New political map adopted by Minneapolis

  • Article by: MAYA RAO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2012 - 6:38 AM

The new ward boundaries approved by the Minneapolis Charter Commission substantially alter wards in the city's midsection.

The Minneapolis Charter Commission this week approved a new City Council ward map that will influence city politics for the next decade.

The commission, working with a redistricting advisory group, substantially changed the districts spanning the midsection of Minneapolis as part of the once-a-decade process of redrawing political boundaries.

The downtown area, now represented by Ward 7, will be split as boundaries of Ward 3 in the northeast stretch west across the Mississippi to pick up most of downtown and about half of the North Loop.

Ward 6 will lose Whittier to Ward 10 and pick up Elliot Park, most of the western half of Cedar-Riverside and the northern part of Seward.

Ward 2, which previously had all of Cedar-Riverside and Seward, will extend into the eastern half of Longfellow to make up for those losses.

And Ward 9 will pick up the Central neighborhood from Ward 8 and the rest of Powderhorn to make up for losing part of Longfellow.

Redistricting Group Chairman Barry Clegg, who also is chairman of the Charter Commission, said the map does not pit any of the city's 13 council members against each other. But it may put more pressure on Council Member Robert Lilligren. Lilligren, who is American Indian, is expected in the next election to face voters of East African origin who are highly motivated to put one of their own on the council, now that the lines in Ward 6 have been reshaped to give them more political influence.

Some Indians have protested the map over concerns that it pits them against Somali-Americans.

"We aren't about protecting incumbents and making sure they have good prospects in the next election," Clegg said.

He acknowledged that Ward 6 now "looks pretty funny."

But, Clegg said, "it's not really possible unless you draw really slinky wards around almost every block to put all communities of interest in their own ward."

Redistricting officials have also granted preliminary approval of a new park district map, which now goes to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for comments before it is fully adopted.

Maya Rao • 612-673-4210

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