PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A coalition of Latino leaders in Philadelphia say it’s time to change the current redistricting process that is diluting the city’s Latino vote.

“Latino Lines,” a coalition of Latino leaders in Philadelphia, has been meeting for just over a month, working to solve a problem that former Philadelphia city councilman Angel Ortiz says is decades old.

“The Puerto Rican-Latino community in the City of Philadelphia, since the ’70s, has been gerrymandered out of power,” Ortiz (above) said today.  “The District Seven (city) council district is the most gerrymandered district in the nation.”

Latino Lines is arranging meetings in Latino communities across the state and is calling for open public hearings on the matter, all aimed at the creation of at least two Latino-majority Pennsylvania state House districts and one Latino-majority Philadelphia City Council district.

“And if necessary, we will go to state and federal court,” Ortiz adds.

Patricia DeCarlo, executive director of the Norris Square Civic Association, says it’s not about putting a Latino candidate in office.

“It is that we have the right to have a choice of who we want to represent us,” she told KYW Newsradio, “and when you purposefully dilute our voice, then you’re taking away our right to have a choice.”

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060

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