Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two redistricting maps introduced today

UPDATED to include the maps

Two redistricting maps introduced today

UPDATED to include the maps

After weeks of contentious debate, two different plans for how to redraw the city’s 10 City Council districts were introduced at today’s session.

A compromise bill from a working group of five Council members would improve some of the gerrymandering issues in the tortured 7th District, which snakes through North Philadelphia, Kensington and up into the Northeast. And it will divide a controversial ward in the Northeast -- that had been a sticking point in negotiations --  between the 10th and 6th Districts in the Northeast, with most of the territory going to the 10th, councilmembers said.

"It's a compromise," said 10th District Councilman Brian O'Neill of the committee's decision to give him most of the 56th Ward. "Would I want less of it, sure. This is a give and take."

Currently, the 56th Ward, run by powerful Democratic ward leader John Sabatina, is split between the 7th, 10th and 6th Districts. Negotiations had bogged down for days over how to deal with it. Members debated late into the night last night without reaching consensus.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who represents the 7th, wanted a more compact district that didn't include the 56th. But O'Neill, a Republican, reportedly didn't want additional Democratic votes in his districts, and no one wanted to deal with the ward's powerful Democratic ward leader, John Sabatina.

Sanchez said she was supportive of the compromise bill.

"I think we're at a much better place," she said, nothing that in her district: "We couldn't make it worse so we made it better. It respects communities of interest."

But there is another option on the table. Councilman Jim Kenney and Councilman Frank DiCicco put forth an alternate map that would give all of the 56th to O'Neill.

Both scenarios will be debated by Council in the coming weeks. Under city law, Council members have until tomorrow to come up with a district map based on the latest census data or they start losing pay. They have a little give - the city's biweekly pay schedule means they likely wouldn't lose a check as long as a final version is passed by Sept. 22.

Check out the Council committee map here and the DiCicco-Kenney map here. And for comparrison's sake, here are the current boundaries.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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