City Council passes controversial redistricting plan

The Boston City Council today voted by a narrow margin to approve a redistricting plan that has come under fire for diluting the political influence of the city’s people of color.

The plan, sponsored by the redistricting committee’s chair, Councilor Bill Linehan of South Boston, passed 7-6.

“The plan before you today, as I said, is a good one,” Linehan told his fellow councilors before the vote. “Does it please everybody? Absolutely not. Does it make every neighborhood whole? No, it does not.”

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Voting for passage were Linehan and councilors Frank Baker of Dorchester, Mark Ciommo of Brighton, Robert Consalvo of Hyde Park, Salvatore LaMattina of East Boston, Stephen J. Murphy of Hyde Park, and Matthew O’Malley of Jamaica Plain.

Voting against were Councilors Tito Jackson of Roxbury, John R. Connolly of West Roxbury, Charles Yancey of Dorchester, Ayanna Pressley of Dorchester, Felix G. Arroyo of Jamaica Plain, and Michael P. Ross of Mission Hill.

Some councilors maintained that the plan would disenfrancise minority residents by concentrating large numbers of people of color in a small number of districts. District 4, which will encompass parts of Dorchester and Mattapan, is made up of 95.3 percent people of color, opponents noted.

Chinatown will remain in District 2, a district largely composed of South Boston.

“We live in a more diverse city than we have ever seen,” Jackson said. “Each and every precinct and district should reflect that increased diversity.”

Yancey added his voice to criticism of the plan.

“The people of Mattapan deserve to have a unified district,” he said during floor debate on the plan.

A last-ditch effort to table a vote on Linehan’s plan, and a motion to pass an amendment to the map, were both voted down.

Mark Liu, deputy director of the Chinese Progressive Association, said the group will likely file a lawsuit against the city to fight the new councilor boundaries and may get the support of the NAACP and Oiste, a Hispanic organization.

“This is clearly packing and diluting the voice of people of color,” Liu said.