DiCicco-Kenney Council map likely to pass

Posted: September 21, 2011

A REDISTRICTING map produced by City Councilmen Frank DiCicco and Jim Kenney will likely win Council approval tomorrow over a rival Council committee map.

The committee map, produced by Council members Brian O'Neill, Anna Verna, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Marian Tasco and Darrell Clarke, barely received committee approval last week.

Now it appears to be losing steam altogether. It can be seen as a political loss for both Tasco and Clarke, Council president hopefuls who tried in different ways to help Republican O'Neill get a more favorable district and win his support.

"It's fluid," said DiCicco, adding, "As of right now, it seems as if my map is the one that's going to pass with that one amendment in the 11th Ward."

The 11th Ward in North Philly is now at the southern edge of Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller's district. The DiCicco-Kenney map gives some of the 11th Ward to Clarke's district. DiCicco said an amendment would likely be made to keep the entire ward in Miller's district, a move sought by Cindy Bass, the Democrat running to succeed Miller, who is retiring.

Council members must vote on a final version by tomorrow or go without pay. To avoid that, DiCicco said the map would likely be amended before the final vote.

Both of the proposed maps would make one of the nation's most gerrymandered districts - the 7th, represented by Quinones-Sanchez - more compact. The major difference was how the maps dealt with the 56th Ward in the Northeast - represented by powerful Democratic ward leader John Sabatina, with whom no one wants to deal.

In the committee map, 75 percent of the ward would be in O'Neill's district and the remainder in the district represented by outgoing Councilwoman Joan Krajewski. The Kenney-DiCicco map sticks O'Neill with the entire ward. Clarke and Tasco had both tried to find ways to help O'Neill, but both came up short.

"When we put the 56th into [O'Neill's district], every other district fell in place," Kenney said. "It's nothing personal, but it was the only way to make it work. If we had taken the Council presidency totally out of it, [we] would have a clean map. You can't make everyone happy."

Both plans have a high population variation among the smallest and largest districts ranging from 9.3 percent in the committee map to 9.75 percent in the DiCicco-Kenney map.

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