City Council Redistricting Incites Outrage

The new map for the coming decade starting this spring (UPDATRECTION: pending preliminary and final votes) is now viewable HERE. Help me to figure out what changes it signifies. The consensus emerging is that council members Bruce Kraus and Natalia Rudiak got ganked.



The process of City Council redrawing its own boundaries to reflect population shifts had been going peaceably since June, and even that appeared handled. What issues remained near the end appeared intractable and apolitical, and being managed with a (perhaps uncharacteristic) professional unity.

Apparently that did not take. I’ve heard rumors so far that Bruce Kraus may have lost key supporters, that Theresa Smith was rescued from skulduggery perpetrated by an (suddenly) allegedly biased reapportionment commission, that Natalia Rudiak may have unexpected surprises and that the new candidates in District 8 may have to re-check their addresses.

A salient point is made by Rudiak. It would have been more ideal to be able to study the map one is required to vote on, even if those who drew the map are pretty sure you’re going to vote no because that’s kind of the point. And although the process clearly states Council members have the ultimate say, one wonders why the proposed changes couldn’t be held for a week’s worth of engagement with those stakeholders who are being herded around like cattle. UPDATERECTION: Though it appears, with final action still to come, that opportunity still exists.

We’ll have to revisit as details emerge, but the tenor of this reminds me of the time Council in 2009 narrowly voted skip public interviews for a raft of board and commission appointments.

*-UPDATE: More reax:

So how did it get five votes? Is Council that aggressively anti-troublemaker once again, or were there simply “things” and “stuff” on the table, budgetary perhaps?

The Reapportionment Committee’s final recommendation to the Council is here, for comparison purposes. More information on the process and the Committee’s final report is available here.

MORE: WESA, Noah Brode

40 thoughts on “City Council Redistricting Incites Outrage

  1. ken

    Upon a quick review
    District 2 lose 18-5, 19-12, 20-02
    District 3 lose 4-8 gain 4-7, 18-5, 29-08
    District 4 lose 29-08 gain 19-12, 20-02
    District 8 gain 4-7

    Reply
  2. MG Guy

    As an aside, since Squirrel Hill and the universities share so many common issues revolving around students, wouldn't it make sense to combine Kraus' Oakland chunk with O'Connor's District 5, and shift that purple squiggly part of District 5 that's south of the river into Kraus' South Side-centric district? Just sayin'.

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  3. Shawn Carter

    4-7 IS is D8, currently. The Amended Reapportionment Plan would give it to Kraus, and replace it with 4-8 (Litchfield Towers and the Quad.)

    That is what is upsetting.

    Kenny relayed it wrong… After relaying it properly…

    That “squiggly” part of O'Connor's district happens to be the 31st Ward (Lincoln Place/Hays/New Homestead) which only connects to the City via the New Glenwood Bridge and Hazelwood/Glen Hazel in the 15th Ward. Otherwise these districts would look radically different.

    The 31st Ward is bounded on 3 sides by Baldwin Township…

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  4. Anonymous

    You can see all of the details of the commission's recommendations here:

    http://pittsburghpa.gov/council/redistricting/

    My biggest objection is a lack of democratic process. The new map is not all that objectionable that I can see. All that sneaking and rushing around for….what exactly? Five generally agreeable voting districts? Right.

    Seems to me that drama is the only way that some of these folks remain relevant. And when there is literally NO drama, I guess you have to create some.

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  5. Bram Reichbaum

    Well, this was amusing. It appears tomorrow I'm going to have run some kind of clarifictraction. Turns out the only vote taken was to amend the bill — i.e. make the changes — but then the bill was held prior to committee vote and final vote. Which kind of allows a window for that whole “democracy” and “process” junk to kick in.

    From now on I'll know to get my news from Facebook instead of Twitter. ;-/

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  6. flybylight

    As you said, Bram, it was held in committee. But the bill now on the table in committee is the amended bill. That does let the public get a look at it for a week. But it makes it difficult to get it amended back to what it was.

