SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The Syracuse Common Council approved new district election maps in a tight 5 to 4 vote on Monday.

This is the first time city maps will be redrawn in 20 years and by an all citizens independent commission.

COUNCILORS WHO VOTED YES:

  • RASHEDA CALDWELL
  • MICHAEL GREENE
  • RITA PANIAGUA
  • AMIR GETHERS
  • JIMMY MONTO, DISTRICT 5

COUNCILORS VOTED NO:

  • JENNIFER SCHULTZ, DISTRICT 1
  • PATRICK HOGAN, DISTRICT 2
  • CHOL MAJOK, DISTRICT 3
  • LATOYA ALLEN, DISTRICT 4

All four Syracuse Common Councilors At-Large approved the city’s final redistricting map along with Jimmy Monto, the only District Councilor voting “yes” to the proposal on Monday.

“My biggest reason for voting for this is because we are the first ones on this side of the Mississippi River to ever do this,” Councilor Monto said. “Syracuse is going to lead the way.”

The Syracuse Redistricting Committee is made up of 15 independent citizen volunteers which makes it the first time in city history politicians weren’t the people tasked with redrawing the maps.

I think the process is what drove my “yes” vote. The commission was non-politicians. They were people choosing their own districts for voters, citizens, instead of it being politicians drawing maps in a closed-door room. I’m never for that. I’m never for gerrymandering a district, choosing your voters. This way, the people got to draw maps that look better.

SYRACUSE COMMON COUNCILOR JIMMY MONTO, (D) DISTRICT 5

Councilor Monto, who serves District 5, said another benefit of the redrawn maps put Eastwood in one district. Old district maps split the neighborhood.

“We’ve been divided for several years right down the middle of a street and that fixes this. That being said, I don’t think the maps are perfect and I’m not sure they’re ever going to be perfect, but what is perfect?”

SYRACUSE COMMON COUNCILOR JIMMY MONTO, (D) DISTRICT 5

Despite a handful of public hearings, Common Councilor Latoya Allen still believes the power has been removed from the people.

If this is going to be a true public process, put it out there and let them decide if this is what you want to do. If you want to redraw the lines because the thing is -there’s neighborhoods that are cut off by like one street to where now you have a new district councilor. You live in a totally new district. So why not allow those people to vote yes or no and say hey I want to do this.

SYRACUSE COMMON COUNCILOR LATOYA ALLEN, (D) DISTRICT 4

Councilor Pat Hogan, who also voted “no,” addressed his concerns over the approved maps. He believes the city should have more district councilors.

“The redistricting doesn’t address any issues our constituents face every single day. It’s not going to make city services any better. It’s not going to make us more responsive.”

SYRACUSE COMMON COUNCILOR PAT HOGAN, (D) DISTRICT 2

Federal law says districts must be redrawn every 10 years based on the new census. New district maps are important because they impact policies, funding, resources and local elections.

According to the Syracuse Redistricting Committee, the new districts will stay in place until the next census in 2030.