Councilman Greenfield: We don't want a 'Super Ghetto' senate district

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 05:00 PM

Colby Hamilton / WNYC

Speaking with a few dozen members of the southern Brooklyn Jewish community behind him, Councilman David Greenfield denounced the creation of a so-called "super Jewish" state senate district during this year's redistricting process, calling it instead a "super ghetto."

"We're not going to allow for a backroom, smoke-filled deal to dilute the strength of our community," Greenfield said during a press conference in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

A number of speakers from various community groups and religious organizations spoke, including Chaim Deutch of Flatbush Shomrim, Rabbi Chaim Goldberger of Satmar, Mendel Zilberberg of Community Board 12, and Rabbi Yechezkel Pikus of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush.

"We are opposed to this so-called 'super-jewish' district. This district may be super for other people, but it's not super for the Jews," Greenfield said.

The proposed district in question is part of the first draft of state senate lines drawn up by LATFOR, the task force made up of state legislatures who are responsible for drawing the new lines. If created, the 17th district would stretch from Borough Park down through the Midwood section of Brooklyn (see below).

Greenfield compared the creation of a senate district carved out for the predominately Orthodox Jewish community in the area to the creation of the Venetian ghetto 500 years ago.

"They told the Jews, 'It'll be good for you; why do you want to live with everybody? We're going to separate you. We're going to put you in a neighborhood.' And they came up with a brand new name for this neighborhood. They called it a 'ghetto'," Greenfield said. "This, folks, is nothing more and nothing less than a ghetto district."

The Councilman refused to say who, specifically, it was that wanted to create this "ghetto district" but the push for the high-density district has come from the Senate Republicans, who both drew the maps and see it as a potentially winnable seat this year. Greenfield said he testified before LATFOR, calling for more concentrated districts in the area that is now divided among as many as six senate districts.

"They gave us one--one senator. A senator that can be easily marganilized. A senator who can be dismissed. A senator people don't have to pay attention to," the Councilman said.

The battle over the future district lines has been playing out behind a special election for the nearby senate district recently vacated by disgraced former senator Carl Kruger. Another local council member, Lewis Fidler, is running against Brooklyn Republican Party vice-chairman David Storobin.

The candidate was unable to attend at least two recent debate appearances due to illness. But the illness was announced ten days ago and Fidler has been scarcely seen publicly, with just two weeks left to go in the campaign.

Requests were put in to Councilman Fidler's campaign for an update on his status. They have yet to be returned.



More in:

Comments [4]

a smart jew

David Greenfeld in another era would be a kappo.
Right now the Orthodox Jewish community the Orthodox Jewish Community in Southern Brooklyn is represented by 6 state senators but only has a voice in 2 of them.

If the "Super Jewish" district passes The Orthodox Jewish Community would only be represented by 3 senators but would still have an influence with 2 of them.  But they would have almost complete influence on the senator of the "Super Jewish"

even though it's non the maximum voice possible this is a great decision for the Jewish community and the kappo Greenfeld should be ashamed that he's trying to destroy the Jewish vote.

Mar. 07 2012 01:57 AM
Michael A. Benjamin

Ideally, you are right. 
It's something I've written about.  

We are descending a slippery slope. And it's produced these plans for Dominican, Orthodox Jewish and Asian congressional districts. I don't think there's real merit in any of those cases but the language minority protection language in the VRA seems to be the basis. Never mind that ballots are available in Spanish, Korean, and Chinese to name a few. It makes no sense since literacy tests for voters were outlawed over 45 years ago. Due to the Establishment Clause to the US Constitution and prohibitions against religious tests for public office, I doubt that a "Jewish" seat would pass judicial muster. Given the high number of elected officials of the Jewish faith, I doubt there is much need for a specific "super-Jewish" district. I really don't know what one more would achieve.But what do I know, I'm a "Benjamin" in name only.

Mar. 06 2012 11:20 PM

So why does everyone understand that we need a Latino and a Asian district?

Mar. 06 2012 10:57 PM
Michael A. Benjamin

Kudos to CM Greenfield. Councilman Greenfield should be applauded for calling this so-called 'super-Jewish' district what it is -- a ghetto. A place of segregation and marginalization. I hope other communities heed his words and instead, not work on creating their separate ghetto districts but in developing the political sophistication (and muscle) needed to influence those beyond their ghetto walls. 

I guess God and his parents knew that this 'David' would be needed at this particular time.

Mar. 06 2012 10:46 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


"The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter at 11 am

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

About The Empire

Everything you need to know about New York politics and governance. We aim for a ground-up approach to politics, reverse engineered to make the effect just as important as the players and the game they play. From the Long Island to The Thousand Islands, New York City Hall to the Capitol Building, The Empire's got you covered.

Check out WNYC's 2013 Mayor Tracker--the one-stop shop for info about the candidates, issues and trends in the upcoming New York City mayoral election.


Our Reporters


Supported by