    It was a very ugly move by Councilman Burgess. He just simply put forth an amendment by substitution, which his aide Shawn Carter said was created from the 2002 map, not from the product of the reapportionment committee's report. Burgess said that Council is free to trash the committee's report and make its own map. Apparently he likes to exercise his more objectionable freedoms. Bill Peduto stood up for the public process, noting those of us who have not even seen the amendment, and those of Council who would like to see a map, and all after over a year of public hearings and deliberations, etc.

    You all are right – so much for the public process. Council President Harris declared she felt they should simply pass the amendment, which was, by the way, apparently only presented to Council members 10 minutes before the standing committee meeting started, and then immediately pass the bill out of committee, and then it could be possibly amended next Tuesday as they prepared to pass it finally. She felt that was sufficient for all concerned, in spite of what her colleagues (Peduto, Kraus, Rudiak) had just said about transparency and public process and wanting to see the changes on a map.

    My councilman, O'Connor, said nothing.

    Of course, it only affects four council districts, so it would be a minority of votes in a Council of nine. I guess Harris may have had a point.

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  7. Helen Gerhardt

    The point is the process. Yes, I think it's important to hear the concerns that led Burgess to substitute the map now up for vote. But a year's worth of work by representatives of all Council members and the voters' input at least four public meetings in July seem to have been shunted aside – I hope that there is sufficient time to hear from the voters being shuffled around so quickly.

    It does also concern me that Gilman, Peduto and Rudiak fired off tweets without including enough information for us to understand that the vote wasn't final. Yes, understandable in the heat of angry surprise, but I wish there had been some further explanation forthcoming when they saw the misunderstanding that some of us helped keep brewing with our own Followers.

    So, will the chance for public input, both on the new map and the process by which it was reached, be at the regular public Council meeting comment periods?

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  8. Helen Gerhardt

    Bill Peduto wrote this summary of the vote at his Facebook page:

    In the last redistricting, there were amendments. They were made public and discussed for several weeks. The Reapportionment Plan was NOT thrown out through an amendment of substitution – it was amended – after each of the Councilmembers (and the public) had the time to understand it and support it. Today, the 5 didn't even have a piece of paper to show how their new plan differed from the one that was presented, had community meetings throughout the city, had a public hearing and a post agenda before City Council and had a 9-0 recommendation from their own appointees. Ten minutes before the vote was the first time I saw it. That is NOT a democratic process for the most important component of the democratic process – our voting districts.

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  9. Bram Reichbaum

    Nobody new wants to live in Rev's district. 🙁

    Unless you're scoring swag off your current council member, isn't it more effective / fun to be in a district where you can lobby the new character into something new?

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  10. Anonymous

    whine whine all over nada.. 5-4 is always a good number on council..ya can't always get what ya want…someone's gotta lose someone's gonna win…Billy's always been a bad sport now he has miss Rudiak to whine with him…BP. ought a worry about getting committee votes…between him and Gilman vying for endorsements , will Bill run without it, they're gonna stress out those members in 14 and 7.jean or Sam or Danny .. I'm either chairperson I'm telling billy if my committee goes for you we gotta throw Gilman to the wolfs

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  11. Bram Reichbaum

    Daniel Gilman could run for Peduto's vacated council seat paying less attention to the local Democratic committee than anyone in the City… than anyone since what happened in the South Hills in '09 with Rudiak over Reilly and Coghill.

    My goodness, if both Lamb and Peduto follow on this folly beyond the point of no return, is the Democratic Committee membership endorsement vote (Feb.-Marchish) going to be big in terms of a “show of support” for the upcoming election? Considering we expect Luke to capture the most committee votes and win the actual endorsement by a comfortable margin, yes? Anybody want to argue that? Lamb party?

