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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | The Districting Commission has released its final revised boundaries to be submitted to the U.S. Justice Dept. and Council Member Rosie Mendez is feeling happier about the latest lines. In the previous round, the northern part of her District 2 had been pushed crosstown and uptown significantly, zigzagging up through the West 30s and 40s. Now, she just has a few blocks added along her existing district’s northwest edge.
“I think they paid attention to my testimony,” Mendez said, “where I said, ‘I’m an East Side council member and you’re making me a West Side council member.’”
Advocates for an Asian-Latino district were once again unhappy with the new lines, in that they’re very close to the old lines. Margaret Fung, executive director of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said, “We’re disappointed by the Districting Commission’s revised map,” as to Districts 1 and 2. It was clear that the majority of Asian-American groups that testified at the commission’s public hearings supported a different configuration — one that would unite Chinatown with the Lower East Side. This neighborhood has residents of similar socioeconomic backgrounds, with particular concerns about jobs, the loss of affordable housing units, public education, language access to services and more. Over the next decade, Asian and Latino residents will have greater difficulty in electing candidates of their choice, as the number of white residents continues to increase in Districts 1 and 2.”
However, Council Member Margaret Chin never expected there would be major changes and supports something very close to the existing district lines, feeling that the current configuration represents the best chance to elect Asian-American candidates in Lower Manhattan’s District 1 — illustrated by her own election.
The Justice Department is expected to review the plan by March.