Amended Testimony By State Rep. DeLissio 1/6/22
This submission is AMENDED testimony from the verbal testimony given by State Representative Pamela A. DeLissio on Thursday, January 6th at 6pm to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. If you are in need of additional clarification or information, please contact our office at 215-482-8726 or at RepDeLissio@pahouse.net . Good evening, commissioners: Thank you for this opportunity to testify. My name is Pamela DeLissio and I represent the 194th Legislative District. Having been first elected in 2010, I am a veteran of the redistricting process. In 2011, the process was concerningly political and basically without any meaningful citizen input. Thank you to this commission for the recognition that citizen input is critical and, I believe, should take priority over political or party input. On January 4th, I held a special town hall to inform my constituents about the preliminary map for the 194th and how to comment and or testify and the importance of same. Due to the horrific practice of gerrymandering over many decades, some citizens found it hard to believe that their comments and input would be seriously considered. I assured them that this commission would consider their comments with appropriate seriousness as the citizens know best how they function and live in their respective communities and what their communities need to function and thrive. Many of my constituents are familiar with the topic of redistricting reform as I have covered this topic in 51 of my 112 town halls. A dozen of these town halls focused exclusively on this topic. Regarding the preliminary map for the 194th, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in its document titled "Philadelphia 2035 – The Vision for Philadelphia’s Growth and Development" identifies two distinct areas for the Northwest part of the city, the Upper Northwest and the Lower Northwest. The Planning commission conducted a comprehensive planning process to produce this report with substantial local citizen involvement. I participated in a few of these gatherings for the lower northwest neighborhoods. However, instead of following the established approach for this part of the city the preliminary map voted by the LRC on December 16th reflects a combination of the lower and upper northwest. The preliminary map does a disservice to the northwest by drawing the district boundaries in this manner. As an example, the Wissahickon Transfer Center expansion project that has been going on for several years involves all of the neighborhoods of the lower northwest. The discussion has involved none of the neighborhoods of the upper northwest. Citizens, including myself, run errands, use parks, and support businesses regularly and for the most part, but not exclusively along the boundaries created by the Wissahickon Valley Park and the Wissahickon Creek. The preliminary map includes the park and creek which function as a natural boundary for these communities. When I first took office the upper part of Roxborough was appended to the 200th legislative district which included Chestnut Hill. Many constituents often came to my office for service and did not understand why their representative was on the other side of the park and creek. This preliminary map will do that in reverse by appending Chestnut Hill to Upper Roxborough, Roxborough, and Manayunk. Currently the 194th includes parts of East Falls (part of the Lower Northwest) and the comments I have heard over the past handful of years is for the balance of East Falls to be included in the 194th. The preliminary map has appended East Falls with a district located in West Philadelphia. I urge the commission to look closely at the map submitted by Fair Districts PA titled “PA People’s House Map”. That map follows closely how the neighborhoods of the Lower Northwest interface with each other. However, the following adjustment is needed: 21-34 and 21-44, located on the west side of the Wissahickon Valley Park, are included in the legislative district on the east side of the park. These two divisions should remain with the legislative district on the west side of the park. Thank you for your time this evening.