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Minneapolis’ first citizens’ redistricting map seeks to increase minority council wards

Current Minneapolis wards are shown on the left; the Citizens Committee proposal is shown on the right.

The first complete city redistricting map — put together by a citizen group that wants to boost minority representation — has been received by the Minneapolis Charter Commission.

The map comes from the Citizens Committee for Fair Redistricting, which represents immigrants from Somalia and East Africa and lists 20 businesses and organizations as its sponsors.

In the cover letter (PDF) sent with the redistricting map, the committee members point out that the 2010 census counts 40 percent of the city population as racial minorities, yet only one of the 13 City Council members is a racial minority.

“If there was proportional representation on the Minneapolis City Council, five of the 13 wards would be represented by people from the minority population,” says Abdulkadir Warsame who signed the letter on behalf of the Citizens Committee.

The Redistricting Group from the Charter Commission is scheduled to meet today. Chair Barry Clegg says there are no public hearings scheduled for the session but public comments are welcome at the close of the session.

The map from the Citizens Committee creates three wards, not five, that its members believe could elect racial minorities to the City Council.

The main focus is Ward 2, which currently covers much of the University of Minnesota and nearby Cedar-Riverside, Seward just to the east of Cedar-Riverside, Prospect Park and Como.

The population of the proposed Ward 2 would be  40 percent African-American, 33 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic and 7 percent American Indian.  It would retain the Cedar-Riverside and Seward and move west to Elliott Park and the Phillips neighborhoods.

The “new” Ward 2 would not contain the University of Minnesota and the current ward’s neighborhoods to the east and north.

The plan also creates a new Ward 6 that would claim much of downtown, which is currently in Ward 7. A new Ward 8 would sit below the new Wards 2 and 6.

Clegg says today’s meeting of the Redistricting Group will involve map software training for members.

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