Latinos aim to redraw lines of gerrymandered 7th District
May 5, 2011By Elizabeth Fiedler
A local software company has crunched the numbers and found Philadelphia's 7th District to be the most gerrymandered local district in the country.
Latinos in the area gathered Thursday to talk about how they can redraw the lines so they have a bigger voice.
There's no shortage of Puerto Rican flags flying in the homes and businesses around Nina's Kitchen Restaurant in Kensington, near B & Allegheny.
Inside, Jose Oyola with the community coalition Latino Lines, said community leaders are drawing up plans for what the 7th District, as well as some state legislative boundaries, should look like. He says the lines should be redrawn to give Latinos better representation.
"Of the 152,000 that are supposed to be living in the district, we have over 70,000 Latinos living there and over 60,000 are Puerto Rican.," said Oyola. "That's in the 7th District. According to the voting rights act of 1969, we have a right to our own representation.
"Right now, that community is split up into several different districts... it's unconstitutional," he said.
Oyola said the biggest issues facing the Latino community are the high dropout rate, low home ownership numbers and unemployment.
"A lot of that is really due to having our own representation, and if we get that, I think a lot of these issues can be solved," he said.
Oyola said the group will present its redistricting suggestions to candidates for state and city offices.