I am Danielle Brecker testifying on behalf of Queens Community Board 2.
Queens CB2 is dedicated to making sure people who live within our boundaries, our neighbors, are represented; have a voice in decisions that impact their lives; and have needed resources.
We call on the NYC Redistricting Commission to hold additional hearings in Queens in September and beyond. So everyone who wants to testify has an oppurtunity to do so. Public input should be the priority.
Queens Community Board 2 opposes the first map proposal for Council District 26 as it does not comport with the NYC Charter and will have adverse impact on our community.
The Commission’s proposal to add a portion of Manhattan and all of Roosevelt Island to Queens-based Council District 26, violates the City Charter Districting requirements as it fails to keep neighborhoods and communities intact; keep the district compact; and creates an oddly shaped crossover district.
The proposed District 26 further violates the requirement to keep neighborhoods and communities intact by dividing Woodside into four Council districts.
The impact on CB2 is stark.
The proposed map shifts the racial and cultural makeup of District 26 towards majority white, 29% percent currently to 44%, meaning further disenfranchisement and deprioritization of communities of color and immigrants. And the proposed map inflates the average income of District 26 and CB2, from $80,000 to $110,000, meaning the income is overstated for the majority.
But it is not just about demographics, it is about representation and resources.
While the proposed map would make Manhattan east side hospitals part of District 26, CB2 would still have no hospitals or place to give birth. As ambulances will not cross a bridge or go through a tunnel unless one is paying privately, healthcare will remain inaccessible and inequitable for many CB2 residents.
The proposed District 26 means small communities, like Blissville and Wynwood Gardens, will have even less representation and resources. In Blissville, this impacts the resources available to unhoused residents and shelters.
With the proposed District 26, CB2 schools would compete for already decreased funding and longstanding problems of overcrowding and the need to build new schools, especially in growing areas like Hunters Point and Court Square, would continue to be unmet for years.
The proposed District 26 would divert attention and funding from environmental issues in CB2, including Newtown Creek cleanup and access and health issues related to “Asthma Alley”.
The proposed map would increase public park space in District 26 but that space would be in Manhattan and on Roosevelt Island which is a cause for concern regarding funding for existing and new parks in CB2.