Southern Brooklyn

Open Thread: This Is How Political Districts Get Decided


Last week we wrote about how redistricting was altering the City Council district demographics in Southern Brooklyn. Politicker then tackled the Brooklyn Districting Commission, where Southern Brooklyn was all the rage:

It was not the controversial draft map that placed potential Council candidate Vito Lopez in a neighboring district–the aspect of this year’s redrawing of the City Council lines to reflect the new Census numbers that has attracted the most media coverage–that sparked the controversy last night. Rather, two versions of Councilman Michael Nelson’s 48th District offered alternating realities for competing demographic groups, dominating the public hearing in front of most members of the Districting Commission.

Along with the term-limited Mr. Nelson, Orthodox Jewish leaders packed the hearing to affirm their opposition to proposed council lines that they said would split their Midwood area stronghold into two districts, Mr. Nelson’s and the neighboring 45th, represented by Councilman Jumaane Williams. The proposed district also ropes in Russian-populated apartment complexes in Coney Island and Brighton Beach like Luna Park, Trump and Sea Breeze. Everyone testifying at the hearings agreed that Mr. Nelson’s district would become more Russian, which was thrilling for Russian media mogul Gregory Davidzon.

… If the lines are adopted, the clout the Orthodox Jews have in their district with Mr. Nelson could be less likely to be replicated with the new council member. Orthodox Jews fear funding for crucial community programs will dry up and the district could lose some of its conservatism as less religious communities are added.

Thank goodness we keep race, religion and ethnicity out of American politics, right?

Comment policy


  1. my own casual, unresearched impression is that civic associations, for better or worse, more accurately represent their concerns and attitudes than the official versions of political districts. Maybe they should be brought into the power structure?

  2. Ethnicity is already part of redistricting politics. Diminishing one ethnic groups voice over another ethnic groups voice by having a Russian American district diminishes the powers to be to all others.

  3. Last week’s hearing was an exercise in people contradicting themselves and the vision of what this country is supposed to be. For me, it was great exercise–shaking my head all night.

Comments are closed.