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Queens Chronicle

City Council maps are officially final

DOJ gives preclearance for new lines

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:34 am, Thu Jun 6, 2013.

The new City Council map is officially final.

The NYC Districting Commission said that the final stage in certifying the map was completed on May 20 whenthe U.S. Department of Justice precleared the commission'splan to map out the city’s51 Council districts.

The DOJ received the maps for preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in March for districts in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn because of the higher population of blacks and Hispanics in those boroughs. The DOJ took comments from the public before making its final ruling.

The approval means that the final districting plan can now be legally implemented and the new maps will be in effect for the September primary elections.

The NYC Districting Commission drew three drafts of the map instead of the usual two due to a controversy over political influence on the process in several districts, including one covering Ridgewood and several Brooklyn neighborhoods. Critics of the second draft say the lines were drawn to purposely include then-embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s home in order to allow him to run for the City Council. In an unprecedented move, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) asked the commission to redraw the lines and it did, removing Lopez from that district.

Nevertheless, several groups said all three drafts divided neighborhoods and like communities for political advantage, including Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, North Flushing and Oakland Gardens.

The lines also included a strange border between districts 28 and 31 in JFK Airport, where the runways were drawn into one district and the terminals and roads into another. The commission said the JFK Airport lines were drawn because the access roads come out of a different district than the airport had been in and the members did not want to move the entire facility into a new district.

The map will be in effect until the lines are redrawn after the next national Census in 2020.

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