Speak Out on New Council Districts

First Hearings On 2013 Redistricting

Brooklyn and Queens residents will get a chance to submit their input on the realignment of City Council districts during the first round public hearings held by the city’s Districting Commission later this month.

As announced by the commission, the hearings will allow residents to offer their ideas to the commission tasked with creating a new district map for the City Council’s 51 districts across the five boroughs.

The Brooklyn session will take place on Monday, Aug. 13, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall, located at 209 Joralemon St. The Queens hearing will be held eight days later on Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Flushing branch of the Queens Borough Public Library, located at 41-17 Main St.

As with legislative districts across the country, the city is required to change the alignment of district boundaries for the City Council every 10 years, based on changes in U.S. Census data.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the leaderships of the Democratic and Republican parties in the City Council- Speaker Christine Quinn for the Democrats, Minority Leader James Oddo for the Republicans-appointed members to the city Districting Commission.

Based on the review of Census data, laws and regulations regarding redistricting and public comments received, the commission will develop a final plan for the new City Council districts. The plan must be approved by the City Council and submitted to the U.S. Justice Department prior to the 2013 elections.

Commission members recently appointed Benito Romano and Carl Hum as chairperson and executive director, respectively.

A resident of Manhattan, Romano is a former U.S. attorney currently in private practice who serves as chairperson of the New York State Interest on Lawyer Account Fund. Hum, who resides in Brooklyn, was previously the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

“In encourage all members of the public to participate in this very important process,” Romano said in a press release issued last Thursday, July 26. “Public input will help guide and inform the commission’s actions and decisions over the next few months.”

“Determining the city’s new district lines can only be possible through public input, and that’s why it’s critical that their voices be heard through this process,” Hum added.

Residents can pre-register to speak at the public hearings or submit their own testimony in writing to the Districting Commission at their website, www.nyc.gov/districting.

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