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2011 Gerrymandering maneuvers begin

Gerrymander

“The Gerry-Mander:” First printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favour the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. Federalists’ newspapers editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry’s last name.

by Chris Lee

Tea Party members say citizens need to take back the country from a government conspiracy. This could be the one thing all Americans agree upon.

Naming the conspiracy is another matter. This year, call it redistricting or reapportionment, and when the process is abused, it is called gerrymandering. Every election after the U.S. Census has counted everyone, a state must redraw the boundaries for each legislator and for the U.S. Congress. 2011 is that year.

In Pennsylvania, the ability to wipe out the voting power of entire segments of the population based on where they live has risen to an art form.

“People moving to Pennsylvania from other states are dumbfounded that that we sit back and take it and that we’re not up in arms at the level of corruption,” Barry Kauffman, Executive Director of Common Cause PA told Voices. “Redistricting has been degraded into an incumbent protection tool, and in other cases, a tool used by the legislative leadership in punishing members. The system is broken.”

 

These graphics of State House District 161 in Delaware County, PA, depict how the district was reapportioned between 1992 and 2002.These graphics of State House District 161 in Delaware County, PA, depict how the district was reapportioned between 1992 and 2002.
Graphics provided by Democracy Rising PA

These graphics of State House District 161 in Delaware County, PA, depict how the district was reapportioned between 1992 and 2002.


 


 

‘Packing and Cracking’

Communities

Pennsylvania redraws election districts boundaries for the U.S. Congress and the state General Assembly every 10 years in order to satisfy court mandates that districts at each level have equal population.

The General Assembly in Harrisburg decides the boundaries for Congressional districts. But the top four minority and majority leaders of the General Assembly make up the Reapportionment Commission that decides the boundaries for state house and senate districts with the help of a fifth member they appoint as a tie-breaker.

The entire process is done without any requirement for public disclosure until the final plan is put on public view for 30 days before its passage.

It sounds simple, but like most things involving power, it quickly gets complicated.

“You can take a particular population like city dwellers or suburbanites and you can unify them into a district so they have voting strength or you can split them up so they have no strength,” Pennsylvania League of Women Voters Redistricting Specialist Lora Lavin told Voices. “It’s called packing and cracking.”

“The only time you’ll have an opportunity for a contested election would be in the primary,” continued Lavin, “and in primaries usually the people who vote are the extreme partisans, the dedicated Democrats and the dedicated Republicans.”

“Gerrymandering has a tendency to weaken various community voices in government. To the extent where it occurs, it is not overall healthy for democracy,” explained nationally-recognized political analyst Terry Madonna, the director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster.

Common Cause’s Kauffman said that the intent to create “safe” districts is clear.

He described the time that one of the people involved in redistricting came to Common Cause and explained the process smugly: “We get a map of Pennsylvania. The four legislative caucuses divide the state into five areas. The Democrats get Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and some suburbs. The Republicans get everything else and we agree to fight over the few areas left that are competitive. Then there are five staff teams created to create safe districts for the legislators. First we plot the home of every legislator. If there is a potential strong opponent, we plot their home. Then we look at party registration and voting trends of last 10 years, and then we build a safe district.”

Over time, groups of citizens have organized to stop the corruption.

“If legislators don’t believe that their actions can draw competition, they are more likely to heed the desires of special interests than their constituents,” said Timothy Potts, Executive Director of the reform advocacy group Democracy Rising.

Not everybody sees a problem. Republican State Sen. Jake Corman, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who serves on the Senate State Government Committee that will take the lead in the legislation to redistrict Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts, disputes that a majority of the state’s districts are safe for incumbents.

“I’m sort of amused by the effort to gerrymander,” Corman told Voices. “Ultimately most of these legislative districts are very competitive, at least in the primaries. The voters have a way of having the last say, as they should.”

He said technology is playing a role.

“With the availability of technology and information, divvying up the state into safe districts just can’t happen anymore,” said Corman.

Fellow Republican legislator Kerry Benninghoff agreed.

“Sometimes we perceive problems that are not necessarily there. I think the public has had a dramatic impact in changing the General Assembly strictly by their voting,” he said. “If people feel their district has been gerrymandered and they’re disenfranchised, they’ll express it at the polls.”

But Terry Madonna disagreed strongly.

“Redistricting is a partisan and political activity,” Madonna said. “With the computer programs they have they can get down to the precinct level as they draw these boundary lines. It destroys competition, so the office holder can be completely safe and can act in disregard to the will of his or her constituents…so they can be responsive to special interests and their own ideology.”

