After listening to the concerns of public housing advocates, community groups and residents from neighborhoods across the City of Boston, City Council President Ed Flynn is calling for a more robust public process and Council hearings throughout the city to ensure more voices are incorporated into the Redistricting process, including interpretation services for non-English speaking and immigrant neighbors.
“We should not rush this once-in-a-decade redistricting exercise; the public deserves a better community process, and as we act in the best interest of the City, careful consideration should be given to all communities,” said Council President Flynn.
Flynn called for the adoption of the redistricting criteria, which was outlined by the expert outside counsel retained by the city, Professor Jeffrey Wice from New York Law School, and subsequently provided by the City of Boston Corporation Counsel to ensure clarity in the process. These criteria outlined should be adhered to as the City Council redraws the districts.
“I fully understand the difficulty and time constraints that the Redistricting Committee has been under. However, it has since become clear from Corporation Counsel that there is no legal requirement to complete this process by November 7th,” said Council President Flynn. “It is unfortunate that in our haste and rush to meet the November 7th deadline, we have sacrificed transparency and created unnecessary distrust and tension. I am confident that we will get closer to a map that unites the entire City of Boston if we invest the time and effort into listening to all communities and working to address their concerns.”
“As recent reports have highlighted, we have an opportunity to get this right and protect ourselves from future lawsuits. I have much respect for my colleagues and their work thus far. It would be wise for us to act with deliberation and to seek legal counsel from our more seasoned experts at the Law Department, the Election Department, and Secretary of State. There are no existing Voting Rights Act violations with our current maps from 2012, and we would want to stay on that path,” said Council President Flynn. “It may be prudent for the City Council to work with the Election Department to consider studying the establishment of a future panel aimed at approval of appropriate precinct geography, voting locations, and redistricting mapping.”
Flynn said, “As Elected Officials, we should continue to listen to all voices and work together.”