Thursday, July 30, 2015

Getting to know the ridiculous new 7th congressional district

In today's editorial, we made reference to Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, which is currently represented by Patrick Meehan, and which underwent a pretty serious gerrymandering in this year's redistricting process. How bad is it? A picture of the new district is to the right. And here's Daniel McGlone from the geospatial analysis firm Azavea:

Getting to know the ridiculous new 7th congressional district

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In today's editorial, we made reference to Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, which is currently represented by Patrick Meehan, and which underwent a pretty serious gerrymandering in this year's redistricting process. How bad is it? A picture of the new district is to the right. And here's Daniel McGlone from the geospatial analysis firm Azavea:

District 7, represented by Patrick Meehan (R), takes the honor of having the eighth least compact congressional district in the nation. Of all the newly drawn congressional districts, it is the fifth least compact in the nation.

[snip]

District 7 snakes its way through southeastern Pennsylvania in five counties. In some cases, the district is as narrow as 800 feet across. ... In a matter of seconds, you could drive in three separate congressional districts, without even speeding!

Go check out McGlone's whole post for close-ups of the district's craziest spots.

Why did the 7th take on such a funky shape? Azavea ran some numbers and found that, whereas the current 7th district is 52.8 percent Democratic voters and 47.2 percent Republican, the new 7th district is 48.2 percent Democratic and 51.8 percent Republican.

Again, as we said in the edit: We don't doubt that Democrats would have taken similar measures if they were in power. But that doesn't make this OK.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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