The City Council voted unanimously to have Mayor Brian Arrigo and the city’s reprecincting committee make the final determinations for the new 2021 ward and precinct map rather than allow the Secretary of State to determine the locations for those districts.
The City Council discussed the issue at Monday night’s meeting following a communication from Mayor Brian Arrigo on the new map.
The issue came to the forefront after Ward 2 Councllor Ira Novoselsky discovered that the U.S. Census report had listed 67 residents living at Atlas Body and Collision Shop on North Shore Road.
The Council changed its position on the matter of creating its own map after giving the original proposal an unfavorable recommendation.
“I know I was one of the biggest opponents to re-precincting in the city,” said Novoselsky. “I know what this means to the city, and I don’t want the state coming in and telling us how we should make our district lines. So, I would say let’s vote for the best-case scenario that we have right now.”
Novoselsky added that he would be contacting U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey and Congresswoman Katherine Clark to “ask the Census Bureau to investigate this and their procedures, not necessarily a criminal investigation, but as a study to see how they can improve their processes moving forward.”
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino, Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti, and President Anthony Zambuto, all said that they were changing their votes on the matter. “For the first in two years, I will be changing my vote from how I voted in subcommittee to how I’m voting tonight,” said Serino. “In one of [state’s] scenarios, the Point of Pines would have been split up, and I don’t want to leave that to chance.”
Though Visconti said while he was “still alarmed” by the results of the U.S. Census findings, “I don’t feel comfortable leaving it [the new ward and precinct map] in the state’s hands.”
Zambuto said he would be changing his own subcommittee for the first time in his 22 years on the Council.
“Obviously, we don’t want the state to try to draw these [ward and precinct] lines for us, so that’s why I’m changing my vote,” said Zambuto. “My first time in 22 years, even I can change my vote once.”