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August 15, 2012 7:33 AM
City Council Redistricting: Representation Or Segregation? The Debate Begins...
BY Celeste Katz
I blogged recently about Asian-American and Latino political interest groups huddling with Common Cause/NY about getting more representation on the City Council in advance of a hearing on the city's upcoming redistricting process.
accord.jpgNow, here's an update about that hearing from our Erin Durkin:
Asian-American groups are pushing for an Asian City Council district in Brooklyn, where the group's population has surged.
At the first hearing Monday night of the city's Districting Commission, which will redraw the lines for City Council seats for next year's elections, advocates pushed for a new district in Sunset Park and Bensonhurst that would be plurality Asian American.
"Asian voters are being disenfranchised by the current City Council lines," said James Hong of the Asian American Community Coalition on Redistricting and Democracy. "This part of the borough has changed rapidly and dramatically over the past ten years."
Brooklyn's Asian voting age population has jumped 46% over the last decade, to more than 250,000 people. The state created the borough's first Asian-majority Assembly district in its own redistricting process earlier this year.
The area is currently divided between five different City Council districts, advocates said.
"Opportunities for political representation have not kept pace with population growth, with no elected official of Asian descent in Brooklyn," said Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality.
He said the change did not have to come at the expense of other demographic groups, noting that the last round of city redistricting a year ago created three Council districts in downtown Manhattan where Asian Americans, Latinos, and the LGBT community have each elected a member to the Council.
Still, not all in the neighborhood were behind the idea.
"Why segregate?" said Gladys Bruno, a member of Sunset Park's Community Board 7. "We have been learning from each other's cultures, so why change that?"
Edited by Nasir Muhammad on Aug 15, 2012 8:53 AM