The Minneapolis Charter Commission votes this afternoon on a plan that has the potential to increase minority representation on the City Council. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday, but the city’s Redistricting Group made some last-minute changes yesterday in an attempt to address concerns raised by members of the Latino community.
The new map has four wards where minority groups comprise the majority of the population — 4, 5, 6 and 9. Under the current map, only Ward 5 meets that standard, and Don Samuels, who represents it, is the only African American on the council.
Robert Lilligren in Ward 6 is Native American. The rest of the current council members are white.
Lilligren’s ward will be re-drawn to encompass a larger swath of the city’s East African population, stretching into parts of Cedar-Riverside and Seward. A Somali-led group called the Citizen’s Committee for Fair Redistricting lobbied heavily for the creation of such a ward.
The Somali group also wanted at least part of the Midtown Phillips neighborhood, but the redistricting plan gives that territory to Ward 9 in an effort to create a stronghold for the city’s Latino community.
The new Ward 9 is about 37 percent Hispanic, according to the Census. Detailed maps of each ward are available here, labeled as the March 26 maps.
While the new redistricting plan means the City Council could become more diverse over the next decade, its immediate political implications for incumbents on the council are less obvious. The proposed map does not pit any incumbents against each other by putting their homes in the same ward.
The redistricting plan is almost certain to win approval from the Charter Commission, since all of its members also belong to the Redistricting Group.