For the editor:
As someone who has previously chaired a city council redistricting committee and continues to take a deep interest in politics and the vitality of the whole city – with particular investment in Dorchester, District 3, – I appreciate your comments. in last week’s editorial on the role of parish cohesion in this process. However, your outright dismissal of the role of parish dynamics is too broad and eliminates a potential part of a well-drawn cohesive map aligning common interests. Such monitoring produces the kind of proposition that you have described as “unwieldy and unsatisfactory”. Parishes play a role, villages play a role, and other neighborhood institutions play a role, each contributing to a more viable community in District 3.
I do not believe that any proposed map seen in this way meets this challenge. Encompassing all the elements of a neighborhood, without eliminating some of them, is the way to a successful redistricting process. Throughout much of our testimony before members of the city council redistricting committee on October 11, there were several references made by community and civic leaders to the historical presence of various churches, Catholic, Episcopal and Unitarian to name a few. to name a few, who have supported Dorchester’s many civic associations by allowing community meetings to be held in their parish halls. I would say that this collaboration has strengthened the villages and neighborhoods that we are trying to protect.
I would like to end with a simple anecdote. A little over a week ago, I attended the Boston College-Clemson game. As we trailed on, I started chatting with a very interesting young woman from Connecticut. After a few minutes, she told me that she recognized my Dorchester accent, then she said, “So what parish are you from?” Such a remark may surprise you, but not me.