Thursday, October 18, 2012
Profiles in gerrymandering: Cambria Heights and Springfield Gardens
The Commission has proposed that 52 blocks located in southern portion of Cambria
Heights (Figure 11) be moved from the 27th Council District to the 31st. Concerned
Citizens of Laurelton, the civic organization that represents the adjacent blocks
immediately to the south, has voiced their opposition as has the Cambria Heights Civic Association, which is strongly in favor of retaining these 52 blocks in the 27th Council District. The boundary between Cambria Heights and Laurelton has been well established for over a century as the north end of Montefiore Cemetery and 121st Avenue. By moving approximately 1/3 of Cambria Heights into the 31st Council District, the Commission is splitting this well-defined community and weakening its political representation. QCC believes that the Commission should reverse this proposed redistricting and keep all of Cambria Heights in the 27th Council District.
Significant portions of Springfield Gardens have been proposed by the Commission to be removed from the 31st Council District and placed in the 27th and 28th Council Districts (Figure 11). In particular, the 23 blocks of Springfield Gardens north of the Belt Parkway between Baisley Pond Park and Guy Brewer Boulevard proposed by the Commission should be retained in any new plan. Otherwise, QCC agrees with relatively few of these proposed Commission changes and believes that significant areas should revert back to their existing districts (Figure 12).
Area civics do not agree with the Commission's plans to move 32 blocks south of the Belt Parkway that are being proposed by the Commission to be moved to the 28th Council District from the 31st. The Belt Parkway acts as a major dividing line between these sections of Springfield Gardens; they are essentially two separate neighborhoods (Figure 13). Placing half of the area south of the Belt Parkway into a separate Council District will significantly weaken the ability for this area to have fair political representation and, frankly, cause an area already isolated due to its immediate proximity to Kennedy Airport and surrounding industrial areas to be even more marginalized.
Similarly, two other discrete areas of Springfield Gardens - a 24 block area just west of Springfield Boulevard south of Merrick Boulevard; and a 25 block area south of Rochdale Village (Figure 13) - should remain in the 31st Council District for similar reasons, as they do not relate to other areas adjacent to them and have more "common interests" with the neighborhoods to the east. QCC believes that the Commission should reverse these proposed changes and have these blocks remain within the 31st Council District.