Yes, there are more maps.
Boston City Councilor Liz Breadon, the redistricting chair, has filed a committee report that makes scant few changes to the controversial “unity” map that she, City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo and assorted advocates collaborated to produce as the process moves toward a vote this Wednesday.
Breadon, as chair, has the ability to amend items before her committee through these reports, which then go up for a vote before the full 13-member body, at which point others can propose amendments.
Breadon’s latest offering largely keeps the map the same, moving a public-housing-heavy chunk of South Boston from District 2 into District 3 and a swath of southern Dorchester from D3 into District 4.
“The new draft reflects several changes discussed at Committee working sessions and testimony received at public hearings, as well as population requirements, measuring the effectiveness for voters to elect their candidate of choice, while balancing priorities to maintain neighborhoods and communities of interest where possible,” Breadon wrote in the committee report made public Monday ahead of the Wednesday vote she’s seeking. She declined to comment further, referring to the report.
The map was immediately panned by the councilors who have already taken issue with it, particularly City Council President Ed Flynn of D2, who wants to keep those parts of Southie, and City Councilor Frank Baker of D3, who wants to keep those southern Cedar Grove/Neponset/Adams Village portions of Dot with his district.
Flynn, calling the process “reckless” as he continues to escalate his opposition, said, “Dividing public housing residents in South Boston and dividing communities of color is immoral and unconscionable.”
Redistricting Vice Chair Brian Worrell, the city councilor from D4, has had questions about what the Breadon-Arroyo-advocates map would do to his district, but his office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Baker said that the process is “cutting communities of interest up. There’s no mandate to go in and break up communities of interest.”
In Southie and Dorchester, groups of civic organizations have coalesced to push back on the current map. In Baker’s district, a cadre of neighborhood groups is filing records requests both of Breadon’s office and the council as a whole for communications around redistricting and the creation of the Breadon-Arroyo map. Up in Southie, different organizations have filed an open-meeting complaint that led to the council scuttling a vote on this last week.
“Our concerns are that the process has not been sufficiently public,” attorney John Lyons of the Port Norfolk Civic Association in Dorchester told the Herald of the records requests.
And this isn’t the last map — At-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty submitted his own version on Monday, bringing the total up to six, if the original Breadon-Arroyo map is considered the same as the amended version in the committee report.
Flaherty, apparently playing off of the “unity” moniker Arroyo and Breadon gave their map, called his the “neighborhood unity” map. It would shuffle around portions of multiple districts, looking to put the borders on neighborhood lines.
“We also need to be ever mindful of the required criteria, which seems to have been lost in this process, particularly as it pertains to protecting historic neighborhood boundaries,” Flaherty said, calling, as Flynn and Baker have, for holding off on a vote this week.