Council Back to Drawing Board on Redistricting – Again

September 27, 2012
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The City Council’s amended redistricting plan that passed 7-6 last week was vetoed again by Mayor Thomas Menino as he did the last plan offered by the Council.

The compromise offered by Councilors Tito Jackson and Matt O’Malley would have left City Councilor Sal LaMattina’s district largely intact with Charlestown remaining in the district. Like the last plan LaMattina would have lost Beacon Hill Ward 3, Precincts 3 through 6. Councilors Bill Linehan and Mike Ross would have share Beacon Hill, under the new plan.

LaMattina would have also lost the Waterfront and Downtown Crossing but keep Charlestown, East Boston and the North End in his district. There was some talk of LaMattina’s Charlestown precincts being moved to the Back Bay. LaMattina would then pick up precincts in the South End and Chinatown. Under the new proposal, Linehan will keep these precincts in his district.

The amended redistricting plan offered little change to the one offered to the Mayor in August so councilors like LaMattina were not surprised by the Mayor’s veto.

“I’m a little disappointed that we did not have the meeting last Thursday to discuss the plan and find ways to change the plan,” said LaMattina.

Last time Menino vetoed the plan he sent a letter to the Council saying the plan had concentrated too many citizens of color into too few voting districts. LaMattina hasn’t hid his desire to keep his district as is.

“For me I have remained very parochial and would like to keep my district intact because I feel it is a very diverse district and representative of the diversity throughout Boston,” he said last week.

While the population in East Boston and the North End has increased in years, East Boston has become a minority majority neighborhood and seems to be offset by the largely Irish, Italian and young professional voting block in Charlestown and the North End thus making it a diverse and balanced voting district.

However, there is still the possibility that after the veto of the Jackson/O’Malley proposal, LaMattina’s District 1 may soon become a minority district–merging East Boston and the North End with Chinatown and precincts in the South End.

Under this option LaMattina would lose Beacon Hill and the Financial District and Charlestown would be added to the Back Bay.