Category Archives: US House PA-6

Surprise: R leaders were working on a map after all

While appealing to one of their ideological allies on the US Supreme Court and making noises about trying to impeach the majority of PA Supreme Court justices for upholding the state constitution, Harrisburg R’s were designing a new congressional map on their own and came out with it hours before the Court was to take over the assignment.

See the proposed map below, from “GOP Releases Redrawn Maps” by Paul Engelkemier, PoliticsPA, 2/9/18. As you’ll see, it divides Chester County between districts 6 and 7, compared to the current division between 6, 7, and 16. District 6 would include parts of 3 counties (now 4), district 7 also parts of 3 (now 5), and district 16 parts of 2 (now 3):

Does the R map represent enough progress to serve as an interim arrangement until the next redistricting after the 2020 census? Governor Wolf, with expert advice, will either say Yes, or if he says No, the PA Supreme Court will take over. And in 2021, either the then majority in H’burg will try to work to its own advantage, or else the job will go to a citizen commission to ensure that objective, non-political principles are applied. In any case, let’s hope the days of gerrymandering our state are over for ever!

Underlying issue: How compact (the PA Supreme Court’s term) is compact enough? Ideally, a basically rectangular state would be divided in turn into rectangles or squares. Compare Iowa:

See also Amanda Holt’s Feb. 6 proposal (which for Chesco residents has the great merit of putting our whole county in one district):

Amanda Holt’s latest puts Chesco in one congressional district

Amanda Holt, the dedicated citizen whose work featured in the 2012 redesign of PA House and Senate districts, has weighed in with a new version of her 2018 proposal for redrawing PA Congressional districts–the job that the PA legislative leaders are claiming is too onerous for them to complete with all their institutional resources, which are so highly developed when it comes to computer-based gerrymandering. Holt now is proposing districts even more precisely equal in population. Comparing to her previous iteration, we notice little change in most areas but a very significant one for Chester County, which she now shows as undivided. This seems only fair, since Chesco currently is divided among 3 districts. Delco would also remain undivided, whereas Lancaster County would be divided between the 6th and 16th districts.

Common Sense Equality
By Amanda E, 3.Feb.2018

Most people would think a difference of 19 persons or even 125 persons is insignificant in a district of over 700,000 persons. But the US Supreme Court is not most people.

The opinion of the US Supreme Court matters to Pennsylvania in the event the congressional districts are challenged. Map drawers, realizing this, typically keep in mind the interests and perspective of US Supreme Court when drawing maps.

The US Supreme Court defines population equality as numeric exactness. Districts may stray from precise equality, but each numeric difference must be justified by a legitimate state objective which passes their scrutiny. Do not be fooled. The Justices are meticulous.

Recognizing this dynamic, I made a second effort to keep all municipalities whole (other than Philly), keep county splits to a minimum, and get each district as close to 0 as possible. The result was a reduction from a difference of 125 persons to 21 persons….

keep reading at Amanda E

CCAG at the Court House corner

The Concerned Constituent Action Group’s Jan. 26 “Calling on Costello” rally was on the corner:

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS was WE THE PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER; DO YOUR JOBS! The explanation, with reference to some current issues, is worth repeating:

Good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive, and follows the rule of law.

Good governance is responsive to the present and future needs of our country, exercises prudence in policy-setting and decision-making, and takes the best interests of all citizens into account. We expect our representatives to follow these simple rules:

1. Rule of Law
This does not include bribing mistresses, using the government as an ATM machine or making false allegations against opponents.

2. Transparency Transparency means that information should be provided in easily understandable forms and media; it does not mean remaining silent and complicit when your party’s leader approves of the KKK.

3. Responsiveness Good governance requires that our elected officials serve the best interests of their constituents and LISTEN to them.

4. Consensus Oriented Good governance requires consultation with experts and constituents, NOT blocking them on Social Media.

5. Equity and Inclusiveness Government that works for all people, not just certain races.

6. Effectiveness and Efficiency Good governance means that the representatives don’t shut down the government because they are anti immigrant.

7. Accountability Accountability is a key tenet of good governance. Our elected representatives will be held to account for their actions.

8. Participation
Participation needs to be informed and organized, including freedom of expression and assiduous concern for the best interests of society in general.

Conflicting accounts cloud incident at Costello home

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times of Chester County, Jan 18th, 2018

After a local Congressman took to social media over the weekend to allege that two individuals from his opponent’s campaign trespassed at his home, harassed his wife and took pictures — an account in complete variance with that of the individuals involved, it remains unclear exactly what, if anything, occurred on Jan. 13 in a normally quite West Goshen neighborhood.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello took to Facebook Saturday evening to say his wife, Christine, a former top staffer for former state Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, had been harassed by two individuals at their West Goshen home….

Read on with many details, which converge to show the event in question was really part of a routine canvass by Planned Parenthood, at The Times of Chester County