of Chinatown Finalized
By Sing Tao Daily
February 27, 2003
The New York City Districting Commission decided yesterday that
Chinatown would stay in District 1 as 13 out of 15 of its commissioners
voted for the proposal on the redistricting for city elections for
the next 10 years despite of the controversies surrounding the issue
in the past months.
William Floyd, Executive Director of the commission, said that
whether Chinatown should remain in District 1 has caused major controversies
in the redistricting. The commission has received more than 700
postcards supporting keeping Chinatown in District 1 and more than
500 postcards saying that Chinatown should be included in District
2, which covers the Lower East Side.
Meanwhile, the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, where the Chinese
community used to be divided into three districts, is now included
in District 38, which is comprised of mostly Hispanic and Asian
Among the commissions 15 commissioners, 13 voted to keep
Chinatown in District 1 and one abstained while the other one was
absent. The results of the redistricting will be submitted to the
city Board of Election on March 4th, and then to the U. S. Department
of Justice in mid-March for reviewing. If approved, it will be introduced
to the citys charter in 60 days and will be used as the guideline
for all city elections in the next 10 years.
The result rose strong opposition from the Asian American Legal
Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), which has been advocating that
the Hispanic and Asian voters are combined into one district. Its
executive director, Margret Fung, said the results of the redistricting
showed that Chinatowns interests are again neglected. She
said that the only Chinese-American commissioner, Donald Hong, is
associated with the Chinese American Planning Council, which supports
the reigning city councilman, Alan Gerson, and that the commission
has put politics above Chinatowns interests. She added that
the AALDEF would file a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice
to protest against the results.
In response, Hong said the redistricting can not satisfy everyone.
He said that there has been an influx of Chinese-Americans moving
into Battery Park City in recent years, diversifying the population
in Tribeca. Meanwhile, he added that, in the aftermath of the 911
attacks, it would benefit Chinatown to stay in the same district
with Battery Park City in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. In
addition, he said he is Republican and Gerson is Democrat so his
position has absolutely nothing to do with political interest.
On the other hand, the Asian Americans for Equality and Chinese
American Planning Council (CPC), both supporting keeping Chinatown
in District 1, said 911 is the key factor in peoples support
of the status quo. Sho-chuen Chen of the CPC said Chinatown has
gone a long way from 10 years ago, when nobody cared about the redistricting,
and that there are always different opinions in every community.
He suggested that people look at what they have in common and work
out the differences in the hope of electing the first Chinese-American
city council member from Chinatown.
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.
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