PATERSON, NJ – What will Paterson’s new ward boundaries look like? The answer to that question will start coming into focus Monday night when the city’s redistricting consultant presents his suggestions for redrawing Paterson’s political map.
Changes are coming, that much is certain based on population shifts recorded in the 2010 census. The 2nd Ward will have to lose about 2,000 people and the 4th Ward needs to add 2,000 people, according to the consultant, Frank Moosic of BonData, the Pennsylvania-based firm the city hired for the redistricting.
The changes in those wards also may affect the boundaries in the 1st and 5th wards, Moosic said.
The city’s redistricting committee, which is composed of the four members of the Passaic County Election Board as well as City Clerk Jane Williams-Warren, is scheduled to meet at 5:30 pm Monday in the council chambers at city hall.
Each of the six wards gets to elect its own representative to the nine-member city council. Three city council members are picked in a citywide "at-large" election. The redistricted committee has another 23 days to decide exactly how to set the boundaries. Last week, Moosic told the committee he would present three options for redrawing the ward map. He also agreed to evaluate a proposal presented to the committee by the Dominican American National Roundtable.
The group has maintained that Paterson’s Latino residents have been under-represented among elected officeholders in the city and it wants the committee to redraw the boundaries in a way that would change the 4th Ward from one with African-American majority to one with a Latino majority.
That suggestion has drawn criticism from some of the city’s African-American political leaders who have called it divisive.
According to the statistics Moosic presented to the board last week, the 2nd Ward now has the most people with 26,460, or 8.6 percent more than the average of 24,367 for the six wards. His numbers put the 1st Ward’s population at 24,842, or 1.9 percent above average; the 3rd Ward at 23,876, or 2 percent below average; the 4th Ward at 22,572, or 7.4 percent below average; the 5th Ward at 23,160, or 5 percent below average; and the 6th Ward at 25,289, or 3.8 percent above average.
There’s a 16 percent gap between the populations of the 2nd and 4th wards, he said.
Hispanics represent the majority in five of the six current wards, according to Moosic’s data, including 68 percent of the population in the 5th and 6th wards, 59 percent in the 2nd Ward and 51 percent in the 1st and 3rd wards.
Blacks represent a majority of 53 percent in the 4th ward, where Hispanics constitute 46 percent of the population, according to Moosic’s numbers.
The new ward boundaries would not take effect until after the city's May 8 council election.