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