Second Redistricting Map Passes City Council 7-6, Submitted to Mayor

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Sep 24, 2012 No Comments ›› The Commisioner

The Boston City Council passed a second redistricting map Wednesday in a 7-6 vote, which now needs to be passed or vetoed by Mayor Thomas Menino.

Menino rejected the previous redistricting mappassed by the Council in a 7-6 vote on Aug. 23. He said the proposed map “concentrates our many citizens of color into too few districts, and in doing so may limit their equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.” Several city councilors warned of possible litigation being brought against the city if the map did not accurarely reflect the demographics of the city.

City Council Tries Again
District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson reintroduced the map he and District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley created. (The map is attached to this article.) O’Malley is the district councilor for Jamaica Plain. Jackson represents part of Egleston Square.

The seven votes in favor were: Felix Arroyo, Frank Baker, John Connolly, Tito Jackson, Matt O’Malley, Ayanna Pressley, and Mike Ross. The six votes against were: Stephen Murphy, Charles Yancey, Bill Linehan, Sal LaMattina, Rob Consalvo, and Mark Ciommo.

Jackson said the passed map “keeps many neighborhoods together” and “keeps the integrity of District 2.”

Yancey reiterated his stance that he wants a map that puts Mattapan in one district.

City Councilors Connolly and Consalvo both said they wanted to reconvene the Council’s Redistricting Committee at a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, that was intended to be attended by leaders of people of color. However, that meeting was cancelled with the passage of the new map on Wednesday.

“Knowing it needs to be done by November, wouldn’t it make sense to convene the redistricting committee again, and hear from coalitions against the prior map…” said Connolly. “Let’s have that full discussion and get additional legal counsel. Why not proceed with caution and get full information in the light this can’t be delayed forever.”

But ultimately Connolly voted in favor of the Jackson/O’Malley map.

Consalvo said the passed map moves very few precincts, “What interest are we serving (with a map) that moves so few precincts? This doesn’t impact District 4 – one of the questioned districts for a lawsuit. We have a map that was vetoed, and the particular language of why it was vetoed.”

No councilor disputed that there hasn’t been a fair and open public process. Arroyo said he disagreed with some of his colleagues on the map, but not that the process wasn’t fair.

Said O’Malley, “I believed then (submitting the map in the winter) as I believe now – it is the best map.”

Pressley said, “It would be a horrible comment on this body if we were sued due to a redistricting map.”

Bill Linehan, the chair for the redistricting committee, said he didn’t hold private meetings with coalitions representing people of color, like Jackson, adding he wanted all the meetings in public, and not behind closed doors.

He said the proposed Thursday meeting that had been scheduled would have allowed public comment once again, had it not been cancelled. Linehan added the “politics” of councilors have come out now, and that the passed map is “vulnerable to a challenge.”

Redistricting is required every 10 years due to U.S. Census statistics. A new redistricting map must be approved by the end of the first week of November, one year before the first 2013 municipal November election.

By David Ertischek

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