Congressional Redistricting Will Shake Up Jewish Neighborhoods in Brooklyn
Since 2010 census data show that the New York State population did not proportionately grow as rapidly as that in other states, it is forced to forfeit two representatives. Accordingly in the new congressional elections to take place this fall everything will be shaken up and congressional lines redrawn.
In other news pertaining to the Jewish community in Brooklyn, NY10th district representative Edolphus Towns recently announced his retirement from Congress. Towns represented Jewish Williamsburg for many decades, along with the core of the black ghetto in Bed-stuy. Now both Towns and his district will vanish from Hasidic Williamsburg. Towns successor, likely NY assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, will not represent any Jewish neighborhoods.
Instead, Hasidic Williamsburg –which encompasses both South Williamsburg and what is now colloquially known as “New Williamsburg” (south of Flushing Ave.) among the Hasidim– will now be part of the 7th district and it will be represented by Nydia Velazquez of Hispanic ethnicity. Hasidic Williamsburg’s population, approximately 70,000, is not large enough to elect a Jewish representative. Representation will thus shift from the African-american Towns to the Hispanic Velazquez.
Borough Park will remain under the Jewish Rep. Jerrold Nadler, albeit his district will now be the 10th (as opposed to the 8th) and will encompass parts of Jewish Flatbush. Other portions of Flatbush farther removed from Borough Park will be represented by Yvette Clark whose district will now be the 9th (as opposed to the 11th).
Although Jewish Representation of Jewish communities is not always the case in congressional districts, it is usually not cause for consternation in New York City. That’s because the districts in Brooklyn are invariably Democratic and on the Federal level a Democratic Representative from New York City will always vote for the same slate of urban renewal projects, welfare for the poor, housing subsidies, afterschool programs and other popular inner-city programs championed by the Democrats in the U.S. congress. There isn’t much to be gained by a Jewish congressional representative over a person representing the interests of any other particular city ghetto ethnic group.
On the state level, by contrast, senate redistricting that will result in Jewish representation of just one district in Brooklyn and is being sharply decried by local leaders and politicians. They would prefer strong minorities in multiple districts and leverage their block-voting tendencies to their advantage.