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Nine Haverford Petitioners of Redistricting Plan Identified

Residents want the State Supreme Court to review a proposal that would move township wards into a different district.

(Editor's note: At around 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, commission member and Majority Leader Sen. Dominic Pileggi's communications director replied to Patch's request for comment. Please see the bottom of this article.)

Nine Haverford Township residents who filed a legal petition against the commonwealth’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s from the 166th district to the 163rd have been identified.

In an interview with the Haverford-Havertown Patch on Tuesday, State Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166) said that nine township residents filed a legal petition to the commonwealth’s State Supreme Court to have it review the commission’s June proposal to alter 28 Senate districts and 43 House districts—which would mean that Haverford Township’ wards 1 and 9 could move from the 166th district to the 163rd.

The nine people are:

  • of the 1st ward
  • Rachel J. Amdur of the 3rd ward
  • Joan Tarka of the 4th ward
  • Lawrence W. Abel of the 5th ward
  • Margaret G. Morscheck of the 6th ward
  • of the 7th ward
  • Susan Jewett of the 8th ward
  • Carl Duzen of the 8th ward
  • Shirley Resnick of the 9th ward

Vitali said that all nine people are Democratic voters and Havertown lawyer Eric Ring filed the petition on or around Friday, July 6. A copy of the petition accompanies this article.

The petition questioned the proposal’s constitutionality, something that Vitali has stated goes against. Vitali has stated that the proposal goes against the state’s constitution.

But Vitali also has stated that the proposal—like its predecessor where the commission passed a similar proposal, but in January, ruling that it was not “contrary to law”—was made for political reasons by the Republicans.

“We have been troubled of the political nature of the Reapportionment Commission,” Vitali told Patch on Tuesday afternoon.

While the first proposal created at the end of 2011 had a unanimous vote by all of the commission members, the new one created in June had one nay vote by State Sen. Jay Costa (D-43), and a “gerrymandered map.”

Haverford Township residents are not the only ones who are against the commission’s proposal. Montgomery County commissioners, along with six other public officials and Montgomery County residents, contesting the latest reapportionment plan from the state legislature.

Patch has reached out to commission member and Majority Leader Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R-9) for comment about the petition and appeals. he has maintained that the first proposal was not created because of politics, stating that a Democrat originally voted for the first plan.

On Wednesday morning Pileggi’s Communications and Policy Director Erik Arneson wrote in an email to Patch that the proposal is out of the hands of the commission.

"Because the Commission has adopted a revised final plan, at this point all appeals of that plan will be heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In other words, the Commission can no longer make changes," Arneson wrote.

He did address the appeals, only stating that a list of them can be found on Pileggi's website.

Pete Peterson July 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Maybe if Vitali had a semi-decent relationship with the House or Senate Demcoratic leadership (which signed off on the redistricting plan), he could have had his proposal introduced by the party leadership when the plan was being finalized. As it was, Rep Frank Dermody, the appointee ofthe Hosue Democrats voted to approve the plan after DEMOCRAT and Republican leadership of the Hosue negotiated the fairness of the new maps.
Bob Lauer July 12, 2012 at 01:26 AM
This is comical, looking at the right column there are 14 articles about reapportionment. Most of them are from Democrats claiming to be victims without any evidence how they are harmed. Reapportionment benefits both sides, the hypocrisy of Vitali and his mindless disciples. The seats that are currently Democrats got more D's the seats that are Republicans got more R's. This is why people hate politicians.
E. R. July 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I think the two comments so far fail to understand that the very nature of a split in a political subdivision is assumed to cause harm (and in my opinion it does). The Pa. Constitution states that no political subdivision whould be split unless absolutely necessary. Other factors to consider are the populations in each district. The ideal number is aproximately 62K. Only one township in Delaware County has a population of over 62K (Upper Darby), yet Delaware County has 9 Municipalities that have splits and Montgomery County has 8 Municipalities that are split. To put it in prosective, of the 67 Pa Counties, Montgomery County and Delaware County posess about 20% of the munipalities that are split for Pa House Districts. Making Districts "safer" doesn't make them better. Actually making districts more competitive makes politicians, and therefore government, more accountable. Rep. Vitali's position would make his district more competitive, and find little hypocrisy. The fact that Rep. Viatli wants the LRC to comply with the Pa. Constitution is exactly what we would want from our politicians. In my opinion, the person who wants to disregard the Pa. Constitution is the one who is being hypocritical.

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