According to Potts, the strategy of legislators doing the gerrymandering in Harrisburg so far is to ignore it or claim it is no worse than anywhere else.

“People care about their families and their lives,” Madonna said. “The process itself will go largely unremarked upon by the general public. That’s not good.”


 

Silencing Community Voices

“Gerrymandering is largely aimed at enhancing one party’s strength in the state legislature and in Congress,” Madonna explained. “It often has little to do with communities of interest within a district or putting like-minded people together.”

State College and the Centre Region are one example of a cracked and cut-up community. As a regional economic power in the knowledge industry and the home of a major state university, this fast-growing area has been carved up so that it is the home of not one single elected state or United States representative.

For the state House of Representatives, State College is cut in half, with College Avenue serving as the boundary between the 171st district represented by Republican Kerry Benninghoff of Bellefonte and the 77th district represented by Democrat Scott Conklin of Philipsburg.

“I don’t think the Centre Region gets any less representation by having two representatives instead of only one,” Benninghoff told Voices. “But one of the concerns of this year’s process is can we put State College back together?” he admitted.

For Congress, State College is on the east fringe of Pennsylvania’s immense Fifth District which extends north to the New York state border and west almost to the Ohio border. The fifth district was represented for years by Republican John Peterson of Oil City, 150 miles from State College, and is now represented by Republican Glenn Thompson of Howard, 25 miles from State College. In the state senate, State College is represented by Republican Jake Corman, who lives in Bellefonte. The area is represented by a Republican despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans 43 percent to 39 percent according to Centre County’s voter registration records.

But a much more egregious example of gerrymandering is Monroe County on the New Jersey border in northeast Pennsylvania.

In 1991, reports Potts, a consensus was building among residents in the fast-growing county for property tax reform due to the cost of building new schools.

“The leadership in Harrisburg didn’t want to create a hotbed of people advocating what they didn’t want to do,” Potts explained. “So they sliced Monroe County up so no senator would have property tax as their top priority because most of their senatorial districts were in other counties where property tax reform wasn’t such an issue.”

Today, six state senators have constituents in Monroe County but none of the six live in Monroe County, and the legislature made Monroe County the only home county of a gambling casino that had to share its tax revenue with surrounding counties, costing Monroe County $6 million a year.

“The problem is none of our senators need Monroe County to be elected,” said Merlyn Clarke, professor emeritus at East Stroudsburg University and former political science department head, in a news story in the Pocono Record in February 2009.

The Record article quotes former State Rep. Kelly Lewis of Monroe County as saying, “The bill … destroyed school property tax reform…and the funding provision to share fifth-class county proceeds with contiguous counties is corruption personified.”


 

Letting Money

Set the Legislative Agenda

“Major donations have a strong correlation with things in Harrisburg,” said Kauffman. “For example, the gambling industry hired every lobbyist in town and dominated the legislative process for a very long time. Despite the other interests of Pennsylvanians, the gambling issue moved to the front and passed quickly. Marcellus Shale gas companies gave enormous amounts of money to legislators and have pretty much had their way in the legislative process.”

Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of being the only shale gas state in the nation that doesn’t have a severance tax on gas, at a time when the state is struggling to balance its budget.

“The organ groups—lung, heart, diabetes—tell me their issues never get on the front burner,” Kauffman told Voices. “They can’t hire the kind of permanent lobbyist that the hospital association and the trial lawyers and the insurance industry can.” Federal lobbyists delivered 28 million new health insurance customers through healthcare reform legislation, he said, instead of a single payer system that would benefit individuals. (Unprecedented citizen advocacy for single payer at the state level also fell short last year in the face of professional lobbyists.)

Democracy Rising’s Potts agreed.

“You’re not likely to get an honest approach to the problems facing Harrisburg,” he said. “It’s going to be filtered through the views of the lobbyists, rather than the needs of the citizens.”

Potts also decries the notion that voters should re-elect corrupt politicians with seniority because they will “bring home the bacon.”

“If you’re going to feel warm and fuzzy about a $50,000 grant to your community from your generous legislator while he is raiding the pension system and approving debt of billions of dollars that is going to cost you a whole lot more, then you’re being played for a sucker,” he snorted.

 


 


 


 


 

Putting Party

Ahead of the

People

In Pennsylvania the control of the General Assembly and the governorship is now in the hands of one party, the Republican Party, so the potential for redistricting abuse is even greater.

“With gerrymandering the voice of opposition isn’t heard to the point where it makes a difference,” Democratic Rep. Conklin told Voices. “It makes it very easy to run an agenda through—mostly a political agenda and not a people-driven agenda.”

“My district is one of the most competitive and I look at all sides to see what’s best for my communities,” said Conklin. “In gerrymandered districts, legislators no longer have to think outside the box or look at both sides of the issue; they only look at the party line – to be in line with what the party wants. That’s where government becomes the government of the party and not of the people.”

Kauffman sees the phenomenon statewide.

“Where one party is guaranteed to win in the general election—in the southeast and southwest for the Democrats and in the central area of the state for the Republicans—that means that the real election becomes the primary,” he explained. “If the primary is the final election, you are guaranteed very liberal and very conservative legislators. They come to Harrisburg from the extreme wings of their parties, making it very difficult to govern from the center. Issues never come to a vote; they don’t even get debated.”

“Nobody is trying to work the middle,” agreed Potts.

Another lever of power is the fact that redistricting of the General Assembly is done only by the five-member Reapportionment Commission and is not subject to a vote by the legislature itself.

“This concentrates enormous power to reward or punish individual members of their caucus, which is where innovations come from, from the rank and file legislators,” said League of Women Voters’ Lavin. “If caucus members are pushing for legislation not favored by the leadership, the leadership can punish them by gerrymandering them out of their district or pitting them against another member of the caucus.”


 

 

Rep. Scott Conklin


 

Reforming Gerrymandering

Reformers agree a non-partisan independent commission should do the redistricting at all electoral levels in Pennsylvania.

“You can come up with a body of people that doesn’t have a personal vested interest in the outcome, which is what we have now,” said Lavin.

The published position of the League—and Common Cause as well—calls for action by the legislature to:

-Establish an independent redistricting commission, independent of elected officials invested in the outcome, with professional demographers and without elected and party officials serving as members or staff. The state of Iowa provides an excellent model for this reform.

-Ban corrupting data. Prohibit data revealing party registration numbers of any political subdivision, voting history of any subdivision or location of the residence of an elected official or any other person.

-Enforce strict compliance with constitutional standards.

-Prohibit unnecessary division of political subdivisions.

-Ensure standards for compactness and contiguity are honored.

-Include Congressional Redistricting. The redrawing of congressional district boundaries also should be assigned to the Independent Redistricting Commission.

“I do believe you could get less political commissioners,” agreed Benninghoff. “Juries showed me time and time again when I was coroner that six lay people could make a good decision.”

The League of Women Voters did try to get the legislature to authorize a referendum for a constitutional amendment to create a non-partisan commission, but Benninghoff said legislative leaders pulled the bill from the calendar.

“It is fairly certain the leaders won’t let reform happen,” said Potts. “We simply have to have a constitutional convention. In a January 2010 Franklin and Marshall poll by Terry Madonna, 75 percent of those polled favored having a constitutional convention. Voters look at the lack of improvement in the legislature and say, ‘We have to take this out of the hands of the legislators because they can’t do it.’”

 


Rep. Kerry Benninghoff


But Corman prefers the present Reapportionment Commission to the Iowa plan, saying, “I haven’t heard another plan that’s any better. In the Iowa plan, the legislature can throw out the results if they choose. I don’t like that.”

Though both Republicans representing State College – Sen. Corman and Rep. Benninghoff—have publicly endorsed the idea of an independent commission doing the redistricting, they are optimistic that legislators will use the present system better this year than in the past.

“Things have changed in Harrisburg,” Corman told Voices. “I don’t think divvying up the state [between incumbents of both parties] will be a consideration. Harrisburg is a lot different from when I got there in 1998.”

He noted that Senator Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Republican from Chester and Delaware Counties and a member of the five-person Reapportionment Commission, has promised an open process with many hearings and a Web site. (Sen. Pileggi did not respond to a request for an interview with Voices).

Kauffman noted that the Iowa program does have one element that could be adopted by the Reapportionment Commission.

“There are very powerful computer programs that make the job of redistricting easy. The state of Iowa puts its program on line for any citizen to use and make their own plan,” he said. “The Reapportionment Commission in Harrisburg can choose to do this with the program they will use.”

“In Harrisburg there’s a much better movement towards greater transparency, and with technology people know more of what’s going on with their elected officials,” agreed Benninghoff, “and that should make this process less political.”

