Minneapolis draft map doesn’t pair incumbents

The latest map from the Minneapolis Redistricting Group makes big changes to many of the city’s political boundaries, but it doesn’t pit any incumbent city council members against each other.

Every council member’s home remains in the ward he or she currently represents — though in many cases, just barely. In fact, nearly half the council members find themselves within two blocks of a proposed ward boundary.

Mpls council map.jpg

Cam Gordon’s house is about 200 feet from the proposed border of his 2nd Ward. Lisa Goodman is in her proposed 7th Ward by a block.

Even before redistricting, 6th Ward Council Member Robert Lilligren could walk one block south and find himself in Ward 9. Under the proposed map, he could also go two blocks west if he wants to visit Ward 10.

Sandy Colvin Roy (Ward 12) and Gary Schiff (Ward 9) each enjoy a two-block buffer between their homes and their proposed ward lines. So does Meg Tuthill, but that was the case already.

The previous draft map didn’t have as many incumbents skating close to the line, but just like this one, it left all members in their own districts.

The Redistricting Group, which consists of the city’s Charter Commission plus nine additional members from around the city, agreed on five principles that guide the map-making process. Keeping incumbents in their wards wasn’t one of them.

“It’s supposed to be irrelevant, technically,” said Jeanne Massey, one of the group’s advisory members. “That doesn’t mean that it isn’t informally considered.”

Massey pointed out that since the Redistricting Group tries to make minimal changes where possible, the process tends to protect incumbents.

The map isn’t final, yet. It will be subject to a pair of public hearings next week. Following those, there could be additional changes before the city’s Charter Commission approves the final boundaries on March 26.

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