Two different bills to redraw City Council districts were introduced at today’s session – one from the Council leadership and the other from Councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenney. Both have been scheduled for a public hearing next Thursday at 11 AM – in the middle of next week’s Council session.
The main difference between the leadership bill and the DiCicco-Kenney proposal is the handling of the 56th ward, the Rhawnhurst section of Northeast Philadelphia.
The leadership bill – developed by Council President Anna C. Verna and four colleagues – would divide the heavily-Democratic area between the 10th and 6th Council districts, now represented by Brian O’Neill and Joan Krajewski.
The DiCicco-Kenney proposal would put the 56th ward entirely in the 10th district – making it even harder for O’Neill, Council’s lone Republican district Councilman, to win re-election in 2015, assuming he manages to hold on this year against the Democratic candidate, Bill Rubin.
O'Neill sat on the five-member committee that developed the leadership proposal. He told reporters he agreed to take part of the 56th ward to help reach a consensus on redistricting. The DiCicco proposal would be "going from bad to worse," he said.
Could O'Neill win his new district when the new lines take effect with the 2015 election cycle? "It's a challenge but I've had challenges before," he said.
--Bob Warner and Troy Graham