Bronx leadership ‘happy’ about a Council redistricting plan that takes from Manhattan

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Manhattan could see their New York City Council delegation size reduced by one seat, and the Bronx, which has the smallest delegation, could pick up a seat.

That's according to a redistricting plan going before the City Council that could potentially help the City Council speaker ingratiate herself with the Bronx Democratic organization, which has no horse in next year's mayor's race, but now stands to see an expansion of its relative influence on the Council.

The new Council map "appears to be influenced by political forces outside of the Charter's objective criteria," the executive director of Common Cause New York, Susan Lerner, said in a statement. "This raises serious concerns about the Commission's independence and calls into question the validity of the process."

Common Cause NY also released figures showing Manhattan's eight new Council districts will be "all packed to the maximum legal limit" while the Bronx's eight new Council districts are less crowed. And overall, Manhattan has 1,585,873 residents, compared to 1,385,108 in the Bronx.

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I asked a spokesman for the Bronx Democratic county leader, Assemblyman Carl Heastie, if he approved the changes to the Council lines and delegation size. A spokesman for Heastie, Patrick Jenkins, said Heastie "is happy the commission acknowledged the growth of the Bronx's population."

When I asked if Heastie or anyone associated with him made recommendations about the lines, Jenkins said, "Many residents and elected officials of the Bronx spoke out and spoke up during the hearing process for fairness."

Nick Powell of City and State also has a piece on the story, and quoted a district leader in East Harlem, Peggy Morales, who said the changes "ensure that she [Quinn] has inroads with the Bronx leadership."

Zack Fink has a good take on the situation also.

The population argument is somewhat hard to figure.

In 2006, the city released a detailed report on the population trends in the city which said that the Bronx's population "which stood at 18.4 percent in 1950 and 16.6 percent in 2000, is projected to decline further to 16 percent in 2030."

Here are the latest census figures for each borough:

Manhattan: 1,585,873

Bronx: 1,385,108

Brooklyn: 2,504,700

Queens: 2,230,722

Staten Island: 48,730

There are currently ten districts that are mostly within Manhattan and eight that are mostly within the Bronx. The new redistricting plan would leave each of those two boroughs with nine.