Others are less optimistic.

“Pennsylvania politics is pretty ruthless and pretty much anti-reform,” observed Madonna, “so I’m not averse to diminishing some of the power of the politicians because they’ve been anti-reform on so many other areas—ethics, gifts, lobbying. The track record of the legislature is slightly short of appalling.”

With one party in control of both houses of the assembly and the governor’s seat, there is understandable skepticism in the minority party as well.

“There’s going to be a lot of strategy meetings that you and I will not be invited to,” said Rep. Conklin, a Democrat. “There’s no requirement to go public until 30 days before the final plan is approved.”

Like Potts, Conklin also advocated a convention.

“Before the next redistricting (in 2021), I’ll be trying for a limited constitutional convention to make government more transparent and more fair to the people,” he said.


 

Sorting through the rhetoric

Reform has proved elusive, particularly since it has to be initiated by those owing their position to the current system. So the path of the reformer is beset on all sides by the political rhetoric of those invested in the present process.

“People are so desperate to maintain their own advantage and not give others a chance,” said Kauffman. “We really do need to teach better analytic thinking in our schools so people can see through their arguments.”

One rhetorical argument against reform is that the present Reapportionment Commission is bi-partisan, since it has both Democratic and Republican members, and it is accountable because they are elected legislators.

But at least one activist calls the bi-partisanship a red herring.

“It’s not Republicans versus Democrats. It’s the major parties versus the voters,” said Kauffman, noting that both parties work together to split up the state into districts safe for incumbents of both parties.

And with redrawing the Congressional districts redistricting in the hands of the legislature and the governor, both Republican, that process is not likely to be bi-partisan, according to at least two observers.

“The legislature’s redistricting the Congressional seats is a very political process,” said Kauffman. “Watch how much congressmen donate to legislators in this election cycle if you have any doubt.”

“The state legislature’s record on redistricting is one of gerrymandering and partisanship,” Madonna stated flatly. “I do not expect to see any change in the process in our state because the party in power can pretty much decide. Why would they give up the power?”

But those doing the redistricting are accountable, because they are elected by the people of their home districts, right?

“The legislative leaders are not accountable to the citizens of Pennsylvania,” said Potts. “They’re elected in secret and they operate in secret. Most of Pennsylvania cannot vote for the legislative leaders.”

Another argument against reform is that people just don’t care about the process. Kauffman quotes one legislator saying: “I’ve never gotten a single call from a constituent asking me to change the redistricting process.”

“Sure,” agrees Kauffman, “but he’s also never gotten a call not to steal the office computers. There are certain levels of expectation that government officials will do what is ethical and responsible.”

Another argument against reform is that the Pennsylvania Constitution already calls for compact and contiguous districts without unnecessarily splitting communities, and there is no need for anything other than enforcing the constitution as it stands.

“Yes, that is already in the constitution,” agreed Potts, “but our Supreme Court has decided to ignore the constitution out of deference of the legislature, even though the whole point of having a court is to protect people from the excesses of legislature. The court did the same thing on the pay raise, on slots, on gerrymandering and on unvouchered expenses.”


 

Burn Me Twice, Shame on Me

Will the legislature and the legislative leaders change their habits this time in the 2011 reapportionment process to allow citizen input and to prevent gerrymandering? Will Pennsylvania see a new dawn of democracy with more competitive electoral districts electing more moderate legislators representing their citizens more than lobbyists and party ideology?

“The cure for bad politics is good citizenship,” says Potts. “People have to insist and make this a voting issue. They have to say ‘Fix this or I’m not voting for you.’”

In ancient times, King Solomon chose to give the baby to the mother who would lose it rather than see it cut in two. Will our legislators choose to risk competitive elections rather than see our communities split in two and silenced?

The answers will unfold in Harrisburg in the next few months.

Christopher Lee is the former chairman of the Centre Region Council of Governments, the Centre Regional Planning Commission and the Centre Region MPO, and of Harris Township.

