Latino group fumes over Pa. redistricting standstill

    The five-man panel in charge of redrafting Pennsylvania House and Senate district lines has postponed a meeting to vote on a preliminary map. That’s the second such delay since the Supreme Court rejected the original plan.

    And it’s another blow to Latino advocates, who want to avoid going back to the old district lines.

    Make no mistake — Latino redistricting advocates are still ticked off.

    “It’s really mystifying. How can you say that one plan is unconstitutional and then go ahead and say, well, you’ve got to go on the 2001 plan, which is really unconstitutional?” says Angel Ortiz, the former Philadelphia city councilman now with Latino Lines. “It makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Latino Lines has pushed to create four majority-Latino House districts under the plan rejected by the state Supreme Court. The high court has said the primary election will be based on 2001 state House and Senate district lines.

    The old map includes only one majority-Latino district, and Ortiz says it disenfranchises a Latino population that has grown to at least 700,000 Pennsylvania residents.

    Also sympathetic to the Latino group’s cause is the state GOP. Republican House and Senate leaders and spokesmen have dropped the coalition’s name at every opportunity as proof enough that their redistricting plan had its share of redeeming values.

    Another leader of Latino Lines, Jose Oyola, was Marty Moss-Coane’s guest on Thursday’s Radio Times.

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