It looks like the City Council will vote on the redistricting map Wednesday — though that hotly debated cartography model is still up in the air.
“We’ll be putting out a document in a new draft tomorrow,” City Councilor Liz Braden, chair of the redistricting committee, said Tuesday after another day-long work session that was as divisive as the fog outside. There was a lot of uproar and confusion.
Some elements of the agreement began to coalesce around a so-called “coalition” map drawn up by Breadon, City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo and various lawyers that was heavily debated.
Various members began to show some desire to reunify South Boston, which had been divided by the Breadon-Arroyo map, including Arroyo himself, who served less in City Council President Ed Flynn’s District 2. At least one suggested putting back the boundaries that the map suggested city councilors move. Frank Baker’s District 3, and City Councilor Kenzie Bock, who suggested adding some more back.
“I think it would make sense to put that public housing in South Boston in D2,” Bock said, agreeing with some of the concerns that angered Flynn when the map was introduced.
A group of Southern civic organizations has filed an open-meetings law complaint about the process and is trying to get more hearings before the vote.
Another area of focus outside the Dot-Southie borderlands is on the other side of D3, where the originally proposed map would move the Cedar Grove/Adams Village neighborhoods from Baker’s D3 to City Councilor Brian Worrell’s D4.
Supporters say the justification is to bring more white people into the heavily black district of Worrell to avoid concerns that the map could be in trouble by “packing” too many minority votes into D4. .
“Our mandate is to strengthen opportunity districts,” Arroyo said.
That said, though, federal Voting Rights Act experts Braden spoke with Tuesday said the current districts now in use don’t appear to be a problem at first.
Neither does Worrill, who fears that the continued softening of attrition will further weaken black voting power in his district, nor Baker, who sees it all as an attack on him. is and does not want to divide their neighborhoods, especially excited. To make this complete exchange.
“I’m on the menu,” Baker complained. “This district you guys are forcing into District 3 is laughable.”
Baker, who quickly found himself on a political island inhabited only by himself and City Councilor Erin Murphy, who both argued with Braden for large parts of the day.
The morning was taken up with questions and answers with experts, and then something extraordinary happened in the council that introduced the five maps: About 24 hours before the meeting in which they were to vote, members began discussing possible trade-offs and compromises. of
For about two hours they put their heads down and mingled on the D2/D3 line and the D3/D4 line, trying different arrays of boundaries, with different councilors coming up with different ideas.
But then they had to split up to go to a different hearing at City Hall and several headed to a meeting with the mayor at Franklin Field about anti-violence efforts — and they kept pace.
At 3:30 the meeting resumed and some of the councilors went back into the room, plus Baker and Murphy. Baker used his phone and public address system to play Frank Sinatra’s “A Man Alone” to the largely empty room, and then the circular arguments resumed when the other councilors withdrew.
Braden finally called the meeting to a close around 5:30 p.m., saying, “We’re not really moving the conversation forward at this point,” and that he had a final proposal for Wednesday’s meeting. There will be a committee report.
He asked Baker to wrap it up while he tried to ask Flynn some more questions — prompting Baker to storm off, saying, “I thought you’d be fair.”