Mayor vetoes latest redistricting plan

Mayor Thomas Menino on Sept. 24 vetoed the City Council’s latest attempt at redistricting. The council had passed by a 7-6 vote on Sept. 19 a plan by local City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Tito Jackson.

Menino had vetoed an earlier plan by City Councilor Bill Linehan, citing concerns of minority concentration in District 4 and reiterated those concerns with the latest plan. District 4 covers parts of Dorchester and Mattapan and is represented by Charles Yancey.

“In a city where diversity is found broadly, I had asked that you endeavor to avoid over-concentration of minority voters, and I make that same request again,” said Menino in a letter to the council.

City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who lives in and represents Jamaica Plain, At-Large City Councilor Felix Arroyo, a JP resident, Councilor Tito Jackson, who covers Egleston Square, and Councilor Mike Ross, who represents part of Hyde Square, all voted for the latest plan that was vetoed.

O’Malley said he felt his and Jackson’s plan was the best one submitted, and that now that it has been vetoed, it’s another opportunity to try to build a plan that both protects neighborhoods and is fair and equitable.

Asked if he was surprised by the mayor’s veto, O’Malley said that redistricting is a “Rubik’s Cube” and that changing one piece sends reverberations throughout.

“It’s been a difficult process,” said O’Malley. “But I think we have had a good process so far.”

He added, “The third time is the charm, I suppose.”

Jackson, who used a procedural maneuver to bring his and O’Malley’s plan to a vote, said the plan differs from Linehan’s by keeping District 2 more intact, but did say that it didn’t “fully ‘unpack’ District 4.”

Arroyo said the O’Malley’s and Jackson’s map was a good one, but was not perfect. When asked about The Community of Color Coalition’s criticism of the map, specifically District 4’s “packing” of minorities, Arroyo replied, “I don’t necessarily disagree.”

Jackson and Arroyo spoke with the Gazette before the mayor’s veto.

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