Testimony on Redistricting

Good evening, Commissioners, and thank you for listening to the public about the important topic of redistricting.

My name is Kevin Peter Carroll, and I am the Democratic District Leader, State Committee Member for the 64th Assembly District in Bay Ridge. I’m here tonight to talk about our neighborhood’s Council District lines. Currently we are represented by one Community Board, District 10, Community Board 10 and one police precinct district, the 68th Precinct. This is ideal as when residents have concerns that need the attention of the Community Board and/or the police, our residents know where to turn. The same unfortunately cannot be said for our elected representatives. I know that this Commission only pertains to Council lines, but it has to be said my community has been divided into four different Assembly Districts, two different State Senate Districts, two different Congressional Districts, and two different Council Districts. I’m the first to admit that when it comes to Council District lines almost all of Bay Ridge is included in one District, currently numbered the 43rd District.

For those of you who may not know, when I speak about Bay Ridge I am speaking about the blocks between 65th Street and 101st Street, from Shore Road to 10th Avenue here in Brooklyn. The Council District is contiguous in those areas with the sole exception being the Towers of Bay Ridge. Two Towers with 811 units combined, located at 260 and 350, 65th Street. They currently reside in the 38th Council District that is mostly in our neighboring Sunset Park. I know many of the residents of the Towers, a lot them are here today, they’re active in the same civic, religious, and political organizations that other members of our Bay Ridge neighbors frequent and are active in; however, when I’ve gone around there they feel like the stepchildren of Bay Ridge. This is because they’re not part of any of the political districts in our community. They are represented by a different congressman, a different State Senator, a different State Assembly person, and a different Council person. The congressional state lines, they are set already, and our leaders in Albany did not listen to our concerns when we asked for a single contiguous district.

I am now asking you, the Commissioners, and the City not to make the same mistake that our leaders in Albany did by slicing and dicing our community. Legislative lines should be drawn to be inclusive of entire neighborhoods. Past Council redistricting commissions have done that for the most part in Bay Ridge. This year you have the opportunity to correct the fact that the Towers are not part of the Bay Ridge Council District. Our neighborhood would welcome the inclusion of the Towers and, if need to be, due to population trends I would advocate for a small portion of the Bensonhurst easternmost part of the 43rd to be included in the 47th District. And if I could add one statement from a Bay Ridge Tower resident told me when I spoke to him about redistricting that is, the Towers of Bay Ridge are more than just a name, they are the neighborhood in which we live in. Thank you.