Currently, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley both represent Woodhaven, with Crowley having a slightly larger share.
When the City Redistricting Commission began work on new Council Districts following the 2010 Census, the Woodhaven Resident's Block Association (WRBA) submitted a request that the neighborhood be represented by one council member.
The group felt this would make it easier to solve problems and resolve issues in Woodhaven.
Unfortunately for WRBA, the new proposed lines unveiled recently complicate things even further. The proposed districts would give Crowely two areas in Woodhaven to represent that act like bookends to Ulrich's proposed district.
Also, Ulrich would represent more of Woodhaven than Crowley , making representation completely different than it had been in the past for residents.
Edward Wendell, president of WRBA, said that he believes the commission should revise the plan and figure out a way to get all of Woodhaven into one district. He said that he has no preference as to what elected official is ultimately selected to represent the neighborhood, he simply doesn't want the area split up.
Wendell fears that funding may change now that certain parts of the proposed districts will exclude organizations that have received money from one elected official in the past.
“The commission should never divide a community,” he said. “Do not split up a neighborhood.”
Giving a hypothetical example, Wendell said a storm could uproot trees on the same block, but may fall in two different districts. He wonders how long it will take - and how the two council members will have to work together - to remove them.
“From the beginning, I have maintained that redistricting should be independent of legislators input,” Crowley said when asked about the proposed lines. “I believe that it serves everyone's interests when communities are kept intact.”
Wendell said that he has contacted Crowley and Ulrich and urged the two to reject the proposed maps and force the commission to redraw the lines.
There may be a glimmer of hope. Following the controversy over a change to the lines that would allow Assemblyman Vito Lopez to run in a preferred City Council district, Speaker Christine Quinn has asked the Redistricting Commission to reconsider the maps, although its unclear if it will effect Woodhaven.
Wendell said he doesn't understand why the commission thinks it's a good idea to complicate things and split Woodhaven into two districts.
“This should be the simplest thing,” he said.