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Latest Redistricting Map Proposal Sees Small Changes to South End Districts

The Boston City Council supported a redistricting map, the third one, after the first two were vetoed by Mayor Menino.

The Boston City Council is hoping the third's time the charm for their latest redistricting map submitted to Mayor Thomas Menino on Wednesday.

The Council supported a redistricting map at Wednesday's meeting by a vote of 11-2, with the two votes against the map coming from District 4 City Councilor Charles Yancey, and the chair of the Census Committee, District 2 City Councilor Bill Linehan.

The map now awaits Menino's approval or disapproval. Menino has vetoed the last two redistricting maps, citing concerns of an "over-concentration of protected groups" in districts both times.

The Council-approved map was originally submitted by Councilors Frank Baker, Rob Consalvo and Matt O'Malley. At Wednesday's meeting, District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson offered amendments to the map that was approved (the amendments are included in attached map). By Council rules, the body had to support the amendments to have them pass, which it did 11-2, with Yancey and Linehan not supporting the amendments.

The Council then supported the map. Redistricting is legally required every 10 years, and is based upon statistics from the US Census.

Said At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, "We prevented the cracking of District 2, protecting the voice of Asian-American and Latino voters in that district. We unpacked District 4 and created a strong opportunity for people of color in District 5. We worked hard to make Mattapan whole and successfully fought against the splitting of Jamaica Plain."

Keeping Jamaica Plain whole was one of the top issues, and many residents attended the meeting with "We are JP" stickers.

At-Large City Councilor Felix Arroyo said he worked hard to keep a united Jamaica Plain, and he called today's map a "victory for Jamaica Plain."  

The passed redistricting map keeps Ward 19, Precinct 7, that includes Forest Hills and the Bourne neighborhood as well as reuniting, Ward 11, Precinct 5, Egleston Square with the Jamaica Plain district. 

In addition, Arroyo said the map strengthens the voice of communities of color in District 5, represented by Consalvo.

Consalvo said he welcomes any change to his district, especially as a white man who most likely will be representing more people of color. 

"Whatever comes out of this, unless we have a magic wand - districts are going to be impacted," said Consalvo. "I lose two precincts in Roslindale… for the greater common good. Other than Councilor Yancey… my district is second most impacted.

Yancey has stood firm saying he would not support any map that doesn't unite Mattapan. Yancey said there is an "opportunity to design a plan that really reflects the makeup of Boston – the majority of people of color." According to the 2012 Census, Boston consists of 53% people of color.

But many councilors have said behind the scenes that Mattapan needs to be split due to its high percentage of people of color - around 90 percent. 

Consalvo said the approved map addresses the mayor's vetoes, too, and from talking with the city's legal representation, he believes litigation would not be sought against the city for having an unfair redistricting map.

"My district is already in the mid 60s (percent) of minority population, now (with approved map) it goes into the mid 70s, creating a strong fourth district of color. It's a seismic shift in District 5. I’m not afraid of it, I welcome it," said Consalvo. He added, "They’re going to love the service they get in District 5. Cross over the line and ask. I welcome the opportunity to represent more people of color." 

Lydia Lowe November 01, 2012 at 11:57 AM
While the map is definitely a step forward for the city as a whole, the Coalition of Color did not succeed in preventing the cracking of District 2. Throughout the year at different times, Councilor Linehan attempted to remove five different South End precincts as well as the Mary Ellen McCormack precinct of South Boston, which is 80 percent people of color. In the end, he was successful in removing Ward 8 Precinct 2 in the South End and Ward 7 Precinct 7 in South Boston. However, because two Dorchester precincts known as the Polish Triangle were also moved into District 3, and the downtown/City Hall precinct of Ward 3 Precinct 6 were added to District 2, South Boston's dominance of the district is slightly reduced.
Robert Yarbrough November 01, 2012 at 01:19 PM
At its heart, redistricting is all about taking from one group to give to another. With that in mind, here's a crazy thought - just make them all by neighborhood. People move in, people move out, but who cares? The neighborhood lines are arbitrary enough, and if there is a perceived "imbalance" of people with long hair or people who wear red on Fridays in one district or another, once again, who cares? If the City Council wasn't in the business of taxing one group to give favors to another group, then this would be a "non issue". Unfortunately, the fact that the Council is making this an issue shows me what is at the top of their agenda - money and political power (which, its essence is the ability to give favors at the expense of others). The Council will never please everyone - so they should stop trying. All it does is create divisions among the people because their resources are being taken from them to be used somewhere they do not agree with. Step back and ask what gives them the right to forcibly take from one neighborhood to give to another neighborhood across town? Redistricting is just a battle to see who can get the biggest posse. In the end, the "winners" will benefit, and the "losers" are forced into servitude.
j k01 November 01, 2012 at 01:20 PM
It would help to interpret these maps if they would include major streets, such as in the South End, Mass Ave, Wash. St., etc.
Erica November 01, 2012 at 02:36 PM
agreed, perhaps with the highways on there as well. Maybe a legend too? the blue lines are proposed districts and the colored shapes are current?
Lydia Lowe November 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM
It's the other way around. The blue lines are current districts, and the colored shapes are the new districts.
John Keith November 01, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I think the map does far more than lessen South Boston's "dominance". Based on my calculations, it completely flips the majority of residents from South Boston to South End / Chinatown / Downtown. South Boston has 31,000 residents to 37,000 in the other neighborhoods. (Voting age population is different, but similar). To those who are unhappy with the map not showing streets or other identifying landmarks, thank your district city councilor for that one. It was a secretive process with only room for limited public discourse - at least at the end, when the approved map was discussed.
Sara Jacobi November 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM
yes, blue lines are current districts, the colors are the new districts.
don warner saklad November 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Label Redistricting maps with the NAMES of BORDERING STREETS of the Districts!

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