NEW COUNCIL MAPS JEERED
Plenty Of Criticism For City District Borders
The independent commission tasked with redesigning all 51 City Council districts has submitted its final map of the changes they made, but there are many critics who charge that the proposed changes divide neighborhoods and/or are politically motivated.
Among the most vocal opponents from Queens has been the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA), which panned the plan at their Nov. 17 meeting and repeated their criticism in both an op-ed column in this week’s issue of the Times Newsweekly (See Page 18) and a press release sent to this paper on Monday, Nov. 26.
The civic group objected to the New York City Districting Commission’s plan to swap areas of Woodhaven divided between the 30th City Council District (represented by Elizabeth Crowley) and the 32nd City Council District (represented by Eric Ulrich). It was noted that this change was a reversal from the commission’s first draft of the new City Council map, which had almost all of Woodhaven within the realigned 30th District.
“We don’t know why the commission decided to split and scramble Woodhaven's representation, but we won't just sit there quietly as the City
-CONTINUED FROM PG. 3- Council rubber-stamps this awful proposal,” said WRBA President Edward K. Wendell. “This is an opportunity for City Council Members—both our current representatives, as well as those who might want Woodhaven's support in the future—to show whether they actually care about our community.”
The proposed final draft also came under fire for changes to the 34th City Council District covering parts of Ridgewood, Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Williamsburg currently represented by Diana Reyna. Critics charged that the district was realigned to include the official residence of Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is reportedly mulling a run for the City Council seat next year (Reyna is term-limited and ineligible to run for re-election).
In announcing the release of the final map on Nov. 16, Carl Hum, the executive director of the Districting Commission, stated that the panel “believes the revised plan reflects what was shared with the commission, within the legal restrictions set forth by the New York City Charter.”
“Among the highlights of the revised plan is that it contains a total of 35 Council districts in which protected racial and language minority groups represent an overall majority of the total population in the council district—over two-thirds of the 51 total Council districts in the city,” Hum added.
By law, the City Council has the option of voting and passing a resolution objecting to the proposal up until three weeks after the plan was submitted to the Council by the commission. If no objection is filed by the Council within that timeframe, the plan is considered adopted, as per the city charter.
Should the City Council file a formal objection to the plan, the Districting Commission will hold another round of public hearings on the plan and draft another revised proposal, to be submitted to the Council for its consideration.
In any event, the Justice Department must also examine and approve the plan to ensure that it meets all federal redistricting regulations.
In an effort to better inform our readers of the changes proposed, the Times Newsweekly has examined the maps and presents this description of how the new districts will look. Full color maps of the proposed districts in Brooklyn and Queens can be found on these pages.
The new 30th Council District
Locally, the commission proposes changing the 30th District (Crowley) to include more of Maspeth and part of Woodside and Forest Hills, but excluding large sections of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.
Portions of Maspeth and Woodside currently in the 26th City Council District (represented by Jimmy Van Bramer) bounded generally by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 48th Avenue, 65th Street, 50th Avenue, 70th Street, Queens Boulevard, the CSX rail line, 51st Avenue, 66th Street, 65th Place, 53rd Drive, Maurice and Maspeth avenues, Rust Street, 59th Drive, Nurge Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and the Newtown Creek would be included within the new 30th District.
Also being added to the 30th Dis- trict is a triangular section of Forest Hills currently under the auspices of the 29th City Council District (represented by Karen Koslowitz) generally bounded by Metropolitan Avenue, Union Turnpike, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Montauk branch and Woodhaven Boulevard.
The areas of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens currently within the 30th District would be completely subtracted from the new version of the district. Woodhaven would still be represented by the 30th District, but that area is located entirely within the confines of the 32nd District (Ulrich).
The Woodhaven portion of the new 30th District is generally bounded by Park Lane South, Forest Parkway, Jamaica Avenue, 80th Street, Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn/Queens border (Eldert Lane).
Other areas of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village currently within the 30th District will remain in the new version. There are also no changes to the division of Ridgewood, Queens between the 30th District and the 34th District (Reyna).
The new 32nd Council District
According to the commission’s plans, the newly-configured 32nd District represented by Ulrich would add almost all of the areas of Woodhaven, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill presently in the 30th District. This area is generally bounded by Park Lane South, Bessemer Street, 117th Street, Jamaica Avenue (between 107th and 117th streets), 107th Street, 92nd Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard, Jamaica Avenue (between Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Parkway) and Forest Parkway.
Also being added to the new 32nd District are areas of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park currently within the 28th City Council District (represented by Ruben Wills). This region is generally bounded by Jamaica Avenue, 115th Street, 89th Avenue, 113th Street, 93rd Avenue, 112th Street, Atlantic Avenue, 101st Street, 95th Avenue, 103rd Street, 101st Avenue, 100th Street, 92nd Avenue and 107th Street.
A small rectangular section of South Ozone Park generally bounded by Rockaway Boulevard, 121st Street, 135th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard is also being added to the realigned 32nd District.
Along with the aforementioned western segment of Woodhaven, the new 32nd District will also exclude an area of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park generally bounded by 101st Avenue, Lefferts Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard, 108th Street, Liberty Avenue and 103rd Street. This area will be added to the new 28th District (Wills).
Areas of the Rockaways south and east of Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Beach 90th Street and the boardwalk (between Beach 90th Street and Cross Bay Parkway) will also be moved from the current 32nd District to the 31st City Council District (represented by James Sanders).
Segments of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways not previously mentioned will remain in the new 32nd District.
The new 26th Council District
With exception of losing areas of Maspeth and southern Woodside to the new 30th District, the new 26th District remains largely untouched. The commission has proposed adding to the district an area of Ravenswood bounded by 34th Avenue, 22nd Street, 33rd Avenue, 12th Street, 30th Drive and Vernon Boulevard and small segments of Astoria and Woodside currently in the 22nd City Council District (represented by Peter Vallone Jr.)
The new 26th District will include all other areas of Woodside, Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City within the current district’s confines.
The new 29th District
Though it will lose parts of Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, the newly configured 29th District will add a large segment of Briarwood and Jamaica currently in the confines of the 24th City Council District (represented by James Gennaro).
That area is generally bounded by the Grand Central Parkway, 150th Street, 90th Avenue, 149th Street, Lowe Court, 148th Street, Jamaica Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway.