Map Takes First Step towards Approval
A coalition of diverse groups from across the city is prepared to sue
the city over the new redistricting map that was approved on Wed, Aug
22 at the weekly City Council meeting by a margin of one.
This map was introduced by Councillor Linehan, Docket #0985. To
be accepted, all that was required were seven or more councilors voting
in favor and that is what happened. The plan has and continues to
come under fire with complaints that it reduces the political influence
of the city’s people of color.
The plan still requires the mayor's signature. If Mayor Thomas M.
Menino does not sign onto the new map, nine city councillor votes will
be required to overrule his veto and make the proposed map
official. Menino hasn't committed one way or another.
“We will review this map to make sure all residents are properly
represented,” Menino said in a statement Wednesday. “We will take a
close look before making any decisions.”
Coalition of Communities
of Color Prepared to Sue
A coalition of local organizations representing communities of color
vowed to sue the city if the map becomes law.
With more than one year of conversation, debate and compromise behind
the map that redraws the city's nine districts, the technical focus is
to make sure that population shifts are accounted for so that each
district has a comparable number of voters.
It's the "comparable" part of that objective that underlies the issues
of the coalition. Redistricting takes place after the every 10
year US census. It should be noted that none of the councilors of
color voted for this map. What does that tell "you"?
Councillors Voting in Favor
- Bill Linehan of South Boston
- Frank Baker of Dorchester
- Mark Ciommo of Brighton
- Robert Consalvo of Hyde Park
- Salvatore LaMattina of East Boston
- Stephen J. Murphy of Hyde Park (at large)
- Matt O’Malley of Jamaica Plain.
Councillors Voting Against
- Tito Jackson of Roxbury
- John R. Connolly of West Roxbury (at large)
- Charles Yancey of Dorchester,
- Ayanna Pressley of Dorchester (at large)
- Felix G. Arroyo of Jamaica Plain (at large)
- Michael P. Ross of Mission Hill.
Basis for Lawsuit
Upon passage of this map, the coalition is preparing for a lawsuit
against the city, on the grounds that the packing of District 4 is in
direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which prohibits
voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.
In the proposed map, the population of people of color ranges from a
high of 95.3% in D4 to a low of 31.6% in D2.
“We are concerned that the map currently being considered will
unlawfully pack minority residents into district four, thus limiting
their voting strength in the surrounding districts. Coalition members
were pleased with the state redistricting process that resulted in
legislative and congressional districts that increased
majority-minority districts and avoided litigation, that does not seem
to be the case with the city’s redistricting committee” said Rahsaan
Hall, deputy director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and
The Coalition believes this map is an egregious violation of the Voting
Rights Act of 1965. It is the exact opposite of what the coalition has
been advocating for over the last year which has been ‘Don’t Crack 2/
Don’t Pack 4.’
If this map were to pass and be adopted, the result
would be the disenfranchisement of voters in the South End, South
Boston, Dorchester and Mattapan. In a city that is 53% people of color,
it is unacceptable that any district would have a population of people
of color so low or so high.
In the 10 years that the Boston City
Council has had 4 minority-majority district seats on the council, only
two of those seats have been filled by a person of color.
is not asking for huge changes – District 2 should remain whole and
there should be increased opportunities for people of color in
districts 3 and 5.
- Castle Square Tenants Organization
- Chinese Progressive Association & Chinese
Progressive Political Action
- Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA)
- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic
- Project HIP-HOP.
Boston NAACP - Sean Daughtry, 617-427-9494, ext. 330>
MassVOTE - Cheryl Crawford/ Avi Green - 617-542-8683
Chinese Progressive Association - Mark Liu - 617-851-1327
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice - Rahsaan
59 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
(617> 426 - 6633
(617> 426 - 0324 (fax>