Redistricting panel offers new plan
Under the Legislative Reapportionment Commission plan passed last week, many local Senate and House districts stay somewhat similar, while a few are dramatically altered.
The commission released a preliminary plan in late 2011, then a final one.
In late January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the final plan on constitutional grounds, ruling that it unfairly split cities, townships and boroughs.
The commission unveiled its new maps on April 12. Individuals opposed to it have until 5 p.m. on May 14 to file an appeal. If the Supreme Court approves the maps, they will go into effect for the 2014 elections.
The 5th Senatorial District, represented by Democrat Mike Stack, will consist of eight full wards: the 41st, 45th, 54th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 65th and 66th. It generally includes the riverfront, the Far Northeast, Castor Gardens, Rhawnhurst, Bustleton and Somerton.
The 3rd Senatorial District, represented by Democrat Shirley Kitchen, loses all of its divisions in the Northeast. The current district includes Summerdale, Lawndale, Fox Chase and Bustleton.
The 4th Senatorial District, represented by Democrat LeAnna Washington, currently does not include any of the Northeast, but will take in Lawndale and Summerdale under the plan passed last week.
The 2nd Senatorial District, represented by Democrat Tina Tartaglione, changes quite a bit. The district will no longer include Kensington, but will come north to take in Fox Chase, Bustleton, Rockledge and Abington.
The 152nd district, represented by Republican Tom Murt, will include seven divisions in the Bustleton portion of the 63rd Ward.
The 154th district, represented by retiring Democrat Larry Curry, will no longer have one division in Burholme.
The 169th district, which has been vacant since Republican Dennis O'Brien joined City Council in January, will be moved to a fast-growing area of York County. The winner of next week’s special election will serve until the end of the year. The winner of the general election in November will serve a two-year term.
The 170th district, represented by Democrat Brendan Boyle, will consist of the Far Northeast neighborhoods in the 58th and 66th wards.
The 172nd district, represented by Democrat Kevin Boyle, will move out to Rockledge and also include new areas of Wissinoming, Burholme, Rhawnhurst and Bustleton.
Boyle will be sorry to lose some areas of West Mayfair and Holmesburg.
“I look forward in 2015 to representing new communities as well, if the court approves the map,” he said.
The 173rd district, represented by Democrat Mike McGeehan, moves north to include much of the 66th Ward’s Far Northeast divisions.
The 174th district, represented by Democrat John Sabatina Jr., gains areas of Holmesburg, Holme Circle, Pennypack Woods and Academy Gardens and loses Castor Gardens.
The 177th district, represented by Republican John Taylor, moves north. It loses Juniata Park and gains GOP-friendly territory in West Mayfair, Holmesburg and Lexington Park.
The 179th district will change hands from Tony Payton to fellow Democrat James “Scoot” Clay. Payton dropped out of the primary because of faulty nominating petitions, leaving Clay as the only candidate. The district will move north to include more of Wissinoming and Oxford Circle.
The 202nd district, represented since 1974 by Democrat Mark Cohen, loses its areas of Olney, Logan and West Oak Lane. It is now more compact, consisting largely of areas west of Roosevelt Boulevard and south of Cottman Avenue.
“It meets the Supreme Court test,” Cohen said. “I can probably walk from one end of the district to the other.”
The 203rd district, represented by Democrat Dwight Evans, will continue to include areas of Crescentville and Lawndale.
Appeals can be sent to Charles E. O’Connor Jr., Executive Director, 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission, 104 North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120.
To e-mail an appeal, go to www.redistricting.state.pa.us and use the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page. Type in the word “EXCEPTION” on the first line of the message.
A public hearing will be held Wednesday, May 2, at 2 p.m., in the North Office Building in Harrisburg. To schedule an appearance at the hearing, call 717-705-6339. ••