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Redrawing election districts boundaries

For 10 years I had to endure the GERRYMANDERING of the democratics to our state election districts boundaries (example southwest pa - cut up into pieces to support a democrate). For 10 years my vote was taken because of these lines!!!!! NOW WE PUT our party into power and the rats come up with NEW RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm tried of my VOTE being taken away as well as everyone around me feeling the same. as we continued to vote only to wake up to a disappointing outcome!!!!!! WE GOT THE VOTE OUT AND NOW WE WANT OUR REWARDS!!!! I'm sick of hearing these democratics that stole my vote for years complain and try to change the rules. IT"s THE POLITICIANS WE PUT INTO OFFICE NOW CAN SPEAK FOR US AND THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE.  IF u want to change the process do it when u get into MAJORITY!!!!!  I'm tired of them constantly trying to control everyone else EXCEPT THEMSELVES

Sure that's possible

I don't doubt that both sides might use gerrymandering to their benefit.

But you might just be claiming this as agit-prop, how can we know if what you are saying is an accurate description of the facts in your area?

I'd say, assessing the mainstream media, republican use of disinformation has been more commonly reported than democratic use of misinformation.

To which your side claims liberal media bias - which is a neat rhetorical device, but, it depends on faith, and is hard to support with facts, because, any facts comes from the media with it's "liberal bias" so if the polls dont support you and you can claim bias. A clever bit of black mental magic.

Anyway, my point is, please show us a few links to local news articles that support what you are saying.

Redistricting is something both sides need to be aware of.

Today's example of republicans using black ops disinformation

Take today for example - it just came out that Massachusetts republican Scott Brown (or an aide - it's always a rogue aide, right?) was using a sockpuppet twitter account to harass his democratic opponent.

How do we know you arent a sockpuppet, a paid republican operative using fake accounts and software to try to manipulate the debate about redristricting? Well, you can post links supporting your claim. Should be easy enough, go to a newspaper in your district, find an article, and throw us a link. I'd like to get the chance to look at things from both sides.

http://www.boston.com/Boston/politicalintelligence/2011/08/brown-links-c...

Now the author has been unmasked.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign adviser to US Senator Scott Brown, the Republican who Khazei hopes to challenge in next year’s election, sent out a “CrazyKhazei”-type tweet last night from his personal Twitter account.

That can often happen when a person with multiple accounts chooses the wrong distribution channel on social media aggregation software such as HootSuite or TweetDeck.

“I’m excited to announce that Cindy Creem is the newest hire at my charity, Be the Change,” read the tweet posted by @EricFehrn at 8:05 p.m.

The post pivoted off a pair of Globe stories this week. One noted that Khazei, founder of “City Year” and “Be the Change,” had hired his brother Lance to work for the latter charity. Another yesterday reported that his campaign had been endorsed by state Senator Cynthia Creem of Newton.

The tweet was subsequently removed, but not before BlueMassGroup and Kevin Franck, spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, noted it on their own Twitter feeds and blog posts.

In an email late today, Fehrnstrom admitted he was the person behind the “CrazyKhazei” tweets - but pointedly did not apologize for them.

“It was my Twitter account,” the aide said in an email to the Globe. “Sometimes we take our politics too seriously and this was my way of lightening things up. As they say in politics, if you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the kitchen.”

Neither Brown’s campaign manager nor his US Senate communications director responded to a request for comment on Fehrnstrom’s actions.

The Khazei campaign called on Brown to denounce the tweets, demand that the Twitter account be closed, and apologize to the public.

“Instead of launching anonymous personal attacks against Alan Khazei, Senator Scott Brown and his team should focus their time and energy on growing our economy and putting Massachusetts citizens back to work,” Emily Cherniack, Khazei’s chief of staff, said in a statement.

“Voters are cynical about the political process because politicians in Washington have spent more time on name-calling and tearing each other down than they’ve spent working together to move the country forward,” she added.

Fehrnstrom’s involvement is somewhat ironic given his simultaneous work for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

John Murtha District 12

  Look up Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District if u want to see gerrymandering.

 The disinformation is ur opinion and I really don't care to go there on this matter unless ur calling me a liar.

 After looking at the articles and the cut up to benefit one party in 12th congression district  I believe u would feel the same if living in an area similar. I don't think u can find another gerrymandering district in PA like this one that has stolen my vote for years.

That you came back reduces the chances that you are op

The fact that you came back does reduce the chances that you are an operative.

I have no information on Murtha and redistricting - so, you are saying Murtha somehow influenced the district lines? Possible I suppose, he was fairly powerful.

Here's a right wing page that claims gerrymandering in the 12th. Amusing how it starts with bashing his plea to get out of Iraq. It goves mo background or evidence that Murtha was behind teh redistricting

http://frontpage.americandaughter.com/?p=142

But, this article says that the gerrymandering in the 12th was engineered by the REPUBLICANS - to try to make sure that surrounding districts were as republican as possible, and to "pen" the unions in a district they thought was lost no matter what.

http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/11/11/the-top-ten-most-gerrymandered...


