Commentary | In redistricting, councillors should consider the ‘Moe Map’

Moe Gillen. (Seth Daniel photo)

A common theme in the latest redistricting process over the past month is everyone has his or her own map. So, I’ve also decided to release my own map – the “Moe Map.”

As a Charlestown resident here on the very edge of the city, I feel our neighborhood has a lot to lose with redistricting. Yet there is a great opportunity here to align our neighborhood with a better geographical and community of commonality partner.

Charlestown has changed a great deal since I was growing up attending St. Mary’s Church and living the Townie dream. Our representation should change as the neighborhood changes.

There are three key guideposts to the “Moe Map.” First and foremost, I propose to remove Charlestown from District 1. This is long overdue as the Town has very little in common with the North End and East Boston as it used to at one time. Even the schools like the Edwards that housed so many East Boston students have shut down as the neighborhood connection no longer exists as it did in times of old.

Now, Charlestown has so much more in common with the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Fenway than it does with East Boston and the North End. In fact, many families from Beacon Hill and Back Bay now travel to Charlestown to play sports and for social occasions with and without children. There is a natural coming and going that already exists, and this is also the case with the issues that face these areas.

I propose we move Charlestown into District 8 to align with these new commonalities and a geography not separated by Boston Harbor and the tunnel.

The second “Moe Map” guidepost deals with District 7, which is anchored in Roxbury. By moving Charlestown into District 8, you can then move Mission Hill (which is part of Roxbury, according to the US Postal Service) into District 7.

Charlestown has a population of 19,120 residents and Mission Hill has a population of 17,886, so it’s not an even switch. To balance, the Moe Map would move Mission Hill and Audubon Circle into District 7. This is consistent with the 7th Suffolk state representative seat held by Chynah Tyler now, where she represents Audubon Circle and Roxbury. Plus, Audubon Circle and Mission Hill have aligned for many years on issues related to hospital expansion and the Red Sox mitigation plans.

Adding these new territories to District 7 would then relieve the pressure that has been going on in the Grove Hall area where District 7 seems to creep into territory firmly established as District 4, irritating residents and community leaders.

Back to District 1. Fixing District 1 also fixes South Boston-based District 2, which has grown too large with the Seaport. Placing the Seaport areas, and maybe some of the booming new areas north of Broadway, into District 1 would balance out the loss of Charlestown. Then you have a District 1 made up of East Boston, the North End and Seaport. That will also allow South Boston/District 2 to remain whole, since it would not lose Chinatown, most of South Boston and parts of the South End.

Those are the guideposts in my map, but the key point is it is time for Charlestown to be carved out of District 1 and placed within a more common-sense district geographically. I believe that should be District 8.

Moe Gillen is a Charlestown resident.

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