woodhaven take fight to Districting commission
Jan 17, 2013 | 1327 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodhaven residents Jennie and Helga Monning point to the district lines that led to a group going in front of the New York City Districting Commission to ask for Woodhaven to be united.
Woodhaven residents Jennie and Helga Monning point to the district lines that led to a group going in front of the New York City Districting Commission to ask for Woodhaven to be united.
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Woodhaven's Giedra Kregzdys and Kristen Marie Deinhardt at the New York City Districting Commission hearing.
Woodhaven's Giedra Kregzdys and Kristen Marie Deinhardt at the New York City Districting Commission hearing.
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Woodhaven resident Giedra Kregzdys asks the New York City Districting Commission to reunite the fractured districts into one whole community.
Woodhaven resident Giedra Kregzdys asks the New York City Districting Commission to reunite the fractured districts into one whole community.
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On Monday night, a dozen residents of Woodhaven traveled to Long Island City to attend a public hearing of the New York City Districting Commission. The most recent proposal divides Woodhaven into three pieces covering two districts, and we were there to speak out against that plan and to ask the commission to unite Woodhaven under one district.

This has nothing to do with selecting one representative over another; we have solid relationships with both Elizabeth Crowley and Eric Ulrich and would be equally happy with whoever we end up working with.

But by slicing us in two, one part of Woodhaven becomes a very small percentage of Eric’s district, while the other becomes a very small percentage of Elizabeth’s district. By being united, we become a big percentage of whichever district we end up in, which is a stronger, more advantageous position to be in.

There are additional reasons why we should be united and our residents strongly advocated for on Woodhaven’s behalf.

“A neighborhood is defined by the people that live there. I live in Woodhaven, that is my neighborhood,” said Colin Bucca. “I moved there, I invested heavily there. And now with a wave of a pen, what I chose and what I decided to make my life is not what it was. They say that the pen is mightier than the sword; please, do not attack us with a deadly weapon.”

Resident Marianne Blenkinsopp hit the Districting Commission for the confusion their latest proposal would cause.

“Few residents know whose district encompasses our library, our firehouses, our schools, our parks. You could fix this problem, but have instead tried to worsen it,” she said. “Your proposal, if adopted, will weaken our neighborhood’s representation, dilute our voice, and put us at a disadvantage when it comes to funding, services and attention from our City Council members.”

She finished up by telling the commission “You have the chance to do the right thing. Seize that chance, keep Woodhaven united.”

“Woodhaven is a thriving and stable community, but it will never reach its full potential as long as it is treated as a political afterthought,” Giedra Kregzdys told the commission. “The continued division of City Council representation for Woodhaven is illogical and irresponsible.”

She asked the commission to “reunite the fractured districts into one whole community” saying it was an opportunity for each and every commission member to help Woodhaven, and wrapped up by calling for “one City Council member for one united Woodhaven.”

The testimony of Woodhaven residents stood in sharp contrast to many of the other residents from all over Queens who came out to tell the commission what they thought of their latest proposal. One word you heard repeated in our testimony over and over again was Woodhaven.

Others were there to promote justice and fairness for one ethnic group or another. We certainly have no quarrel with that, but it meant that their testimony was often convoluted, with lots of discussions about different streets being used as “new” borders to create new districts.

Our message was simple and could be summed up in two words: Woodhaven united. We didn’t need any maps. We didn’t need to discuss where the boundaries of the district should fall. Frankly, we don’t care where the boundaries are drawn as long as all of Woodhaven – every single house, every single blade of grass – is within the single district.

The message and the request could not be any more clear or simple.

We deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone involved – those who spoke, those who submitted written testimony, and those who came out to show the New York City Districting Commission that we are united in our belief that Woodhaven should be in one district. United in our beliefs, but not on the map. We hope the Districting Commission found our arguments compelling enough to redraw the map in our favor and unite Woodhaven.

This Saturday, January 19, we will hold the first Woodhaven Town Hall of 2013. At this meeting, we will discuss the issues that concern our residents the most and we will be voting on our Top Ten Concerns.

This list will be turned over to our elected officials, our community board and, if necessary, the NYPD. The meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 78-18 Jamaica Avenue. We hope to see you there.

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