Redistricting in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania
August 8, 2011
Philadelphia City Council is redrawing the lines of the city’s 10 council districts, and has a September 9th deadline to finish the job. But Council just announced the lone public hearing – scheduled for August 16th – and that has government reformers like the Committee of Seventy crying foul. After all, the political horse-trading in 2001, the last time Philadelphia’s politicians redrew the city’s political map, resulted in some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country – districts that sliced up neighborhoods among different districts to the perceived political advantage of incumbents on Council. But there’s a big effort underway to provide Philadelphians more opportunities for input into how the city should be carved up politically. WHYY is partnering with the Daily News and the Penn Project for Civic Engagement to host an event tonight [Monday, Aug. 8] to launch FixPhillyDistricts.com, a website designed by the software firm Azavea that lets anyone use the U.S. Census data to draw districts. Joining us to discuss redistricting in Philadelphia are Azavea’s president and CEO ROBERT CHEETHAM and Philadelphia Daily News City Hall Bureau Chief CATHERINE LUCEY. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is also redrawing its political map, and with Republicans in charge of both chambers of the Legislature, they control the state redistricting process. We’ll talk to CHRISTOPHER BORICK, pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College.