Morris Park holds town hall on district lines

The Morris Park Community Association is going on the offensive and holding a town hall meeting to disseminate information about proposed Assembly District lines that would split the community between two elected officials.

An uproar ensued after preliminary Legislative Task Force of Demographic Research and Reapportionment redistricting lines for the 80th and 82nd assembly districts showed a plan to take part of the Morris Park community, an area bound roughly by Tenbroeck, Radcliff, Morris Park, and Sackett avenues, out of the 80th Assembly District and put it into the 82nd Assembly District for the next ten years.

After testifying against the proposed lines at the recent LATFOR hearing at the Bronx Museum of the Arts at 1040 Grand Concourse and presenting the commission with close to 2,500 signatures, the Morris Park Community Association is holding a town hall meeting at P.S. 83 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21 to further discuss ways it can fight the proposed district lines, said MPCA president Al D’Angelo.

“This community is outraged that they would do this without community involvement,” D’Angelo said. “They are splitting a community that has been unified by this association and other organizations for 40 years.”

The association is calling for as many people as possible to come out to the meeting so they can receive information on how the proposed district lines could diminish the community’s voice, D’Angelo stated.

The town hall meeting will serve as an informational session where residents can find out what exactly is going on and what it entails, D’Angelo said.

It does not seem logical to place a quarter of the Morris Park community into one legislative district, the 82nd Assembly District, which is represented by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, while leaving the rest in the 80th Assembly District, represented by Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, D’Angleo said.

Quoting President Abraham Lincoln, D’Angelo warned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The move would result in diminishing the power of the organization to compete for grants and make its voice heard.

The Van Nest community is currently represented by several different elected officials, and it has resulted in one elected official passing community requests off to the other, said lower Morris Park community activist Joe Bombace. Bombace said he believes that elected officials care less about either the beginning or the end of their districts.

“The Morris Park Community Association feels that it will negatively impact their ability to get funding,” Bombace said. “The Morris Park Community Association is currently in the 80th Assembly District and this essentially means a ‘divorce’.”

Looking to the future, a divided assembly district could cause complications as the Morris Park Business alliance expands east of Bronxdale Avenue, Bombace stated. The Alliance will have to deal with Assemblyman Michael Benedetto on one side of Morris Park Avenue, and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera on the other side of Morris Park Avenue, Bombace stated.

At the Bronx Museum LATFOR hearing, members of the commission said that assembly district lines have to comply with the state Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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