House Redistricting May Hit Heights

Brooklyn Heights Congressional Map

In an online news publication called “Capital“, a description of the current redistricting fiasco was provided.  Interestingly, the question of Brooklyn Heights Congressional representation was put to Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.  Assemblyman Jeffries is a rising political entity who has all but declared his intention to run against Rep. Edolphus Towns.

Historically, Brooklyn Heights has been within one congressional district.  Following the 2000 census, lines were redrawn and Brooklyn Heights was divided between congressional seats.  Does this amount to a dilution of our voice in Washington, or, does this give us additional clout?

Brooklyn Heights House Representatives

It is interesting to see how Congressional Districts 10, 11 and 12 come together in/and around Brooklyn Heights.  From the map above, there is a spot at the eastern end of Pierrepont Street, where one could stand simultaneously in three Congressional Districts.  Definitely not quite as good as the “four points” location out West, but not too shabby either.  Just another great thing about Brooklyn Heights!

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  • Quinn Raymond

    It makes more sense for Brooklyn Heights to have a single Representative in the House, as it would increase our community’s voice with their office, and they would be inclined to provided better constituent services.

    If Cuomo is able to push through non-partisan redistricting it will be a massive win for the people, regardless of their politics. And more specifically, it will benefit our neighborhood.

    The civic groups of Brooklyn Heights should apply political pressure on this issue, it’s a good one.

  • Livingston

    So why does this article only push Democratic candidates? Not very non-partisan.

  • Quinn Raymond

    Livingston, you should realize the reality of the political climate in NYC. The probability of a non-Democratic winning a seat in this area is virtually nil.

    Are there any specific non-Democratic candidates you’re thinking of? Because I don’t know of any…

  • Quinn Raymond

    Sorry, “non-Democrat”

  • Western Brooklyn

    Wow, do people who own brownstones on Pierrepont street really have the same key issues affecting them as people struggling to live in the projects of Bedford Stuyvesant & East New York? I don’t think so!

    The map looks like a divide-and-concur strategy to weaken & dilute everyone’s voice in government!

  • Livingston

    @ Quinn Raymond:

    All I’m saying is don’t automatically count out the Republicans or other candidates, as appears to be the case here — look at District 9 (Anthony Weiner’s former stomping ground). Esp. if BH became its own district, instead of being regarded as a fringe to other districts with incongruent issues/agendas.

    And no, I don’t think any of the clowns listed above represent my interests. I’d sooner do a write-in vote for my cat.

  • BMS

    Brooklyn Heights pretty clearly “belongs” in the 8th (Nadler’s district) with various professional neighborhoods of Manhattan, far more than it belongs with the 10th, 11th, or 12th. It won’t go there for two reasons: 1) It’s hard to connect BH to the 8th while also tying Bushwick, Sunset Park, and Nydia Velazquez’s Carroll Gardens residence together into a single district. 2) The redistricting panel is likely to want to give the 8th some of the population that is currently in the 9th as part of carving up the 9th, and that makes it hard to add population to the 8th elsewhere. (The current 8th had more population growth 2000–10 than any other district in NY, so it need to add very little territory.)

    The best politically feasible solution is to put all of BH into Velazquez’s district rather than Clarke’s or Towns’s, for four reasons. 1) It’s easy to draw, since BH is a natural way to connect the two major components of her district. 2) Velazquez represents most of the Heights currently. 3) I suspect Velazquez is the most willing of Towns/Clarke/Velazquez to represent the neighborhood, since she seems somewhat popular with reformer types. 4) Both Towns’s and Clarke’s districts need to maintain effective Black majorities in order to comply with section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Given the amount of population those districts need to add, maintaining effective Black majorities will be a tight squeeze if either of them has to take on a big lump of white residents from BH. Velazquez’s current district is *not* majority-Hispanic, so there might be more wiggle-room for her to have a few thousand more White people.

    (Right now, NYC has one majority-Hispanic district electing Serrano and three plurality-Hispanic districts, of which only one actually elects a Hispanic — the others are Rangel’s and Crowley’s districts. I think it’ll be interesting to see whether LATFOR keeps this arrangement or tries to replace the 3 plurality-Hispanic districts with 2 new majority-Hispanic districts, and whether DOJ would approve the second option.)

  • Livingston


    Thanks for the detailed explanation of the ethnic/racial gerrymandering. Very informative, to say the least.

  • T.K. Small

    Livingston: Are you concerned that the above posting is partisan or that the article I linked to is partisan? For the record, I am not a registered Democrat and, at least for the time being, I am still a registered Republican.

  • Knight

    @Livingston: I didn’t think TK was “pushing” the Democrats. The people he highlighted are the incumbents, all of whom just happen to be Democrats. Technically we could elect a Republican like they did in Weiner’s former district, but I don’t think the NYS Republican leadership will spend the kind of money in the Heights that they did over there. In that election they wanted to make a point that a “message of disapproval/warning” was being sent to President Obama. It will be a totally different situation in BH next November.

  • Livingston

    Sorry not trying to put anyone on the defensive — I guess I chose words that were a little too strong and short on explanation. For the record, I’m an independent (no party affililiation) and vote for whomever I think best represents my views/interests (across parties).

    But I do wonder, and this was missing from above, that if BH became its own district again, what further political implication there might be. As mentioned, the current districting was done over 10 years ago and a lot has changed as the neighborhood has become more prosperous (and not everyone is a “limousine liberal”). There might be a real horse race here vs. just annointing the next Democrat.

    Just a thought.

  • T.K. Small

    I hope I did not come off as being defensive. I was just seeking clarification. In terms of BH having its own Congressional District, that strikes me as impossible. Congressional Districts are based on population and there simply are not enough people in the neighborhood to make that happen.

    I like your point about being “Independent” and would go further to propose that nonpartisan elections be held. When Bloomberg was initially elected that was one of his pet projects/ideas. Nonpartisan elections will probably not be held, due to First Amendment considerations, but there should be a public conversation on this topic.

  • Quinn Raymond

    Velazquez sent a rep to the transit forum and he was pretty sharp. I like that solution.

  • Andrew Porter

    Whenever I receive updates from Velazquez, she often talks about the problem of abandoned houses, crime and drugs, which are totally irrelevant to BH. When the Heights was gerrymandered into several districts, we lost a lot of clout, and our link with other brownstone neighborhoods was greatly diminished.

  • PromGal

    Since NY12 includes a population of 10-15% Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not vote or pay taxes, the likelihood of having a member of Congress who truly represents the residents of Brooklyn Heights and would pay attention to the needs and wishes of the neighborhood is almost non-existent.
    Nidia Velasquez is an extreme far left Democrat who does not reflect or represent the politic demographics of the Heights. Time fir a change.