Brooklyn – Councilman David G. Greenfield testified yesterday before the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) to emphasize the need for the Jewish Community to remain united as new congressional, state senate, and assembly districts are drawn in the once-a-decade redistricting process.
LATFOR is charged with assisting the state legislature in drawing new congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly districts for the entire state New York in time for next year’s 2012 elections. As part of that process, LATFOR is holding hearings throughout the state to solicit input from a diverse group of elected officials, advocates, and community leaders.
In his testimony, Councilman Greenfield voiced the dissatisfaction of Borough Park and Midwood residents with the status quo. Currently, the two neighborhoods are represented by six members of the New York State Senate. “Simply put,” Councilman Greenfield testified, “the current Senate lines have gerrymandered the community out of any real influence in the Senate. It is our strong preference that the communities have no more than three but preferably two representatives in the New York State Senate in the areas of Borough Park and Midwood.” Greenfield went on to explain that when communities are split their vote is diluted, meaning that they have little ability to affect the outcome of competitive legislative races.
Councilman Greenfield backed up his arguments for the Jewish community to be united with Census data that showed the community’s growth within Community District 12, which contains Midwood and Borough Park. “Community District 12,” he emphasized, “was Brooklyn’s top community district in terms of percentage growth of the under-18 population since the year 2000.” Greenfield also noted that Borough Park was the only neighborhood in New York City with more than 100,000 people to see growth in this last census count.
Over the next few months, LATFOR will take criteria such as the population growth and ethnic distinctiveness of neighborhoods into account when crafting proposals for new districts. In several months, LATFOR will release drafts of new district lines for the public to analyze based on the testimony and other considerations. Only then will it be known if the new state senate lines will continue to dilute the influence of the Midwood and Borough Park communities.
As he concluded his testimony, Councilman Greenfield asked the members of LATFOR “to be mindful of the staggering growth in the Orthodox community’s majority population in Borough Park and Midwood. Please be sensitive to their unique ethnic and religious identities, but most of all please keep these communities of Borough Park and Midwood intact and give them the representation that they deserve.”