CHESTER COUNTY, PA — The House State Government Chairman Seth Grove, embattled and derided by members of both parties because of the draft map he suggests using as the starting point for a collaborative process, wants to vote on the map on Monday, Dec 13, at 8:00 a.m.
This merely means the draft goes to the House Floor, where it will be discussed and take amendments for thirty days, to be finalized in January. Senator Argall, Chair of the Senate State Government Committee, has said he and Senator Street, Democratic Chair, will adapt the same map. The two houses will then reconcile with one map to be sent to Governor Wolf.
For residents of Chester County, the proposed map is unlikely to be attractive. District #6 in northern Chester County includes a path through Berks to Lebanon where it splinters a 4-yr college, a township and municipality. District #5 in rural southern Chester County encompasses Delaware County and extends into Southeast Philadelphia.
It does not seem carefully thought-out. Into this painfully divided partisan state comes a map that feels almost careless.
Judging from legislators’ comments at the Dec 9 hearing, this map won’t be the end of the story. Make your opinions known. The House SGC is accepting comments on their paredistricting.com website. FairDistrictsPA.com translated the map into Dave’s Redistricting app if that platform works better for you.
Rep Grove claims this is the most transparent redistricting process in PA history. It may be, but it falls woefully short of acceptable.
We still have not learned the order in which the House and Senate SGCs are prioritizing criteria. Citizens have commented on their interests for months and these comments appear not to be much heeded. Citizens must comment in several places, including on a partisan website, rather than in one location. The software accepting citizen maps is glitchy and substandard.
Surely, with all the talent residing in the people of this state, we can do better. We must expect and demand better.