On its third try, the Boston City Council voted 11-2 for a new redistricting map, including a significant change to the North End / Waterfront’s District 1, currently represented by Councilor Sal LaMattina. Much of Downtown and the Wharf District now join with South Boston’s District 2, currently represented by Councilor Bill Linehan. LaMattina voted for the new map although Linehan opposed it. This week, Mayor Menino signed off on the new map, that goes into effect in 2014. (View full new district map in pdf format.)
The North End’s Precincts 1-4 of Ward 3, bound roughly by the Greenway, Boston Harbor and Christopher Columbus Park, stays with District 1 as the only downtown Boston neighborhood in the district. The North End is also the smallest (10,113 population) of the three district neighborhoods (total population 67,575). With the removal of Downtown/Wharf District, District 1 is more heavily weighted toward East Boston and Charlestown.
The new District 1 loses the downtown Precinct 6 of Ward 3 and puts it with the South Boston-dominated District 2. Precinct 6 includes the “Wharf District” area south and west of Christopher Columbus Park, including Harbor Towers and Rowes Wharf. It also includes the Government Center, Blackstone St./Haymarket area and the Financial District. On the other side of N. Washington Street, the West End stays with Beacon Hill and Back Bay in the new map as part of District 8.
Mayor Menino vetoed the first two maps proposed by the City Council resulting in a huge debate and citywide concerns/compromises regarding racial balance issues. In the 11-2 vote of the 3rd map by the City Council, opposition came from Councillors Charles Yancey of Dorchester and Bill Linehan of South Boston. In the first two votes, it was 7-6 in support, but the Mayor sent the maps back to the council due to high concentrations of people of color in District 4 (Dorchester and Mattapan). In the new map, much of Mattapan leaves Yancey’s district into Councillor Rob Consalvo’s District 5.
More information on redistricting can be found on the city’s website, including the following “influences.”
Legal Requirements of Redistricting: the populations must be within a margin of five percent of the mean (68,621), resulting in a range of 65,190 to 72,052; the districts must be contiguous; and the smallest unit of movement is a precinct.
Priorities Identified during Information Gathering Sessions: communities of interest; neighborhood boundaries; proportional representation of people of color; keeping wards together where possible; retaining their current city councilor; and the creation of a fifth non-white majority district.
Influences: Higher rate of growth in the northern part of the city vs. southern part; and Growth in the Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations.