Councilman David G. Greenfield today thanked the New York City Districting Commission for hearing the community’s request not to place the entire Borough Park neighborhood in a single City Council district. Doing so would have diluted the community’s voice and representation in City Hall by having a single Council Member, instead of having several, advocating on its behalf, as it currently the case. Greenfield led the charge to have two Council Members continue to represent Borough Park, even though the Districting Commission’s initial proposal would have benefited Greenfield politically by placing more Jews in his already heavily-Jewish district.
Under the Districting Commission’s first proposal, the entire Borough Park neighborhood, including the northwest portion currently represented by Councilman Brad Lander as part of the 39th District, would have been placed in the 44th District, which is represented by Councilman Greenfield. Greenfield opposed the plan when it was first unveiled to the public in September, and released the following statement at the time: “I don’t believe in ‘Super Jewish’ districts because they dilute our community’s strength. So while the proposed lines are better for me politically because they encompass all of Borough Park, I believe it is better for the community to have the old lines, which provided Borough Park with an additional Council Member.”
In addition to Councilman Greenfield’s vocal opposition to the proposal, nearly two dozen neighborhood residents and community leaders testified at a hearing last month in favor of keeping the community’s two current council districts, instead of one so-called “Super Jewish” district like the one created by the State Senate. Many Jewish leaders testified at that October 11th Districting Commission hearing that having two Council Members representing their needs and priorities in City Hall will ensure that they continue to be well represented and receive adequate funding and support.
On Thursday night, the Districting Commission approved a revised proposal that adds a large chunk of Orthodox Jewish residents in Borough Park and Kensington to the second Borough Park district currently represented by Councilman Lander. This aligns with what the community and Councilman Greenfield had argued in favor of, and will mean that neighborhood residents will still have two voices fighting on their behalf.
“I thank the commission for taking into account the requests of the community and its leaders. This marks a great victory for the community and will ensure that it enjoys strong representation for the next decade,” said Councilman Greenfield.
Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, executive director of the Boro Park Jewish Community Council, is a resident of Kensington who testified at the Districting Commission’s October hearing. “Borough Park has a long history of being represented by two Council Members. Losing that would have deprived many community organizations of valuable resources and the advocacy of an additional Council Member. I am grateful that the Districting Commission agreed to keep part of Borough Park in each district, which will ensure the best representation for its residents,” he said.
(YWN Desk – NYC)