Every ten years, with the release of new census numbers, Philadelphia City Council must redraw the boundaries of our ten council districts so that each contains nearly an equal number of people. In the past, this task has led to tremendous conflict between individual members of council and/or between council and the mayor.
If council doesn’t pass a redistricting plan before the early-September deadline, councilpeople’s paychecks will stop until the matter is resolved. In a city where two of our council districts, the 5th and the 7th, are among the least compact in the country, the public ought to be especially vigilant with regard to this process. Unfortunately, we have positively no say, and no public forum to express our point of view. Council will not be in session until September 8th, the day before council’s deadline to submit the new district map.
Wouldn’t it be great if council hosted hearings or town hall meetings over the summer to get an idea of what the public thinks? Don’t the taxpayers deserve to be involved, if they so desire? Shouldn’t citizens have a way to find out if their councilperson is going to change? Wouldn’t it be great if there were a transparent process by which the district council map was redrawn? Wouldn’t it be better if City Council didn’t have a twelve-week summer break?
For a rundown on the redistricting process from today’s Inquirer, click here.
Even more useful, click here for a district-by-district analysis of what to expect this September or October or December or whenever council gets around to it. But hey, let’s cut them a break: the Jersey shore DOES sound like much more fun instead.