Controversial City Council redistricting enters next phase of public hearings

The New York City Districting Fee tasked with redrawing the 51 City Council districts is holding public hearings throughout the 5 boroughs on its draft maps next week, giving voters an opportunity to weigh-in on how the strains are formed for the next decade.

The fee, which is made up of members appointed by Mayor Eric Adams, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Council Minority Chief Joe Borelli, launched the draft maps final month. Together with Congressional and state legislative strains, City Council districts are redrawn following the U.S. census each 10 years.

The proposed maps have been drawn with enter from almost 500 metropolis residents who participated in an earlier collection of public hearings and in response to federal, state and metropolis necessities, in response to fee chair Dennis Walcott. Amongst these standards are adjusting for inhabitants modifications – town’s inhabitants rose roughly from 8.2 million to eight.8 million folks over the previous decade, not diluting the votes of underrepresented racial and ethnic teams and preserving neighborhoods and communities intact.

The draft strains will now undergo one other spherical of public hearings over the next week and can then be submitted to the City Council on Sept. 24, permitting the council to weigh-in despite the fact that the fee has closing approval of the maps.

“The next phase is really again, taking a look at the preliminary maps that have been put out there, get feedback from the community and having hearings in all five boroughs with a public input as well as again getting feedback from the various advocacy groups and individuals,” Walcott informed PoliticsNY in an interview final month. “We want that feedback to help guide us and that would be the next step that we’re taking. And we’re looking forward to that process.”

Though they’re only a first draft, the proposed maps have hardly been with out controversy. Most notably, the creation of a brand new majority-Asian district in southern Brooklyn – residence to Brooklyn’s Chinatown in Sundown Park – may doubtlessly pit City Council Members Justin Brannon and Alexa Aviles in opposition to one another in next 12 months’s election.

The pair of lawmakers have been fast to blast the brand new proposed strains shortly after they have been unveiled, saying the plan would break up Aviles’ district, which related the neighborhoods of Sundown Park and Crimson Hook when it was drawn to “empower” Latino voters, they stated on the time. The alteration pits one group of curiosity – Asian People and Latinos – in opposition to one another, they added.

“By combining our current Districts 38 and 43, you are dividing our districts and further diluting the power we have to advocate for community-specific shared needs and goals,” the council members stated on the time. “Pitting one community of interest against another and wiping out hard-fought gains that have existed for a generation is not the path forward. We look forward to seeing future proposals, because this ain’t it.”

In an announcement launched final week, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams stated the fee “appeared to violate” its mandate to redraw the districts in response to guidelines set forth by the Voting Rights Act and City Constitution. Particularly, Speaker Adams stated, the fee’s choice to maintain three districts completely in Staten Island regardless of it being inconsistent with inhabitants modifications led to many of the “irrational changes to districts in other boroughs.”

“This seems to be a driving factor in the Commission’s preliminary district boundaries undermining protections for historically marginalized communities of color and for communities of interest, as mandated by the Voting Rights Act and New York City Charter,” the speaker stated.

However Walcott informed PoliticsNY the fee’s intent was by no means to pit communities of curiosity or sure council members in opposition to one another. And that this kind of suggestions is a welcome half of the method because the fee strikes into the next spherical of hearings.

“That was not the intent at all,” he stated. “We took a look at the numbers. We took a look at the populations and it was not to have one compete against another or to undermine another. And so again, that’s something as we move forward to hear what people have to say about that. And also I know the staff will be meeting with the various Council delegations in this round similar to what they did in the last round, and, you know, factor those things in but again, there’ll be a lot of people who have both positive things to say and things they want us to improve on.”

New York City Districting Fee Listening to Schedule:

Tuesday Aug. 16, 2022 from 5:30pm to 9 p.m. Museum of the Shifting Picture, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106

Wednesday Aug. 17, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lehman Faculty (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468

Thursday Aug. 18, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Staten Island Borough Corridor, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125

Sunday Aug. 21, 2022 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Medgar Evers Faculty (CUNY), College of Science Well being & Know-how, Eating Corridor, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn 11225

Monday Aug. 22, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Schomburg Heart for Analysis in Black Tradition, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037

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