JP council district retains Forest Hills, loses Woodbourne

The City Council has approved by an 11-2 vote today a redistricting plan that would retain Forest Hills in the Jamaica Plain council district, while also adding Egleston Square and Mission Hill’s Back of the Hill, according to At-Large City Councilor Felix Arroyo. Woodbourne would leave JP’s district under the plan.

City Councilor Matt O’Malley represents Jamaica Plain, which is mostly covered by District 6.

Arroyo, who lives in Forest Hills, had initiated a campaign to ensure Forest Hill did not leave JP when it was learned that it might. His office had been calling and emailing JP residents and door-knocking in the neighborhood, urging them to voice their support.

“I believe because of the call to action, we were able to do good for JP in this process,” said Arroyo, who represents the entire city as an at-large councilor.

Arroyo attended a Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) meeting last night where he gave an outline of what was happening with the process. JPNC passed a motion that called for JP to remain whole.

Arroyo also had a group of JP residents in the council chamber during the vote today wearing stickers reading, “We are JP.”  The group included JPNC chair Benjamin Day.

Mayor Thomas Menino has to sign the plan in order for it to be approved, but has said he is inclined to do so, according to the Mayor’s Office.

“Today is a good vote and reflects the city of opportunity that we are and the city I am proud to serve,” said Menino, according to the Mayor’s Office.

Redrawing City Council districts is legally required every 10 years after the U.S. Census results are issued to make sure that each district has a roughly equal population.

Menino has vetoed two previous redistricting plans earlier this year for having minority voters too concentrated within District 4, which covers part of Mattapan and Dorchester and is represented by City Councilor Charles Yancey. Yancey and City Councilor Bill Linehan were the two dissenting votes.

The Coalition of the Color was one group that had opposed the earlier redistricting plans. Arroyo said the group reviewed the current map and has endorsed it.

Arroyo said that the plan changes District 4 from 95 to 90 percent people of color, while increasing percentage of people of color in District 5 from 60 percent to 75 percent. Robert Consalvo represents District 5.

Arroyo said that is a “significant change” for District 5 and said that in the future “a person of color will be elected there” because of that.

City Councilor Tito Jackson, who currently represents Egleston Square, offered the amendment that allowed the aforementioned changes to occur to JP. Arroyo said he gives Jackson “all the credit” for agreeing to allow Egleston Square to go back to JP.

Arroyo said he is proud of his staff and volunteers who actively campaigned and strengthened JP’s voice.

John Ruch contributed to this article.

This article has been updated from a previous version.


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