Tag Archive: Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association

Nov 28 2012

Second Round Of District Lines Are Far Worse Says Civic Group

The WRBA is calling on Crowley and Ulrich to make good on their public commentary to unite Woodhaven into one coterminous City Council District.

Press Release: The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association blasted the New York City Districting Commission’s proposal to split Woodhaven’s representation in the City Council.

The Commission had initially proposed placing nearly all of Woodhaven in a single City Council district.  The WRBA submitted testimony to the Commission lauding this proposal, and even urged tweaks to ensure that a sliver of Woodhaven left outside the district would be incorporated.  Instead of heeding the WRBA’s testimony, the Commission did the very opposite by discarding their original plans for Woodhaven and slicing the neighborhood into three parts spread over two districts.

“The Commission decided to throw Woodhaven under the bus.  It should be embarrassed about how its final proposal treats our community,” said WRBA Director of Communications Alex Blenkinsopp.  “Now that the final decision is in the hands of the City Council, we want all City Council Members to know that a vote in favor of this gerrymander is a vote against Woodhaven.”

Woodhaven is currently divided between two City Council districts: District 30, represented by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; and District 32, represented by Council Member Eric Ulrich.  Instead of preserving the current division, the Commission significantly worsened the split by switching large parts of the neighborhood from Crowley to Ulrich and vice versa.  In addition, the final proposal places the far west portion of Woodaven in the same district as the extreme northeast corner, but excludes any residential area in between.

At the WRBA’s Town Hall on September 15, 2012, both Crowley and Ulrich made public statements indicating that the Commission’s original proposal was preferable for Woodhaven.

At that Town Hall, Crowley said the initially proposed lines are “good news for Woodhaven.  It actually puts you all together in one Council district.”  Ulrich said, “I think that Woodhaven, just like I think where I live in Ozone Park, should be in one district.  It should be in one district.  People ought to be able to hold their elected officials accountable.  It ought to be easy for them to know who represents them in the City Council….  I just think that’s the right thing to do.  It’s the fair thing to do.”

Now the WRBA is calling on Ulrich and Crowley to make good on their public statements and to vote in the best interest of their Woodhaven constituents.  The Block Association has written to both Council Members and urged them to vote against the final proposal.  The draft lines will be enacted unless a majority of City Council members vote to send the Commission back to the drawing board.

“We don’t know why the Commission decided to split and scramble Woodhaven’s representation, but we won’t just sit there quietly as the City Council rubber-stamps this awful proposal,” said WRBA President Edward K. Wendell.  “This is an opportunity for City Council Members — both our current representatives, as well as those who might want Woodhaven’s support in the future — to show whether they actually care about our community.”

The WRBA has been an extremely strong voice for Woodhaven on redistricting matters this year.  In January, it vigorously objected to the gerrymandered State Senate lines that split Woodhaven three ways.  In March, the Block Association opposed the congressional lines that divided Woodhaven into two portions and basically separated Woodhaven from the rest of Queens.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/second-round-of-district-lines-are-far-worse-says-civic-group/

Jan 31 2012

Block Association Says NO to New Lines


An ode to the gerrymander.

A civic group is voicing strong opposition  to proposed redistricting maps that would split the neighborhood of Woodhaven between three state Senators.

Is there anyone happy with their lines? Of course. Just not the good government folks.

Press Release: The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), the body charged with redrawing district lines, released its proposed maps last week.  The Block Association applauds LATFOR’s decision to keep all of Woodhaven within a single Assembly district — as it has been for the past decade — but strongly urges the Task Force to reconsider its Senate boundaries.

“LATFOR’s decision to split up a one-square-mile neighborhood among three different senators is bewildering and has no basis in the character, demographics, or needs of our community,” said Alexander Blenkinsopp, the Block Association’s communications director.  “When it comes to the Senate lines, the people of Woodhaven are being treated as pawns in Albany’s gerrymandering games.”

Two of the three districts that encompass parts of Woodhaven have been referred to as among “the 20 ugliest gerrymandered districts.”  Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. described one of those districts as “something that looks like a baby alien popping out of a stomach.”

The division of Woodhaven under the proposed plan is illustrated in the attached map.  The lines are not only unsightly and convoluted, but they will also hurt Woodhaven’s representation.  Some Woodhaven residents will be in the same district as Astoria — clear across the borough.  Other Woodhaven residents will be in a district that stretches all the way out to Green Acres Mall in Nassau County.

“Woodhaven is a cohesive community with a clear identity.  That’s why we’re pleased LATFOR drew an Assembly district that includes all of our neighborhood,” said WRBA Director Vance Barbour.  “But the proposed Senate lines will dilute Woodhaven’s voice in the upper chamber of New York’s legislature and make it more difficult for fellow residents to know who’s representing them.  Our neighborhood would become an orphan to three different senators, rather than a priority to one of them.”

LATFOR will hold a public hearing for Queens on Tuesday, February 7, at 3 p.m., in Room 213 of Queens Borough Hall (120-55 Queens Blvd., Kew Gardens).  The WRBA hopes to testify at this hearing.

The proposed maps for the entire districts that would include Woodhaven can be viewed herehere, and here.

WRBA office: (718) 296-3735

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/01/block-association-says-no-to-new-gerrymandered-lines/

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