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  12. Anonymous

    Hers a perdiction— If Luke wins endorsement you and your cronies will cry corruption and committee bad and bought and paid for and means nothing,, if Lamb or Peduta get it you and your cronies will praise committee for wisdom and major victory and important step for democracy. In either case you will tweet it.

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  13. Anonymous

    jean Clark will get big bounce from Fitzgerald with mainstream Dems , not typical lgbt voters! Sam is well respected but unfortunately not widely known sure Gilman is high profile using Pedutos entree to events to his advantage . after almost 20 years of nothing happening out of his seat people will be looking for more than Bill lite, not that Bill heavy was anything to tout about!! Brookings loves Pttsburgh should be great for Luke…mike lamb where's his personality… even people close to him say he's a cold fish…Irish vote south hills some east end votes not much more

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  14. Anonymous

    Anon1130- lamb has more personality then lukey or billy bob together, at least he knows how to talk to people like a normal person instead of the others. And it's called spellcheck—- try it!!!!!

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  15. Bram Reichbaum

    Anon 8:02 – lol. But don't make too many assumptions about my crony gang.

    For all its assorted virtues in terms of party building, information disseminating and channeling of activism, I do acknowledge there's a meaningful percentage of local Democratic committee support that can be earned (or protected) with local Democratic patronage. Hence, advantages accrue to the empowered, and to politically gifted patrons. And Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods.

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  16. Anonymous

    Shawn Carter—why doesnt your boss ever meet with residents in his office? Why do they have to call other council offices for service?

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  17. Anonymous

    I had a hunch about that Theresa Smith and am glad you confirmed it. I met her once at a community event and she had this sneaky, “I'm going to pay Bram Reichbaum to do some kind of thing that ultimately never ends up helping anyone or doing anything other than waste taxpayer dollars” kind of look about her. Like you said, that's a fact and now that fact is checked. I like fact checking.

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  18. Bram Reichbaum

    Anon 5:14 AM – At a modest $5,000, that adult entertainment regulatory package and research was quality value for taxpayers. The City still has it, and the unconstitutional and unstable status quo still exists, so who knows? After a year someone can easily run the crime stats around the new W. Carson St. establishment and we'll see if the area has seen the category increases that were predicted.

    Now, the Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime (PIRC) — I had nothing to do with that apparently failed idea which continues to draw significant resources.

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  19. Anonymous

    Kail is at least on to something by questioning the money poured into PIRC. Maybe the PG can look at their books and investigate and ask some questions!

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  20. Anonymous

    There have been no major incidents at that new club. This was all grandstanding by her to make it seem like she was protecting her district meanwhile no one even lives by where the strip club is.

    The adult bills she was proposing were dead on arrival. The money she spent on them by paying Bram was a complete waste of money.

    Snith has yet to do anything of substance while on Council. In front of the cameras she tells everyone to get along and to be nice but behind closed doors she is a you know what. She scolds Council members when they mention any events that take place in her District. She acts like she owns the district. Sort of sad.

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  21. Bram Reichbaum

    “Major reported incidents at the club” is not the same as increased burglary, larceny, robbery, vandalism and vehicle theft all around it. Along with any additional effects on the addiction center next door. Is all that's worth saying to that.

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  22. Anonymous

    Just because there is an addiction center next door doesn't mean the strip club shouldn't be allowed there. All of the addicts who drive to there have to pass bars to come there but yet no one says anything about that.

    Robbery? Vehicle theft? No one lives around there!!!

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  23. Anonymous

    Oh, I love it. Apparently no clinical research has been found that regards a d/a clinic's patients and their treatment to be “compromised” by the lure of a strip club next door. Does anyone here realize, understand, study or care about the addictions correlation to substance abuse and sex? More than that, it's not a bad thing to suggest a more “community friendly” business to enter a district in the city, whether there are homes around there or not. If crime occurs there, that area–West End–gets tagged in the media as crime ridden. Folks in the suburbs who proclaim the city as terrible, wont say: “oh, well that business isn't really by any homes”…so it's not bad. Please!

    Reply

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