PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council will hold a public hearing in two weeks so residents can weigh in on the thorny issue of redistricting. That’s the difficult task of remaking Council district boundaries based on new census data.
By law, City Council has only until September 9th to redistrict, based on census numbers that show a significant population shift in Philadelphia, from the west to the east (see previous story).
“We have four or five districts that lost population and four or five districts that gained population,” notes councilman-at-large Jim Kenney. “It’s a numbers game. We would like to have the districts as contiguous and compact as possible; it’s not always possible.”
Council will take testimony from residents on Tuesday, August 16th, although Councilwoman Marian Tasco isn’t sure how much the public cares.
“There are interest groups that care, but I don’t see a massive onslaught of people who are saying, ‘Let me draw the lines,’ ” she told KYW Newsradio today.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez is fighting to unify boundaries for a primarily Latino district.
“I don’t think we’re going to get the perfect maps — I don’t think that’s the goal,” she told KYW Newsradio today. “But I think that there’s enough data to show us where we need to be going.”
If councilmembers miss the September 9th deadline, their paychecks would be withheld until the task is done. The last time this was done, ten years ago, lawmakers went four months without pay.
Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn