Charlestown District Status May Change Following Menino’s Veto of Council Plan

While the City Council passed efforts to redistrict the voting precincts in Boston by a vote of 7-6 back on August 22, Mayor Thomas Menino, feeling pressure from activists who felt the plan didn’t reflect the changing demographics of some city neighborhood, vetoed the plan on September 6. The veto may force Charlestown out of City Councilor Sal LaMattina’s district and merge the neighborhood with the Back Bay.

In a letter to the Council Menino said the plan had concentrated too many citizens of color into too few voting districts. Menino felt this would limit minority groups from electing candidates of their choice.

The City’s plan called for LaMattina, who also represents Ward 3, Precincts 3 through 6 in Beacon Hill, the Waterfront and Downtown Crossing, to lose those precincts to Councilor Bill Linehan. Linehan was charged with crafting the redistricting plan.

Aside from losing these precincts it seemed that LaMattina’s district would have largely remained intact.

Now that Menino has sent the Council back to the drawing board the future of LaMattina’s district may be largely reshaped.

“There are several options on the table right now,” said LaMattina Monday. “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.”

LaMattina assessment of his district seems to be on the money. 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.

One plan is to make District 1 a minority district and merging East Bosotn and the North End with Chinatown and precincts in the South End.

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

“I love my district and would like to see it remain as is because historically Ward 1 has been one of these blue collar neighborhoods,” said LaMattina. “I’m a little disappointed that the plan was vetoed because the Council worked very hard during a long process to come up with this plan.”

LaMattina said it would be a difficult task to reach a consensus everyone agrees with considering the plan that was passed won by such a small margin.

“We have a meeting Thursday and I will go in with an open mind with the goal of creating five minority districts that the Council can agree on,” said LaMattina.

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