NEW CASTLE —
A couple of things:
We finally have an opinion.
A week after it threw out a redistricting plan for state legislative districts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its opinion yesterday.
The court says the plan drawn up by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission splits too many municipalities among separate districts.
While the commission may argue that splitting municipalities was necessary because it had to try to make each district nearly equal in population, that’s a hollow argument considering what the commission actually came up with.
Consider, for example, the commission’s redesign of the Ninth District represented by Chris Sainato. It has a population of 60,799.
Then there’s the 17th District represented by Michele Brooks. It has a population of 63,205.
The court said that while population is a factor, other factors that must be considered include compactness and integrity of political subdivisions.
The court’s ruling means the commission needs to come up with a new plan. Meanwhile, candidates for legislative offices, facing an April 26 deadline to file nomination petitions, aren’t sure where their districts begin and end.
There was a lot to digest from interviews this week of New Castle residents seeking appointment to city council.
The majority of what the nine candidates had to say was impressive, while some of it was not so impressive.
A comment made by one of the candidates, John Donnelly, made me chuckle.
In his remarks to council, Donnelly said it “appears” there is no coordination or cooperation with the county government.
That’s being kind.
OK, let me back up a bit. It’s not that the Lawrence County commissioners and city officials don’t cooperate on certain matters. However, there is no ongoing dialogue between the two entities. At times, one would think the two are on separate planets.
I’m not placing blame on either one, but if we have to pick one of them that should initiate a dialogue it would be the commissioners because they represent the entire county.
From all indications, county and city officials seem to get along when they do discuss matters of mutual interest. So, it should be an easy transition for them to meet periodically, perhaps every three months.
Discussion can only be a positive, possibly spawning some ideas that could develop into some tangible results for the county.
NEW CASTLE —
A couple of things:
- John K. Manna
John K. Manna: Data shows decline in number of primary voters
Voter participation isn’t what it used to be. That’s nothing new, but there has been a significant drop in voting here in Lawrence County. And it’s happened suddenly, particularly in the so-called “off-year” elections.
John K. Manna: New legislative districts give advantage to local lawmakers
We finally have a map, and area state legislators have to be gushing with joy. The map, which reshapes state House and Senate districts in Pennsylvania, gained the approval of the state Supreme Court this week.
John K. Manna: Shortfall in state tax collections means painful decisions lie ahead
I don’t deny that there are really smart people in Harrisburg who deal with the state’s budget and taxes. But I have to wonder what any of them — including the governor — think when it comes to taxes.
John K. Manna: Term limits again considered
Some things just never go away. One of them is the idea to impose term limits on members of Congress. Once a big deal in the 1990s, discussion about imposing term limits has died down to a whisper in recent years. But the idea is apparently not dead.
John K. Manna: Western Pennsylvania’s population drop persists
Lawrence County is losing people, but it’s not alone. The counties surrounding Lawrence, with the exception of Butler County, also have been experiencing population declines.
John K. Manna: Why should local elections be based on party status?
If you want to win a seat on New Castle City Council, don’t run as a Republican. Nothing is impossible, but over the last 40 plus years, only a handful of Republicans have been elected to council. It’s not because Republican candidates have been of lesser quality than their Democratic counterparts.
John K. Manna: Spring ballot to have few surprises
The ballots are set for the May 21 primary in Lawrence County. There could be some minimum change after Wednesday, the last day for candidates to withdraw. But for all practical purposes, we know who the candidates are, and there are few surprises.
John K. Manna: Few elected officials show desire for higher office
Over the years, most local politicians have stayed local. I’m not referring to the late Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill who often said that all politics is local.
John K. Manna: An interesting mix emerges for ballot in local contests
Just when you were breathing a sigh of relief after the presidential campaign ended, here comes another one. Not a presidential campaign, of course, but one right in your backyard where some of your friends and neighbors — and enemies — are expressing an interest in running in the May primary for county and municipal offices and school boards.
John K. Manna: Republican electoral vote plan shows impact of gerrymandering
Politics can be a lot of things, but in the final analysis it comes down to numbers. Just this week numbers were released on how President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney fared in each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts in the November election.
- More John K. Manna Headlines
- John K. Manna: Data shows decline in number of primary voters