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Linehan responds to Menino's redistricting veto

District 2 City Councillor Bill Linehan, who chairs the committee tasked with redrawing council districts’ boundaries, responded to Mayor Thomas Menino’s veto of his proposed map last week.

In a letter dated Sept. 12, Linehan defended the map, but said his committee will schedule a meeting in order to move ahead with a new plan. Members of the Coalition of Color, which had threatened to sue the city if the vetoed map had passed into law, redistricting efforts and the city’s corporation counsel will be invited to attend, Linehan wrote.

More meetings may be held in neighborhoods that have not hosted previous committee meetings, he added.

Linehan wrote that he is aiming for a new map to be approved by Nov. 1, and said he will “enthusiastically work with members of your administration” to create the map.

Menino vetoed a map the City Council passed on a 7-6 vote, citing a concern that “the plan concentrates our many citizens of color into too few districts, and in doing so may limit their equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.”

The Boston NAACP, which is part of the Coalition of Color, said this week it will hold a community forum on redistricting on Sept. 18 at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, starting at 6 p.m.

In his formal response, Linehan wrote that the redistricting committee spent 16 months crafting the vetoed map, which he called a “good and fair plan for all of Boston.”

“Many of the concerns you outlined in your veto response were investigated and vetted in public forums,” Linehan wrote. “Although the vote of approval from the Council was close, it is in no way indicative of a lack of cooperation and participation by all members. In the end, we each voted our conscience, influenced by our political beliefs.”

Linehan wrote that the vetoed plan needs to be analyzed, adding that “extensive work was done that included a review of Voting Rights Act.” But “we will aggressively pursue further due diligence to eliminate any misgivings or interpretations,” he added.