Draft map revamps City Council districts, leaves Jackson in District 7

District 7 City Councillor Tito Jackson would not have to move or give up his seat on the City Council, according to a draft map featuring redrawn political boundaries for the city's 9 district council seats. Jackson's colleague, Michael Ross, isn't as lucky. Ross, who lives in Mission Hill, would no longer live in District 8, under the draft map circulated to reporters and staff inside City Hall on Wednesday.

A City Council committee, headed by District 2 City Councillor Bill Linehan, was tasked with redrawing the political boundaries of the districts, following U.S. Census counts that showed shifts in population requiring some districts to shed residents and other districts to gain residents.

Linehan's district was one of those that needed to lose population, so District 2 was redrawn without some parts of Chinatown and the South End – two areas where Linehan's recent opponent, Suzanne Lee, did well in the November election.

As the draft map was bouncing around City Hall inboxes and cellphones, Linehan and Lee and their respective supporters were watching Elections Department staffers recount the ballots. The recount showed Linehan extending his margin of victory to 97 votes, up from 87 votes in the Nov. 8 election.

Linehan, who has expressed interest in passing a final version of the map by the end of the year, said Wednesday he expects city councillors to propose their own changes to the draft map. A meeting of the redistricting committee is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m.

Ross said he doesn't believe the draft map will be the one that the City Council will ultimately pass.

"There'll be other maps as well," including his own, Ross said, which will be "very reasonable" and "more responsible."

Under Linehan's draft map, Dorchester's District 3 picks up some northern precincts that are currently in District 2, and grabs precincts in Districts 4 and 7.

The full draft map is available here as a PDF. News of the map was first reported by the Boston Phoenix. Any changes, if approved, would take effect before the next municipal election, which is slated for 2013.

The draft map drew a rebuke from Lydia Lowe of the Chinese Progressive Association, who called the map "outrageous."

"It's shocking to me to see him splitting Chinatown in half," said Lowe, a Lee supporter who was at the recount.

Asked about Lowe's criticism, Linehan said, "Lydia complains about everything."

He added: "And it's only a draft."

Linehan said he has been successful in Ward 5 Precinct 1 in the past. The draft map flips the South End precinct, where Lee beat Linehan 713 to 172, into District 8.

The Reporter first noted in September that Jackson and Ross were in danger of being redistricted out of their seats because they live close to the southern edge of their current districts, and some of the boundaries of the districts below them had to move northward due to population shifts.

Jackson, who handily won a special election replacing Chuck Turner in March and was re-elected in November, lives in the Schuyler St. house he grew up in. District 7 is made up of Roxbury, Dorchester, the South End and Fenway.

Elected to the council in 1999, Ross moved to Mission Hill from Beacon Hill four years ago. District 8 includes Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Kenmore and Mission Hill.

After the recount, which started a little after 10 a.m. and wrapped up shortly after 2 p.m., Lee said she had not yet seen the draft map.

She said she had filed for a recount to ensure "every vote is counted."

"The exercise was a good one," Linehan said.