Just two days before first public hearing On the process, the Redistribution Advisory Committee released its proposed map to redraw Pittsburgh City Council’s nine districts.
It took enough time for residents of Polish Hill to discover that most of the neighborhood would move from District 7, which includes Bloomfield and Lawrenceville, to District 1, which includes the Strip District, Downtown, and North Side neighborhoods. .
Polish Hill residents noted that the guidelines for redistribution include a commitment to “keep neighborhoods intact, where possible – where possible, refrain from dividing additional neighborhoods into two or more districts advice”.
Still, as resident John Rhoades, editor of NEXTpittsburgh, noted at the March 24 meeting, the northern portion of the district, which is across the bus lane, will remain in District 7 if the redistribution proceeds as proposed.
He also pointed out that the new neighborhoods are meant to be as compact as possible, but he said the inclusion of Polish Hill in District 1 felt like “a leftover tail of a gerrymandered neighborhood.”
Other residents said Polish Hill has more in common with Bloomfield and Lawrenceville, represented by Councilwoman Deb Gross, than with the North Side across the Allegheny River, which is in Bobby District. Wilson.
The task of Redistribution Advisory Committee was to redraw the council’s nine districts to divide Pittsburgh’s population of 302,971 equally so that no district contained more than 35,346 people or less than 31,980.
The committee also maintained two districts in which minority residents were in the majority.
Pittsburgh is required to redistribute the nine council districts after each U.S. census under a set of guidelines imposed by the state.
There is one committee member from each of the city council’s nine districts, most of whom are staff members of each of the council members.
The committee meetings, which have been held every two weeks since October, were closed to the public, although limited minutes of the meetings are available in line.
Ruby Velasco of Polish Hill said due to the lack of transparency in the process, her neighborhood hadn’t had much time to mobilize the community for the redistricting.
“In Polish Hill, we align a lot with the neighborhoods of Bloomfield and Lawrenceville,” Velasco said. “We think separating from them somehow prevents us from acting as a coalition for social justice, economic justice and environmental justice.”
In adjusting the districts, the committee also moved all of Point Breeze from District 8, which is represented by Erika Strassburger, to District 9, which is represented by Reverend Ricky Burgess.
Other north side neighborhoods in the Chateau, Marshall-Shadeland, and Brighton Heights neighborhoods that are close to the Ohio River and are currently in the Wilson District will be moved to District 6, represented by R. Daniel Lavelle, which includes also the center of the north side and the Hill district.
Old and new maps can be compared in line.
Daniel Wood, chairman of the redistribution advisory committee, said city council should approve a new map by August.
There are a series of public hearings on the plan:
- March 30, 6 p.m. at YMCA Homewood-Brushton, 7140 Bennett St.
- April 7, 6 p.m. at the Pride Project Inc., 227 Bonvue St.
- April 13, 6 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Teachers’ Federation, 10 S. 19th St.
- April 23, noon at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Main (Oakland), South Wing Reading Room, 4400 Forbes Ave.
- April 30, 1 p.m. at the Sheraden Healthy Active Living Center, 720 Sherwood St.
You have to subscribe to online public comments before each meeting. The advisory commission also proposes a online form to send feedback.