PA-12 is a rare example of “packing” (jamming as many opposition voters as possible into one district) that backfired. This district was created to be a Democratic stronghold formerly held by Congressman Jack Murtha, who was assumed to have a lock on the district. At the last redistricting in 2000, the Republicans in charge gave up on the area, which is solidly unionized, and decided to “pack” Murtha’s new district with as many Democrats as possible, to allow the remaining districts in the region a chance to have slim Republican majorities. But in the intervening ten years everything has changed: the area grew more and more conservative, and the locally popular Murtha died, opening up the seat to possible challengers. In the 2010 election, PA-12 barely remained Democratic with Mark Critz winning by a hairsbreadth 50.8%-49.2% margin — while most of the surrounding districts overwhelmingly went Republican. Thus, if the foolish 2000 Republican redistricters had not consciously set out to create a “packed” Democratic district, and had instead just drawn the boundaries at random, they could have easily won all the races in the area, instead of losing this one (and the adjacent PA-4) by the slimmest of margins. Note to gerrymanderers: THINGS CHANGE. What may appear to be a wise gerrymander maneuver today may blow up in your face sometime in the future.

So, based on this article, which describes the top ten most gerrymandered districts in teh country - you are wrong. Murtha and the dems were not the gerrymanderers.

The gerrymandering was actually done by the republicans, and you were collateral damage.

Do they talk about that there in the 12th - how the republicans were behing the drawing of the district lines there?

 

Oh by the way, what are your issues?

I gather you are interested in redistricting - but what are your other issues? What's in the politics there in teh 12th?

What do you think your district and the country should be doing?

 PA-12 redistricting 

 PA-12 redistricting  DETAILS ARE IN THE DEAL SIR

 I believe that John Murtha & Robert Brady worked on the final negotiation for re-districting and therefore attracted support from members on both sides of the aisle. READ the articles

My life is very busy and I really don't want to get into partisan talk as u have made it. Sorry u can't look at another view point. I'm the one voting in this area sir and what we really talk about is how CORRUPT John Murtha WAS not his party, but his actions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Our US $ is the world currency and I am watch that be destroyed. I am an AMERICAN who can not go along with policies that support   when ur in DEBT to SPEND MORE.   I DON'T CARE WHAT PARTY!

Even the wiki says Pa 12th lines were drawn by the Republicans

Guy, I can't help it if everything I read says the republicans drew the lines in your district. I didn't write this stuff. Even teh wiki says the republicans drew the lines.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania's_12th_congressional_district

History

After the 2000 census, the Republican-controlled state legislature radically altered the 12th in an effort to get more Republicans elected from traditionally heavily Democratic southwestern Pennsylvania. A large chunk of the old 20th District was incorporated into the 12th. In some parts of the western portion of the district, one side of the street is in the 12th while the other side of the street is in the 18th District (the reconfigured 20th). This led to criticism that the 12th was a gerrymander intended to pack as many of southwestern Pennsylvania's heavily Democratic areas as possible into just two districts—the 12th and the Pittsburgh-based 14th.

I'd love to have you show me articles that support your claim that Murtha was somehow involved in the redistricting there, but my searches so far have not given me an article on that.
---

Anyways, I get that you don't actually want to talk about your political principles. People rarely do these days. It's all yelling and slogans, CAPS and the like. Nobody has the time. We have the time for wars, no time to talk.

It's not like we americans should be talking with each other, right?

Google Pennsylvania

Google Pennsylvania redistricting news december 12, 2001-feb 4,2002

I really don't have time to debate an issue when I LIVED THROUGH IT and u have to look up everything. U will find that what I have told u is the trueth and the deal is in the details not the headlines!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr Murphy was the all and powerful and it was partisan people that keep the crook in office because they didn't vote on record but party. I'm tired of that attitute and have no time for it !! Closed minds go in circles and I don't plan to waste my time. 

good bye  

So, what do you think america should be doing 20 years from now

Pennsylvania redistricting news december 12, 2001-feb 4,2002

So, let me ask you a question. Nuthin to do with redistricting gerrymandering or Murtha.

What do you want to see in the America of 20 years from now? How do you see the economy as working, what types of jobs will be important for new growth, what will our problems be?

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