Several City Council Members testified at a public hearing in Manhattan last night to contest the proposed district lines. Councilmembers Rosie Mendez, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Gale Brewer, and Ydanis Rodriguez, as well as a representative from Jessica Lappin’s office, all gave testimony that was critical of the Redistricting Commission’s process and the lines it crafted.
Residents of Mark-Viverito’s district came out in full force at the hearing, reflecting her East Harlem community’s strong sense of unity as a center of Hispanic culture affectionately referred to as “El Barrio”. Under the proposed district changes, El Barrio would be fragmented into the Council district of Inez Dickens and lose the representation of Mark-Viverito, a longtime advocate for the neighborhood.
Mark-Viverito was greeted with a standing ovation as she approached the microphone to speak and proceeded to lambaste the Commission for “rushing” to make changes to other districts while leaving hers split up–a subtle shot at the changes requested by Council Speaker Christine Quinn to prevent Assemblyman Vito Lopez from running for City Council.
“More likely than not the people here today will overwhelmingly be here present because of there concerns regarding District 8 and to inspire faith and trust in a truly democratic and independent process,” Mark-Viverito said. ”It is unclear to me why this level of public outcry has been largely disregarded by the commission, which rushed to make changes to other districts while leaving District 8 the same.”
The Commission will make revisions to the district maps by January 23rd, with a decision on adopting the revised map coming a week later. The City Council then has three weeks to decide whether to vote on the new district lines or send them back to the Commission for more hearings.
Tags: Christine Quinn, City Council Districting Commission, Council Member Jessica Lappin, East Harlem, El Barrio, gale-brewer, Melissa-Mark Viverito, redistricting public hearing, Rosie Mendez, Vito Lopez, Ydanis Rodriguez