The New York City Council Districting Commission voted on the final map of the new council district lines on Thursday, but for Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, the final product was far from satisfactory.
Mark-Viverito was very outspoken when the Districting Commission released proposed district maps in October that fragmented the East Harlem section of her district and excluded the iconic landmark marketplace La Marqueta. The final map now includes La Marqueta in the district, but cuts out up to 35 blocks of East Harlem–a community with a large Hispanic population–and places roughly half of her district in the Bronx.
“[The Commission] didn’t maintain the integrity of the district, and that’s what people were asking for at the hearing,” Mark-Viverito said. “The argument I keep hearing [for changing her district] is borough equity. The Bronx, because of population growth, deserves better representation. But the [city] charter does not speak anything about borough equity, it’s supposed to cause the least destruction possible and still maintain the communities of interest.”
Mark-Viverito added that she was unsure if there was enough of a movement within the City Council for a majority vote against the new maps, but said she would appeal personally to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to vote down the new district lines before they are submitted to the Department of Justice for final approval.
Community leaders were not as hopeful that Quinn would hear their concern because of the political leverage the new boundaries give her in her mayoral campaign.
“Christine Quinn has leveraged this perfectly to ensure that she has inroads with the Bronx leadership that could potentially make all the difference in her race for the mayor’s seat next year,” said Peggy Morales, district leader for Assembly District 68, which includes East Harlem. ”Quite frankly, we resent it.”
The City Council has until Dec. 7 to vote for the new district maps.