Councilman Mike Nelson is poised to lose his grip on Manhattan Beach, according to city officials remapping Brooklyn’s council districts — and residents of the tony community say they can’t wait to see the legislator go.
Members of the New York City Districting Commission responsible for re-mapping district lines plan to cut Manhattan Beach out of Nelson’s district, which also includes Midwood, Homecrest, and part of Sheepshead Bay — giving the beachfront community of million-dollar homes to Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park).
Community leaders applauded the proposed change, which won’t be ratified until next year, claiming that Nelson hasn’t done enough for the neighborhood.
“Over the last six months, the councilman has not been as active as we would have liked,” said Edmund Dweck, a member of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association.
Nelson staffers disagreed with Dweck’s assessment, claiming that Nelson earmarked more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars toward several Manhattan Beach projects in recent years, including:
• Allocating more than $500,000 to renovate Manhattan Beach basketball courts — a project residents say has yet to start.
• Plunking down $500,000 to move and build the Manhattan Beach dog run.
• Donating $110,000 to PS 195 so the schools could get new computers.
• Contributing $250,000 to the Oriental Boulevard Beautification Project, which saw trees and bushes planted along the Manhattan Beach thoroughfare.
“Michael Nelson has been a good friend to the Manhattan Beach community,” said Nelson aide Chaim Deutsch.
City officials say their decision to change Nelson’s district stems from only one thing: population numbers. Nelson may lose Manhattan Beach, but he will be gaining more than 4,500 constituents as the Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, and Borough Park parts of his district expand. Fidler, on the other hand, will lose 3,553 constituents in the deal.
Nelson’s staffers claim the councilman has no plans to challenge the map changes.
“The councilman firmly believes that the new lines have been drawn to promote fair and meaningful representation – which is in the best interest of the community,” said Deborah Weiss, Councilman Nelson’s chief of staff. “Any adjustment of the district lines to re-include Manhattan Beach will create an even greater disparity concerning representation and potentially raise a viable legal challenge.
Fidler welcomed Manhattan Beach into his fold.
“Manhattan Beach is a wonderful neighborhood with many coterminous interests with other communities in my district,” the legislator said.
Reach reporter Colin MIxson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4514.