All the fuss this week about political redistricting and changed boundaries for politicians around the state reminded me that St. Paul actually changed its ward boundaries last year, before the City Council election.
It was relatively civilized, with some minor tweaks in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5, made by the St. Paul Charter Commission.
New legislative and congressional districts were released this week by a court panel after the Legislature and governor were unable to reach an agreement on the maps.
The City Council doesn’t get involved in ward redistricting, which, in theory, takes some of the political maneuvering out of the equation.
“It was much tamer than what happened at the state level,” said Noel Nix, legislative aide to Ward 1 Council Member Melvin Carter III, who picked up a slice of new territory in the North End.
“It wasn’t a major change in St. Paul, and I don’t think it made a lot of difference in the election,” Nix said. “The council member did some outreach and door-knocking to introduce himself to new constituents.”
Council Member Dave Thune’s Ward 2 picked up a little chunk of the West End called “Kip’s Glen” and lost the Railroad Island neighborhood to Ward 5, said Pat Lindgren, Thune’s aide.
The new map “makes it a little easier to be the council member from Ward 2,” Lindgren said, because the West End addition blends in nicely with the rest of the ward.
Thune, a seven-term veteran, used to have the Kip’s Glen area in his ward in an earlier redistricted life, so it wasn’t new territory for him.
Many of the people are new, but there are still some familiar faces there,” Lindgren said. “There are a few artist friends living down there in Kip’s Glen. It was in some ways a reunion.”
To reacquaint himself with the neighborhood, Thune door-knocked in the new area and visited the senior high-rise.
But that’s standard operating procedure for all St. Paul politicians.
Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.