New York was a state with 29 Congressional districts, which brought peace and prosperity to its citizens. On Monday, the 22nd and 9th were obliterated.
It was all part of redistricting, a process that redraws the borders of Congressional districts every 10 years based on population changes and politics. Since New York lost population from 2000 to 2010, two districts had to go, and the rest got all jumbled up.
Columbia used to be in the 15th district, which encompassed Harlem and was represented for 40 years by embattled but powerful Rep. Charlie Rangel. But redistricting pushed us out of Harlem (which is now known as District 13) and into District 10, which includes the entire West Side of Manhattan (from 122nd street to the tip of the peninsula), Governors Island, and even some areas of Brooklyn like Borough Park. If you’re confused, the New York Times has a helpful map. Spec also has a nice illustration of the changes.
New York’s redistricting process was unusual. The State Senate and Assembly in the Albany were supposed to draw the lines of the new districts once the 2010 census came out, but the State government is so dysfunctional and partisan that they couldn’t do it. Instead, a federal judge had to step in. Aided Law School professor Nathaniel Persily, she drew the lines, which were approved by another group of judges on Monday.
The lines are, of course, controversial. In Harlem, there’s been some concern that the majority of residents in District 13 (i.e. Harlem) are Latino, even though the district has historically been a center of African-American culture. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. suggested a few weeks ago that the district “should continue in the future to be represented by a black individual” while State Sen. Adriano Espaillat wanted the district to be split in two, with one district for African-Americans and another one for Latinos.
Then there are the districts that got the boot: the 22nd was represented by a guy who’s retiring, which is pretty convenient, but the 9th was Anthony Weiner’s old district, which currently represented by Republican Bob Turner. Don’t feel too bad for Turner, though; he’s already announced he’ll be running for Senate.
For now, you can get to know your new representative (if no one defeats him in September), who’s apparently worried about police brutality against Occupy Wall Street.
Update: Spec has a nice round-up of more things that Jerry Nadler, CC ’69, and the father of Mike Nadler, CC ’07, is famous for.
District 10 seal via The Hunger Games Wiki