Although the Districting Commission’s proposal for new City Council lines was initially expected to easily pass with no changes, Council Speaker Christine Quinn has officially thrown a wrench into that process. In a letter to the Commission’s chair, Ms. Quinn said she is “requesting in the strongest possible terms that the Commission withdraw its submission to the Council to receive additional input from the public.”
Ms. Quinn’s main beef with the plan, as has been well-established, are last-minute changes allegedly made to aid the potential candidacy of scandal-tarred Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is seriously considering a councilmanic campaign. Although residency requirements for the chamber are fairly loose–candidates can move into the district after winning the all-important primary–a storm of media stories have speculated some sort of deal with Mr. Lopez was cut to move the former party boss’ official address into the district he was eyeing. Ms. Quinn, who is expected to run for mayor next year, has fiercely denied any involvement, however.
“[I]n reviewing the lines, I have a few concerns that I believe would have been vetted and addressed during another round of public hearings. The most significant concern I have relates to the new lines for District 34,” Ms. Quinn explained. “I am requesting in the strongest possible terms that the Commission withdraw its submission to the Council to receive additional input from the public. After you have satisfied your benchmarks for review and public comment, the Commission should then resubmit a plan to the Council with new district lines. I recognize that the Charter still affords the Council the opportunity to vote on the plan after this formal submission.”
It’s not immediately clear if the process described in the letter, whereby an up-or-down City Council vote is seemingly skipped by simply withdrawing the map, is technically correct. A Commission spokeswoman told Crain’s Insider the legislative chamber needs to reject the map first.
View the full letter below: