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AD lines ok’d for Morris Park

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The assembly district fury in Morris Park appears far from over, even as the new lines seem to be final for the next 10 years.

Morris Park leaders are still in an uproar as the district lines first proposed by the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment in late January dividing the Morris Park community between the 80th and 82nd assembly districts became final on Wednesday, March 14.

The new lines bring a portion of Morris Park, roughly bound by Tenbroeck, Radcliff, Morris Park and Sackett avenues into the 82nd Assembly district, represented by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto. That area had been part of the 80th Assembly District, currently represented by Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who will also pick up new constituents in Pelham Gardens and Norwood, according to maps of the new districts.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto sees the effort as a unifying factor. “For the first time in 20 years, all of the Pelham Bay community has been united,” he said.

He will lose Pelham Gardens and pick up some of Morris Park, saying that despite the dust-up, he is “elated” to work with his new constituents

“We are just furious about the whole thing,” said Al D’Angelo, president of the Morris Park Community Association. “We made a great presentation to LATFOR (legislative task force). We should be proud of our efforts.”

Calling the new lines “political cronyism at its worst,” D’Angelo said that the community might be well served to make its anger known at the ballot box come the September primary.

The only consolation in the situation is that it appears as if Assemblyman Benedetto is genuinely interested in representing Morris Park, D’Angelo said.

Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera said that Morris Park citizens need not worry about having a voice in Albany.

“I’ll work side by side with Assemblyman Benedetto to ensure our community has a strong voice in Albany,” she said.

Community and business leader Mark Gjonaj railed against the new district lines. Gjonaj testified at a Bronx task force redistricting meeting on Tuesday, January 31.

“Government has failed us,” Gjonaj stated, adding, “there is no room for the will of the people.”

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