Providence Council Still in Battle Over Redistricting
Monday, November 19, 2012
The Providence City Councilman whose last-minute change of heart on the Providence redistricting ordinance led Council leadership to completely revamp his ward is still asking Council members to make changes to the redrawn districts.
At a Council meeting this evening, Ward 6 Councilman Michael Correia will ask his colleagues to support an ordinance that would restore his neighborhood to the way it appeared in another redistricting proposal earlier this year. Correia has five co-sponsors, Mayor Angel Taveras already signed the ordinance into law after it passed last spring by an 8-7 vote.
Correia cried foul when last-second changes to the redistricting ordinance resulted in most of the Fruit Hill neighborhood near Triggs Memorial Golf Course bring moved out of his district and placed it into Council President Michael Solomon’s Ward 5. Correia also lost two schools, a fire department and a police substation in the final map.
The changes were considered punishment for Correia opting to vote against another version of the ordinance. At the time, Correia took to his Facebook page to rip Solomon and Council Majority Leadership Seth Yurdin.
“Just got informed by Councilman Seth Yurdin and Council President Michael Solomon that Ward Maps have changed again this time screwing me,” Correia wrote. “But you know what comes around goes around. This is what happens when you go against the SO CALLED LEADERSHIP. But let me tell the people of this great city that I will work just as hard in my new Ward lines. More than I can say for them. Let me tell you this city is in the mess it's in because of them they allowed the previous administrations to run away with the city finances.”
The Council ultimately voted on favor of redistricting ordinance despite objections from several Council members who were angry that the new map gives control over downtown to Yurdin. In the process, Ward 11 Councilman Davian Sanchez and Ward 13 Councilman Bryan Principe were moved out of downtown.
The current map (which takes effect in 2014) gives the city six majority-Hispanic wards (up from four) and ten majority-minority wards (up from nine).
The city’s population increased by approximately 5,000 people over the course of the last decade to total 178,042, according to the 2010 Census. All three Wards on the East Side lost population according to the latest census data, which is part of the reason a redraw is necessary. Yurdin’s district lost about 500 residents while Wards 2 and 3 combined to lose nearly 1,800 voters. Correia’s district gained the most voters of any ward in the city.