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.