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Changes Approved For Four City Wards; 1st and 3rd Remain Untouched

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Green lines are new boundaries. Yellow areas show parts of the city that are being moved to different wards.
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PATERSON, NJ – The 5th and 6th Wards will be most affected under the new political map adopted in a unanimous 5-0 vote Thursday night by election officials.

The ward re-alignment commission picked what was known as Plan 2, a change in Paterson’s political boundaries that will put 7,102 residents into different wards.  Under the plan, the 1st and 3rd wards will remain the same, while the other four will undergo varying degrees of change.

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The new boundaries, redrawn as a result of the 2010 census, will not be used in the upcoming city elections in May.

The commission did not pick a proposal by a Dominican group that wanted the city’s Riverside neighborhood, now split between the 3rd and 4th wards, combined in the 4th Ward. The Dominican plan, which its leaders said was designed to give representation to the city’s growing Latino community, prompted spirited comments at recent public meeting. Supporters described the plan as a blueprint for fairness, when critics compared it to segregation.

The ward commission, which was composed of the four members of the Passaic County election board and City Clerk Jane Williams-Warren, weighed three options crafted by Frank Moosic of BonData, the Pennsylvania-based firm the city hired for the redistricting. The Dominican group has said it plans to challenge the commission’s decision in court.

“I’m confident that every one of these three maps that’s been proposed will hold up in a court of law,’’ said John Currie, the commission’s chairman.

Here are the changes that will happen under the new ward map:

* An arrow-head shaped segment of the 6th Ward bounded by Market Street, 20th Avenue, Summer Street, Cedar Street and Madison Avenue will become part of the 5th Ward. That will affect 3,137 people.

*A triangle in the 2nd Ward bounded by Getty and Bloomfield avenues and the railroad tracks would become part of the 6th Ward. That will affect 2,216 people.

*A thin rectangle bounded by Broadway, Straight Street, E. 18th Street and Ellison Street will shift from the 5th to the 4th wards. That change will affect 1,606 people.

Commissioner Arthur Soto said he thought the approved plan would have the least impact on Patersonians. Soto also said he was disappointed by the talk of racial and ethnic issues in the public comments on the new wards. “To remodel the map just because of one community would open up a can of worms,’’ he said.

Williams-Warren said she favored Plan 2 because it would not result in major changes in people’s polling places.

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