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Baker weighs in on redistricting process, expressing interest in Polish Triangle precincts

As the City Council weighs redrawing the boundaries of the city’s nine districts, incoming City Councillor Frank Baker said he wants District 3, which he will represent, to pick up the Polish Triangle.

The area is currently in City Councillor Bill Linehan’s District 2, which abuts District 3. Linehan is the chair of the City Council’s redistricting committee.

Population growth within Boston’s downtown and northern neighborhoods means new district lines must be drawn in order for districts to have equal populations. Dorchester’s District 3 needs to pick up residents, while District 2 must shed residents.

In his draft map, Linehan is proposing to give up some of the Polish Triangle – Ward 7 Precinct 9 – to District 3. Linehan won the precinct in the November election by a 40-vote margin.

The neighborhood, named the Polish Triangle because of the waves of Polish immigrants who settled there over a century ago, is inside the boundaries of Dorchester Ave., Boston St., and Columbia Rd.

Baker added that he would settle for one Polish Triangle precinct. He is no stranger in the area, having grown up in St. Margaret’s Parish, which has been renamed Blessed Mother Teresa.

Baker, who will be sworn in on Jan. 2, attended a Monday morning meeting of the redistricting committee, but did not provide testimony. The meeting was also attended by a number of voting rights activists who have decried Linehan’s draft proposal to split up Chinatown. The draft proposes flipping one precinct, which Linehan lost heavily in his match-up with former principal Suzanne Lee, to District 8.

District 8 City Councillor Michael Ross, who would lose his seat under Linehan’s plan, offered up his own plan last week, as did District 6 City Councillor Matt O'Malley. Ross proposed revisions to his map this week, such as keeping the West End (Ward 3 Precinct 5) and flipping the Prudential Center area (Ward 4 Precinct 2) into Linehan’s district.

Councillors are also awaiting a map from District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey, who is seeking the creation of five majority-minority districts, up from the current four.

Another redistricting committee hearing is set for Monday, Dec. 12.