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Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Paul's seven city council wards heading for new shapes

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Anonymous Pioneer Press said...

Census prompts effort to rebalance their populations
By Frederick Melo
Updated: 03/22/2011 11:38:23 PM CDT

The Summit-University/ Thomas-Dale ward represented by St. Paul City Council member Melvin Carter III has shrunk by more than 3,700 people in the last decade and needs to grow before the November election.

To do that, Carter's 1st Ward may have to absorb residents from the growing North End/Como neighborhoods of the 5th Ward, which are represented by Lee Helgen. Both incumbents face challengers in the November election.

The rise and fall of neighborhood populations was the subject of a St. Paul Charter Commission meeting Monday. Commissioners looked at the latest census numbers and found that the 1st Ward has a population of 37,620 people, which is 3,104 people — or 7.6 percent — below the ward average of 40,724.

As a rule of thumb, a variance of 5 percent is a problem.

The commissioners are considering different ways to expand Ward 1, including shifting some 1,800 residents from downtown (Ward 2) or the North End (Ward 5), which has grown faster than the other wards. They're meeting again April 11.

Other changes are possible.

Commissioner Chuck Repke said neighborhoods such as Kipps Glen and Railroad Island have been moved from one ward to another over the years, and redistricting provides an opportunity, perhaps, to return them to their neighbors.

Repke said that no elected officials ever want to give up turf they are familiar with, but the commission "ought to think about natural neighborhood constituencies."

Ramsey County Elections

Manager Joe Mansky said the new map for St. Paul's seven wards should be decided by late May or early June, in time for campaign season.
"When the candidates come in to file for office, they will know ahead of time what the configuration is of the wards they're filing for," he said.

In contentious political environments, redistricting can lead to incumbents being "drawn out" of their wards or boxed into uncomfortable boundaries. But in one-party-dominated St. Paul, the new ward boundaries are not likely to politically isolate any sitting council members.

"It's not as if we're taking in territory from other parts of the county," said Rich Kramer, vice chair of the charter commission. "We're not going to add an eighth council member from Falcon Heights."

Kramer said commissioners suspect that foreclosures in the Frogtown area hit many moderate-income families, especially those with multiple children, reducing the population. Tallies show "significant growth downtown, and Frogtown getting whacked."

Filing deadlines for city council are not until July. As of now, Carter faces fellow DFLer Johnny Howard and planning commission secretary Anthony Fernandez, who will run as an independent. Helgen faces DFLer Amy Brendmoen in the 5th Ward.

The charter commission is required to adjust wards every 10 years, after the U.S. census. Mansky said St. Paul's population as a whole has remained relatively stable, dropping by 1,979 since 2000 to 285,068. Ward 1 lost 3,707 people. Wards 6 and 7 also shrank, while Wards 2, 3, 4 and 5 all grew.

The ward map released this year may not be final. Sometime between this May and February 2012, the Legislature will pass a law adjusting legislative boundaries, and the charter commission may choose to follow up with minor tweaks to the ward boundaries.

Dave Orrick contributed to this report. Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, like I posted here on a couple of other spots if you have any issues or ideas about the shapes of the Wards, post them here.

My goal is to try to get rid of "odd" lines where ever possible.


Chuck Repke

9:07 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Has vacant housing contributed to the deminishing population in ward 1?

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the foreclosures in Frogtown have been a huge hit on the numbers. It is worse there than anyother part of the City.

You can see in some parts of town the issue is the aging of communities and that is normal, but no doubt that Frogtown has taken a huge hit in the last 3 years.


Chuck Repke

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repke only cares about how the DFL I mean the ward boundries effect his DFL candidates.

Repke is the wrong guy to be handling this, as he only cares about the DFL majority, I mean total control of the city government by the DFL.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:23 - The DFL already has all of the seats in Saint Paul. Not moving the lines would suggest I was trying to keep everything as it is.

If that was my motive, why would I be the guy trying to get people to ask questions and make comments.

Its amazing....


Chuck Repke

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Chuck you are all real nice when you want something, but all nasty when someone disagrees with you.

Have you ever sought out some psychological help?

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks 8:00

No, I get real nasty when people pick on the little guy or bow down to the wealthy and powerful, which the thread of these posts often do.

This is a situation where I am one of a fairly small group who will draw the lines for the next election and I actually would like to get feedback from as many people as possible.

I mean Sharon and Bill have run a couple of dozen times between them. If they notice while they were campaign some place where it made better sense to draw a line, I'd like to hear it.

Wards end up with borders, and that splits areas... I am trying to get as much feed back on the front end as possible.


Chuck Repke

9:35 AM  
Blogger Sharon 4Anderson said...

Chuck thanks for overlooking the Negative Accentuate the Positive and Look for Mrs. In Between

Perhaps the Gov Mansion should be in Harris or Stark's Ward wth Dale Ward 2 cutoff ? You've got my no Call me instead of inquire on a Blog

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you would advocate pushing as much as Summit together as possible... staying closer to the existing legislative districts between 64 and 65?


Thank you!


1:29 PM  
Anonymous TaxTheMax said...

Interesting Prediction DFL will still have control of 66, MaryJo McGuire beat out John Lesch also City Attorney,
The Public is sick and tired of these politicans who are double dipping contrary to Separation Powers Art. III

9:05 AM  

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