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New York - Russians And Orthodox Jews Quarrel Over Proposed Lines At Brooklyn Redistricting Hearing

Published on: January 12, 2013 09:37 PM
By: VIN News Staff
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Testifying at the redistricting hearing Jan. 10 2013 in Brooklyn. Photo: Ross BarkanTestifying at the redistricting hearing Jan. 10 2013 in Brooklyn. Photo: Ross Barkan

New York - At a redistricting hearing in Brooklyn this past week, members of both the Orthodox Jewish and Russian communities argued over whether term-limited Councilman Mike Nelson’s 48th district should be divided in the new redistricting plan.

The proposed council lines will divide the neighborhood of Midwood into two separate councilmanic districts – the 45th and 48th – currently represented by Jumaane Williams and Mike Nelson respectively, according to a report on Politicker.com (http://bit.ly/13riXMR).

The planned district also includes parts of the Russian enclaves in Coney Island and Brighton Beach such as Luna Park, Trump and Sea Breeze. If Nelson’s district lines are considerably changed, there is a real possibility that the Russian community will elect its first representative to the City Council. This development was welcome news to Russian media magnate Gregory Davidzon.

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“Almost everybody who spoke today asked to keep communities together. African-American, Orthodox Jew, Chinese people and everybody has to be together,” Mr. Davidzon said. “You created a district with all Russians together. What’s wrong with this?” he asked.

A Russian City Council representative will likely mean the Orthodox Jewish community will enjoy less power and influence than it does under the current lines, posing a real risk that funding for vital community programs will be diminished or cease entirely.

“The new lines that are proposed will disenfranchise our wonderful community,” said Josh Mehlman, an Orthodox Jewish leader. “Many people will not sit back and just allow it to be divided up. If this goes forward unchanged, it will certainly backfire and cause problems that may be unforeseen. The Orthodox community has grown exponentially and this attempt to divide us is unconstitutional in our opinion and will certainly be a detriment to our community.”


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Read Comments (13)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM Anonymous Says:

"The Orthodox community has grown EXPONENTIALLY and this attempt to divide us is unconstitutional in our opinion and will certainly be a detriment to our community....the Orthodox Jewish community will enjoy less power and influence than it does under the current lines, posing a real risk that FUNDING for vital community programs will be diminished or cease entirely.”

The argument that we simply keep having bigger families and need more welfare funding is not a convincing public policy argument and does not reflect well on the frum community. Less dependency should be our goal in the political process, not more seeking more handouts from the government for families that cannot or will not support themselves.

2

 Jan 13, 2013 at 08:33 AM The Professor Says:

The issue is more complex. There are synagogues that use monies earned from rental of their facilities to senior programs that run the risk of being terminated if the power shifts to politicians less sensitive to the bigger picture. Those shuls might have to close. Similarly, there are shuls and yeshivas that have benefited from discretionary "pork" from sympathetic local legislators. There is probably a case to be made on both sides of the issue, which it certainly doesn't sit well with those who are currently benefiting from the status quo.

3

 Jan 13, 2013 at 09:17 AM Huh? Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

"The Orthodox community has grown EXPONENTIALLY and this attempt to divide us is unconstitutional in our opinion and will certainly be a detriment to our community....the Orthodox Jewish community will enjoy less power and influence than it does under the current lines, posing a real risk that FUNDING for vital community programs will be diminished or cease entirely.”

The argument that we simply keep having bigger families and need more welfare funding is not a convincing public policy argument and does not reflect well on the frum community. Less dependency should be our goal in the political process, not more seeking more handouts from the government for families that cannot or will not support themselves.

So sending the government money that is supporting jewish needs to other ethnic and religious groups will make it better.
why?

4

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Huh? Says:

So sending the government money that is supporting jewish needs to other ethnic and religious groups will make it better.
why?

Yes...the money should be redistributed based on "need". Having larger familes per se is not the only indicator of need.

5

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM Anonymous Says:

Listen in the money for the damage from Sandy is roughly$30,000,000,000 of pork for Alaska, Minnesota, etc etc etc. The problem is the pork is all triefe

6

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM yaakov doe Says:

Isn't there a benefit in having 2 or 3 Councilmembers with large frum constituencies?

7

 Jan 13, 2013 at 01:33 PM Huh? Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Yes...the money should be redistributed based on "need". Having larger familes per se is not the only indicator of need.

I did not say it should not based on need. on a micro-economic level it is, it will be, and it should be. On a macro-economic basis it is based on community influence.

8

 Jan 13, 2013 at 01:33 PM Not_just_that___ Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Yes...the money should be redistributed based on "need". Having larger familes per se is not the only indicator of need.

Most of the support has nothing to do with families. It is at the communal level, to institutions. So your argument is not based on reality... it isn't even based on a relevant position.

9

 Jan 13, 2013 at 04:21 PM Pro-Russian Says:

What is wrong with the Russians having their own city council man/woman representing their community? The relatively recent Russian arrivals, have actually lived in Brooklyn for 30-40 years. Isn't it about time, that they were entitled to a piece of the pie?

10

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM nareshkite Says:

#9
There is nothing wrong for us to elect a Russian-American representative. We elected Senator David Storobin, Assemblyman Alec Brook Krasny and Mark Davidivich. According to you, we should also elect a Russian president, Mayor, US Senator, Congressman and Community Board District Manager. If we can't do that i think we must teach one of each representatives to speak Russian.

11

 Jan 13, 2013 at 11:15 PM FlatbushResident Says:

This is not a Russian V.S. Orthodox issue at all!
This is a strictly political issue. The mayors office and city council speaker Quinn, as well as certain council members are using this to try to hurt the frum community.

The Orthodox and Russian communities have worked well together for many years!
We demonstrated and help get them out of the USSR. We supported them and their schools and institutions when they arrived. We are now one community. There are certain political figures in Brighton area that would love to destroy our community for selfish gain.
The frum community has voted in 2 Russians to office: Ari Kagan and David Storobin.
To push parts of the frum community into districts that have totally different values and interests is just wrong. Leave the 48th alone. Let us have the 20s and 30s too. The 44th Boro Park District does not need parts of Flatbush either. This is just a ploy to weaken us. We must all be ware of who is really behind this, and what their motive is. Write and call your councilman, the mayor and the Speaker. Don't allow this to happen, you can make the difference.

12

 Jan 13, 2013 at 11:38 PM FlatbushResident Says:

This is a democracy, isn't the frum community allowed to have our own representative in government too? someone who understands our issues? why do we have to be dismantled and lose out to help someone else? this is a big city, create the district somewhere else, there are plenty of options. Or is this really about hurting the frum community? Hmm, who is really behind this?.....

13

 Jan 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM The Professor Says:

Reply to #9  
Pro-Russian Says:

What is wrong with the Russians having their own city council man/woman representing their community? The relatively recent Russian arrivals, have actually lived in Brooklyn for 30-40 years. Isn't it about time, that they were entitled to a piece of the pie?

Entitled? Unfortunately, you are dealing with a zero-sum game. If someone wins, someone else has to lose. Actually, the pie is shrinking in size, and the people who are already in the mix believe that THEY are entitled more than others....

14

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