Pittsburgh City Council maps out new districting plan

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More changes to Pittsburgh City Council's reapportionment plan today are expected to leave two neighborhoods intact and their residents happy.

All of Schenley Farms would remain in District 8, and all of Beechview would remain in District 4 under the new proposal, Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said.

Schenley Farms residents were startled last week when Ms. Kail-Smith proposed changes to the reapportionment plan that would have left part of the neighborhood in District 8, represented by Councilman Bill Peduto, and placed part in District 3, represented by Councilman Bruce Kraus.

On Tuesday, Ms. Kail-Smith said she didn't realize that she had proposed shifting only part of Schenley Farms and, once the matter was brought to her attention, agreed to leave all of the neighborhood in District 8.

Norman Cleary, president of Schenley Farms Civic Association, said he's pleased that Ms. Kail-Smith has offered to change the plan again.

The issue underscores the complexity of reapportioning nine council districts after every census to ensure that they have a roughly equal number of residents and meet other criteria.

In its final report to council, a nine-member advisory commission proposed moving two Beechview voting precincts from District 4, represented by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, to District 2, represented by Ms. Kail-Smith. Last week, because of complaints raised by Beechview residents, Ms. Kail-Smith introduced a series of changes that made that neighborhood whole but inadvertently split Schenley Farms.

Mr. Peduto, Ms. Rudiak and Mr. Kraus complained that the changes were sprung on them without notice -- and after the advisory commission had spent a year developing its plan. Councilman Ricky Burgess defended the changes, saying council has the authority to amend the plan before approving it by Dec. 31.

Under the new revisions to be introduced today, Ms. Kail-Smith said, Schenley Farms and Beechview would remain intact in their current districts. She said a part of Oakland with University of Pittsburgh student housing, moved last week from District 3 to District 8, would be shifted back to District 3. There will be no corresponding change as a result of the two Beechview precincts staying with Ms. Rudiak in District 4.

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Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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