City Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) yesterday urged a panel of federal judges to keep the large south Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish community politically relevant by saving Congressman Bob Turner’s congressional seat and incorporating all of Midwood, Flatbush, Gravesend and Marine Park into that one district. Greenfield’s gave his testimony at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York before a panel of three district court judges who are making the determination on the final congressional lines as part of the redistricting process.
Congressman Bob Turner’s district was eliminated under the Judges’ initial plans. The new district Greenfield argued for would allow Turner to run again for re-election and would be adjacent to the proposed 10th Congressional District, which includes the heavily Orthodox communities of Kensington, Borough Park and Bensonhurst and has Greenfield’s full support. Under this plan, the approximately 200,000 Orthodox Jews living in these six contiguous neighborhoods would have two strong and bi-partisan voices in Washington.
As currently proposed, Gravesend, Midwood and Marine Park, which account for nearly half of the Orthodox community in south Brooklyn, are split into three congressional districts, diluting their influence and separating them from other like-minded communities. The Jewish portion of Congressman Turner’s district that Greenfield proposed would run roughly from 18th Avenue south to Avenue Z and from McDonald Avenue east to Flatbush Avenue. Greenfield was mindful of the fact that this district has been eliminated and asked the Judges if they could not adopt his proposal to keep these communities intact by instead attaching them to the proposed 11th Congressional District seat currently occupied by Republican Congressman Mike Grimm.
“Given the enormous task of redrawing the congressional lines following the inaction of our state legislature, it is understandable that the court may not have known the negative effect it would have on the Orthodox Jewish community. By spreading the residents of several Orthodox Jewish communities of interest into three separate districts, the Orthodox community will lose a lot of power considering that each district has a population of over 700,000 people. In addition, eliminating Mr. Turner’s seat so soon after his victory, in which the Orthodox community played a key role, is clearly ignoring the wishes of Orthodox Jewish voters,” said Greenfield.
Greenfield stressed that it’s not only important to unite Orthodox Jewish communities because of religion and culture, but also because communities are entitled to have “representation that meshes with their political ideology as well.”
“These lines will have significant ramifications for the next decade, so it’s imperative we get it right. That’s why I’m urging the court to consider revising the lines so they unite Orthodox Jewish communities of interest and ensure they have adequate representation,” added Greenfield.
(YWN Desk – NYC)