CLEVELAND -- Cleveland City Council has approved a new map carving the city into 17 new wards.
The 17-2 vote came after more than three hours of discussion. The dissenting votes were Councilmen Mike Polensek and Joe Cimperman.
Council must be downsized by two seats because of population loss and rules within the city charters.
There were concerns that some longstanding neighborhoods were being split into multiple wards. Downtown business leaders are unhappy because downtown will now have three council members instead of just one, currently Councilman Joe Cimperman.
Jose Feliciano, spokesman for the Hispanic Roundtable, testified before council. He expressed concerns that the new wards will make it less likely that a Hispanic council member will be elected. He threatened a possible federal voting rights lawsuit.
The new arrangement means that incumbents Kevin Conwell and Jeff Johnson will likely face in the fall election.
The vote comes after an emotional Monday night council meeting that included angry exchanges between council members.