as she channeled Peter Schmitt (the previous Presiding Officer who died in office) and held the party line on Gerrymandering with obvious glee and episodic outbursts of disdain toward her Democratic colleagues on the Legislature.Nassau county residents turned out in great numbers to both witness and voice unanimous disapproval of the Republican actions and maps, maps that move more than 350,000 residents into new legislative districts while successfully cracking, packing and stacking democrats (and minorities) into eight (8) LDs. Maps that Republicans hope will guarantee them a super majority in the Nassau County Legislature.
In Elmont’s case the 3rd LD would meander north to south from Bellerose Terrace to Inwood because according to Francis X. Moroney, chair of the Temporary Districting Advisory Commission, cross border crime constitutes a community of interest - so does left handed people and one eyed mice, Mr. Moroney, but they are not mentioned in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Fact is Elmont residents are more concerned about the cross border crime that emanates from Mineloa (state and local), not from Queens.
Gonsalves is exhibit A of a sinister state and national Republican movement. She is a highly visible symbol of the Republican outreach to the minority community (at least in name) – a community they have written off with the exception of empty but stereotypical crumbs like political rallies disguised as basketball tournaments, and carefully selected “in beds” who rent their ethnicity (and ethnic sounding names) in exchange for hyper-selfish gain. Gonsalves is exhibit A.
So let’s face some facts. The Nassau County Minority Affairs Committee Chairmanship was handed to Gonsalves because of her Hispanic nomenclature. But on February 25, 2013 she could not hide that fact. She appears ready to vote “yes” on the Republican gerrymandering of Nassau County which will, without doubt, diminish the rights of minority communities at the ballot box in Nassau County. Let’s face it. She is a willing co-conspirator, an “in bed”.
Harsh, yes! But maybe Gonslaves, Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee, will have a moral moment and say to herself, “I simply cannot be here in name only.” The hundreds of residents who spoke and who sat through the hearings for 6, 8 or 10 hours are expecting her to “Do the right thing”. Vote “no” to the Republican map.
The American Folklorist, Zora Neale Hurston, once said “All my skin folk ain't always my kinfolk”. Gosalves, it’s time you pay attention to that other responsibility you have – Chairperson of the Nassau County Minority Affairs Committee.