Do the Right Thing!

The City of Amsterdam Common Council was reconstituted in 1982 based on the 1980 Federal Census. At that time the population of the City was 21,872 that is 3,252 greater than the 2010 population of 18,620.

Much has changed in 30 years, including the ethnic makeup of Amsterdam that is now 26.2% Hispanic or Latino.

City of Amsterdam total population 18,620

Total Housing Units 9,218

Occupied 7,861

Vacant 1,357

Land Area 5.9 square miles

Density 3,176.3 persons per square mile

We are by far, the most densely populated area in Montgomery County with 3,176.3 persons per square mile. It is that population density that determines how we are represented in City Hall.  According to our City Charter, Ward boundaries are to be adjusted within three months of the issuance of the Federal Census results.

§ C-26 Reapportionment of Common Council representation.


Within three months following official publication of the results of each federal decennial or quinquennial census, if such has been conducted, the Common Council shall review the ward boundaries in relationship to the census results and make such adjustments by local law as may be necessary to assure that each ward contains, as nearly as practicable, an equal number of residents.

My research indicates that this Charter mandate has never been carries out (since the reconstitution of the Common Council in 1982). The language in the Charter Law is “shall” not “may,” indicating this is not an optional procedure.

Just as Congressional redistricting is adjusted according to current population statistics, our City Ward boundaries must be examined and if necessary changed to effect equal representation in local government.

The list of 2010 census population by current Ward boundaries should be made public.

To our elected City Council representatives I issue this challenge …

Do the right thing!

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12 thoughts on “Do the Right Thing!

  1. Diane

    I support this, please let them get thru the Budget process first!!

    • The process is dictated by the City Charter, indicating this should be accomplished by June 24, 2011.

  2. Reapportionments have been done after every decennial census and also the mid-60’s after the Supreme Court’s one man/one vote decision, except after the 2000 census. They have really been operating illegally ever since then.

    Not sure if ALL the necessary data has been released by the census bureau, but if it has, it certainly would make sense to complete this necessary job BEFORE the petition period in early June, so that we don’t have to wait another two years for fair and balanced districts. (I haven’t seen that the census blocks are out. They may be.)

    Just take a look at the weighted votes on the Board of Supervisors and you will see roughly how far off we are from the LAST census. The wards should have near-equal weighted votes. They do not.

    • My report is claiming there has not been a reapportionment done since the reconstitution of the Common Council in 1982.

      You indicate a reapportionment was done in 1990. Is that correct?

      I have been looking at the US Census site trying to figure out a way to filter by voting district, but have not found it. I find the whole data filtering mechanism unnecessarily confusing.

  3. I’m quite certain it was done after the 1990 census. In order to do the reapportionment you would need the census block numbers. For example, your block would include all the territory bounded by Grove Street, Schuyler, Forbes and the arterial. Those are the smallest units the census is broken into statistically. (Though I can recall when my in-laws each got a voter registration card putting them in different election districts- but that was just a mistake.)

    • The Federal Government had an April 1, 2011 deadline to release the 2010 Census data.

      This publication seems to indicate the required data was released when New York received it on March 24, 2011. It just needs to be plugged into the County TIGER/Line® Shapefiles system that will map the data according to our current voting district boundaries.

      Montgomery County has already started releasing the 94-171 data. The block (voting district) information is displayed on the posted 2002 Amsterdam map.

  4. Diane

    Where did the housing numbers come from??

  5. Nicole diCaprio-Bagatelle

    Any update on re-districting yet? I see meetings, but never hear or read of any action.

  6. Diane Hatzenbuhler


    There was a meeting this past Wednesday with the alderman and Ken Rose from the county. He proposed some changes which are being looked at. He will put them on the map and come back for another meeting. There is really no reason to panic, as this will have to be passed by referendum on November’s ballot and will not take effect until Jan 012. Of course if this were explained in the beginning by the administration then things of this nature would not become issues.

  7. Diane

    Communication has been completely lacking in this administration.

  8. Bill Wills

    Gerry if you will allow me some latitude here as I agree we should be attending to the redistricting and rezoning issues before the year ends, below is an email I sent to Kevin McClary of the Recorder which I feel comes under your heading “Do the Right Thing”.

    Mr. McClary,

    Please explain why I am being eliminated from the debate that the Recorder and the Chamber are putting together. Although I am not a “main” candidate, the opportunity for the electorate to hear only from a past and present mayor and not from another who hasn’t held the position but is well qualified is discriminatory and shortsighted on your part. It also looks like the “fix” is in. I have always been loyal to your paper and open to your reporters when questioned on various issues. Although I don’t spend as much as others I have taken out ads even when I ran unopposed in the past just to show that support albeit in a small way. You tout yourself as a community paper but then play God when making decisions like the one you have made here, all in the secrecy which your paper despises when public officials even try to do that on some sensitive issues which I have always objected to. It seems strange to me that the one who has advocated for a debate all along is the one who gets eliminated regardless of not having the status of being a “main” candidate.

    I request that you reconsider your position and Mr. Capobianco, temporary President of the Chamber, who has been copied here I request as a member of the Chamber that if the Chamber is involved that you advocate on my behalf to be part of the debate.

    Thank you!

    Alderman Wills

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