Northeast Times

Panel OK's yet another restricting plan

— A pan­el charged with com­ing up with new state le­gis­lat­ive dis­tricts takes an­oth­er crack at a plan that would meet con­sti­tu­tion­al muster.

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The Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion on Fri­day passed an­oth­er plan for state Sen­ate and House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives dis­tricts, though the Pennsylvania Su­preme Court will have to give the fi­nal OK.

The drama star­ted in late 2011, when the com­mis­sion re­leased pre­lim­in­ary and fi­nal plans.

In late Janu­ary of this year, the Su­preme Court re­jec­ted the fi­nal plan on con­sti­tu­tion­al grounds, rul­ing that it un­fairly split cit­ies, town­ships and bor­oughs.

The com­mis­sion un­veiled new maps in April and then con­sidered sug­ges­tions from the pub­lic. Changes were made to that map and voted on last week.

The vote was 4-1 in fa­vor of the plan. Leg­al chal­lenges must be made with­in 30 days.

Those vot­ing in fa­vor were chair­man Steph­en J. McEwen Jr., former pres­id­ent judge of Su­per­i­or Court; Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Domin­ic Pi­leggi, a Re­pub­lic­an; House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mike Turzai, a Re­pub­lic­an; and House Minor­ity Lead­er Frank Dermody, a Demo­crat.

Only Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jay Costa, a Demo­crat, voted against it.

Whenev­er the Su­preme Court ap­proves the maps, they will go in­to ef­fect for the 2014 elec­tions.

Un­der last week’s plan, the North­east will be rep­res­en­ted in the Sen­ate by the 2nd and 5th dis­tricts.

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 5th Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Mike Stack, will gen­er­ally in­clude the river­front, the Far North­east, Castor Gar­dens, Rhawn­hurst, Bustleton and Somer­ton.

The 2nd Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Tina Tartagli­one, will largely con­sist of Kens­ing­ton, Ju­ni­ata, Frank­ford, North­wood, Sum­mer­dale, Ox­ford Circle, Wissi­nom­ing, Lawndale, Burholme, West May­fair, Fox Chase and Holmes­burg.

In the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, there will be nine dis­tricts based in part or whole in the North­east.

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, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Ed Neilson, will be moved to a fast-grow­ing area of York County.

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 Castor Gar­dens, Burholme, Rhawn­hurst and Bustleton.

The 173rd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Mike McGee­han and based in Ta­cony and Holmes­burg, moves north to in­clude 15 di­vi­sions in the Far North­east-based 66th Ward.

The 174th dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat John Sabat­ina Jr., loses the en­tire Castor Gar­dens-based 54th Ward and gains areas of Pennypack Woods, Academy Gar­dens, Tor­res­dale and the Far North­east.

Un­der the latest map, Rep. Neilson’s home would move from the 169th to the 174th dis­trict, mean­ing he would have to chal­lenge Sabat­ina in a primary to keep his seat, if he is re-elec­ted in Novem­ber.

If Re­pub­lic­an Dave Kralle ousts Neilson in the fall, Kralle would have to face McGee­han in two years.

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. The dis­trict will move north to in­clude Sum­mer­dale and 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, but also tak­ing in a dozen di­vi­sions in the 62nd Ward in Wissi­nom­ing, Lower May­fair and Frank­ford.

The 203rd dis­trict, rep­res­en­ted by Demo­crat Dwight Evans, will in­clude areas of Cres­centville, Lawndale and Ox­ford Circle. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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