Council gets ready for redistricting hearings

The public is expected to weigh in tomorrow on City Council’s two different redistricting plans introduced last week. Meanwhile private negotiations were still underway today and several members are expected to introduce amendments to the newly redrawn maps.

The maps presented last week, one from a working group of five Council members - O'Neill, Anna Verna, Marian Tasco, Darrell Clarke and Maria Quinones-Sanchez - and the other from Councilmen Jim Kenney and Frank DiCicco all improve gerrymandering in two central councilmanic districts and would slightly shift population among the other districts. Both maps left 10th district Councilman Brian O’Neill out in the cold – sticking him with either all or a majority of the 56th ward in the Northeast, which is currently shared by three districts. The Republican O’Neill did not want to pick up the additional Democratic votes.

But new lines were still being drawn today. A few tidbits we picked up around the Hall:

  • Sources said Councilwoman Marian Tasco -- who is quietly vying for the Council presidency – may introduce an amendment to the “working group” map that would split the 56th ward –headed by the powerful Democratic ward leader John Sabatina – more evenly between the 6th and 10th districts.  If Tasco is seeking to make such a move it is likely to help O’Neill, a longtime ally who she wants to support her presidency bid.
  • It looks like both maps will include some amendments to adjust the shape of the 8th District. In both maps the 8th district has a new look with a foot like shape extending past Broad Street toward Fisher and 4th. Cindy Bass, who won the Democratic primary for the seat, has been lobbying for the changes.
  • Meanwhile Clarke held a private meeting late today that included O’Neill and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. Retiring 6th District Councilwoman Joan Krajewski’s likely successor Bobby Henon also waited outside his office to meet with Clarke. Sources say Clarke was working on an amended map of his own but it wasn’t clear what that would look like or whether it would be introduced tomorrow. But as the other Councilmember interested in the presidency, Clarke is also trying to make moves that would help him shore up votes.