Cleveland: New council ward map released

5:55 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland City Council will vote on a new map of ward boundaries after a special committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, March 26th.

Council President Marty Sweeney released the new map Monday morning.

He says the new map followed a plan to provide the best possible representation for Cleveland residents.

Because of population loss, the city charter requires council to be reduced from 19 to 17 wards.  Each ward must have a similar-sized population, about 25,000 people.

Because there has been dramatic population loss on the city's East Side, many wards are changing boundaries and pushing west.

Pollster Bob Dykes firm Triad Research helped with the process.

Council members were digesting the final proposal Monday morning.

Critics had argued earlier maps split longstanding wards that coincided with Cleveland neighborhoods like Glenville, Forest Hills and Collinwood.

Some council members would be separated from long familiar constituents.

Downtown business interests were unhappy downtown would no longer have on go-to council member.

The Hispanic Community was upset that it stood to be split and there were threats of a federal lawsuit.

One state lawmaker called for an investigation of the process.

The controversy raised the old questions of whether Cleveland needs this many council members, when other similar-sized cities have fewer.

Council will discuss the proposal Tuesday morning then vote. Sweeney indicates he has the 13 votes needed for passage.

Critics called Sweeney's conducting of the map-drawing proces  too political and secretive.

Sweeney did an interview with Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres.

In a release, Sweeney said there were more than 60 meetings  and conference calls with significant groups and players.

"The redistricting process has been fair and transparent, bringing many parties together....Council members, community development organizations, major businesses , as well as educational institutions, but most importantly our constituents all participated in healthy dialogs to help create the new ward map of the city," Sweeney said.

He called it a "well thought out redistricting process that will ensure our residents, businesses and institutions are well served by the city."

Many don't see it that way.


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