PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After threat of a lawsuit by the local branch of the NAACP, Philadelphia City Council has agreed to expand the number of hearings into how the city will be redistricted in accordance with the latest census.
Jerry Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, says he was dismayed to learn that there would only be one redistricting hearing — and it would be held in Council chambers (see previous story).
In a letter to City Council president Anna Verna, he urged Council to hold five hearings, in the neighborhoods that would most affected: Northeast, Northwest, South, North, and center city Philadelphia.
Mondesire had threatened a lawsuit to get more access.
“We have a way of rattling cages,” he told KYW Newsradio today. “We were prepared to go to court if necessary, but they agreed to expand the hearings.”
The compromise, he says, is at least two more hearings.
“The first hearing will be August 16th, here at City Hall, then there will be one in Kensington and one in Northwest.”
Most of the city’s growth has been in the eastern part of the city, from South Philadelphia to the Northeast. There have been population losses in West and Northwest Philadelphia.
New Council district lines must be redrawn by September 9th, giving each of the ten districts about 152,000 residents (see related story).
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060