Election Map Changes
From El Diario
February 27, 2003
By Enrique Soria
A commission charged with the redistricting of the city approved
yesterday a plan that would rearrange the political map, with its
principal goal being of ethnic representation.
But voices criticizing the plan approved by the Districting Commission
were also raised. Some consider the plan to be discriminatory toward
certain sets of Latinos.
Angelo Falcon, executive director of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense
and Education Fund (PRLDEF), said that the plan favored the Puerto
Ricans, but not other Latin communities.
Falcon emphasized that, although the commission is integrated with
three prominent Hispanic figures - Henry Calderon, Marta Galvez,
and Lorraides Cortez the redistricting adversely affects
the Latin communities of Washington Heights, Upper Manhattan, and
Falcon explained that in Washington Heights the Dominicans did
not receive adequate representation. Despite the fact that this
proposal set a formula with two Hispanic-majority districts, the
final vote included only one District 7 with a population
that was more than 50 percent Hispanic. Falcon also noted that this
percentage represented only about half of the districts voters.
The PRLDEF initiative conceived the existence of two districts with
Hispanic majorities of 60 percent for each one.
He underlined that the same problem exists in Queens, where District
25 remains 40 percent Hispanic, which is less than the PRLDEF proposal
called for. The proposal asked that two districts be created, each
with Latino populations of 60 percent.
Falcon asserted that redistricting the political map of the city,
like the plan approved yesterday, is intended to protect the representation
of other ethnicities, an approach that he considers a mistake. In
a letter to mayor Michael Bloomberg, Falcon, said that it was necessary
that the redistribution be a response to the changing needs of New
York and not a simple function to protect elected officials.
He added that only through a more open political process
can we assure a better democratic representation. Falcon also
stressed to Bloomberg the necessity of creating two additional districts
with Latino majorities, on top of those that have been considered
Translated from Spanish by Joshua Brustein
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