Philly Green Party

Greens Say Phila. City Council Broke the Law!

Posted in Press Releases on Oct 09, 2011

On September 22, Philadelphia ’s City Council broke the law. It redistricted Philadelphia into ten new Council districts which are not equal in population. The Green Party of Philadelphia, www.gpop.org, is fed up with City Council. We expect that Mayor Michael Nutter will veto this legislation because it does not meet federal standards.

Why does Council make this job so complicated? To serve members’ own political interests, of course.

Every ten years the boundaries of all legislative districts are supposed to be redrawn to satisfy the “one person, one vote” principle. Census data is utililized to determine which districts experienced population changes, and City Council is then charged with redistricting to maintain equity in representation.While it appears to be a fairly straightforward task, something a six year old could accomplish with a set of crayons, there are a few nuances to consider. Each of Philadelphia ’s Council districts should strive for contiguity, compactness, equal population, and similar demographics. Still sounds doable, right? Not so, especially when you consider that our Council members are more concerned about preserving their voter base rather than redistricting divisions in a fair and equitable manner. 

Mayor Nutter and the Committee of Seventy urged Council to keep the population variation among districts below 5 percent — a goal this body has reached, with room to spare, for decades. The deviation in 1971 was 2.76 percent; in 1981, 0.45 percent; in 1992, 1.43 percent; and in 2002, 4.28 percent. How do the current numbers look? There is a whooping 9.3 percent (14,200 people) variation in population between the largest (District 10) and the smallest (District 4).

Chris Robinson, a member of the Green Party’s City Committee, commented with disgust, “Why should Councilman Curtis Jones have to do so much less work — representing 14,200 less people — than Councilman Brian O’Neill?”

The Green Party of Philadelphia urges Mayor Nutter to send City Council back to the drawing board with a new box of crayons and mandate they do their job correctly. What happens if Council does not produce? No paycheck until they get it right! That’s the law according to the City Charter, and one that Mayor Nutter must implement right now.

The Green Party demands that City Council put the needs of the people over manipulating the voter base just to ensure their own re-election. For more information please contact 215-243-7103 and gpop@gpop.org.

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