After forceful lobbying by local activists, a big win moved Roosevelt Island closer to sensible Common Council representation. Initial redistricting maps pushed the community, along with significant chunks of the Upper East Side, into a Queens District. But protests led by Joyce Short and Lynne Strong-Shinozaki, supported by current Council Member Julie Menin, may have turned the tide. Sadly, though, that win proved short-lived. The Districting Commission with Mayor Eric Adams appointees joining with Republicans to kill the planned changes.
by David Stone
Update September 22nd, 2022, 1:15 p.m.
Reporting in City and State New York reports “The city Districting Commission voted to reject the latest draft maps, throwing the process into disarray,” today.
“So much for New York City showing up the state with a less dramatic redistricting process. The New York City Districting Commission voted down a new set of proposed City Council maps on Thursday, with allies of Republican Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli on the commission – and several appointees of Mayor Eric Adams – shooting down a plan…”
End of Update
“I am going to reserve full comment for when the official maps are released on Thursday, but I am thrilled that this leaked map restores Roosevelt Island, Sutton Place, and the Upper East Side to Council District 5,” Menin said in a statement.
“It is so important that community voices and input be heard in this process and my district came out in full force on this issue to make their voices heard.”
About the Big Win
Short, who leads the Main Street Democrats, and Community Board 8 Member Shinozaki, recruited a busload of residents for a show of force at the districting hearing.
In resolving issues caused by population shifts exposed in the 2020 Census, the Redistricting Commission expanded a Queens District across the East River, swallowing up Roosevelt Island, Sutton Place and half of Hunter College.
But Roosevelt Islanders were having none of it. They came out in numbers and voice. Short later said she’d been told that local efforts far exceeded any other community.
Clearly, Roosevelt Island built its history and traditions closely associated with Manhattan. And now, the Commission shows that it listened.
The new maps, which have not been publicly released, return Roosevelt Island to District 5. It’s a big win. That’s according to the New York Times and an article in The Gothamist. But the fight is not over.
The new maps go to the City Council for approval this week. Their acceptance is uncertain because of unresolved issues, mainly in Queens.
But for now, Roosevelt Island stays with District 5 and can thank Julie Menin in 2022 when she runs for reelection. And thanks to inspired local leadership, activism returns to Main Street.