City Council approves redistricting plan
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's new map of the city's 14 council districts received final approval from the council at Monday's meeting.
Eleven council members and Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young voted for the plan; Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, Councilman James B. Kraft and Councilman Carl Stokes opposed it.
Conaway and Kraft, who co-chaired the committee that oversaw the redistricting process, had complained that the new map diluted the power of black and Latino voters in some neighborhoods. Conaway and some civil rights leaders have threatened to sue over the map.
A mayoral spokesman refuted those allegations and said the plan could stand up to a legal challenge.
"Councilwoman Conaway is not an attorney," said spokesman Ryan O'Doherty. "The plan has been approved by the law department."
Critics of the plan, including residents of Upper Fells Point and Butcher's Hill -- neighborhoods that will be split among districts under the plan -- allege that Rawlings-Blake drew the map to favor her allies on the council.
O'Doherty said in an email that "politics were not the consideration" in the plan.
The city charter requires that a redistricting plan be approved by April 1. Voters will pick candidates in the fall council elections based on the new districts.